1. Donationrwingett
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    30 Apr '07 15:48
    If we look at the Genesis account of creation we can see that through the first five days god had created the heavens and the earth, light, a firmament, water and dry land, more light, and finally, sea creatures and birds. Then came the sixth day:

    24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 And god made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

    Up to this point, partway into the sixth day, there are no problems and all of creation is good. Then to round out the sixth day, god creates man (and woman). Still there are no problems.

    31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

    If we skip ahead a bit, after a recapitulation of the creation story, we come to the serpent.

    3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made...

    That brings me to the following:
    (A) God created all the creatures and beasts and pronounced them good.
    (B) The serpent was a creature created by god.
    (C) Therefore the serpent was good.

    Where does evil come from?

    In the "free will again : S" thread, FreakyKBH seems to agree with this point by saying, "Before the door of the knowledge of good and evil was opened, it was all good.." Although he has declined to comment further, he seems to implicitly agree with my deduction that the serpent was good.

    How does it come about, then, that a demonstrably good serpent would beguile Eve into disobeying god and eating from the tree? Was god mistaken in his pronouncement that all was good? Or was he lying? Was evil already present by the time Eve was beguiled? If so, at what point did it come about, and what caused it? One possible answer comes from the bible itself:

    Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    By this account, it isn't the serpent (or Satan), or Adam and Eve, but the Lord himself who created evil.

    Any comments?
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    30 Apr '07 16:18
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If we look at the Genesis account of creation we can see that through the first five days god had created the heavens and the earth, light, a firmament, water and dry land, more light, and finally, sea creatures and birds. Then came the sixth day:

    [i]24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creepin ...[text shortened]... ent (or Satan), or Adam and Eve, but the Lord himself who created evil.

    Any comments?
    I like the Paradise Lost explanation a lot.
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    30 Apr '07 16:272 edits
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If we look at the Genesis account of creation we can see that through the first five days god had created the heavens and the earth, light, a firmament, water and dry land, more light, and finally, sea creatures and birds. Then came the sixth day:

    [i]24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creepin ent (or Satan), or Adam and Eve, but the Lord himself who created evil.

    Any comments?
    [/i]Before somebody jumps in with the word “disobedience,” I just want to add that the humans could not have known that disobedience was “bad” before eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. In fact, if the serpent had not eaten of the tree, how could he have known what he was doing was bad?

    ______________________________


    Also, just to expand on your theme a bit—

    The Hebrew word ra—translated as evil in both Genesis and your quote from Isaiah—means any kind of “badness,” not only moral badness. Originally, that was true for the English word “evil” as well; one could say, “That was an evil meal,” and simply mean that it was bad-tasting. And tov means any kind of “good”—as in the saying mazel tov, “Good luck!”

    Therefore, Isaiah is saying that God created every kind of bad, as well as every kind of good. But, since Genesis says that everything God created was good—when did God create the bad?

    And how could there be a “knowledge of good and bad” at the very beginning?

    >> NRS Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made.

    Did God not think that “craftiness” was good when God created the serpent as such?
  4. Standard memberNemesio
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    30 Apr '07 16:37
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [/i]Before somebody jumps in with the word “disobedience,” I just want to add that the humans could not have known that disobedience was “bad” before eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. In fact, if the serpent had not eaten of the tree, how could he have known what he was doing was bad?

    ______________________________


    Also, just to e ...[text shortened]... had made.

    Did God not think that “craftiness” was good when God created the serpent as such?
    Mr Hebrew:

    What is the word for 'crafty' in Hebrew and is it used anywhere else in the Torah or Hebrew Scriptures?

    Nemesio
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    30 Apr '07 16:541 edit
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Mr Hebrew:

    What is the word for 'crafty' in Hebrew and is it used anywhere else in the Torah or Hebrew Scriptures?

    Nemesio
    The Hebrew here is arom: crafty, with guile, prudent, shrewd, subtle (although the negative connotation seems to predoominate).

    A quick word-search in NRSV yielded the following:

    crafty

    Gen. 3:1
    Job 5:12
    Job 15:5
    Ps. 83:3

    craftiness

    Job 5:13

    ____________________________

    This from the Hebrew lexicon in my search engine (with more passages than my search found, probabky because of different words used to translate)—

