Jon: There’s this crazy story at the beginning of the Bible. We have Adam and Eve, and they’re in the garden of Eden1.
Tim: And everything in this garden is great. It’s exactly as it should be. Except there’s this one tree. They’re told by God not to eat from because it is dangerous and it will kill them2.
Jon: So that’s it? Avoid this fruit tree and we’re fine?
Tim: Right. It seems pretty simple. But in this garden there is a snake, and it starts telling a different story. It says that if you eat of this tree, it’s not going to kill you. In fact, it’s going to make you become like God.3
Jon: And Adam and Eve, they believe the snake, and they eat the fruit4.
Tim: And because of this, the goodness of the garden is tragically lost, and evil and death enter into God’s good world5.
Jon: Now, why is there a talking snake in the garden? I mean, this thing is a problem.
Tim: Yeah. It’s very strange. And even more strange is that the Bible doesn’t say why or how this thing even got there6. It just presents the snake as this creature who’s in rebellion against God and that wants to get other people to doubt God’s goodness and lead them on a path towards death7. And so whatever this snake is, it’s the source of evil that pervades our world and our lives even still today.
The Hope of a Snake Crusher [01:13-01:51]
Jon: But there is some hope because right here in the story, God makes this really interesting promise to Adam and Eve.8
Tim: That someone is going to come in the future––a son of Eve––and this guy is going to come, and he’s going to crush this serpent's head and destroy evil at its source. However, during this battle, the serpent is going to bite this guy’s heel9.
Jon: So it is like a mutual destruction.
Tim: Yeah. It’s this very strange but beautiful promise. And it’s just left hanging there until the next key moment in the story when God singles out this guy named Abraham and says that through his family, goodness and blessing is going to be restored back to all of the nations of the world10.
Will this Family Crush the Snake? [01:52-03:40]
Tim: As we follow this family, we get to one of Abraham’s great-grandsons, this guy named Judah. And he receives a promise that a king will come from his line and that the whole world is going to follow this king. And he is going to bring peace and harmony, and there will be lots of food and wine and milk and vineyards. And it’s going to be awesome11.
Jon: The first king that we meet from the line of Judah is a guy named King David. And he is a hero. Maybe he is the snake crusher.
Tim: But it turns out that David is infected with the same evil as the rest of humanity12. He never crushes the snake—just the opposite. However, God makes a promise to David that this king is going to eventually come from his line13. But as you go on in the story, one by one, each generation of his sons, they’re just total chumps. They give into the snake, they choose evil, they go after money and sex and power and following other gods14.
Jon: Things get so bad that they run the nation of Israel right into the ground, and the big, bad empire of Babylon just takes them out15.
Tim: And so now there are no more kings to even fulfill this promise16.
Jon: So it seems like the whole plan is lost.
Tim: But during these dark days, there’s this crazy group of guys called prophets. And they just kept talking about this coming king and reminding us of the promise that he’ll come, he’ll defeat evil, he’ll restore the garden17. Now, one specific prophet, Isaiah, he tells us more about why this king is bitten. Isaiah says that the promised king receives this wound because of humanity’s evil and that it kills him. But then, all of a sudden, he comes back. And Isaiah says it’s because he suffered this wound that he can now become a source of healing to other people18.
Jon: But the Old Testament ends, and the snake-crushing king that everyone has been talking about never shows up.
Jesus: The Ultimate Snake Crusher [03:40-05:12]
Tim: And this is why when the New Testament begins, it introduces us to Jesus of Nazareth, not as some random guy but as someone who comes to fulfill these specific ancient promises.
Jon: Yeah. We learn that he is from the line of David, Judah, and Abraham19.
Tim: And he goes around Israel announcing that the goodness of God’s Kingdom is here now20. And he begins confronting the effects of evil on people by healing them21, by forgiving them of their sins and evil22.
Jon: Many people are now believing that this is in fact the promised king23.
Tim: But Jesus began telling his closest followers that he was going to become king and bring peace by taking the full effect of humanity’s evil into himself24.
Tim: Exactly. And so it seems like the serpent wins26. And this story actually would be a tragedy, except for what happens next. Jesus rises from the dead27.
Jon: And now Jesus has the power over evil and death for himself28.
Tim: And so the rest of the New Testament is then making this claim that Jesus’ power over evil and death has now become available to us, to begin confronting the effects of evil in our lives29.
Jon: But even still, death and evil are a real problem in our world all around us30.
Tim: And so the story of the Bible ends by describing this future day when Jesus comes back and he finishes the job. He destroys the snake once and for all, and he restores the goodness of the garden here on Earth31.