The Agora
The Serpent and the Woman's Seed (Gen 3:15)

Index Next


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 trees".

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 serpent:

"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" (RSV).
(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 Bible".

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.

Index Next