By: Maggie Leonard
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
Reflection—v. 4, the snake said to the woman, ‘You won’t die’
I feel conflicted about the character of the snake in this story. I set out to write this reflection about how brokenness was already in the garden before the apple was eaten, that the snake was manipulative. But really, what does the snake stand to benefit from the humans eating from the tree? Generally, manipulation is accompanied by one’s self interest. The snake doesn’t gain anything in this senario. Right now, I’m not convinced that the snake tried to trick Eve. He literally told her, if you eat that apple, you will see clearly and know the difference between good and evil. That is indeed what happened… Perhaps what paints the snake as sinister, is our own aversion to snakes (as is asserted later in the chapter—people, generally, don’t like snakes). We might have to come face to face with our snake-ist tendencies. We don’t like snakes, we don’t trust snakes—we expect the worst, and see the worst in snakes. When my dog was bitten by a brown recluse spider, I assumed a snake had done the damage. I spent a week killing all the harmless garden snakes in my yard that served to control other pests. If we project ill-will on snakes, which have no premeditated reactions, how much more might we project ill intentions on people to whom we have an aversion or perceived differences?
Prayer God of reconciliation, help us to see when we manipulate perceived intentions to coincide with our assumptions. Gather us together as your diverse people.