Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1)
I have wondered for a while why the writer of Genesis used a serpent to represent Satan in the story of the Fall.
Lately, because of some experiences I’ve had, I’ve realized why. As Genesis says, the serpent was more subtle than any beast, and Satan is also subtle. Satan will slither into our thoughts just like a snake when we don’t notice and he will try to plant some lie there. If we’re not aware, we will believe it, and then we’ll make choices based on the lie, which will get us into trouble.
So what do we do? We have to do our best to club him to death when we are presented with his lies or notice them sneaking in.
When God confronts Satan for tempting Adam and Eve, He says this:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
That bruising the serpent’s head expresses beating down the lies and not listening to them. Satan keeps trying to tempt us though, so we have to kill the lies over and over again.
In the temple narrative, however, God says something slightly different. Instead of saying that the seed of the woman would bruise Satan’s head, God says the woman’s seed will crush the serpent’s head. To me that prophesies of several things: 1) how Christ would resist every temptation presented to Him, 2) that Christ would defeat spiritual death with the atonement, 3) that Christ would overcome physical death so we would not be endlessly dead and subject to the devil, and 4) that with Christ’s help we will be able to resist temptation.
I take great comfort in that bit about crushing the serpent’s head. If I can keep beating down the lies as they are presented, by the grace of God, someday they will be crushed, never more to rise again.