FROM THE BULLETIN OF THE ARKANSAS COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS ISSUE NUMBER 3 (NOVEMBER 1994)
BIBLE STUDENTS ARE FAMILIAR with the work of Adam Clarke, a renowned minister of the Methodist church in early 19th century England, whose commentaries on the Bible are still in print. According to Clarke's Commentaries on Genesis 3:1-4, the Serpent was a serpent in name only, but in fact an ape. Clarke argues at length on the basis of the etymology of Nachash (the Hebrew name of The Serpent transliterated) that the creature who walked upright and talked to Eve was simply a highly gifted ape. A talking ape seems less improbable in the light of recently reported research. This highly cunning ape was known to his fellows as The Serpent, but was not a snake himself, just as the great Indian chief know as Sitting Bull was not in fact a bull. The snake, of course, is prominent as an idolatrous image in heathen fertility and phallic worship. Does the snake somehow symbolize a tempter of Eve who approached, but did not attain to the human condition, a situation of being so near yet so far that would be hateful to him and motivate him through envy to seek to tempt Adamic humanity into disobedience to its Creator?