Do Talking Snakes Exist?
this brief excerpt from the mockumentary Religulous,
read how Bill Maher slyly entrapped unsuspecting Arkansas
Senator Sen. Mark Pryor. My comments are interjected in blue.
Maher began with
the question, "Do you believe in evolution?"
Senator Pryor answered, "You know, of course, I don't know.
Clearly the scientific community is a little divided on some
of the specifics of that, and I understand that -"
Maher (interrupting): "I don't think they are."
Senator Pryor: "No, I uh, well-"
Maher (again interrupting): " I think they pretty much agree."
The truth is
that Senator Pryor was right. in saying they are a little
divided. According to a 1991 Gallup poll, about 5 percent of
all scientists and 1 percent of biologists believe in special
creation. About 40 percent of scientists are theistic
evolutionists, believing that God guided evolution. Among
those who believe God played no part, there is still much
conjecture and disagreement regarding the specifics of how it
could have happened. Comparing
DNA sequences has only deepened the disagreement, since
most of the sequence comparisons do not match Darwin's concept
of the tree of life. This was Darwin's idea that all life is
descended from a common single-celled ancestor.
Senator Pryor: "I don't know how it all happened. I mean, I'm
certainly willing to accept -"
there when it happened. So how could we really know how it all
happened... unless we had a truthful and trustworthy
eyewitness account to rely on? Wait a second! Isn't that what
Christians and Jews believe God has provided for us in the
Genesis creation account? In his next comment, however, Maher
makes it quite plain that he doesn't think that account can be
Maher (interrupting once again): "It couldn't possibly have
been Adam and Eve 5000 years ago with a talking snake in a
garden, could it?"
simple question, there is a lot of communication and
implication going on. Maher could have been more direct and
asked something like, "You don't actually believe Jesus rose
from the dead, do you?" but expressing disbelief in a talking
snake is a much less sacred target, and less likely to offend.
The intended effect of the question is the same, however, and
that is to engender doubt.
By saying, "It
couldn't possibly," Maher is making it clear that he thinks
the dominant philosophy of the day in science, metaphysical
naturalism (the belief that there is no supernatural) is
the only rational thing to believe. That old logical fallacy
so commonly used by clever protagonists in debates,
argumentum ad populum (if most people believe it, then
it must be true) is being put to quite skillful use
here. And so is another technique, an appeal to fear. With the
question framed in that way, Senator Pryor might have thought,
"What will people think of me if I admit to believing the
Genesis Creation account?" For this reason, Senator Pryor's
next statement took some courage.
Senator Pryor: "Well, it could have possibly been that."
Senator Pryor. If there is a God and there is a devil, then it
could have possibly been that. Isn't it downright
conceited and arrogant of metaphysical naturalists to imply
that their view is the only one that could possibly be true?
Without having the divine quality of omniscience themselves,
how can they honestly claim to know that there is no
God or supernatural, and therefore that all accounts of the
supernatural and miraculous could not possibly be true? On the
other hand, if God were to truly reveal himself to someone,
then that person could honestly claim to know that there is a
God without one iota of arrogance or conceit, just as he could
claim to know that his mother exists without any presumption
at all. Theists, it seems, do have an upper hand in that
Maher: "Come on.
See this is my problem, I'm trying -"
Senator Pryor: "Yes -"
Maher: "I mean, you, you're a Senator. You're one of the very
few people who are running this country. It worries me that
people are running my country who think, who believe in a
talking snake. Um -"
Now I wonder, how many
times did Senator Pryor get asked about talking snakes in
town hall meetings when he was running for office?
We're having enough
trouble enforcing the constitutional qualifications for office
that already exist. We can't get Obama to show us his
long-form birth certificate to prove that he is a
natural-born US citizen, for instance. He's spending a small
fortune on attorneys to keep it and his educational documents
concealed. Nor can we get our government officials to require
him to verify that he meets this qualification - I suppose
because they are so enamored with him. Who cares about
qualifications, as long as he's so good looking and such a
smooth talker? (Many naive young ladies have ended up in
disastrous marriages by following that philosophy, by the
way.) And now Bill Maher wants to add yet another
qualification - disbelief in the Genesis creation account - to
this list that we can't enforce?
