Answer by John Mackay
At our Jurassic Ark Outdoor Creation Museum, we have a mural of the Genesis 3 account of Eve being tempted by a serpent which has legs. (see below) Most books for children printed by Christian authors about Genesis 3, show a legless snake crawling through the trees. The text says: “So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life”. (Genesis 3:14 NKJV)
Our comment is simple. Since we still have snakes that crawl through trees even in the back yard of this Australian author, when God cursed the serpent and said it would crawl upon the ground from then on – it would mean this has not been fulfilled if snakes are basically unchanged. Likewise even though a snake is a serpent, the term serpent historically had a much wider meaning than just snake. Any creature with a body that moved with an ‘S’ shape motion qualified.
So why were we provocatively bold enough to put legs on our serpent at Jurassic Ark? Martin Luther, founder of the reformation, rediscovered one Biblical principle that stands us all in good stead. Always check Scripture against Scripture. And when you do, you will find there are some interesting cross references to the serpent in Genesis Chapter 3. In the Bible’s last book Revelation, Chapter 20 Verse 2 tells us about that “old serpent, that is the devil who is Satan”, “who is the dragon”, and dragons always have legs! So our mural shows a rather attractive dragon with legs. But is there any evidence that modern day snakes are descended from legged creatures and that the Biblical account can have this meaning?
A few years ago in Evidence News 16th February 2011 we reported the discovery of a fossil legged snake that had been labelled Najash rionegrina” and a comment from its discoverers, “This fossil of a snake with hips found in South America lived more than 65 Million years ago. The authors explain the name they gave the fossil as Najash rionegrina, “From Hebrew, Najash, the legged biblical snake; rionegrina, for Río Negro Province, Argentina, where the fossil was found.” (Nature vol. 440, p1037, 20 April 2006)
A legged snake takes its name in honour of the serpent in Genesis Chapter 3 which in Hebrew is spelt “Najash”. The serpent was found near Rionegrino in South America, hence the complete scientific name of this new creature was “Najash rionegrina”.
All of this points out the stupidity of educators who demand you don’t refer to the Bible in science, but would be no way to explain to Biology students how this fossil snake got its name without a reference to Genesis Chapter 3, which is the story of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin and the curse of God upon the serpent that it would in future crawl upon the ground in the dust.
Since this fossil serpent was publicised (2006) we have scoured museums around the planet, as well as research papers and come across many previously legged reptiles who are now legless.
Here are some examples you may wish to check:
Pachyrachis problematicus Caldwell, M W & Lee, M S Y, Nature, vol 386, pp705-709,
Haasiophis terrasanctus Upper Cretaceous, Tchernov E, et al, Science Vol 287, pp2010-2012, 17 Mar 2000,
Eupodophis descouensi Lebanon, Cretaceous, Journal of Vert Paleontology Feb 8. 2011, which comes with the comment that 3D x-ray studies show the Leg bones have “regressed” grew more slowly than other bones, they grew for shorter time than other bones
So, provably, snakes have changed. They used to have legs, but now they don’t!
In fact it would be accurate to say that of all the groups on the planet that are devolving or degenerating, through loss of limbs, the reptile group is at the foremost of all creatures suffering limb loss.
Dr Lee et al writes:
“None of the more than 50 lineages of limb-reduced reptiles and amphibians have ever re-evolved legs, demonstrating that reacquisition is very unlikely.”
(Michael S. Y. Lee, John D. Scanlon, Michael W. Caldwell, Science, Vol 288, pp1343-1345 , 26 May 2000)
In Australia, it has been well known for a long time that many snakes particularly in the python group, still shows remnants of legs. They are now tiny protrusive spurs which the male at best can use to try and hold onto the female during mating. X-rays reveal the complete limb structure most of which is hidden inside the body. So next time you read Genesis Chapter 3 and ponder the seriousness of God’s judgement, not only upon the serpent but upon man – remember that the problem of sin, and Satan’s role in it, has not only led to the demise of legged serpents many of which are now largely either extinct or legless, but it has also led to those degenerations in man that have also produced skeletal shortening or skeletal loss, such that some humans are even born without legs. But in our case it usually leads to the individual being eliminated from the mating cycle, so such extreme human degenerative loss is removed fairly quickly from our genome.
How could serpents survive leg loss?
The answer is simple. They are called serpents because of their ‘S’ shaped serpentuous movement. When you watch the large reptilian water dragons that swim in the pond on my property, you will notice they use their ‘S’ shaped body movement for propulsion rather than only their legs for swimming. This means they actually have several modes of movement, and thus can afford to lose one. Land bound lizard like groups that exist with only tiny legs, may no longer use their legs for movement as they are too small, but their pre-existing ‘S’ shape body movement is sufficient to give them traction across the ground. Yes, we know the evolutionist likes to call this specialisation to fit a niche, but in reality the animal’s usable environment has diminished so it is niche fitting by loss.
To this can all be added the recent scientific thesis that snakes have actually “evolved” from legged, monitor-like lizards, such as giant goannas. (Nature, vol 439, p839, 16 Feb 2006.) Of course the word “evolution” is the wrong word to use, but in common with most evolutionary delusions – they are using the word simply to mean change due to “devolution” or “degeneration”. Note again with reference to leg loss in reptiles it is not the facts that contradict the Biblical account, but the opinions of men. The evidence both from fossil legged snakes, and present day semi-legged snakes and legless snakes is consistent with the Biblical account of the history of serpents.
Were you helped by this answer? If so, consider making a donation so we can keep adding more answers. Donate here.