The King of Pop & the Animal Kingdom
His fascination with animal speech
Michael Joseph Jackson loved everyone, irrespective of race, color, nationality, place of origin, or creed. But, he especially loved children and animals. While his godly, wholesome love of children is legendary, not much attention has been drawn to his love of animals, particularly his fascination with animal speech.
As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses (and even after he left the organization), he was moved by what Witness literature said about man and animal living together in a peaceful new earthly paradise of the future. He would have doubtlessly been intrigued with the following information on the talking serpent in the Garden of Eden.
‘Lowly Dumb Creature’?: According to the January 1, 2010, Watchtower, “First, Satan caught and riveted Eve’s attention. She knew that snakes do not talk; her husband had named all the animals, including this one, likely after careful study. (Genesis 2:19) No doubt Eve too had observed this cautious creature. So Satan’s ploy roused Eve’s curiosity; it got her to focus on the one thing in all the garden that was forbidden to her.
“Second, if the serpent was lurking in the limbs of the forbidden tree, what conclusion was Eve likely to draw? Might she not have reasoned that this lowly, dumb creature had itself eaten from that fruit and had thereafter been able to speak? If the fruit could do so much for a serpent, what might it do for her?
“We cannot know for sure what Eve thought or whether the snake had taken a bite of the fruit, but we do know that when the serpent told Eve that the fruit would make her ‘like God,’ she was prepared to believe the lie.”
Top of the Class: Actually, the Bible says the serpent had very high animal IQ. First off, recall that everything God made, including the serpent, was “very good.” (Ge 1:31) Not only was the serpent “very good,” it was at the top of the class in the animal kingdom; it “proved to be the most cautious,” by comparison, “of all the wild beasts.” (Ge 3:1) The Hebrew word rendered “cautious” (arum) means “crafty, shrewd, sensible,” or having “good sense.”
Outside of Genesis 3:1, arum is always applied to humans, mostly in a positive sense. (Job 5:12; 15:5; Prov 12:23; 13:16; 14:8, 15, 18; 22:3, 27:12) The Greek equivalent or the Hebrew arum is phronimos, which means “sensible, thoughtful, prudent, wise.” In this regard, Jesus said that his disciples should be “cautious [Greek, phronimos] as serpents.”-Matt 10:16.
But the serpent was not just “cautious,” it was the “most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field.” This implies that it performed in some way, or exhibited some exceptional behavior over an undisclosed period of time that duly impressed Adam and his new wife Eve. It even appeared to have God’s special favor. After all, it was at the top of the classification of wild animals in this regard. It was the rock star of the Garden Party.
We can be sure that of all the animals around, this is the one Eve may have wanted to hang with. It appears that this remarkable, gifted pet was a regular companion of Eve when Adam wasn’t around. But was it capable of learning human speech?
Today’s Talking Animals: Parrots can be taught to talk, and in different languages at that. In Tokyo, in June 2008, Yosuke flew out of his cage and got lost. Apparently, when it “recognized” that it was lost, it had the “presence of mind” to give its name and address to police, and was returned to its owner.
“Interestingly,” says one source, “a fifth-century B.C.E. Greek doctor penned the earliest known written account of a pet parakeet. He marveled when the bird began to speak Greek words in addition to some words in a language of its homeland, India.”
Scientists have taught certain primates to communicate via sign language with one having accumulated a remarkable vocabulary. Regarding human-animal communication, it has been proven that an individual sheep recognizes its name (and will respond) when its particular shepherd calls, even if it’s among a group of other sheep.
Our genetic memory seems to suggest that the serpent could have talked to Eve. This is manifested in countless cartoons where animals talk. Also, remember Mr. Ed? (Compare Nu 22:28-30) Indeed, the paradise Michael craved is just over the horizon. Peace and blessings to all (including animals). Amen.