On Narnians, Martians and Neanderthals


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

Just like us, C. S. Lewis encountering new ideas and ways to see the world. Rather than falling into unending arguments, he found a better way.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) pinned globally #4

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #5

It turns out that, entirely consistent with the genetic and archeological evidence,[2] it is possible Adam was created out of dust, and Eve out of his rib, less than 10,000 years ago, living in a divinely created garden where God might dwell with them. Leaving the Garden, their offspring blended with their neighbors in the surrounding towns. In this way, they became genealogical ancestors of all of us. Evolution, therefore, presses in a very limited way on our understanding of Adam and Eve , only suggesting, alongside Scripture , there were people outside the Garden.[3]

Yea, LOL, and snakes can talk. :rofl:


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #6

Oh @patrick, such a short term memory :smile:, already forgetting the Serpent is not a :snake: : What is the Serpent?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #7

Sorry, I keep forgetting all the other fictional characters in the fairy tale like demons and fallen angels. :rofl: If I recall God walked around the garden looking for the naked couple hiding because they just realized that they didn’t have any clothing on. :rofl: Note that clothing goes back at least 40,000 years in northern climates among Neanderthal and Modern Humans. Clothing was for protection from the cold not for modesty.


(Jordan Mantha) #8

Really? I’ve always read it was either an actual snake (possessed) or figurative (Satan). I’ve never heard of your 3 options, very interesting.


(John Harshman) #9

Never liked Lewis, including Narnia. (If you’re looking for well-packaged religious allegory, Tolkien wins every time.) I have never found him an interesting thinker, certainly not a deep one, on any subject. Why does anyone read him?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #10

@jongarvey can fill in the details, but many scholars seem too be gravitating to Heiser’s view that the Serpent is a member of the divine council in the garden. Perhaps @deuteroKJ has a comment too.


(Daniel Ang) #11

But there are other stories in the Bible of animals behaving temporarily in an anthromorphic way, such as Balaam’s donkey, which also talked.


(Jon Garvey) #12

The interesting thing to me is that Scripture, and both Jewish and Christian theology, universally deal retrospectively with the Eden account as a confrontation between mankind and Satan. That’s not only in direct references, but in more subtle ways from the paralells made between Jesus’s successful resistance of the wilderness temptation at the start of his ministry, contrasted with Adam’s at the start of his.

Then there is are references to human reprobates (by both Jesus and John the Baptist) as “seed of serpents” aka “brood of vipers”; Paul using the language of crushing Satan underfoot, the devil as a deceiver, a murderer from the beginning, and many others. My pastor pointed out one in James 3 I hadn’t noticed in his sermon on Sunday.

Also, snakes aren’t particularly demonized in themselves in the rest of Scripture - they’re just A. N. Other unclean beast, with oblique allusions to Eden. The plague of serpents in Numbers is controlled by God exactly as other judgements are.

The net result is that, assuming we treat the account as broadly historical, the canonically informed question is “What form did Satan take?” rather than “was it Satan or a talking snake?”

I think Heiser’s suggestion has many strengths, and prefer it myself, whilst recognising that it messes up some rather neat imagery in the story, such as the chiastic reversal of the chain of authority God sets up between himself and the created order. But there are ways round that, which I’ve been exploring in the stuff I’m doing on Genealogical Adam.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #13

The garden had a divine council? Wow? :rofl: Was it evenly divided between pro-obedience faction and the pro-knowledge faction?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #14

If you had a choice between the power of knowledge or of immortality, which one would you choose @Patrick?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #15

Balaam’s donkey is speaking miraculously, but the Serpent is speaking of its own accord. This appears to be unique in Scripture, and suggests strongly that the Serpent is not a beast.


(John Harshman) #16

The weird thing is that it wasn’t a choice. All Adam had to do was eat from the tree of life first, which he unaccountably forgot to do.

But Genesis says he’s a beast, the cleverest of all the beasts.

I recently encountered a claim somewhere (unfortunately, I can’t remember where) that Satan is a late invention, possibly by the Essenes, perhaps under Persian influence, who was then back-dated into the Old Testament. That Satan is not a name but a description, one who opposes. And that the satan (lower case) in the Book of Job is nothing like the Prince of Darkness but just a subordinate and buddy of the deity. Are you familiar with that line of argument?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #17

Knowledge because then I can know how to enjoy the rest of my life and make others’ lives more enjoyable.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #18

You could do the same with immortality too, right? And the power of knowledge would also be missused.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #19

Yes the serpent speaking is much more believable than the donkey speaking. :rofl: This is really getting comical now.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

There are a range of views about the right way to interpret the donkey. It very well could by a mythologized account of actual events where the author is indirectly calling Balaam dumber than a jackass. It is very comical. Frankly the insult implied in the text is hilarious, especially within the whole context of the story.


(Daniel Ang) #21

Why can’t one interpret it as the serpent is also speaking miraculously, but because of Satan instead of God?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #22

That would be perfectly fine, and would avoid the absurd claim that all snakes across the world had legs and talked.