According to young-earth creationists, this hypothetical conversation would make perfect sense

By Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens. Via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Since publishing one of my latest memes last week, I’ve been able to participate in a couple of lively Facebook discussions with two committed young-earth creationists, who insist it really does make sense to believe Genesis 3 is the only instance in the history of the written word in which an ordinary animal, talking on its own, was included in a story meant to be read as a straightforward historical text.

Consider this my response.

Author of Genesis: Excuse me, God, do you have a minute? I have some questions about this latest story you gave me to write down.

God: Ah, you mean the one about the man and the woman and the serpent in the garden? Sure, no problem. What can I do you for?

AoG: Well, you kind of hit on part of the issue right there. I’m a little unclear about this serpent.

G: What about it?

AoG: I mean, it talks, and stuff.

G: … Yeah?

AoG: OK, so the serpent is a symbol, right?

G: Not at all. It’s a historical serpent. It’s a historical story. Everything is historical. Except for the firmament.

AoG: You see, I’m afraid people might get a little confused about that. About the animal talking and all. … Because animals, I guess, don’t normally do that…

G: The serpent was possessed by the devil. Or it was the devil, in the form of a serpent. Either way.

AoG: Yeah, you get that, and I get that, and maybe John Milton gets that, but I don’t think most people will, since that’s not really explained at all in the text. In fact, it’s almost like the story goes out of its way to describe the serpent as an ordinary animal.

G: Hmm… I suppose calling it “one of the beasts of the field which I made” multiple times does create a little ambiguity.

AoG: Yeah. So, what would you think about just clarifying that point?

G: Sure, I’ll take care of it.

AoG: OK, great! What would you like me to add?

G: Huh?

AoG: What would you like me to add to the story?

G: Nothing.

AoG: Nothing?

G: Nothing.

AoG: But you just said—

G: That I would clarify it. And I will. But not in this story. I like this story the way it is.

AoG: … So—

G: Here’s my plan: In a couple hundred years, I will inspire a completely different author to write a completely different story called the Book of Job, and that will introduce Satan. Then, in about a thousand years, I will inspire two other authors to write two other books called the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John, and in there, I’ll establish that Satan can possess living things and cause them to do stuff that is against my will. Problem solved.

AoG: … Are you sure? Because I still think—

G: Oh, I forgot to mention. See, all of these books will be put together into the same book about 1,500 years from now. So it will all make sense then.

AoG: I’m still not sure that will be clear enough.

G: All right, fine. In a thousand years, I’ll inspire another story, and I’ll fill it with weird, obviously symbolic things like seven-headed leopard-beasts and locusts with human faces and crowns. And it will be so weird it almost won’t be accepted into the biblical canon. And in that book, I’ll make a vague reference to Satan being “an old serpent,” which will obviously link back to this story you just wrote. Happy?

AoG: Wow. OK, uh, that sounds great, God. Really! But don’t you think, you know, just for the time being, we should add a little something to this book?

G: No. I said it’s fine the way it is.

AoG: All right. You’re the boss.

G: Good, I’m glad that’s settled, then.

AoG: Cool. Can I ask you one more question, though?

G: Shoot.

AoG: Would it be all right if some of your believers did, at some point, interpret this story as allegory rather than history? Just if, they were, you know, hypothetically, confused by the fact that there is a talking animal, whose ability to speak is not explained? Would that be OK?

G: Absolutely not. I would consider those people compromisers of my perfect word, and I would be very angry with them, and I would deem them to be on the side of the atheists and the liberals.

AoG: Sounds fair.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • I understand that alright, but could AoG get G to explain the bit in Genesis 2:20 where G wants Adam to experiment with bestiality but it doesn’t really work out?

  • Does this conversation happen again when the AoR gets around to writing Revelation?

    • I imagine the apostle John and God might have had some very interesting conversations during the course of writing Revelation 🙂

      • I really liked the bit about “weird, OBVIOUSLY symbolic things….” Hee hee.

