4) 2 Cor 11:2–4: The serpent employed rhetorical guile to ensnare Eve (Gen 3:1–6). In the same way, Paul’s rivals snaked their way into the Corinthian church. They won its members’ affection and captured their minds with an alluring false gospel.[1]

Surprisingly, people did not identify Satan with the serpent in Eden until the second century BC–first century AD[2].

According to a Jewish apocryphal text, Satan envied humanity because God made them in his image and installed them as his representatives over the created order (Gen 1:26–28).

It says, “God formed us to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made us. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are allied with him experience it” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:23–4, NABR).

During the centuries before and after the birth of Christ, authors speculated about Eve’s deception, with some writing that the serpent physically seduced her.[3]

In 4 Maccabees (first century AD), the heroes’ mother stated, “No seducer of the desert or destroyer in the field destroyed me, nor did the destroyer, the deceitful serpent, maltreat my innocent virginity. So I remained until the end with my husband.”[4]

Later, the Babylonian Talmud, made a more explicit assertion: “Rabbi Yohanan (180–279 AD) says, ‘When the serpent copulated with Eve, he infused her with lust’” (b. Yebam 103b).

Contrary to a popular view that women are more prone to deception, Paul warned the entire Corinthian church that falling for deceit did not exonerate Eve. Neither would they be without guilt if they followed false teachers.[5]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

a) Read 2 Cor 11:2–4. Why did Paul compare the members of the congregation in Corinth to Eve? What was his concern? Why is it significant that he compared both men and women to Eve? How can you avoid following false teachers?

 

 

 

Go to An Angel of Light

 

[Related posts include An Angel of Light (2 Cor 11:13–15); Made in the Image of God (Gen 1:26 cont.); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); Serpents in the Ancient Near East (Gen 3:1); A World-Altering Conversation (Gen 3:2–5); Succumbing to Temptation (Gen 3:6); Their Eyes Are Opened (Gen 3:7); Hiding from God (Gen 3:8); A Day of Reckoning (Gen 3:9–13); She Must Learn (1 Tim 2:11); Domineering Women (1 Tim 2:12–14); Difficult Times in the Last Days (2 Tim 3:1–4); Having a Form of Godliness (2 Tim 3:5); and Ancient Literature]

 

[Click here to go to Chapter 6: A Serpent in the Garden (Genesis 3:1–13)]

 

[1]Garland David E., 2 Corinthians (NAC; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1999), 462.

[2]New American Bible Revised Edition, Wisdom 2:23–4, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Wisdom+2%3A23-24&version=NABRE.

[3] Witherington, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, 445.

[4]R. Brannan, et al., The Lexham English Septuagint (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), 4 Macc 18:8.

[5] Garland, 2 Corinthians, 463.