I can actually think of valid
qualities to look for in our elected leaders. Things like
whether or not they will fight for the poor and needy; whether
or not they are just and moral persons; and whether or not
they will refuse bribes. Since the Bible teaches that
political leaders and judges ought to have these character
qualities, we have some hope of finding them in men and women
who accept the Genesis creation account.
In fact, when I come
across a politician who rejects the Bible, I naturally wonder,
is this person a moral relativist? And if so, just how
flexible and "convenient" will his or her morality be when
tempted or under pressure?
A person who believes the
Genesis account holds that man is created in the image of God,
and that human life is therefore of great value. An
evolutionary leader, on the other other hand, could adopt the
mentality, just as Stalin and Mao did, that human life is
expendable because we are merely evolved animals. While most
evolutionists value human life more than that, there still
seems to often be a devaluing of human life that occurs when
one accepts evolutionary theory. It seems to me that those who
accept the Genesis creation account are the most active in
pro-life causes, but those who do not are more inclined to to
accept abortion. The abolitionist movement against slavery was
also permeated with devout Christians.
I feel much safer with
elected representatives who believe in the Genesis Creation
account, because I know they will at least verbally
acknowledge the value of high moral standards, and we might
even find some who, by the grace of God, manage to live by
them. And I think a significant percentage of the American
people feel much as I do about it. That is why it is tough for
an openly atheistic candidate to get elected. So politicians
who are closet atheists, and I suspect there are more than we
realize, pay lip service to belief in God, but with no concern
at all for actually obeying Him.
Senator Pryor (laughing and interrupting): "You don't have to
pass an IQ test to be in the Senate though."
What a humble
and humorous reply!
Maher described Senator Pryor as "As a very nice man" on the
Larry King show. And he really does appear that way in the
interview. But did that stop Bill Maher from putting this
interview in Religulous?
If you want to
hear this interview excerpt first hand, a link to it is
So there you
have it. Living proof, caught on video, that talking snakes do
still exist, at least of the species comedian
The full video
has positive points, poking fun as it does of cults and their
leaders, money-grubbing televangelists, faked manifestations
of spiritual gifts and violent Islamic fanaticism. But to me,
these positive aspects are far outweighed by the negatives. I
recommend that you avoid renting it (I'm quite sorry I did),
since Maher indiscriminately throws the baby of true undefiled
religion out with the bathwater. I doubt he thinks such a
thing even exists, though it was exemplified by Jesus and the
first century martyrs, and by other sincere believers since
then. The video is also laced with inaccuracies, profane
language and images. In it, the tragically depraved condition
of Maher's heart is unveiled, and I found that to be the most
disturbing thing of all. Furthermore, despite his claims, it
seems quite obvious in the video that Maher is not on an
honest quest for truth, but rather a Quixotic mission to
advance his agnostic worldview, which comes suspiciously close
to being outright atheism.
Is it really
irrational to think that there was a talking snake in the
Garden of Eden? I should like to say a few words in defense of
the multitudes of people, including myself, who do not think
You may recall
that in the Genesis creation account, God placed two trees in
the garden of Eden:
And out of
the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is
pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life
also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge
of good and evil. - Genesis 2:9
symbolism do not necessarily rule out historicity. God knew
that man would eventually sin in one way or the other. Knowing
this, could He not have intentionally planned the
circumstances, and the striking symbolism, of that tragic
Think of the two
trees, for instance. One was designed to grant eternal
physical life, and the other to bring about aging, suffering
and death. Could not these things, along with the serpent,
have been actual historic objects and events, planned and
intended by God to import symbolism and deep meaning?
Of course, sly
and cunning men aside, reports of talking snakes seem to be
quite rare. And the obvious intelligence of the writer of
Genesis compels us to believe he recognized that snakes,
though crafty, do not, under normal circumstances, speak. And
so we quite reasonably suspect that the writer of Genesis
intended us to infer a sinister intelligence and power behind
As we read the
Bible, our suspicion is confirmed. And lest there be any
doubt, the very last book of the Bible makes the identity of
that sinister intelligence very clear:
And the great
dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and
Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into
the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. - Revelation
So come on, Bill
Maher, let's be fair. We all know that snakes can't speak by
themselves. The real question is, "Could the most powerful and
majestic of God's created angels, like a puppeteer with a
puppet, have utilized a serpent as his mouthpiece?"
