So, now we’re moving into this. Our first stop is that Eve is approached by the serpent. As said last week, the serpent is clever. This doesn’t adequately convey the serpent’s abilities. The serpent could have a blindfolded chess match with Odysseus and win.
We’re not sure where that cleverness comes from. It’s easy to attribute the serpent as being someone else in disguise, but as discussed last week, we’re not doing that. We just don’t have the evidence for it. However, it could just as easily be a reference to how serpents (snakes) are able to insinuate themselves into places where they can strike. They are cunning hunters, and very stealthy, so it could be these attributes that are referenced.
So, there’s Eve, and the serpent comes up to her with his spiel. And it’s a good one. That line about becoming like God is perfect. I mean, how do you punch someone below the belt better than that? The serpent is really, really good at this. Used car salesman good. P.T. Barnum good.
The serpent correctly identifies Eve’s weak point: She wants to be like God. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s completely logical. Adam and Eve were made in God’s image, so it’s only natural to want to be like God. This idea could be a realization of her destiny, too. What other purpose would they have for existing if not to become like God, especially considering that they were made in the image of God?
As if that’s not enough, the serpent hits her with the next curve ball, telling that she won’t die. Now, this is where it gets sticky. Is this an out-and-out lie? Is this something he could be caught in as telling an untruth? Shouldn’t Eve have known better just from this statement alone because it directly contradicted God? Yes . . . and no. Mostly no.
See, the line is subtle. The serpent clearly alludes to the idea that Eve will be like God after eating the fruit. God created the world and the cosmos! God cannot die! The idea is unthinkable. The logic—as far as it goes—is infallible. God cannot die. To know Good and Evil is to be like God. To eat the fruit is to know Good and Evil.
So the statement about not dying actually reinforces the Serpent’s position: Eve should eat the fruit.