    `arœm is a root with positive (prudence) and negative (shrewdness) connotations. It may be contrasted with its positive synonym ´sakal "to be skillful, wise, " which is always positive. Its cognates in Arabic, Aramaic, and Syriac are negative in tone ("ill-natured, shrewd"😉. The Greek terms panourgos and panourgia, used in the LXX and the NT, mean "ready to do anything, " usually in the bad sense of tricky and cunning behavior (e.g. Lk 20:23; Eph 4:14). Distinguish this root from `¹ram, Niphal, "to be heaped." The verb `arœm is used in the Qal five times; twice positively (Prov 15:5; Prov 19:25), and twice negatively (1Sam 23:22). The Hiphil is used once meaning, "to act craftily, " "they lay crafty plans against thy people" (Psa 83:3 [H 4]). Some authorities have considered all but the Qal infinitive absolute in 1Sam 23:22 to be Hiphils. KB and Lisowsky say the only true Hiphil is in Psa 83:3 [H 4]. `œrem. Craftiness. This masculine noun occurs only in Job 5:13. `ormâ. Guile, prudence, subtility, wilily, wisdom. This noun may be used negatively of presumptuous guile (as in Exo 21:14), or positively of prudent behavior (as in Prov 1:4). `arûm. Crafty, prudent, subtle. The adjective `¹rûm is construed to be a positive virtue when rendered "prudent." The prudent one does not vaunt his knowledge (Prov 12:23), ignores an insult (Prov 12:16), acts with knowledge (Prov 14:8), looks where he is going (Prov 14:15), sees danger and acts appropriately (Prov 22:3 = Prov 27:12), and is crowned with knowledge (Prov 14:18). This adjective is negative when rendered "crafty" (see Job 5:12; Job 15:5). The most memorable use of `arûm in this negative nuance is, of course, Gen 3:1, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild creature which the Lord God had made." His "malevolent brilliance" (D. Kidner, Genesis, Chicago: Inter Varsity, p. 67) is contrasted by paronomasia to the naked innocence of Adam and Eve in Gen 2:25 (`arûm "craftiness, " vs. `arûmmîm "nakedness;" see U. Cassuto, Genesis, I, p. 143). Given this seminal passage, the comment of our Lord to his disciples is even more surprising: "Be shrewd [phronimos ] as serpents, and innocent as doves" (Matt 10:16, NASB). R.B.A.
  6. Donationrwingett
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    30 Apr '07 17:33
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [/i]Before somebody jumps in with the word “disobedience,” I just want to add that the humans could not have known that disobedience was “bad” before eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. In fact, if the serpent had not eaten of the tree, how could he have known what he was doing was bad?

    ______________________________


    Also, just to e ...[text shortened]... had made.

    Did God not think that “craftiness” was good when God created the serpent as such?
    You anticipate me. This was going to be my next point. This will save me the trouble.
  7. Standard memberNemesio
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    30 Apr '07 20:451 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Given this seminal passage, the comment of our Lord to his disciples is even more surprising: "Be shrewd [phronimos ] as serpents, and innocent as doves" (Matt 10:16, NASB). R.B.A.
    It sure is!

    Thanks Vistesd!
  8. Donationbbarr
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    30 Apr '07 20:58
    Originally posted by vistesd
    The Hebrew here is arom: crafty, with guile, prudent, shrewd, subtle (although the negative connotation seems to predoominate).

    A quick word-search in NRSV yielded the following:

    [b]crafty


    Gen. 3:1
    Job 5:12
    Job 15:5
    Ps. 83:3

    craftiness

    Job 5:13

    ____________________________

    This from the Hebrew lexicon in my search e ...[text shortened]... imos ] as serpents, and innocent as doves" (Matt 10:16, NASB). R.B.A.[/b]
    Phronimos is not properly translated as "shrewd", at least as the term appears in Ancient Greek ethics. The term is better understood as meaning "practical wisdom". The difference between these two translations is best captured in our modern distinction between the clever man and the wise man. The clever man knows how to achieve whatever ends he happens to have, but his cleverness does not provide any more than instrumental constraints upon the ends he may adopt. The wise man, by contrast, knows both how to achieve his ends and how valuable particular ends are. The wise man can be counted on both to have good ends and to take appropriate means to secure them.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    30 Apr '07 21:15
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Phronimos is not properly translated as "shrewd", at least as the term appears in Ancient Greek ethics. The term is better understood as meaning "practical wisdom". The difference between these two translations is best captured in our modern distinction between the clever man and the wise man. The clever man knows how to achieve whatever ends he happ ...[text shortened]... e man can be counted on both to have good ends and to take appropriate means to secure them.
    Thank you!
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    30 Apr '07 22:011 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If we look at the Genesis account of creation we can see that through the first five days god had created the heavens and the earth, light, a firmament, water and dry land, more light, and finally, sea creatures and birds. Then came the sixth day:

    24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creepin ent (or Satan), or Adam and Eve, but the Lord himself who created evil.

    Any comments?
    I responded late to the other post, and I will do so again here. The creation itself was the item declared 'good,' and the physical serpent was part of that creation.

    In the Garden setting, Lucifer had already fallen to become Satan. At some point after the creation of man, Satan was allowed to enter the serpent for means of communicating with man. He chose to do so with the woman. The serpent was not given the choice between following God's system of 'lives' or 'the system of the knowledge of good and evil.' As Satan, he had already made his choice sometime prior to the recreation of the earth and the subsequent creation of man.

    The setting in the Garden was for the purpose of allowing Satan to prove his charge against God: namely, that God was unfair in sentencing Satan to hell, as God had made him (Satan) to fail.
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    01 May '07 02:18
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    I responded late to the other post, and I will do so again here. The creation itself was the item declared 'good,' and the physical serpent was part of that creation.

