It’s Christmastime at the Illinois Statehouse. Festive decorations include a Hanukkah menorah, a Christmas nativity scene, and … a monument to Satan.
Yes, the Satanic Temple’s Chicago chapter successfully erected a sculpture of the hand of Eve grasping an apple as a snake wraps around it. Beneath the upside-down pentagram reads the inscription, “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift.”
The Satanic Temple is so proud of their monument, they posted a photo as the “cover photo” on their Facebook page.
Artists: Holiday Gerry and Rosa Posa
The Facebook page also quotes various articles on the display.
“In the Illinois State Capitol rotunda, where there’s already an atheist display and Nativity scene due to the state government’s open forum, there is now a gorgeous Satanic display that says, ‘Knowledge is the Greatest Gift,’ and features a woman’s hand holding an apple while a snake surrounds it,” Patheos’s “Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta reported.
In the application for the display, the Satanic Temple’s Chicago chapter aimed to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people,” and to reject tyrannical authority, the Associated Press reported.
The Satanic symbol refers specifically to the event Christians describe as “The Fall,” as recorded in Genesis 3. In that passage, a serpent — traditionally identified with Satan — deceives Eve, the mother of humanity, into breaking the commandment of God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Eve shared the fruit with Adam, the father of humanity, breaking God’s commandment and bringing a curse on all future men and women. God also cursed the serpent.
Indeed, Christians believe that the curse on the serpent is the first prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” the Almighty declares in Genesis 3:15.
According to Christian doctrine, Jesus Christ is that “seed,” and He broke the power of Satan by dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later.
This monument celebrating the first sin — and its consequence, knowledge — does indeed subvert the Christian holiday message. (Interestingly, Mormons also celebrate Genesis 3 as a step forward for humanity.)
Satanists do not actually believe the events of the Bible took place, but they appropriate (cultural appropriation?) them in order to celebrate some themes of the French Enlightenment (as opposed to the more traditional Scottish Enlightenment, which inspired the American Revolution) — specifically a rejection of religion in the name of reason.
Ironically, the best symbol for these denizens of the French Enlightenment is Satan, the foe of divine authority and symbol of rebellion (read Matt Walsh on this — he is fantastic).
In an attempt to thumb their noses at Christians and Jews, the Satanists chose a biblical event that actually shows God’s authority and (for Christians) His ultimate plan of salvation.
For any reader of Genesis 3 knows that the female hand grasping the apple is far from the end of the story. Yes, Adam and Eve gain knowledge — a good but very corruptible thing — but they also gain pain and death.
Yes, Adam and Eve surrender to the will of Satan, the ultimate rebel. But in the Christian telling, God will reverse those events, bringing the savior who will restore all mankind — and not just the Jews — to a right relationship with Him, by raising up a “seed” to crush the head of the serpent.
So Satanists can celebrate the Fall all they want. Christians should still feel festive in seeing their symbol of rebellion — because that very rebellion and its aftermath included the prophecy of Jesus’s coming in Genesis 3:15.
Christians can enjoy being reminded of the reason Jesus came to earth, and the prophecy that rebellion will be set aright.
As silver bells ring in the streets of Chicago, one more Bible symbol goes up at the statehouse.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.