species today produce audible hisses. When I was a boy,
exploring a pasture behind my Grandmother's home in Jackson,
Mississippi, I came upon a huge snake near a creek. If I have
identified it correctly, it was a dark, poisonous pit viper
called a cottonmouth (but known to us as a water moccasin). As
best as I can estimate, he was five feet or more in length,
which would make him one of the larger specimens of his
species. Coiled and ready to strike, I may not have seen him
in time had he not warned me with loud, audible, frightening
amplitude of human speech is about 60 dB. A study
was recently performed which determined that the rattlesnake -
another pit viper - produces a hiss at the very same
amplitude. Most snakes hiss at an average frequency of 7,500
Hz, higher than the human speech frequency range. But
some species hiss at a frequency that is lower. The
frequency range of the rattler is from 400-4,700
Hz. The average frequency of the
Cobra hiss is 600 Hz. The frequency spectrum of human
speech ranges from 80
to 1100 Hz .
hiss of the cobra and rattler do overlap the
frequency range of the human voice. Is this starting to sound
more within the realm of possibility now? There's more.
themselves do not have the cognitive ability to produce human
speech, that brilliantly clever and powerful chief of the
fallen angels, who in Job 1:17-19 caused fire to fall from
heaven and a mighty wind to bring down a house, could have
caused certain structure(s) of the serpent's breathing
passages, such as the tracheal
diverticula, which function as resonating chambers in
certain species of snakes, to vibrate in intelligible
frequency patterns as it hissed, either by controlling nerve
impulses, as the demons did when they caused the herd of swine
to run into the sea in Matthew 8:32, or by direct
Or, Satan could have simply made the air vibrate
within the serpent's mouth.
scripture teaches us that Satan's hands are handcuffed by God,
and He can only perform such deeds when granted leave, do not
think that he is not fully capable of a limited degree of
control over the physical creation when permitted. It is an
ignorant mistake to underestimate the power or the
intelligence of the angels, whether fallen or unfallen. One
day, Scripture foretells that Satan will perform similar
events again to promote the Antichrist, healing that man after
a death wound, causing an image of him to speak, and making
fire to rain down from heaven.
So why, you may
be wondering, have you heard no reports of fallen angels
causing snakes to speak today? Reading the first few chapters
of the book of Job, it appears that God does not, under normal
circumstances, permit them to do such things. But even if God
were to permit it, I suspect that in our modern secular
society, Satan would be much too clever to do so in any way
that could be verified. That would prove skeptics like Bill
Maher wrong, and why would the Devil want to do that? Besides,
Satan doesn't need to go to all that trouble now. He has
plenty of men who are more than willing to speak for him, and
some who are even capable of doing so without a teleprompter
or a speech writer!
Yes, the real
power behind the talking snake in the Garden of Eden is also
behind the many men and women who speak with a forked tongue
today! And although this might have surprised the Indians of
colonial days, it's not just the white man who sometimes
speaks with a forked tongue. Although the devil can't find
that many Bible believing folks willing to go to work for him,
he is an equal opportunity employer, looking for and hiring
willing mouthpieces from every race, sex, tongue, tribe,
and man-made religion. And lest we be politically
incorrect, let's especially not forget gender orientation.
Was Satan trying
to wrest control of the physical creation from Adam and Eve by
tempting them to sin? If so, when he tempted Jesus in the
wilderness, he indicated that he had achieved that aim:
devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him
all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the
devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and
the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to
whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship
me, all shall be thine. - Luke 4:5 -7
intended to be ours was robbed from us when the human race was
very young, like an inheritance from an unknowing toddler. But
even then, God told the serpent that He would not endure this
And 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. - Genesis 3:15
foretells the virgin birth, because Adam's seed is
not mentioned. Furthermore, the seed is called a "He" who will
bruise the serpents head. This is a reference to the Messiah,
who would descend from the woman.
Matthew Henry wrote, "Christ baffled Satanís temptations,
rescued souls out of his hands, cast him out of the bodies of
people, dispossessed the strong man armed, and divided his
spoil: by his death, he gave a fatal and incurable blow to the
devilís kingdom, a wound to the head of this beast, that can
never be healed."
Who Are You
spoke of how the Genesis creation account has deep symbolism
and meaning. In Genesis 3:15, it goes even deeper
than you might think. Note that the serpent is also said to
have "seed". This, some Christian theologians believe,
signifies more than simply the natural physical descendents of
the serpent. Both kinds of seed signify two lines of spiritual
1. Those who
follow the serpent's example, spurning, disobeying,
ignoring, or challenging their Creator.