    In the Garden setting, Lucifer had already fallen to become Satan. At some point after the creation of man, Satan was allowed to enter the serpent for means of communicating with man. ...[text shortened]... ly, that God was unfair in sentencing Satan to hell, as God had made him (Satan) to fail.
    There is no Biblical basis for conflating Lucifer with Satan.

    The only verses mentioning a Satan “falling” that I could find are—

    >> Luke 10:18—He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.”

    The context here is the joyous return of the seventy from their mission.

    >> Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

    This is also the only verse I could find that calls Satan a “serpent”—although here it appears to be a dragon. Revelation is so highly symbolic that I would hesitate to say “when” any of this “occurred”. But the context indicates that Satan and his angels were “thrown down to the earth” after the woman had given birth to a male child (verse 12:5). Thus it does not seem to fit with the Eden story at all.

    This is the only mention of heavenly warfare in the in Jewish or early Christian literature.

    ________________________


    This is all extra-Biblical mythology (or some pretty wild “midrash” ).
  12. Donationrwingett
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    01 May '07 05:56
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    I responded late to the other post, and I will do so again here. The creation itself was the item declared 'good,' and the physical serpent was part of that creation.

    In the Garden setting, Lucifer had already fallen to become Satan. At some point after the creation of man, Satan was allowed to enter the serpent for means of communicating with man. ...[text shortened]... ly, that God was unfair in sentencing Satan to hell, as God had made him (Satan) to fail.
    What are your sources for this account? I believe that Vistesd is correct in saying the canonical information is very sparse. I fail to see how you can plausibly parse all that information out of the few relevant passages. The Genesis account certainly makes no reference to any of this. You'd think something that important would have made it in there somewhere. But let's go with your interpretation for a moment and see where that leads us. I will be taking your comments from the other thread and incorporating them here.

    There you said, "The serpent was good; the one who embodied the form was not. Prior to the creation of man, Lucifer was a cherub guardian of God's glory. When given an earthly form for purposes of communicating with man, as Satan, he was given the form of the serpent."

    So you agree with me that the serpent was good. We can therefore lay that matter to rest. But you say that it was not the serpent who was doing the beguiling, but Satan who entered into the serpent. I question your biblical sources on this, but as I said, we shall let it pass for the moment. If that version can be backed up, it would mean that the serpent was innocent of any wrongdoing. As we have established that the serpent was in fact good, this goes without saying. It was Satan who was doing the beguiling.

    But here's the problem. God didn't punish Satan. He punished the serpent. Of that there can be no mistake, the bible is very clear on this matter.

    Gen 3:14 The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

    God didn't perform an exorcism and cast Satan out. No, he placed a terrible curse upon the serpent himself. The good, innocent serpent was unjustly and terribly punished for his unwitting proximity to Satan's crimes. One would expect a little more evenhanded dispensation of justice from a supposedly all-loving god. One suspects that Satan was guilty of understatement by calling god "unfair".

    *****

    I would like to spend a little time with the end of your closing sentence:

    "...as God made him (Satan) to fail."

    If I understand you correctly here, I will once again agree with you. God made Satan to fail. It was intentional. It was all a setup. There was never a moment when Satan could have done anything else, as that is what god willed from the very beginning. God created Satan, and he created him specifically to fail. And its the same argument, whether you insert Satan, Adam and Eve, or mankind in general. They were all made to fail. It was predestined.

    Do you agree with that interpretation?
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    01 May '07 08:09
    Originally posted by rwingett
    What are your sources for this account? I believe that Vistesd is correct in saying the canonical information is very sparse. I fail to see how you can plausibly parse all that information out of the few relevant passages. The Genesis account certainly makes no reference to any of this. You'd think something that important would have made it in there somewh ...[text shortened]... all made to fail. It was predestined.

    Do you agree with that interpretation?
    Would you say that the serpant had no say as to whether Satan could use him? Did the sepant not allow Satan to do the deceiving through him?
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    01 May '07 08:19
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If we look at the Genesis account of creation we can see that through the first five days god had created the heavens and the earth, light, a firmament, water and dry land, more light, and finally, sea creatures and birds. Then came the sixth day:

    [i]24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creepin ...[text shortened]... ent (or Satan), or Adam and Eve, but the Lord himself who created evil.

    Any comments?
    Evil came through choice. With free-will came the possibility for evil.
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    01 May '07 09:31
    Originally posted by Phuzudaka
    Evil came through choice. With free-will came the possibility for evil.
    I agree .. the 2 go hand in hand IMO.

    It's our curse AND blessing.

    The thing about God (if He exists) is this .. we'll never be able to understand Him or His motives.

    The Bible story of creation .. Adam and Eve, begins with everything being good 24/7 .. then gets interesting when evil is introduced. Without that .. the story of mankind would be a boring one indeed.

    Choice and free will is what sets us apart from animals. A lion slaughtering a baby lamb isn't evil because the lion just does .. it doesn't think it over first and weight whether or not the act is evil.

    We, as humans, are screwed (and blessed) by free will. It's not that you have an option of whether or not to choose .. you MUST choose 100's of times a day.

    Throw in temptation, desire and an ego and you've got a human-being ... warts and all.
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