The original question was: Do you people really believe the Biblical accounts that a donkey could speak? Having a snake speak is even worse as snakes have no vocal cords at all?

Answer by Diane Eager

The story of Balaam’s donkey is recorded in Numbers 22.  Balaam, a Gentile prophet, had been hired by regional minor King Balak to curse God’s people, the Jews, as they moved back into the region after successfully being delivered from Egypt.  Balak sent emissaries to escort prophet Balaam to where he wanted his bidding done against the Israelites. The rest of the record reveals that the prophet had some knowledge and access to the real God, but not much obedience, and his ‘prophet’ skills were for sale.  Not to be outdone, the real God instructed Balaam that he could go with Balak’s men, but he must only to do what God told him to do.

Balaam went, but was not being fully obedient to God, so God intervened by sending an angel to block Balaam’s way so his donkey stopped.  Balaam ignored this and beat the donkey, then shock and horror as Balaam hears his dumb donkey ask ‘why are you beating me?’ Balaam responded to the question, and immediately after this God enabled Balaam to see the angel.  The angel then asked the same question to Balaam, and explained why he was blocking the way.  No doubt the donkey was braying, but the angel was in control of the sound waves that reached Balaam’s ears with an audible message for the foolish prophet.  Never forget that the God who invented sound and speech, and ears and brains, is the Creator and would have had no trouble converting the sound waves made by a braying donkey into speech sounds meaningful to a slack mercenary human prophet. The effect achieved what was required. Balaam could not proceed to curse the Israelites but blesses then instead with the oft quoted ‘star sign of Jacob’ prophecy (Numbers 24:17) that the Wise Men looked for to announce the Savour’s birth many years later.

Now let’s look at the talking snake.  The speaking creature in the Garden of Eden is described in Genesis 3 as “the serpent”.  In the Book of Revelation we read of the same being identified as that “old serpent, who is also called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world”.  The Devil is an angelic being, who is not the Creator, but powerful enough to carry out deceptive miracles, and it was his deceiving speech in Genesis 3 that was used to trick Eve into sampling the forbidden fruit, and then offering her husband Adam some, whereupon sin came into the world.

In each case a ‘dumb’ animal was used to speak/communicate with a human being, but in both cases there was also a powerful spirit being in control.  Highly intelligent spirit beings such as Angels and Demons, who are created beings, as well the Creator God can communicate with human beings, because we also possess that spiritual component.  Human beings consist of body, soul and spirit, been created in the image of the triune Spirit Godhead of Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

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