The Serpent

  1. Lemma
  2. Змей
  3. Russian
  4. Saprykin, Dmitry
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology - Various approaches to the problem of correlation between science and theology
  6. 2011
  7. Салтыков Александр, протоиерей. [Author]. The Serpent
  8. Вся премудростию сотворил еси. Труды семинара ПСТГУ "Наука и вера" : "In wisdom hast thou made them all"
  9. Hexameron - Evolution
    1. The article is devoted to the nature of the Serpent who caused the fall of the first people and the curse of the whole earth, according to the Book of Genesis. The author adheres to the patristic approach of the Holy Scripture text interpretation, in which "any new knowledge of nature is not denied, but is to receive a true interpretation in the light of spiritual reality."

      Exploring the interpretation of Genesis, the author comes to the conclusion that "serpent" in the text is not just a kind of amphibian or reptile, but "a primordial natural being, a beast with an outstanding property of special wisdom (cunning) in which it surpassed the whole other creature of the earth , all livestock and animals. " The serpant possessed a flexible body and moved vertically, which attracted the first people.

      After the fall the serpent acquired other properties: crawl on the belly, feed as a worm and other species close to it in this respect; sting, but as insects, as it is known about modern snakes as a biological species that they do not feed on dust and do not sting. The author believes that the serpent, who served as the devil instrument, as a result of the fall of people "became through its modified continuations the visible basis of all ugly forms and bad manifestations in the world of living beings".

      The fall of the serpent and its punishment, the author believes, is "designation of the beginning of destructive processes in a holistic nature that arose at some vague "moment" in a certain indefinable but unique place on earth (in the Garden of Eden) and since that time having been carried on through various and numerous creatures designated as a worm and aphid in the Holy Scriptures." Probably, we should also include microscopic creatures - bacteria, viruses, which are the source of various diseases. "These beings who live at someone else's expense appear (or modify) according to a special command of God ... unlike all other creatures created under different circumstances." For scientific chronology, all these creatures have different historical ages, the author emphasizes.

      After the earth's curse, "the very mode of existence of the natural world has changed. Therefore, taking into account the modern knowledge of nature, no one can speak of complete identification of the animal and natural world in which we live, with the natural world before the fall. " The time before and after the Fall is different, in the author's opinion, therefore, direct correspondence in the sequence of life stages according to Hexameron and in scientific picture of the world is not necessary, and it is impossible to reconcile the Biblical picture of the world origin with evolutionary theory.”