While watching a Q+R about a recent Bible Project video, I came across a view I’d never seriously considered before: what if Genesis 2–3 shows the serpent’s fall as well as the human fall?
I had always assumed the serpent was already a rebel by the time we meet it as the most subtle/cunning/shrewd beast of the field, but there’s actually nothing in that description that implies a fallen creature. The video points out that the Hebrew contains a word play where the serpent goes from “more arum [clever] than any beast of the field” to “more arar [cursed] … than any beast of the field.” Since arum has associations with wisdom, this progression suggests a fall. Further, the very fact that God punishes the serpent in the same way as the humans suggests the serpent also rebelled, rather than being an already-evil creature placed there by God in order to provide a temptation to the humans.
Anyway, the key part of the video is from 2:00–5:15:
Any thoughts on whether this reading is viable, any textual evidence that points towards or away from it, or how it affects how we think of the origin of evil?