Why oh why did God create the snake?
Surely it would have been better to create the world, see that it was good, and leave it as that? Why put temptation in the way?
When God created the world, ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good’ Genesis 1:31, so why not leave it in that state forever? The thing is, being ‘good’ in this sense is a static state, to be good on an ongoing basis is a different story.
To be a ‘good’ person I have to choose to be good. If the only option I have is good, then I have no choice, and I am compliant, forced even, but I am not actually good. To be good I have to able to choose to be good. That implies that there is another choice, a choice that is not good or could even be a bad choice; enter the snake.
How much more powerful is it when someone chooses to be kind to you when you know they didn’t have to, and even more so if you know it was difficult, if it cost them something. In the same way we demonstrate our love of God and do good, not because He gave us no other option, but because we choose to. If God had created a world in which there were no options for us, then our love for him would be meaningless and doing good deeds would reveal nothing of our heart.
So, for us to be good, there must be a choice, and therefore there must be a bad or even evil alternative. So we should pray as King Solomon did ‘Therefore give to your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?’ 1 Kings 3:9 (KJV), so that we know what is good, and can choose to do it.