Evidence for Evolution
in the Book of Genesis,

or How the Snake Lost its Legs

by Richard Cook

In the Book of Genesis, the sixth day of the world was the day on which God is said to have created not only all land animals, but man as well. And mankind is not simply another animal in that book:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Man is created last, and man is given power over all plants and animals.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And yet, what does it mean that man has power over animals and plants? It does not apparently mean that he can eat both plants and animals, for the first food in Genesis is only vegetable food, and the first animals and man are vegetarians:
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Now, this was the situation at the end of the sixth day. But what happened on subsequent days? Well, on day seven, God had himself a rest. The creation of the world had apparently made him a bit sleepy, which in a way is a strange thing to imagine, and yet, if God really put his heart into this creation of his, why shouldn't he be a little tired at the end?

The story told in Genesis continues after the seventh day by stepping back to give further details of what happened on those busy first six days. Perhaps this is a God's-eye Sabbath reflection on the work-week. Plants had been created on day three with the creation of dry land, and yet the mist of fresh water that waters the whole world is created after the plants, on day six, after there have been two days of sunshine. One can imagine the plants must have been very happy for that first watering. And out of the clay mud which resulted from that watering, God sculpts a man.

This retrospective part of Genesis continues with the man being placed in a spring-fed garden called Eden, where the man is to work as the gardener. And in contrast to what we were told earlier (above 001:029) that *all* plants and trees were given to man for food, the man is here given specific instructions:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Now this is clearly a further detail omitted from the first telling of the story of the sixth day. Furthermore, in contrast to the creation of land animals *before* man, which we saw above, it is now said in Genesis that God created the land animals later, because the man was lonely and needed a suitable companion. In fact, it seems that the land animals were created as pets for the man, and that they were brought to him one after another, to see how he would react, what names he would give them, and whether any of them would make him superlatively happy.

And yet the man apparently does not become happier, or happy enough: for every animal that God brings before the man, the man's mood must have remained sufficiently less than the divine ideal. God is apparently working hard to satisfy the man, and having no great success.

And after naming all those animals, the man was surely very tired himself. God puts the man to sleep, and while the man is sleeping, performs a surgery of sorts upon him, extracts one of the man's bodily organs (a rib bone), and creates the first woman out of it. Now the man's reaction to the woman must have been just what God was looking for, for God stops trying to please the man. Not only does the man name her, as he did all the animals brought before him, he also seems to really like her:

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
And Adam's phraseology is interesting: the woman proceeds from the man's body as a bone which Adam acknowledges as his own. The love that the man feels and this "bone" are intimately connected: the man's bone is the thing out of which femininity is created.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The love which the man feels for this woman is the unabashed reproductive basis upon which humanity stands, and suffice it to say, it must have been very strong then, for it is still strong today (if the present size of the human population is any indication).

And yet we need not look further into this particular phallocentric detail (seeing the bone as a metaphorical statement of the man's love), for there is another, more insidious one immediately lurking at the beginning of Book Three:

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?
Now then. The serpent pops up on the scene, immediately after the man has spoken of his love for the woman, bone of his bones. And this is not an ordinary serpent. As was said before, he is one of the man's pets, and not only does he have a name (for the man named him NACHASH Snake), but he is described (in the King James version) as the most "subtil" (Modern English "subtile" and "subtle") animal around. The Hebrew word ARUM translated as 'subtil' is etymologically from the same root as AROM "naked", so that one might say that the Snake of Genesis was the Most Naked (bare-faced, bold) snake around. And not only is he superlatively naked: he also talks. And not only does he talk: he asks questions. He asks the woman (of all people, brazen pet Snake) a factual question.

As was mentioned earlier, this question of his is in fact a very tricky question, and one it seems not especially fair to ask to a one-day-old woman, for verse 001:029 is at odds with verse 002:017. First it is written:

And God said, Behold, I have given you *every* herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Which statement is later modified (or perhaps amended in the law) when more details of day six are given:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The poor woman, dutiful first mother of us all! How does she react? Well, her version of God's injunction is apparently rather different from God's actual statement to Adam (if that is what we have in 002:017), and we can only imagine that if this is not the way she learned it from her husband, then she is simply exaggerating for the benefit of her husband's pet Snake, as any mother might exaggerate for the benefit of her own child which she dearly loves.
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.

Could we be wrong to suspect from this that the woman loved her husband's pet Snake as though it were here own? I think not.

And yet, as we all know, not only does the woman fail to persuade the Snake -- that superlatively naked Snake succeeds in persuading our first mother that Snakes know the facts of God's mind better than a one-day-old woman.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Now this must have struck the woman as a good bit of reasoning, for she doesn't simply say "You know what superlatively naked talking Snake? You're right! That's exactly what God knows!" and leave it at that. Oh no! She goes that Snake two steps further (not to be outdone by a Snake):
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Not only does she eat the fruit herself: she takes it to her husband and has him eat it too. Please note that the story doesn't say anything like: The woman ate the fruit and thought it was good, and so she took it to her husband and said here you go, have some of this tasty fruit which I just had, you know the one you said God said not to even touch?" No. She doesn't say anything like that.

