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LITERAL OR ALLEGORICAL?
By: Christine Wyrtzen
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. Genesis 3:1a
The Bible is full of stories that challenge my faith. If I approach the scriptures scientifically, needing proof to believe, then I will reduce God to someone who only does and says what I think is possible.
I’m about to encounter a snake that can talk. Is that feasible? It’s out of the realm of my experience in the animal kingdom. Surely this must be an allegory. Also, Genesis doesn’t say that the snake was Satan. Another reason to believe that this account is an allegory, the stuff of myths and fairytales. I can be led into all kinds of errors if I don’t know my Bible and take into account the whole context of scripture.
John confirmed that the snake was Satan. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan. Rev. 12:9
Paul confirmed it, too. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor. 11:3
And what about a talking snake? I don’t hear my animals talk to me.
However, I do have a wild and imaginative side. So, I’m going to give you a snapshot of the Wyrtzen dinner table when our kids were small. Picture a family of four around a table. Two golden retrievers and a cat are positioned at various chairs, pawing the legs of whomever they hope might give them a piece of chicken. When I wanted to have fun, I bent down, cocked my ear toward the mouth of a pet and asked, “What’s that you say? You think the kids should eat more green beans? Oh, what’s that? Huh? You don’t like them either?” We became hysterical and over the years, it became a game. We had all kinds of things come out of the mouth of our cat or dog.
I love it, that in scripture, Genesis 3 is not the only instance where an animal speaks. God gave a voice to a donkey, too. (Numbers 22) Peter confirmed it. A speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s insanity. 2 Peter 2:16 If I reject the account of the fall, I am questioning the inspiration of scriptures.
Randy Alcorn, in his book called HEAVEN, poses the question whether animals will talk in heaven. Since there was ‘animal talk’ in the Garden, perhaps there will be ‘further talk’ when God creates a new heaven and a new earth. Interesting to think about.
I celebrate You. You are so colorful and powerful. Even the stones will praise You. Amen.
For more from Christine Wyrtzen and Jaime Wyrtzen Lauze, please visit www.daughtersofpromise.org