Chapter 3 - The Seed of the Woman

Continued from Chapter 2

(Genesis 3:15)

Some Christians explain the genealogical discord between Matthew and Luke by claiming that the determination of the Messiah’s genealogy is to be different because biblically he is biologically supposed to be different. 

God declares to the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will strike your head, and you will strike at his heel” (Genesis  3:15). Christians take the verse to mean that a miraculous birth took place. Their assumption is that this “seed” of the woman is not only the Messiah but that conception took place without a human father. None of this is stated explicitly or implicitly in the text of this verse.

The Christian claim that the Messiah will not have a human father and will receive his familial identity through adoption is totally unfounded. There is absolutely no reason to assume that Genesis 3:15 is messianic or that the Messiah is to be born in a supernatural way. The phrase “her seed” has nothing to do with the determination of messianic lineage. The woman mentioned is Eve. “Her seed” is representative of all her future descendants and the direct reference here is to the hostility between mankind and serpents, representing the nachash. The nachash (Heb. “serpent”), the “beast of the field” that caused Eve to transgress God’s directive, having been instrumental in causing the expulsion from the Garden of Eden would be an object of antagonism.

Christians assume this verse to be descriptive of an enmity between Jesus (“her seed”) and Satan (“your seed”). They support this position by reference to three New Testament passages: 1 John 3:8-9, Hebrews 2:14, and Romans 16:20. 1 John 3:8-9 states: “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that he might destroy the works of the Devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (see also 1 John 5:18). Hebrews 2:14 contends that the reason Jesus became flesh and blood was so “that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” Despite all these claims the works of Satan have not been destroyed and Satan has not been rendered powerless. Indeed, if Jesus accomplished all this by his death there would be no sinners among those who accept him and reject Satan, for the claim is that those who practice sin are not of God but of the Devil (1 John 3:8). However, there has never been a lack of sinful behavior among Christians. The author of 1 John wrote: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). What is more, even when they supposedly receive forgiveness for their sins (1 John 1:8) there is no guarantee that they will not repeat the sin (cf. 1 John 3:8-9). Jesus simply did not bring about deliverance from the power of Satan for his followers. Paul admits as much when he says: “For we wanted to come to you, even I, Paul, once and a second time, but Satan hindered us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

Most revealing is Paul’s statement of a hope now deferred some two thousand years: “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly [tacheos]” (Romans 16:20). Well, Satan is still around and Paul’s “shortly,” the imminent first century sudden appearance of Jesus, has become an empty promise. It is obvious that Jesus’ death did not render Satan powerless as promised. Jesus’ death did not render Satan powerless, Satan was not crushed in the “shortly” timeframe promised by Paul, and sin was not abolished. The christological interpretation leaves believers in Jesus with a series of unfulfilled promises and prophecies. Since God was not addressing a man, but the serpent in the presence of the woman, it was not necessary nor would it have been grammatically correct for Him to have said: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and his seed.”

It must read, in order to make sense, as found in Genesis: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” Thus, the grammatical consistency of the sentence is upheld in reference to those addressed. In Genesis 16:10, God’s message to Hagar states: “I will greatly multiply your seed” not “I will greatly multiply his [Abraham’s] seed.” Since God’s message concerning Hagar’s descendants is addressed directly to a woman, an occurrence not commonly found in the Bible, it is grammatically necessary to refer to these descendants as her seed. This was also the case concerning Eve. “Her seed” simply refers to her descendants, just as when addressed to a man, “his seed” means his descendants. As with Isaiah 7:14, no indication of virgin conception, messianic or otherwise, is found in Genesis 3:15. It is left to New Testament exegetical acrobatics to make the fallacious and distorted claim of a virgin conception.

© Gerald Sigal

Continued in Chapter 2...