I've heard of the comments, "Christians believe in anything"; "They don't call them 'the flock' for nothing." As a Christian, I'm criticized for believing in a talking snake. Yes, I admit, it sounds absurd. Why? Snakes don't talk. I've never heard a snake speak before in my life. Even with that said, yes, I believe Genesis chapter 3 happened in reality.
I consider myself a logical thinking man. I didn't begin my Christian journey understanding everything in the Bible. Over the years, I've discovered reasons that have led me to believe in Genesis 3.
Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way. Snakes exist. Genesis 3:1 states: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made." In order to sincerely believe in the Word of God, you have to dismiss the notion that these are just a bunch of "stories" made up to teach us something. In reality, the Bible is a collection of books, telling us what happened at different periods in history. These are the lives of people who actually existed. We can learn from their successes and failures.
We've heard the explanation that Satan deceived Eve. But how and why is the snake talking? Well, the definition of deception is: to mislead by a false appearance or statement. Satan accomplished both. His goal was not only to break the relationship between God and people, but to bring sin and death into the world. However, he couldn't just go up to Eve and say, "Hi, I'm a fallen angel trying to kill you." Too obvious. It would be better to disguise himself as something they were familiar with and always saw.
Living in a huge garden, there would be a lot of snakes. Satan decided to use this as his cover. In a more spiritual form, he would have blown his cover and frightened them away. His next move was to make Eve question God's motive for not letting them eat off of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Finally, he simply lied about the fact that they would "not" die if they ate off of this tree. Genesis 3:4-5 states:
"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Yes, their eyes were opened, but yes, they certainly died. Satan gave enough truth mixed in with a lie to deceive them.
Again, snakes are real. And I believe Satan would use a snake's body to accomplish his goal. Throughout history, we've heard of demon possession and exorcisms. But there are plenty of human bodies around for demons to take possession of. In Genesis 3, there was only Adam and Eve with no one else for Satan to use for a physical body. He couldn't use Adam or Eve. Again, he would have blown his cover. The only other alternative was an animal's body. He used what was available. In reality, snakes cannot talk. But a demon can still talk to you while in the body of a snake, just as they can while they're in a person's body. If you don't believe in Satan or demons, that's another topic for another day.
Finally, let's look at the aftermath of this deception. Genesis 3:14-15 states: "So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Does this statement by God translate to reality? I decided to look up information on this and found some numbers on ScienceDaily.com which states: "Globally snake bites affect the lives of 4.5 million people. 100,000 people die from snake bites every year. 250,000 are permanently disabled." Also, we've all probably seen episodes on Animal Planet of men rounding up and killing snakes as well. Now we know how and why it all started.
In conclusion, Genesis 3 helps us to understand that the spiritual world and the natural world are not as far apart as some may think. The events are not as hard to believe when you understand how and why they happened. Let's continue to investigate the Word of God. Because at the end of the day, a belief is no good to me if there is no truth to it.