And yet, the results are pretty much the same. They both, first man and first woman, have their eyes opened by this gastric experience, and feel the repercussions.

We might imagine that after God created the woman for the man, God then went off for his day-long Sabbath snooze, that seventh day of rest being all the opportunity that Snake needed to wreak his sneaky deeds. And yet this is simply speculation, for the chronology in Genesis is rather unclear on this point. For my own part, I am willing to guess that God came back to Eden on the eighth day, and that it was then that he found Adam and Eve as naked as the Snake to which she (and thus they) had succumbed. And this is also how I calculate that Eve was only one day old at the time of the transgression.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Please note incidentally that the "fig leaves" part of this is ironic, if there ever was an irony. And yet I digress ... the point of this essay rapidly approaches, and if you are still with me (God bless you!) I promise you will see it shortly.

God's interrogation of the culprits yields the facts upon which the case against them is built, and the punishments are swiftly meted out. God knows that something is amiss in Eden. When the man is asked (and he certainly didn't volunteer the information), making no bones about it, the man not only blames the woman:

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
The man also blames God: "You gave me her, and she made me do it." (From my perspective, this does seem to coincide with the facts, though as a man myself I may be biased, and so cannot render an impartial opinion.) And what does the woman say, when she is asked?
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Now this too does in fact seem to coincide with the facts. And if the Superlatively Naked Talking Pet Snake may be taken metaphorically as her husband's penis, it might also be said that the woman is actually blaming her husband: her husband's bone made her do it. And yet, the Snake is a real animal in the story, is he not? It's not a metaphor for her husband's (and therefore her own) passionate desire. Or is it?

This point becomes less clear when the Snake gets his just deserts at the creator's hand:

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Now this strikes me as a very strange twist in the story, perhaps even the strangest. For as we know, the Snake can talk, and yet God asks him no questions. Of course, God no doubt knows the answers to his own questions (which are therefore rhetorical in the extreme), and yet God saw fit to interrogate the humans. Why not give the Snake the same courtesy, if the Snake is in fact a separate being? But if the Snake is metaphorically the man's penis, well then, it's no surprise God doesn't talk to it. Is it?

But here I stray a bit from my main point, and that point is this: what is the Snake before God punishes it? The Snake is punished with crawling on its belly and other such snake-like behavior. How did the Snake travel about before if not on its belly? And if it moved about otherwise, was it really a snake?

Granted, this Superlatively Naked Talking Pet Snake was not any ordinary snake in many regards, and he may very well have floated about Eden on a magic carpet or hovercraft for all Genesis tells us. Or perhaps he had a woman to carry him about in her hands (I suspect that's how I would carry my pet snake). We simply do not know.

And yet there is a less fabulous solution to this problem. If we suppose that the Snake of Genesis was an actual snake and not a metaphor for Adam's genitalia, then this Snake must actually have had legs to walk about on! And this is where we may conclude definitively, and without the slightest doubt or hesitation. It is true, just as evolutionists would have it, that snakes with their tiny vestigial legbones did indeed evolve from leggy animals to legless ones. And that it is no less authority than the Book of Genesis which proves it.

In fact, from this perspective, God's punishment of humans and snakes, all because of that first sin, is the reason that snake evolution came into the world. Snakes were deprived of their legs, in effect God evolved them into legless animals because of their evil deed. And if snake evolution came thus into the world, perhaps all reptilian evolution as well. Perhaps all purported evolution in general!

Now, if we have solved the evolutionist versus creationist problem to everyone's satisfaction, we may proceed to a few final points, one of which is this question: was God acting justly in punishing the trio in Eden, when all who were interrogated seemed to have mitigating circumstances? The man was tricked by the woman who was tricked by the Snake. And the Snake, poor animal, was not even asked what had happened at all. For all we know, the Snake may have been on the receiving end of some trickery himself. After all, it can't be easy being a Superlatively Naked Talking Leggy Pet Snake in Eden. What compassionate creator would concoct such a being?

Regardless of whether we believe that the fabulous Snake was real or metaphorical, the question remains: can God have had the power to give man free will? Was God able to create an Eden in which a man had powers which God had not given him? Was God even able to satisfy man to God's own satisfaction?

Well, for this bit of information there is no source but the primary source:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

God rested on the seventh day, tired from his creative exertions, and during this sleep, evil dissatisfaction crept into the world. And perhaps in his divine dreams God began the business of tinkering with his creation, helping it to evolve along toward perfection. And thus God in a Sabbath dream deprived the Snake of his legs, evolving him from legginess to leglessness.