Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die… Genesis 3:1 4
Today I want us to look at the word ‘subtil’ in this scripture. Actually, the word is ‘subtle’, only that it is written in old-fashion English. Another word for ‘subtle’ here would be ‘clever’, or ‘brainy’, or ‘intelligent’.
Before we proceed, however, let us take a few seconds to set a background to our discussion. It is clear from the first few verses of the Book of Genesis that long before God created the world or Adam, something was wrong in the cosmos that existed then. In chapter 1 the Bible talks about ‘darkness’ covering the face of the deep. To any investigative mind, that rings many loud warning bells. The Bible says that God is light and in Him is there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5); so what is this about there being darkness in a world where God appeared to be in control and everything seemed so ‘cool’?
And now here, in Genesis 3, we find Someone or Something coming and refuting what God Himself had told Adam! He (or It) tells Eve, “Oh, no! God lied to you. He has never had your welfare at heart.”
Where ever did this Thing come from? Clearly, something was not right somewhere. Here we can see something bad beginning to show up. It was like “Nightmare on Elm Street”. Something was horribly wrong.
If God was like us, He would have hurriedly wrapped up things and ended the Bible at Genesis 2, with an “And they lived happily ever after”. But thank God, ours is a God who wants everything to remain, clear, clear, as clear can be, in all holiness.
What we find here is that there was a war going on long before Adam and Eve ever came onto the scene. Yes, God had an enemy at His gates. When Adam was created, the enemy used Adam’s free will to his advantage, simply because this first Adam was a precursor of the second Adam, the real Son of Man (Jesus) who was to come.
We do not have the time for all that ‘theology’ right now, however.