Oh boy, don't you just love expert commentary by hacks who think, "Yeah, well, this guy disagrees with you and he's a Christian too!" is a valid answer? Recently I got tired of indulging Ed Babinski's meandering diatribes and started treating him like the rest of the hacks. You'll see why in what follows.
[JP] says, "it is enough..." Enough for someone like [JP] apparently. But how is tasting "air" the same as tasting "dust?" HUH??? Hello??? Excuse me, Edski, but airborne dust is the reason I have swollen turbinates, dude. Come on! This shows you why I put Edski in the Disrespect File. This is just plain dumb-o. And does [JP] wonder or ask why the serpents are tasting the "air?" It's their version of a sense of smell. Who cares? What's the relevance? And does [JP] expect everyone who reads his article to believe as he does that the words "eat dust" in Genesis 3:14 were placed there to demonstrate God’s advanced knowledge of herpetological behavior to people living 2,500 years later? No, I didn't say dip of such a thing. Edski can't answer the argument, so he makes one up, which is another bad habit he has. It also doesn't take such knowledge to suppose that Snakey got dust in his eyes from being in the ground. Why did God say that serpents "eat" rather than "taste" the dust? (The word, "taste," is more precise and would have demonstrated "greater knowledge.") I answered WHY in the article. It is a parallel to the "eating" of the tree of the garden. Hello? And, wouldn’t the gain of a "super tasting" skill be viewed as a "blessing" rather than a "curse?" That depends, Edski, on what's on the buffet. I suppose Edski would consider it a "blessing" to be able to taste cow manure. Now for some hyper Edski babble of the sort I got tired of putting up with:
Speaking of the "tasting" ability of snakes, Dr. William R. Teska, a biology professor at Furman University who specializes in snakes informed me that snakes "taste" both dirt and air to navigate. However, other senses, like sight, sound, smell (in some species), and heat sensing (in vipers), probably play even more important roles in their navigation. Moreover, some snakes live in lakes or even oceans, and could hardly be described as "dust eaters." Gee, yeah. And Genesis was also meaning to offer a complete catalog of snake habits too. This is the kind of idiocy Edski thinks is an argument. If you want to get technical, though, there's enough debris and silt floating in the water that these critters ALSO get their mouthful. So have that for dinner, Edski. Others live high in the branches of tree-canopied rain forests, and seldom if ever rub their bellies on the ground and "eat dust." Oh of course. Heaven knows there's no "dust" or dirt anywhere but on the ground. This means you never have to actually dust tabletops and that all that nasty dirty stuff on your trees is illusory. Besides, virtually all animals "eat" or swallow "dust" or dirt, either voluntarily or accidentally. Uh huh. Of course by pro rata volume, we're swallowing as much as Snakey is, yes? Or maybe Edski is eating so much dirt himself, as much as a snake for his weight. Who knows what he'll go through next just to get a nitpick accomplished. So, [JP]'s "apologetical belief" that the Scriptures must jive with modern herpetological science is based on selectively emphasizing only some herpetological observations, ignoring others, viz., stretching the meaning of an obvious literary put down to mean something "scientific sounding," i.e., "tastes" the air. Such a method of defending the Bible’s truth and accuracy is fallacious in the extreme. So Edski's "fundaliteralist belief" that finding other dirt-eaters disproves the positive assertion that snakes eat dirt, deludes him into thinking he has made an actual argument. This is the kind of nonsense I put up with from Edski for years. It's a sign he's never actually "left the fold" mentally.
Futhermore, like all "Bible believers," [JP] only takes seriously and scientifically the passages he wants. For instance, a mere 13 verses away, Gen. 3:1 states, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [the serpent] said to the woman [it spoke]..." To the best of my knowledge herpetologists have not proven that "the serpent is more crafty than any beast of the field," neither have they discovered a talking serpent. Such descriptions make Genesis read more like a fable from Aesop than the "truth." Excuse me? What the heck does this have to do with anything I wrote? This is just Edski's standard line of Skeptical question-begging, within which a "fable" element is declared so based on nothing but Edski's materialist worldview. Edski knows darned well that the answer given lies in a difference irreconcilable between his worldview and the Christian worldview. It's just a soundbite for an irrelevancy, and an example of how Edski never knows when to stop talking.
While I’m discussing the tale of the poor cursed serpent, I should add that there isn’t the slightest evidence that the "serpent" had any connection with "Satan." That’s a later Christian invention. Uh, which of course, within the paradigm of the story of Yahweh's dealings with men, IS evidence. I don't find Satan in all the places Edski goes on to name -- so I'll cut that blather out -- but as for the serpent being Satan being a "Christian invention," I really don't care. Jewish commentators see the serpent as an embodiment of evil. Whether it was Satan or a being that served Satan's interests (independently or otherwise) I just plain don't care. That may have been Edski's view as a fundy. It isn't mine as a grownup. But it happens that Edski is wrong anyway, dead wrong as usual because he doesn't know how to do his homoework. The pre-Christian Wisdom of Solomon 2:24 says, "Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it." Here's a hint: Who was the evil one in that story?
