THE title question is one which has long intrigued us. We’ve attempted to explore it a few times in the past. For example, see: Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked.
Today we have an actual example of deep creationist thinking, which should answer the question once and for all. This comes to us from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. It’s titled Did the Serpent Originally Have Legs?
Hey — what a question! Does anyone know the answer? Is there a way to find out? Does anyone care? Amazingly, creationists seem to worry about issues like this. This is what occupies their minds.
We warn you in advance, the article we’re about to discuss may seem to be a grand waste of time, but it has a purpose — it illustrates creationist thinking. So stay with us. We added the bold font for emphasis. Here it comes:
Perhaps one of the most-asked and most-debated topics is the serpent’s original appearance. The model of the serpent here at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum exhibit just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, is pictured below to consider.
Did you get that? This is one of their “most-asked and most-debated topics.” The picture which accompanies the AIG article is too small, so here’s a link to a bigger image of the same thing. We still can’t figure it out, but let’s read on:
Determining features of the serpent from the precious little information given in the Bible is a difficult task, and there is considerable speculation in this area. For example, we can speculate about what color and patterns were on the serpent’s exterior, what shape of eyes did the serpent have, and so on.
Yes, this is a difficult and challenging problem. And AIG regards it as a question of great importance. We continue:
Even the question of legs on the serpent is one with varying speculation. Consider the biblical text to see what it says of the serpent:
And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:13–15)
We skipped a couple of passages describing the serpent’s beguiling of Eve. AIG then says:
When looking at Genesis 3:13–15 [quoted immediately above], there is no direct indication that the serpent had legs, only that its curse would be “on your belly you shall go.” But in Genesis 3:1, we get a clue that the serpent was likely classified as a beast of the field, which is probably why beasts of the field were also mentioned in 3:14.
Surely, dear reader, you find yourself getting drawn into this fascinating problem. Here’s more:
What makes this an issue is that it was a land animal and/or flying reptile in general — hence, it moved by flying, slithering, or with appendages. If it slithered already, what was the point of the curse and why compare it to creatures which had legs in Genesis 3:14?
Good thinking! Moving along:
Regardless if it was a beast of the field, the serpent was indeed a land animal and capable of locomotion in the Garden of Eden and in the field. Let’s evaluate forms of locomotion to see the possibilities.
AIG then launches into a discussion requiring a few paragraphs about various modes of locomotion. And then:
Was there some other form of locomotion among creatures that are now extinct? Without further research, there is no certain answer. As for the possibility of wings, this can’t be entirely ruled out either. But if so, then the serpent had some form of locomotion other than slithering and some form of appendage that physically changed forms.
We can’t avoid being impressed by the volume of intellectual energy expended on this issue. Then they discuss the Hebrew and Greek meaning of certain words, followed by a long section introduced thusly:
Several commentaries were checked to see what other scholars said about the serpent. They are accumulated below.
Yes, dear reader. By clicking over to AIG, you can learn what great minds in the past have thought about the serpent and its legs. We’ll leave it to you to experience the thrill of reading that material. Here’s one final excerpt from this splendid article’s conclusion:
The more logical answer is that the serpent originally had some form of legs or appendages, and these were either lost or reduced (consider how many reptiles crawl on their bellies and yet have legs, e.g., crocodiles). This seems to correlate with the plainest reading of the passage and the comparison of a curse (“on your belly you shall go”) as compared with cattle and other beasts of the field, which do have legs.
So there you are. As for the question with which we began this post — Do Creationist’s Think? — the answer is that they do. In their own way.
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