If Satan is responsible for possessing the serpent and using it for his own evil purposes, then the question follows, where does Satan come from? The Bible seems to teach that Satan is a created being who turned against God and embraced evil.
The Bible’s account of the fall in the Garden of Eden raises a number of important questions. Chief among them usually goes something like this: Where does evil come from in a good world created by a good God?
We must admit that the Bible does not explicitly and definitively answer this question. But we must also acknowledge that the Bible does tell us many things that, taken together, can help us make a reasonable attempt at an answer.
Where Did the Serpent Come From?
Genesis 3:1 is the first Bible’s first mention of a serpent. Genesis 1–2 gives no record of God creating any such animal. But several factors support the idea that God created serpents at the same time he made every other “beast of the field.” For one thing, Genesis 3:1 tells us the serpent was “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made,” which implies that God made the serpent, just as he made the other beasts.
The serpent approached Eve without in any way catching her by surprise. If this was the first she had ever seen of a serpent, Eve would at least have been a little surprised by its presence. What is more, Isaiah 65:25 states that the new heavens and the new earth will contain serpents along with other animals, which seems to suggest they were all part of God’s original creation.
These things all support the conclusion that God created the serpent along with every other animal and that he pronounced it, and everything else, “very good” (Gen. 1:31).
What, then, do we do about the temptation account in Eden? How does a serpent, created good by God, intentionally tempt Adam and Eve and lead them into rebellion against God? Again, it’s important to point out that the Bible is not explicit here. But several key passages suggest the most likely answer is that Satan inhabited the serpent and used it as his instrument to deceive Adam and Eve.
Passages like Matthew 8:28–34 and Mark 5:6–13 indicate that demons can inhabit both people and animals. And Luke 22:3 shows us that Satan himself, at least on one occasion, “entered into” a man and used him as his instrument to betray Jesus and hand him over to be crucified. What’s more, Revelation 12:9 and John 8:44 offer proof that the serpent of the garden is none other than Satan himself.
John Calvin argues that Satan chose the serpent as his mouthpiece because he knew that he couldn’t appear to Adam and Eve and speak to them as himself. He needed a mouthpiece that wouldn’t raise their immediate suspicions, one with which they would have been familiar. Calvin then goes on to say that Satan chose the most suitable animal possible to carry out his plans. He chose the one animal in all of God’s creation that was most cunning or crafty (Gen. 3:1), the one that was the most shrewd or wise (Matt. 10:16).