"Even so, there is nothing within the text of the Bible that shows it to be the case, much less within the relevant Genesis story."
If an unbeliever asserts that Genesis 3 refers to a "talking snake", with the modern definition of "snake" in mind, then the burden of proof is on his shoulders. If the text is inconclusive, or if it implies that the creature was something other than a modern snake when it spoke, then the unbeliever's argument can't be sustained.
"As for the plants, I am assuming that rintintin was referring to Jesus' cursing of the fig tree (and imputing to a tree anthropomorphic powers), but I could be mistaken."
Aside from the fact that "plant" isn't the most natural way of referring to a tree in the English language, the fig tree in the passage you're referring to doesn't speak. Why should we conclude that there are "talking plants" in the Bible on the basis of that passage?
"Gen 3 does refer to a talking snake. The story purportedly explains why snakes slither on their bellies. Hence the snake in the Genesis story is best understood as being the ancestor of all living snakes."
Its similarity to modern snakes was a result of the fall, so you can't assume that it was comparable to a modern snake before the fall, when the speaking occurred.
"If there is a difference of testimony between modern observers and Bronze Age observers, then the best course to take it to believe the course of events that is most likely, given what we can observe about natural laws. In that case, the chances that the author in Genesis was repeating a myth is much more likely than the chances that snakes actually were able to speak in the past."
There are a lot of factors involved other than the ones you're referring to. We have evidence for the Divine inspiration of the Bible, including Genesis, evidence that we've discussed in many places on this blog and elsewhere. We have much more than the general reliability of "Bronze Age observers" to go by. And the observations of "modern observers" could only tell us what normally occurs with modern snakes. They can't tell us that the modern snake is the same as the pre-fall creature in Genesis 3, nor can they tell us whether a supernatural agent spoke through such a creature in the past. Nothing in Genesis 3 suggests that modern snakes have a natural ability to speak human language. The fact that you raised this objection to begin with is bad enough. The fact that you keep repeating it and trying to defend it, after being corrected repeatedly, is even worse.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Talking Snakes, Talking Plants, And Biblically Illiterate Skeptics
Since so many unthoughtful unbelievers keep objecting to "talking snakes and plants" in the Bible, I want to repost some of my comments on the subject from another thread. These comments were written in response to Lyosha07: