The Bible Project

The Snake in the Throne Room - Son of Man E3

Episode Summary

Welcome to episode 3 of our series on the Son of Man! In this episode, Tim and Jon dive deep into the history, the story, and the ideas surrounding one of the most famous figures in the Bible: the Serpent.

Episode Notes

Welcome to episode 3 of our series on the Son of Man! In this episode, Tim and Jon dive deep into the history, the story, and the ideas surrounding one of the most famous figures in the Bible: the Serpent.

In part one (0:00-8:00), Tim and Jon briefly recap the previous episode. Humanity is supposed to live in peaceful coexistence and be responsible for the animals.

Tim says that Daniel’s vision in Daniel chapter 7 of the Son of Man shows us that humans are meant to be over the animals, but instead they end up behaving like animals.

In part two (8:00-24:30), Tim dives into Genesis 3 and begins examining the serpent. The snake is presented as crafty. This is the Hebrew word "arum.” In other cases in the Bible, this word has a positive connotation, but in this context, it means a negative use of intelligence. Gen 3:1:
"Now the serpent was more arum than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."
In the following Proverbs, arum is used to demonstrate a positive character trait.
Proverbs 14:15: "The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps."
Proverbs 27:12: "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."

So in Genesis 3, arum is translated as “crafty.” This is the only time it's translated with a negative sense, but usually arum means sharp, quick thinker, problem solver etc.

Tim also briefly says that in other ancient religions, especially in Egypt, snakes were symbolically significant. Tim says the snake is presented as a creature alongside the humans. It uses its divine blessing (wisdom) to twist the divine command by telling the humans that they can be like-God (or “like gods”). But the humans already are God-like, having been made in God’s image.

Tim observes that after Adam and Eve take the serpent's advice, eat the fruit, and are expelled from the Garden, the very next story is one where Cain also listens to “sin” that is described as “crouching” at his door. Both of these narratives portray humans being ruled by beasts, instead of ruling over them. Death is the result. Once humans choose to redefine good and evil, they become beastly.

In part three (24:30-28:00), Tim quickly goes over the Messianic promise that God gives in Genesis 3:15:
“And I will set hostility
Between you [serpent] and the woman,
And between your [serpent] seed and her seed;
He [seed of woman] shall strike you [serpent] on the head,
And you [serpent] shall strike him [seed of woman] on the heel.”

Tim says that this sets up the main plot conflict for the biblical story. Humans must recover their ability to rule over the beasts, and this will be done by the true Son of Man who strikes the serpent.

In part four (28:00-end), Tim overviews the whole biblical fall narrative. Tim says that the story of Noah is significant, as it represents a failed restart of creation. Noah was set up to save the animals from the flood. He did so, and seemed to act as a true son of man. Noah gets off the boat, and God recommissions Noah to “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth. Then God pivots and gives humanity a new diet:
“The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood" (Genesis 9:1-4).

Noah eventually falls away from following God’s blessing. And one of his son’s (Ham) descendants Nimrod is mentioned as being the first “hunter” in the Bible. Nimrod was also the founder of Babylon. Why are we told both of these details about Nimrod’s life? Because it represents an archetype that is developing. Humanity is now choosing to become part of a cycle of acting like beasts, creating a violent, killing culture.

Since humanity has chosen this path, they now must be saved by the true Son of Man. He will be the seed of the woman, but instead of giving in to the violence of humanity, he will choose to overcome it.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Pilgrim, Instrumentals
The Size of Grace, Beautiful Eulogy

Show Resources:
Our video on the Son of Man: INSERT LINK
Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary
Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Jesus Monotheism
Richard Bauckham, Living with Other Creatures
James Hamilton, With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology
Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels