What to make of Genesis 3:14


The passage says…

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life."~Genesis 3:14

I’m not sure what this passage is implying. Is the passage saying that literal snakes are cursed creatures, but Genesis tells us that it was just the devil disguised as one…But then, if it’s talking metaphorically; about the devil himself, wasn’t the devil already cursed when he turned away from God before the Earth was created or whenever that was?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:


D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 14. Cursed. This curse falls upon the natural serpent, as the instrument of the devil; who is also cursed at the same time by the Holy Ghost. What was natural to the serpent and to man in a state of innocence, (as to creep, &c. to submit to the dominion of the husband, &c.) becomes a punishment after the fall. (St. Chrysostom) — There was no enmity, before, between man and any of God’s creatures; nor were they noxious to him. (Tirinus) — The devil seems now to crawl, because he no longer aspires after God and heavenly things, but aims at wickedness and mean deceit. (Menochius)


Where does it tell us that?


The snake is a symbol of the devil. The Catholic Church does not require that we believe snakes are evil.


Serpent means Dragon.

Satan is the dragon.

In Revelation he is called dragon and primeval serpent.

Dragon literally translates as* the one with the deadly glance.*

The devil seems now to crawl, because he no longer aspires after God and heavenly things, but aims at wickedness and mean deceit. (Menochius)


Show me a quote from Genesis that tells us that the serpent is Satan.

And since when does “serpent mean dragon?”

There is a time span of over 1,000 years between Genesis and Revelations. Surely you aren’t suggesting that they are interchangeable?


Keep in mind, in the garden of Eden, there were likely many animals and creatures that do not exist today, we are only given the term ‘snake’ or serpent so we can relate to it better, I believe the actual creature that Satan went thru, was a sort of bipedal, dinosaur/ dragon looking thing.

The problem many people have with things like this, they are thinking in terms of the modern animal kingdom and what currently exists.


And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Apocalypse 12:7-9)


Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”~Genesis 3:1-5

Seeing as the serpent is speaking, we can’t assume this was just a ordinary serpent.


Then we are to assume that the serpent was Satan? By what deductions do we arrive at that, especially since the Church does not teach a literal understanding of the early books of Genesis?


Read post #7.


I did, thank you very much.

So are you stating that scripture is interchangeable, that we can take something from one inspired book and replace it with something from another?

Revelation is written in an apocalyptic literary style; it is no more literal than the early books of Genesis.

The idea that the serpent in the garden was Satan, or at least Satan in the serpent, is something that Christian theologians came up with over 1,000 years after Genesis was written.


The latter scriptures refer back to earlier scriptures, showing how Jesus Christ and the Apostles revealed the faith. (Some Jewish authorities consider the serpent to be sexual desire.)


from Old Frenchdragon, from Latindraconem*(nominativedraco) “huge serpent, dragon,” from Greekdrakon*(genitive*drakontos) "serpent


She might not know or reflect that the serpent could not reason thus, naturally; and she had as yet, no idea or dread of the devil. (Lombard, 2 Dist. 21.)*


Moses relates what happened exteriorily; but from many expressions, and from the curse, ver. 15, he sufficiently indicates, that an evil spirit was the latent actor. (Haydock)

Not sure why it wouldn’t let me have three quotes in one post. :confused:


Ancient Greek δέρκομαι - From Proto-Indo-European *derḱ-. Cognate with Sanskrit दृश् ‎(dṛś, “see”).


Is this suggesting that this was the moment that Lucifer fell from grace? Or is this “curse” a different thing all together? How is this “curse” different from his state which is already fallen or is it something different at all? This is the part that is confusing me.


Does this, in any way imply that snakes are inherently “bad”? They are to be treated with care as one of God’s creatures, right? Snakes are also symbols of salvation in books of the old testament like when Moses held up two, seraphic serpents entwined on a rod to heal the people (a precursor to the salvation on the cross, if I’m not mistaken). :shrug:


When God made Adam and Eve it states that:

Genesis 1:31 And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.

Satan couldn’t have been around as evil at that moment if everything as very good still.

Is this the point when Lucifer saw Adam and Eve as inferior to himself that he decided to rebel?

Maybe he was to be a sort of guardian in Eden.

Ezekiel 28:13 you were in Eden, in the garden of God.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.