  • archaeologist

    If you are not going to allow God to explain it to you why mock his words and then put your words into his mouth?

    You all forget that evil is in existence, and that satan and his devils have the power to talk and can use animals if they want to

    • But do they? What in Genesis tells you that Satan or a demon was speaking through a snake? What passages in the Bible show that Satan or demons use animals to talk?

      • archaeologist

        who else would be doing the deceiving? the bible tells us that satan is the king of lies and that he and his demons can disguise themselves so instead of pulling a passage out of context, look at all the evidence for a change

        • Who else? The serpent. In the passage, the serpent is doing the deceiving.

          The Bible never says that Satan and his demons take the form of animals, nor does it provide any data that establishes they make animals talk. I am the one leaving the passage in the context. -In the context- a serpent who “was the most crafty animal in the Garden” talks and deceives Eve.

          It is only by -importing- later concepts that are -not- in the context of the passage that you could possibly arrive at the conclusion that the serpent is Satan in animal form or that Satan is somehow talking through them. The actual Bible, not the one in your head, just says a very clever serpent entered the stage and started causing trouble.

          • Preach it, Phil. 🙂

          • archaeologist

            if God placed every detail you wanted in the Bible, you would look at it and complain that it is too much detail and too boring to read.

            If you have a problem with a talking serpent then you will have a problem with Jesus.

          • You are perhaps the first person I’ve run across to explain that God withholds key information because it would be too boring, but I like innovative exegetical thought.

            Nevertheless, whether God purposefully withheld that information or not, that doesn’t change the fact that the information is not there and therefore there is no reason why someone should read the Genesis account and have the idea that the serpent was in any way connected to Satan, unless you are prepared to argue that every instance of deception or trickery in the Bible is actually Satan in disguise, including the times that God deceives or tricks someone. (2 Chronicles 18:18-22)

            I don’t have a problem with a talking serpent being in the Bible; I just see that as a cue as to what kind of genre I’m dealing with, just like when I see seven-headed dragons rising from the sea in Genesis or when Moses says the Red Sea parted by God blowing His nose in Exodus 15.

          • archaeologist

            obviously you distort what i said and do not know what paul said.

            he has given the key information, he spoke an dit was in 6 24 hour days

            where do you think evil comes from? not God.

            ahh so you are not believing Moses either.

          • I don’t know where evil comes from because the Bible does not say where evil comes from. The Bible is not Star Wars. It is not about the timeless struggle between good and evil. It is about the rocky journey together between YHWH and His people. “Where evil came from” is not important to the Bible’s story. “How evil has affected God’s people” is.

            I admire your consistency in taking Exodus 15 as a literal account instead of, you know, a song, but then how do you square it with Exodus 14? For instance, 15:11 asserts the presence of other gods. 15:12 says “the earth swallowed them,” but Ex. 14 says it was the sea. 15:14 says that the peoples have heard what God just did and are afraid at the approach of Israel, but the event just happened. How could everyone already know about it? Exodus 15 also asserts that God has hands and a nose.

            All those questions are easily answered by, “Moses is singing a song that is poetic in its descriptions.” But I’m interested in -your- answers.

            I totally believe Moses, incidentally. The question is, what is Moses saying? I would say your way of reading him is a thoroughgoing misunderstanding and, if you were serious about the Bible, you would be working to understand it better.

          • archaeologist

            You are getting into issues that take up a lot of space and are too general for me to effectively answer your question. Suffice it to say that songs can contain inspired truth. The theology of the song does not contradict any other portion of the Bible.

            if you do not accept a 7 day 24 hour supernatural creation then you do not believe Moses.

            I understand it perfectly because I have the HS helping me

          • Now you see why this guy is so much fun to talk to, Phil.

            “That interpretation doesn’t make sense because it contradicts with this verse and this verse and this verse.”

            “It does make sense. There is no contradiction. I know because I have the Holy Spirit and you don’t.”

            “But, I do have the Holy Spirit, actually. I believe in Christ and I believe the Bible is true and inspired by God.”

            “No you don’t.”

            It’s like trying to use reason to convince a small child to go to bed. You’ll never win that argument, because reason means nothing to them.

          • archaeologist

            just because you are flawed and approach scriptures from the wrong point of view doesn’t mean everyone else is nor does it mean that they have to come down to your viewpoint to understand scripture.

            when you have the truth you do not keep questioning or investigating

          • Congratulations on your infallible understanding of the Bible. You should try to become Pope or something. The rest of us struggle. It’s awesome you understand it perfectly. You should write a book or something.

          • archaeologist
          • Hilarious. Where did you get your doctorate from?

            I like how your book on archaeology states that people can’t believe expert opinions. They should believe you, however. You have all the makings of a cult leader except intelligence and charisma.

          • archaeologist

            your response demonstrates that you have nothing of God in you and your claims are lies.

          • Yeah, I’d get that prophetic discernment checked. Where did you say your doctorate was from, again? Your books say you have a doctorate.

          • archaeologist

            p.s. so you are a literalist then. if so, then why do you have problems with Genesis 1 and 2?

          • I don’t know. What’s a literalist? Also, I have no problems with Genesis 1 and 2. They’re terrific.

          • archaeologist

            playing coy or getting into a game of semantics won’t work. either respond correctly or don’t but i won’t play games

          • No, honestly, I don’t know what you mean by “literalist.” If you tell me how you define that, I’ll honestly tell you if I am one or not.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          Answer me this, Archie Oogly:
          Did the serpent speak with the voice of John DeLancie?

          • archaeologist

            who is archie oogly???

          • Big mistake, Headless Unicorn Guy. You are attempting to use subtlety and a mildly humorous analogy on someone who possesses both the density and sense of humor of a large piece of lead.

          • archaeologist

            another person whose comments contradict their claims.

          • Speaking of contradictory claims, are you ever going to say where your doctorate is from? I’m starting to feel like a birther.

          • archaeologist

            not revealing something is NOT contradictory to claims, please learn the correct use of the English language

          • Says the man who doesn’t punctuate.

            Um… the Holy Spirit didn’t bestow a doctorate upon you, did He?

          • Hey Phil, don’t know if you saw my comment above (these long Disqus threads can be get a little confusing to navigate), but I did a little Googling around and found this article about our friend. Thought you might be interested: https://scotteriology.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/dr-david-tee/

          • Man, until you learn how to properly punctuate and capitalize sentences, you should not be criticizing anyone’s use of the English language.

          • Hey Phil. Obviously, that ^^ is a very strange way to answer somebody else’s question about your academic credentials, so it piqued my curiosity. I did a little Google fu and found this. Thought you might be interested: https://scotteriology.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/dr-david-tee/

          • archaeologist

            scott knows nothing either as i have a strict policy about not putting personal information on the internet

          • You also seem to have a strict policy about not using proper punctuation and capitalization. But seriously, why use the honorific at all, if you refuse to reveal any information about your doctorate or where it came from?

          • archaeologist

            awww are your feelings hurt?

            I earned it, i can use it if i want, you do not need to know the details.

          • You didn’t earn it, Jigu.

          • archaeologist

            really? that is news to me and my alma mater, were you there?

            since you do not believe Moses you have no credibility

          • Wow, you use that “were you there” defense for EVERYTHING.

          • archaeologist

            since it is a credible defense there is nothing wrong with using it. your knowledge of what i have or have not done is quite limited and non-existent so it would be prudent of you to remain silent

          • Is believing in Moses such a good thing? It means believing that God repeatedly hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to inflict massive suffering (culminating in deaths of their firstborn children) on a population who had no say in the matter, all of this without leaving a trace in Egypt’s extensive documented history. Let me suggest that those who do believe in Moses as historical record are the ones devoid of both historical and moral credibility.

