Why was satan in the Garden of Eden?

He tempted the first two people in the world in the form of a serpent. Why was he there though, if this was supposed to be a paradise that God gave to Adam and Eve?

Also another question, why did God tell the serpent he would spend the rest of his days dragging himself along on his belly and eating dust after what he did? Wasn’t he already doing that?

He was pushed by the desire for revenge and the destruction of God’s plan (while at the same time fulfilling it, the fall in Paradise Exultet calls ‘Felix culpa’ — ‘blessed fall’ or ‘fortunate fall’)

I believe the snake form of Satan was used in Genesis to help us humans to recognize his nature: how spirit of defiance against the established Godly Order sneaked into the heart of Eve, and then Adam’s.

The judgment delivered by God symbolises the immediate punishment of Satan. We do not know whether this is the same punishment as the one he received after his rebellion in Heaven. However, it shows that God has not left devil’s vengeance on people unpunished.

This is an allegorical description, but remember that we are dealing here with a ‘true myth’ as C.S. Lewis would put it.

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maybe the serpent wasn’t meant to stay that way, animals have evolved based on nature through time, even man.

As for Adam and Eve, I believe it was a test. God is always testing us and Satan is always working to lure away from God.

An important thing to remember about the Bible is that it has all kinds of various writing styles and forms it in, each one there to get across some sort of truth. Some of it is historical, or poetic, etc. in the case of this part of Genesis, it’s theological myth. The idea that the serpent is there in the Garden isn’t the point; that’s literally just a way to move the story along. The main points to take away from Genesis include the facts that God created us to have a deep relationship with us, and satan tempted us into sin instead.

God permitted it as a test. Similarly the Angels were also tested.

He’s referred to as a serpent; however, he didn’t necessarily appear as a snake. Remember, the devil can appear as an angel of light.

That being said, I’ve always taken this to mean that God removed something from him as punishment.

Satan seems to be in heaven in Job the sons of God appear to me to be all the angels
The book of Job opens with a scene in the Heavenly throne room where Satan meets with the Lord:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

The story is figurative. It happened, but not necessarily in the way that the narrative lays out.

So, with that in mind, “why is the serpent in the garden?” kinda misses the point of the story, which is that our first human parents were tempted and fell to sin.

Again, since the narrative is in the literary genre of “prehistorical creation/origin mythology”, it has a number of narrative goals. One is to explain things that we know to be true, and give reasons for them. So, the answer to “why do serpents crawl on their bellies?”, in this narrative, is “because they tempted mankind into sin.”

As @Erundil points out, the context here is “true myth” – the truths found in Genesis 3 include Satan’s role as tempter, humanity and its penchant for sin, and the impact of sin on creation.

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the story of adam and eve is an explanation of how we commit our first sin. The use of the serpent demonstrates that to be estranged from God is where satan resides, always a low life.

The idea of Satan, and his role, evolves across Scripture. Today’s understanding of Satan as a purely evil, personified, ultimate nemesis of God was not how he was always understood in ancient times. In Job, we see a Satan who is essentially a “Devil’s Advocate,” apparently working with and for God, but presenting opposing viewpoints. That is very different from today’s view of Satan, of course.

Sorry but that’s false, it’s the same person.

In Book of Job Satan don’t work for Our Father but rather as his creation is subject to him.
He wanted (personally, as a deceiver and crazy jealous being) to ‘test’ Job.

Yet, he needed God’s permission to do that.

So, even as an opponent of God, he fulfils Father’s will (through the endurance of Job the greater glory of God has been revealed) but we cannot say just that “he worked with God”. That’s simply not true.

And he always was shown as a person in Scripture and often was called an ‘adversary’.
In fact the original Hebrew term sâtan (Hebrew: שָּׂטָן‎) is a generic noun meaning “accuser” or “adversary” so your point that only now he is percieved as ‘personified nemesis of God’ is false too.

Through the whole Bible he is literally opponent of God and a person and purely evil, his depiction did not evolved anywhere.


I read an interesting bit in a book making the case that Satan in the Garden was actually a seraphim I believe, due to the word used (doing all this from memory) and the common depiction of such creatures in the ancient Near East. Therefore he would have been flying and afterward condemned to crawl.

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We don’t know that.
That is bold assumption with no basis (no scripture nor tradition saying about this).

As I said, it’s figurative, allegorical story of what really happened, a description of ‘real myth’.

As I said it was interesting. And also based on the analysis of the word used if I remember right, and the depiction of such creatures.

Traditionally it’s believed that he was the highest ranked Seraphim. I believe rabbinical tradition says that he had 12 wings instead of 6. Technically, that puts him in a class by himself.

Angels And Devils https://www.amazon.com/dp/0895556383/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_eFcRFb9DRBRM8

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Free will is necessary to share in the divine nature and through which the final choice of good over evil is made, cooperating with grace.


1730 God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.” …

1749 Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts. Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil.

What I cited (that Satan in Job is presented as part of God’s heavenly court) is a widely accepted interpretation (which also has the advantage of being consistent with the actual text). That said, you (and any other Catholic) are entitled to disagree and form your own opinion.

Yep. The heavenly court is cited in a Psalm and may be the source of the ‘us’ and ‘we’ used in various places in the OT.

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But in heaven we shall lose that freedom to choose right?

Even if that’s the case Satan wasn’t condemned to being a snake for the rest of his existence. it isn’t like God said ‘you were a seraphim, now you’ll be a snake’. What about the other snakes in the world that now have to eat dust, because of what Satan did? Seems a bit harsh on them. Other animals don’t suffer this indignity.

There’s much symbolism employed in that story of creation and the fall, as the Church teaches. But the main point is that if God gives free will to rational sentient beings then the risk is always there for sin, for opposition to His own will. And once that started as it did with Lucifer, then the door is open for that rebellion or sin to spread as the influence of one fallen being on another occurs. Presumably it could happen with any such being even if there were only humans and no angels around to commit the original original sin.

No, there is still free will to choose, even though there is no desire to choose a lesser good.

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