2. Those who
follow the Messiah's example, faithfully loving, obeying and
worshipping their Creator, even to the death.
Since Jesus came, the seed of both the serpent
and the Messiah truly continue to this day, do they not?
you? Which of these two categories of seed do you
consider yourself to be in?
That of the
serpent? I sure hope not, because the Bible teaches that side
will ultimately lose. When Jesus returns, this world will be
wrested from the serpent's seed, and given to the Seed of the
woman. Then that old serpent will be thrown into prison:
And I saw an angel come down from heaven,
having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his
hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which
is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And
cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a
seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more,
till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he
must be loosed a little season. - Revelation 20:1-3
At that time, all of the politicians, kings and
judges who disregard God - just the kind Bill Maher seems to
be looking for - will also be in for a rough time:
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be
instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,
and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a
little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. -
And it shall come to pass in that day, that
the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on
high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they
shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the
pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days
shall they be visited. -Isaiah 24:21-22
theologians call this thousand year reign of Christ (which may
be symbolic of an even much longer period of time) the
Messianic Kingdom, or the Millennial Kingdom of
Christ. When it begins, I sincerely hope that through
faith in Jesus the Messiah, you too, dear reader, will have a
place in it. I hope that for Bill Maher, too, even though in
fun, I did call him a comedian reptibillious maherhisser for
what he did to Senator Pryor.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that
wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. - Psalm
Please, take the psalmist's advice. Don't side
with the evildoers. Stick with the good guys - those who wait
upon the Lord. That sage advice applies to you too, Bill Maher!
If you have read this, Bill, I hope I've gotten you to think of
the talking snake account as within the realm of
possibility. Or failing that, to regard it more along the lines
of plausible-sounding science fiction than silly
As for me, I am not at all ashamed to freely
admit that I believe every single word of it. Yes, every
single word, and for many more good reasons than I have
gone into here. Instead, what sounds like silly myth to me are
the ideas that evolutionists and naturalists are promoting
nowadays. Ideas like,
The entire universe, complex life and all,
springing into existence from... a vacuum!
The exact, precise mathematical values and
laws needed for life in the universe originating by... pure
The right kind of Sun, the right planetary
mass, the right distance from the Sun, the right size and
distance moon, the right chemical constituents, the right
magnetic field needed to support life, all occurring... also
by sheer coincidence.
The mind-boggling complexity required for the
even the simplest conceivable self-replicating cell
happening... all by chance!
Intelligence and consciousness arising
from... unconscious matter!
The moral sensibilities of mankind having no
basis in the dictates of a thoughtful Creator, but being
relative to cultural convention. If that is the case, then
who are we to say the Nazis were wrong? That was their morality,
by cultural convention!
Mathematically, it is exceedingly
improbable that any of these things should have happened in any
given universe, as most scientists freely admit. They have to
hypothesize a vast number of universes (a multiverse) to bring
the odds down. And yet, we really don't know if there are
any other universes. So believing in them is, well - a
matter of faith. There is only one universe that we know to
exist, and in that one, we know that all of these things are
very, very, very, very improbable. (And by the way, if
those four adjectives seem tryingly repetitive, there aren't
nearly enough of them. Truthfully, a million would still be
inadequate to describe the odds.)
Do you want to trust in what you know -
that it is highly improbable that a universe like ours could
arise naturalistically - or in the hypothetical speculations of
So Bill Maher, I'm going to ask you a question
similar to the one you asked Senator Pryor. "Come on. Do you really
believe in something so highly unlikely? You wouldn't invest
your money in a company that had only one chance in a thousand
of succeeding, would you? Then why bet your very soul
on odds we know to be vastly - and I do mean vastly
But back to the Messianic Kingdom. The Bible says
it will be a time of universal peace, even in the animal world:
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and
the lion shall eat straw like the bullock. - Isaiah
And what of the snake? What will he eat? Dust!
And dust shall be the serpentĎs meat. - Isaiah
Now doesn't that sound fitting?
Rusty Entrekin is a
theology graduate of Louisiana College. He and his wife
Julie have seven children, with four still at home, and
four grandchildren. Currently, he resides in Kennesaw, GA.
He writes apologetic and theological articles to help
people come to know Christ and grow closer to the Lord. If
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