          • archaeologist

            really, they had no say?? they willfully enslaved the people of Israel for hundreds of years, willfully participated in withholding rightful wages from the people of Israel for hundreds of years, and probably committed other atrocities against them, so I would re-think your views if I were you.

          • The absence of evidence is not proof that an event did not take place. For example, if someone steals something from a shop and there are several eyewitnesses to it, but the stolen item is never found, you can’t say the theft never took place. In Moses’s case, you have an event that was agreed upon by not a few but many people and for generations, and is still held as fact today. You cannot say that because same event does not appear in the Egyptian archaeological record, that that must mean it didn’t happen. There could be many reasons Egyptian records have not been turned up speaking of the death of firstborns. It is not unfathomable to believe that the Egyptians or Pharaoh of Moses’s time wished such a devastating event as the mass death of Egyptian people to simply not be included in Egypt’s illustrious records. If you begin to doubt some events in the Jewish record, then everything else becomes doubtful as well, e.g. the ten tribes breaking away from the 2, the invasion by Assyria, the exiles into Assyria and Babylon, the prophecies of a Messiah, etc. Did Solomon then actually write the book of Proverbs? Did King David actually kill a giant with a stone?Did a man with superhuman strength named Samson exist? Where did circumcision actually originate from, then? And what about all those strange eating/bathing/healing etc rituals? Why were the people in Jesus’s time expecting a saviour? Why did the Romans and Pharisees of that time hate Jesus so much if all he did was preach love and heal people? Where is the meaning?
            Ultimately: Where does one draw the line???

          • “Did Solomon then actually write the book of Proverbs? Did King David
            actually kill a giant with a stone?Did a man with superhuman strength
            named Samson exist? Where did circumcision actually originate from,
            then? And what about all those strange eating/bathing/healing etc
            rituals…?” Excellent questions. The Wikipedia article on cirumcision, for example, may be a good starting point.

            For internal evidence that the Exodus is unhistorical and that the account shoud be understood in terms of 7thC BCE geopolitics, see eg Finkelstein and Silberman, The Bible Unearthed

          • K, but you get how that’s not really consistent with the whole “I don’t give out personal information” thing, right?

            And my feelings are fine, thank you, though I am a little embarrassed for your sake. For the past few weeks I thought you were just a typical young-earth createvangelist with way too much time on his hands and an astonishingly poor grasp of English language mechanics and syntax. I really had no inkling of how sad your life must be, until today.

          • archaeologist

            your insults mean nothing, i get the last laugh if i want to laugh. You have proven that you do not believe God or the Bible and you can only hide your error via insulting those who disagree with you.

          • Buddy, our previous conversations on this site remain as a testament to the fact that I have answered every single one of your (usually weak and unfounded) criticisms with reason, scripture and sound theology. It is you who turned to insults when you were unable to respond to my points in any other way.

            But what I said in my previous comment was not an insult. I really do think it’s sad that you feel the need to make up fictitious academic credentials in an misguided attempt to curry respect and standing from faceless strangers on the Internet. Seriously, do yourself a favor and try to find some peace.

            God accepts you for who you are; the least you can do is try and accept yourself.

          • archaeologist

            i really do not have time to play with you today. you have a problem that is clear, and i just do not want to deal with it right now.

          • Jigu,

            God and the Bible are important to you; I’m going to assume that you are a Christian and are sincere about that.

            You have said that Tyler is trying to hide his errors through insults, but you are hiding, too. Fake names, shadowy degrees from sources you are unwilling to reveal – all this indicates that you have a lot to hide and are fearful of what would happen if people knew the truth.

            I can understand that. For reasons probably totally unrelated to yours, I used to be that way, myself. I carried around a lot of fear and self-resentment that manifested in resentment toward others. And I had the constant, crushing, hellacious experience of being afraid that, if people really found out about me, my whole world would come crashing down. So, I get it.

