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Celebrating God’s Creations

COAL GROVE — In the Bible, snakes have sometimes played the role of villain.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.” (Genesis 3:1)

They have also been used as powerful symbols.

“So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8)

Herpetologist Rick Teepen told a crowd at more than 150 at Zoar Baptist Church Friday night that snakes, though sometimes frightening, are works of art created by a wonderful God with an awesome imagination.

Teepen, who gives lectures at the Creation Museum in Cincinnati, brought more than a dozen non-poisonous snakes and a couple of lizards to prove his point.

“They are the handiwork of a highly intelligent and loving designer,” Teepen said of God and reptile.

While some may think of snakes and church in terms of snakehandling (they absolutely do not do that kind of thing at Zoar), Youth Pastor Andy Lovejoy said the point of inviting Teepen was simple.

“I want them to realize Jesus Christ created every living thing and that he is the savior of all mankind,” Lovejoy said.

Some of those who attended came with more than a bit of trepidation. Jamilaih Gullet was one of them. Does she like snakes? Yes and No.

“I don’t particularly like them in my house,” she explained.

Ten-year-old Devon Pritchard said snakes are okay sometimes.

“I saw a copperhead once,” he said. He said he hoped to see some yellow ones. (Teepen didn’t disappoint: the grand finale was a yellowish colored 12-foot python).

Twelve-year-old Thomas Ghee professed not to like snakes. But that didn’t prevent him from starting out in a seat three or four rows from the front and eventually inching his way to the first row where all the snakes were.

Along with the story of creation, Teepen offered some advice to those who might want a reptile as a pet: Choose carefully. Snakes and lizards that grow to enormous size do not make good pets for the average person and all reptiles require and deserve special care. One pet in his possession was rescued from a college student that let it slither around his apartment. The snake got cold and curled up to a light bulb for heat and ended up being seriously burned.

He said he also hoped to inspire people to see God and his creation differently.

He said he also hoped people would get out amongst God’s creation more often.

“I hope to spark an interest, to get you outside and see God through his creation.”