I think God *allowed* the serpent into the garden as a test for man, although I think it was the tempter's choice to be there. I also don't think God *meant* for us to fail - that was man's choice to turn away from God and try to be like God. God always knew we *would* fail, but that doesn't mean that is what He wanted. God gave man dominion over animals before the fall, so I don't think eating the fruit separated us from the animals. God already made us in His own image, meaning we had the ability to choose to love. Animals don't do that. I think if man had made the right choice and not sought to be God, God would have helped us develop the ability to discern right from wrong without all the horrors our race has experienced since being driven from the garden.
Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Mary, Our Mother, protect us under your mantle.
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