Is Jesus the Serpent in the Garden?

In the Gospels Jesus is going to describe himself as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  Though Jesus is often likened to Adam in the letters of St. Paul, and the serpent in the garden of Eden is likened to Satan, a case could be made that Jesus is not as analogous to Adam as he is in fact to the serpent.
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This is an edgy suggestion, but there are several textual points that support it.  The serpent, like Jesus, acts as a guide to possession of both truth and life.  The serpent reassures Eve, “you will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4) if she gets knowledge of good and evil.  Likewise, Jesus states that, in addition to his being “the truth” that, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).  Both the serpent and Jesus play down the immediate threat of death for a longer term benefit.
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They both rely on women to be their primary messengers, particularly when it comes to igniting a new desire.  Jesus tells mankind through a woman (Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles) what to desire, i.e. eternal life by believing in the good news of the Resurrection.  The serpent, likewise, gets Adam to desire that apple of knowledge by first convincing Eve of its benefits.
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Lastly, the serpent endangers itself to send man in a particular direction, and is indeed punished.  The serpent is “cursed” by God, with “enmity” put between his offspring and woman’s offspring (Genesis 3:14).  Jesus similarly acknowledges being “forsaken” by God (Matthew 27:46), and the pre-existing enmity between him and mankind since the Fall is evident in his crucifixion.
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So in Genesis, start with a different interpretational assumption: that God wants Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to be like him, and that the way that comes about in the story is according to God’s will, even though the characters of the serpent, Eve, and Adam seem in their subjective judgment to all be willfully disobeying God’s formal rules.
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God thus obtains man and woman’s free consent to expose human beings to what with “certainty” must happen to them (death, which appears temporary), if they are to become like him.  To obtain such consent, first he sends the serpent, later he sends Jesus.  Both are thought to be devils.  Both seem to be independent thinkers, in a way.
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Why death might be so necessary for both knowledge of good and evil and for immortality will be left aside for a future post.

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