Or at least, that’s the implication of the amusing CNN article That’s Not Actually In The Bible. It demonstrates how biblically-uninformed people attribute things to the Bible that aren’t actually in the Bible.
Examples they give:
- God helps those who help themselves.
- Spare the rod, spoil the child.
- God works in mysterious ways.
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
- Pride goes before a fall.
- This, too, shall pass.
- Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
- Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.
All the above are Biblical-sounding, but don’t actually appear in the Bible.
In fairness, some of these ideas are very close to Biblical passages or concepts. For example, while “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is not in the Bible, a closely-related proverb, “He who spares the rod, hates his son”, is, in fact, a Scriptural passage.
But the one that piques my curiosity is the one about Satan in the Garden.
The author correctly notes that the Creation account does not mention Satan. (And to go a step further, Satan is not mentioned at all in Genesis.)
However, Satan does appear in the Tenakh, and given his dealings with God and humans in those passages, it seems reasonable theology to state the serpent of Gan Eden was Satan, despite Genesis not explicitly saying so.
This question transcends arguments about whether Genesis is a literal account or an allegory, young earth creationist, old earth creationist, doesn’t matter: what we are left with is a figure, represented by a snake, who leads people away from God and towards evil. Who, if not Satan, is that figure?
p.s. I’ve asked this question on Jewish Life & Learning, asking whether there’s a Jewish consensus on the matter. I anticipate some interesting answers there, keep an eye on that.