Then he (Jesus) told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.
The legendary myths of the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians worshipped a serpent god. To highlight the evil of their neighbors’ paganism, the Hebrew writers symbolized the devil as a serpent that’s evil and cunning. In “The Cask of Amontillado” the serpent represents vengefulness. The vindictive Montresor reveals his family’s coat-of-arms to Fortunato, the victim: “… the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.” (E. A. Poe)
St. Bernardine of Siena said there can be no harmonious song in heaven, “if there were no infernal descant from God’s justice.” “Just as there can be no light without dark … Without hell, you can’t have Heaven.” (The Economist, 12/22/12-1/4/13) Why does man at times prefer evil rather than good? At the tragic moments of Gethsemane and Calvary, why did God not stop man from perverting his nature created according to imago Dei? “Wherever being in fieri is produced, suffering and wrong immediately appear as its shadow: not only as a result of … selfishness found in creatures, but also … as an inevitable concomitant of their effort to progress.” (T, De Chardin) Evil comes from misplaced use of free will. A loving God always respects that.
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