Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why was the snake in the Garden? {a little bird told me}

Dear Robyn,

I have a question for you - 
Why was the devil even in the garden with Adam and Eve?


Dear Wishing-It-Had-Been-Different,

What a great question! I'm going to start off by saying, I'm not positive we can know for sure, though the Bible does spell out a few clues for us.

1. Satan had once been a special and beautiful being in God's eyes, but he was punished, literally thrown out of God's presence onto the earth and forever cursed because of his rebellion against God and his corruption of the "nations." I'm not quite sure the timeline of this event, however. Maybe because he was so special and lovely, he was allowed to be with humans in Eden. Though, I don't see recount of any other angels with them. 
How you are fallen from heaven,    O shining star, son of the morning!You have been thrown down to the earth,    you who destroyed the nations of the world. - Isaiah 14:12

 Was this curse a result of his temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden? Perhaps. 

2. He is also described not only as a fallen angel, but also a wild animal:

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. - Genesis 3:1

This is initially confusing, but let's go back to the mantra - how can both be true? He was perhaps personified in the Garden as an angel-animal, along with other beings God blessed with the privilege of experiencing Paradise First. I love the way Tosca Lee describes this in Havah: The Story of Eve - 
The Serpent. He preened, his head craned over his back as he rustled beneath a feathery scale. I felt a rush of pleasure at seeing him, as memories of the One - and yesterday - returned to me. [She describes the pre-cursed Satan as a beautiful, winged serpent] ...
What - I had dreamed the explosion of the cosmos yet could know nothing of his thoughts? How clever he is, I thought, wanting to know how he did the trick.
I can do it because I have learned a new way of things, he said at last.
I want to know it ... [He tempts her with rhetorical questions about the forbidden tree]
You will not die the death. The serpent clucked - an odd sound coming from him. It is only that the One knows that on the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened. ...I squinted at him.
Death. Evil. To know as a god, the serpent had said. Had I not craved all things of God, all knowledge?
I lifted my eye again to that tree. This time, instead of seeing the fruit, bursting with juice upon it, I saw the answer to every unknown thing, the satisfaction of a craving deeper than hunger...  
3. Because of his transgressions, he has a set destiny of justice the Ancient of Days has promised him:
And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,“It has come at last—    salvation and powerand the Kingdom of our God,    and the authority of his Christ.For the accuser of our brothers and sisters    has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them    before our God day and night. - Revelation 12:8-10 (NLT)

And so, I would conclude - the devil was there because God allowed it, just as He allowed the choice, just as He continues to permit that we would either choose to love Him or reject Him. Obey His good plan for our lives, or walk in our own. Why? Because love is not completely whole if not by full choice, with a viable other option. It's true - we will exist forever, either way. Because we are made in His image, it is so. In giving us a choice whether we would live with Him or with the accursed tempter, He made it possible to have love reciprocated. 

I leave you with a quote by Ellen G. White, and a prayer that His love wins and woos you even more today, my beautiful friend. 
The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him.

Do you have a question too, Dear Heart? Don't be shy! Don't hesitate to ask - about life, the Bible, faith, God ... anything really. (Okay that last one was scary - but since I'm trusting Him to help me, I'll leave it.) Just post your question in the comments below, or email them to me at . I'll keep you anonymous, and you can sign your letter however you like (i.e. Curious-About-Jesus or Needing-Some-Guidance-in-Revelation).  Just put "a little bird told me" in the subject line. Won't you be brave enough to ask, too? I'll bet you're not the only one wondering!  

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