LG Sargent wrote a in support of a literal serpent (a view we share) after allowing varying viewpoints to be put. No calls for disfellowship or “common understandings” on the issue. Tolerance of exploration. LG Sargent, despite putting his conclusion, acknowledged that there are difficulties of understanding Genesis 3. He also repeats Bro Thomas’ observation that God placed evil within Adam from the beginning and that trial was part of God’s design. A worthwhile read highlighting our past ability to consider different views without splitting.
LG Sargent’s comment around a controversial article suggesting the serpent in Genesis 3 was not literal ( we think it is literal!) was bound to raise eyebrows. The conclusion of his cover note shows a maturity and tolerance of exploration absent in conservative quarters of our community today. Rather than seeking to narrow fellowship and man the barricades LG Sargent hoped the community would “…be capable of reasonable and informed judgment on Scripture interpretation”. His comments are worth a read:
I believe the serpent in Genesis 3 was a literal being created by God with capabilities for the express purpose of testing Adam & Eve. The following article “Eastward in Eden” from the 1964 Vol 102 Christadelphian Magazine disagrees, proposing the serpent is a literary device. Obviously LG Sargent (the editor) disagreed with that assessment. The article also touches on the ability of Adam & Eve to have evil thoughts. Once upon a time variances in views and explorations were tolerated and explored – though passionately debated. Worth a read and consideration of how difference should be dealt with.
The pioneer approach
Our pioneers believed scientific facts were always in harmony with accurate Biblical interpretation.   They believed the earth was extremely old, and that there had been at least one pre-Adamic creation, despite rejecting evolution. They explained the evidence for evolution by arguing God had made many creations over countless years, creating simple life and repeated replacing it with more complex life, finally creating humans in a pre-Adamic creation, then creating the current creation with Adam and Eve.
Over the years, Christadelphian expositors accepted increasingly higher estimates of the age of the earth, and went further and further in their interpretation of Genesis in order to reconcile it with demonstrable scientific facts. Thus on the basis of geological evidence available to him, brother Thomas believed there had been one pre-Adamic creation; later brother Roberts agreed with brother Simons that there was now geological and fossil evidence of at least five pre-Adamic creations. Continue reading
Ignoring for a moment the imperfect exposition of “very good” in Genesis, a difference emerges between literalists on the application of “very good” in Gen1:31. Some limit it to Adam and Eve only – despite them not being even mentioned in the verse. Others at least more consistently with the text apply their interpretation of ‘very good’ to everything. This then leads them to suggest there was no death of anything in the Garden of Eden (if you insist very good = amortal and ignore the difference between Gen 1 & 2). Continue reading
If Paul is unquestionably saying mortality came by sin in the Garden, then EC is more difficult to support scripturally and the problem of the physical evidence of much continuous mortality through millennia hard to reconcile. Having considered that Paul’s use of death can accommodate the EC position, what of the use of the word death in the Garden? Continue reading
In speaking to the serpent, God describes the enmity between the serpent and the woman and their respective seeds as being a new condition which He was putting in place. Does this speak to a change in nature, a creation of the sin-prone mind as some describe? Furthermore isn’t this evidence of Adam being the only man? Simply no, and the passage actually contradicts some of the propositions put by the special creationist. Continue reading