            I know you think I’m not a real Christian and all that, but I am, and my counsel to you is that you seek out a church or some church-like community of brothers who will accept and love you and you can accept and love in return.

            You probably believe that every church in your area is apostate, but try to put those feelings aside for the purposes of seeking out a community who will take you in and, fallibly, walk alongside you. I think it will be very good for your mind and soul.

          • He lets Kent Hovind have it a couple of times:

            http://kenthovindblog.com/?p=44
            http://kenthovindblog.com/?p=50

            He’s the user “jigufli.” It’s pretty bad when Kent Hovind fans think you’re an idiot.

            He consistently refuses to say where he got his degrees from, but says that “God gave him the education,” so I think it’s fair to say he just declared himself worthy of a doctorate title on the basis of his spiritual knowledge.

            But the icing on the cake is one of his ads for English teaching:

            EDIT: This could be a joke.

            https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/7373546240/hAB7A5274/

            Yes. Learn English in the style of Zero Wing.

          • Ok, sorry, looks like the ad is a joke. I couldn’t tell. It sounds so much like him.

            EDIT: Well, now I’m not sure. The source is unclear.

          • Yeah, I’m pretty sure the ad is a joke, too. But still, this is by far the saddest thing I have read all week. And I’m currently reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

          • Strange that he would have beef with Hovind, though. They have so many shared interests: anti-evolutionism, embarrassingly bad grammar and spelling, phony academic credentials, etc.

  • Definitely not Poe. This guy has been trolling some of my other articles for a couple weeks now. He’s legit, unfortunately.

    • I have an explicit two-comments-only-for-creationists policy on my own blog, which spares potentially endless tedium, but I see why you would be reluctant to impose any such rule on yours.

      • It would probably make my life more pleasant, but no, I don’t think something like that would fit here. But I certainly understand the reasoning for it on your site. And that’s still two more of a courtesy than groups like AiG and ICR extend to those who disagree with them.

  • The Mouse Avenger

    As someone who believes that the Creation story is ultimately true (albeit using the “day-age” theory, leaving room for theistic evolutionism & dinosaurs, & going for a more-poetic or otherwise non-literal interpretation of certain particular passages)…that Adam & Eve were two historical figures who were responsible for the birth of the Israelite race (which makes a lot more sense, given the scope of the Bible’s history, & the mention of other people throughout early Genesis)…& the Garden Of Eden was a historical place in the Fertile Crescent…

    …I have to say that even though “magic trees” & talking animals are common devices & whatnot in imaginary stories portraying life, events, individuals, & other things in alternate universes (I utterly refuse to call them that dirty F word–ha-ha!)…

    …that doesn’t mean that they can’t happen in our universe (i.e., what we call “real life”), too! I am a firm believer in science, sure–otherwise, I wouldn’t be a theistic evolutionist–but I also believe in magic, mysticism, the paranormal, supernatural phenomenon, & other things of that nature! That includes possession by the Devil (& other otherworldly beings, of course)! And I firmly believe that the snake who talked to Adam & Eve, was either possessed by Satan, or literally the Devil in disguise. Many, many people–YECs & OECs alike–follow up with that interpretation, & to us, it makes perfect sense. I mean, it’s one thing for a snake to talk; it’s another entirely for a snake to persuade Adam & Eve to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit, knowing that would cause them to sin, & get them in trouble with God.

    Don’t let all those thoughts intimidate you, however. If you wish to discuss all these things with me, feel free to do so; I do enjoy a healthy conversation! ^_^

    • Matthew Funke

      Forgive me for focusing on one tiny thing in the beginning of your explanation. You mentioned that you believe that Adam and Eve were responsible for the birth of the Israelite race. Do you mean that they were directly responsible? If so, how? If not, how do you think they were responsible?