The Serpent

The Serpent

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

Interesting conversations with godly people are some the best ways you can stir your desire to get into His word more. Studying the Bible will always bring to the surface questions we didn’t even know we had— along with the answers to the most important questions you could ask. 
Here’s an idea. Find somebody with a wealth of Biblical knowledge and create a shared note on your cell phone or computer. If there’s something on your mind or something you’d like to know more about, it helps to have another brain working to help you get to the bottom of it. 
It’s also a great way to keep you thinking about Biblical subjects! Below is a portion of a shared note that my brother and I have had for months now (Gary’s input is italicized and correspond with the numbers you see). 
Thoughts On The Serpent 

  • The serpent was crafty and could walk. Why this animal? Its craftiness seems to be linked with its intelligence (1). When the subject of possession is brought up, demons typically come to mind. The possessor of the serpent (2) seems to change form once again as Satan is described as “walking about on the earth” (Job 1) and traveling to the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4.5). Satan’s mobility had improved since the removal of his serpentine legs (3). Could it be that he was never a serpent from the beginning? What if he merely chose the animal for reasons unknown, and used his intelligence to utilize this particular creature’s capabilities. If the serpent changed his form to the Leviathan, then that would be a logical explanation for his mobility in Job (4). A mighty beast, with unnatural intelligence (5) that humans couldn’t tame. This would also explain how humans are able to dominate and tame all animals (Gen. 1.26-28) but weren’t able to tame the beasts in Job. 
  • (1) Rev 12.9; 20.2
  • (2) Satan is always portrayed as a serpent…except when he isn’t (i.e., cursed to crawl in Genesis, walking in Job 1 & 2, flying in synoptic gospels at temptation of Jesus, moving tactically in I Peter). I have to think that, like the angels, he had the ability to project his consciousness into non-sentient beings (i.e., no free-will override), or disguise himself as humanoid (II Cor 11.14; Gen 3.18; Heb 13.2). We know very little about who/what satan really is, but because he was a fixture in God’s entourage before banished to earth, I have to assume he was a watcher of some kind. 
  • (3) A curse that improves mobility is no longer, by definition, a curse. 
  • (4) God specifically names Leviathan as the pinnacle of his non-human creation. He would not have extolled leviathan if its characteristics were synonymous with the accuser in Job 1, 2. This would also imply a duality of personhood never attributed to satan (i.e., existing as two entities simultaneously). Since this predates Jesus’s arrival by probably 4500 years, satan is likely still in the accuser position in God’s entourage. This would make him a powerful cosmic being with the same abilities other watchers enjoyed. When he became the ruler of planet earth, his power was “chained” or throttled (II Cor 4.4; Eph 2.2; Lk 10.18; Rev 20.1-15). 
  • (5) I was unable to verify the leviathan’s unnatural intelligence, but Job does describe its unnatural strength. 

Happy studies! I hope this inspires you to begin your own interesting conversations. 

The Ankgor Wat Dinosaur

The Ankgor Wat Dinosaur

Neal Pollard

I have been to the Ankgor Wat temple complex, near Siem Reap, four times. It’s a fascinating tourist attraction, but there is one carving, among literally thousands, that stands out above the rest. It is found at Ta Prohm Temple. The temple was built between the late-1100s to early-1200s by King Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his mother. Today, it is “shrouded in dense jungle” and “fig, banyan, and kapok trees spread their gigantic roots over stones, probing walls and terraces” (tourismcambodia.com). “It took 79,365 people to maintain the temple including 18 great priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants, and 615 dancers” (ibid.). But it’s that stone carving that it most unforgettable.  One particular trip, which I made in 2009 with two elders, three deacons, and my oldest son, Gary, stands out in my mind.

I asked our guide, hired out by the Kazna Hotel in Siem Reap and of the Buddhist faith, what he thought this particular creature was. He said he had no idea what it was and added, “They must have had a really good imagination.”  The question such a response raises is, “How did they know to imagine that?!”

Well, a group from Canada was following close behind our group of seven from Denver, Colorado.  A son asked his father for an explanation of the carvings on the pillar, and dad replied with some authority, “Son, that was their version of a geological timetable.”  Of course, it begs the follow up, “How did 12th-Century Khmer people, well before Darwin and others planted their geological seeds, know of such a timetable?”  Furthermore, this “timetable” looks nothing like anything you will ever see in a textbook–a man above it and a monkey below it.  Based upon what fossil evidence did they create their carving?  There must have been hundreds of fellow “explorers” viewing these temple ruins with us in the few hours we were there.  Some of the fascinated people spoke in languages I cannot understand, but body language was pretty telling.  Others, Americans, British, Australians, and Canadians, all seemed to see that carving for what it most apparently was.  No one said, “That’s a rhino or pig.”  They called it a Stegosaurus.

How many other similar discoveries await reclamation from jungle vegetation, archaeological excavation, and geographic exploration?  In the different disciplines of science and history, man uncovers gems like Angkor Wat’s Ta Prohm from time to time.  Such clear, incontrovertible evidence from a time before our modern “war” between evolutionists and creationists begs to be examined with unprejudiced eyes.  While some may never change their mind regardless of how many items are offered into evidence, I believe that there are a great number of people out there who are honestly, objectively looking for truth.  The Stegosaurus at Ta Prohm near Siem Reap, Cambodia, might be the item that convinces many!

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Gary standing next to the column. Notice what/who else is in the carving with the Stegosaurus.