Gen 1:31. – God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
God establishes a basis for reality that includes everything. And it’s all good. There is no exception. It even includes the serpent and the tree. That declaration is not dependent upon humanity interactivity or circumstance. God doesn’t wait until we show up and then judge after we act. God judges before. So to operate counter to this original judgment is the true basis for understanding both original sin, and the problem God is solving in the story.
So, one would rightly be left wondering "What the heck?"
For one thing, can we take a statement about how God saw things before the Fall and the entrance and effects of sin, and extrapolate that out to how things are now? When God first made the world, yes, it was good and very good. Can anyone say that it is now?
For example, in the account of Noah, we have this.
5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
So, a bit of time after the Creation, we have the Fall, and then after that we have God saying that He was going to wipe out humans except for Noah and his family. Something had changed, and pretty drastically, too.
But, as well, there is the statement in the EV article that the serpent was something good. Given how the account speaks of this serpent, it was something different from snakes in general, but rather somehow an appearance of Satan. As such, then, to speak of it in the same was the created world, to claim that it was good as regular snakes or fish or humans were good, is not feasible.
In the context of the Genesis 1 account, we know that God is speaking of the Creation of what we know as the physical or material universe--planets, stars, the Earth and moon and sun, and all the things God made to inhabit our world. To take a statement about this Creation, and to say that thus everything that has happened is good, that even the serpent or Satan are good, is to go too far.
But I'm not really surprised that an attempt should be made to make the serpent something good. Look at the recent entries to the Emergent Village blog, and you'll see what I mean--one writer has said that he would rewrite the book of Hosea so that God is the prostitute, while the church is asleep because it believes the myth of God's faithfulness. Another has compared the righteous judgments of God to the actions of an abusive mother. Given how much they hate (I do not use that word lightly, and I mean it very strongly) the God of the Bible, is it any wonder that they should, even in a small way, try to make a good the thing the God of the Bible is opposed to?