Several years ago a black man named Alex Haley, a middle-aged
author of no special note, wrote a book entitled "Roots". It was a fictionalized
history purporting to describe the odyssey of Haley's family from slavery to
freedom, covering some 300 years. The book was serialized on American
television, becoming an overnight sensation -- the most watched program in
history. This epic story further encouraged the popular study of "family
There is great interest today in genealogical research.
Enthusiasts delve through dusty tomes in forgotten corners of old libraries and
court-houses, in the hope of finding some scrap of an official record to trace
their "roots" backward one more step.
Believers in Christ have "cut off the flesh" in baptism,
thereby repudiating ties of natural descent. The true sons and daughters of God
are reckoned as having been "born in Zion" (Psa 87). Their "mother" is spiritual
Jerusalem (Gal 4:26), their brother is Christ, and their family consists of
those who do the will of their Father in Heaven (Mat 12:48-50).
There are in reality only two "families" of mankind, and they
are delineated in the early chapters of Genesis. Like the feuding Hatfields and
McCoys of West Virginia, these two families have had continual enmity toward one
another from one generation to the next.
Our "roots", naturally speaking, are of no special
consequence. But our spiritual "roots" are of great consequence. Our eternal
fates are bound up in the "family" to which we give allegiance -- either the
seed of the serpent or the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). The "roots" of these
two families can be traced back to their very beginnings, in the Garden of Eden,
and then forward even into the future kingdom. The only "digging" necessary to
unearth these "roots" is the careful study of Scripture.
This series outline, with accompanying notes, the most
prominent passages tracing these two families through the Bible -- especially as
they appear in their antagonisms toward each other. Our starting point is Gen
3:15 -- where, after the cataclysmic sin in Eden, God addresses the
"I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your
seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel"
(Here the RSV helps our understanding by making the pronoun
references to the woman's seed to be masculine.)
With this verse as our starting point, we now begin our
journey -- a journey which might be subtitled "Genesis 3:15 in All the
The writer hopes that this summary might help to redress an
imbalance in Christadelphian circles. The imbalance is this: that, while the
promises to Abraham and David have received great stress (and rightly so!), the
great foundation promise of all the Bible (Gen 3:15) has been comparatively
neglected. Perhaps one reason for this neglect is the common assumption that Gen
3:15 is not quoted in the rest of the Bible. But the studies which follow
demonstrate that the Edenic promise is a golden thread woven through-out the
tapestry of Scripture. Though not directly quoted elsewhere, as are many other
Messianic prophecies, it is alluded to many times, and it is at the root of the
whole plan of redemption.