When Satan tempts Adam and Eve in the garden does he actually take on the form of a snake or is that allegorical?
I believe there are many things allegorical about the events, people and animals, and the text of the story about the Garden of Eden. The most interesting thing I have found about the serpent is in the Young’s Literal Translation of the Old Testament. This translation makes no attempt to adjust the wording for complete sentences, or to make sense with any current understanding or belief. This translation simply takes the Hebrew word and translates it to English with the best possible word to describe what it means in Hebrew, in the same sequence it appears in Hebrew.
KJV Genesis 3:13
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
VY’aMUr YHVH ‘aLHYM L’aShH MH-Z’aTh ‘yShYTh VTh’aMUr H’aShH HNChSh HShY’aNY V’aKL.
Young’s Literal Translation:
And Jehovah God saith to the woman, `What is this thou hast done?` and the woman saith, `The serpent hath caused me to forget — and I do eat.
To most Christians “caused me to forget” is confusing and hard to understand in relation to the Garden of Eden. So, it is commonly translated into “beguiled” to fit the belief that Eve was “fooled” or “lied to” in order to get her to do something she was not supposed to do. But, to LDS, this finding in the YLT can be remarkable in symbolism.
Yes, I believe that saying Satan took the form of a serpent acts as a symbol of something, but I am not certain as to exactly what. There is more information found where the serpent’s punishment is given. Those punishments are also symbolic of something, and those punishments may help us understand what the serpent may represent. You will find those in the next two verses (Genesis 3: 14-15).
Here is the YLT web site: Parallel Hebrew Old Testament