After this Edski whines for several lines about things having nothing to do with my article, mainly about why the "war in heaven" isn't mentioned in Genesis. Here's a clue for Edski: High context society. If the story was otherwise known in the background, it would serve no purpose repeated in a story whose purpose is to relate the creation and fall of man. Edski wants to complain because his low-context expectations aren't satisfied; which makes sense given that he seldom knows when to stop talking. He expects God to ramble as badly as he does.
Edski also feels the need to whine irrelevantly about Jude's use of Enoch. Apparently he hasn't learned that this isn't a "source of embarrassment for Bible believers" who have some education, which obviously was not him as a fundy. See comments in the article here. We retunr to where Edski finally gets his mind back on the task at hand, and where I noted the more likely answer, based on OT parallels, that the usage is figurative:
Duh, yes, [JP] it is obvious that being "cursed" to "crawl on your belly" and "eat dust" are ancient Near Eastern curses or "put downs" rather than descriptions of God blessing the serpent with some new additional sense, i.e., a new heightened "tasting" sense: "And the Lord God said to the serpent, `Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle [Please [JP], tell us when cattle were first ‘cursed’ and why that story isn’t in the Bible], and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life.’" (Gen. 3:14) Duh, it's hard to say what the Hades Edski's point here is, which seems to be nothing more than admitting my point is right and putting a spin on it. At any rate, since the surse is one of humiliation, I wonder what Edski thinks he is asking when he wants to know when cattle were cursed. Cows are dumb animals, Edski. They look and act stupid. So you'd be proud to be turned into a cow, then? However, the phrase is one of relativity -- it does not require that cattle or any other animal had been previously cursed, but that out of the set of animals, the serpent shall be one cursed.
However, the question remains, why curse the serpent to "go on its belly" and "eat dust" if it was already doing so? In other words how was the serpent "getting along" if it wasn't already moving via its belly? Did it have wings, or legs? Some have suggested so. But if this is a figurative curse it really doesn't matter, does it? Dumb question. So is this: Today there are species of amphibians and reptiles and even some lungfish that are long and serpentine with tiny legs/appendages, so were are only "half-cursed?" Yeah, dumb question. Are they humiliated like the serpent? Let's put it this way: Has anyone ever said, "Yikes! A lungfish!!!"?
Final bonus question: Compare the way Isaiah employed a very similar phrase to the one found in Genesis: "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and DUST SHALL BE THE SERPENT'S MEAT. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." Isa. 65:25 (KJV) In this verse the "dust" the serpent eats is its literal "meat," and not a metaphor at all. Though I wonder by what miracle a serpent or snake will be able to eat "dust" as its "meat." That sounds more like an earthworm than a serpent or snake. Final stupid question, in fact. No miracle required here; just a cure for fundaliteralism. In case Edski failed to notice, what is happening here is that the predatory animals are suffering humiliation. It's in fact the same metaphor as in Genesis. So the serpent does finally "eat dust," and in quite a literal fashion, but only in the coming kingdom. Amazing how one Scripture writer built on another's use of a phrase, but in a way in which one Scripture writer so twists another's earlier words that you wind up being reminded of the head twisting scene in THE EXORCIST. Amazing how fundaliteralism causes such serious mental infections. Given the level of thinking Edski displays here, it looks like he went through that scene, and it twisted right off.
It is apparent that apologists like [JP] lack both knowledge, and the fearless curiosity to continue asking questions. Maybe he needs to take another bite out of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge and start over? It is apparent that Skeptics like Edski are too ignorant to know they are ignorant, and brand their ignorance with pride under the Union Label of asking fearless questions, and then banging their heads when they find out they were actually taking a 100-foot pirouette into a ditch. Maybe Edski needs another bite taken out of his tukhus by yours truly.
ADDENDA by former fundamentalist, Harry McCall...I.e., one of Edski's still-fundy fans. I racked him up here.
Great reply to Tektonics, Ed, Harry thinks that "duh" would be a great reply to anything I wrote
It is also important to point out that God -- not the serpent -- is the liar; the serpent told the truth! Gen. 3:3-4 "God said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die!" In a modern court of law God would be guilty of perjury and the serpent (who in this section is smarter than God) tells the "God Honest Truth." (Concerning the immediately of the "death threat" see: Gen. 2:17 "...but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for WHEN YOU EAT OF IT YOU WILL SURELY DIE." (NIV translation) And, Exodus 10:28 "Then Pharaoh said to him, 'Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!'") Yeah, yeah, yeah. Same old same old. See here -- old news, Harry, and the scholars like Caird aren't impressed. I'm sure Harry also thinks that the death was caused because the face was so ugly.
Secondly, "Cursed are you more than all cattle" came to a head in Jonah 4:11 where, after Jonah preaches in Nineveh, both people and cattle repent! So, like the serpent, cattle evidently could speak and (understand) Hebrew! Uh. Yeah. Where it says that in Jonah is anyone's guess. Maybe he means the king of Ninevah's proclamation that man and beast be covered with sackcloth -- not exactly a statement that cattle can speak and repent, but a very good Ancient Near Eastern jab at the absurdities of others. But that's the sort of thing that was put in to make still-fundies like Harry think they knew something. Harry screws up again!