- For the Christian concept of the "seed of the serpent" see Seed of the Woman
Serpent seed, dual seed or two-seedline is a controversial religious belief which explains the biblical account of the fall of man by saying that the serpent in the Garden of Eden mated with Eve, and that the offspring of their union was Cain. It appears in early Gnostic writings such as the Gospel of Philip (c. 350). Irenaeus (c. 180), an early church father, explicitly rejected the doctrine as heresy, a view which was echoed by subsequent mainstream Christian theologians. According to The Celtic Church In Britain, by Leslie Hardinge, the early Celtic church taught the belief in re-telling the seduction of Eve by the serpent.
The serpent-seed doctrine has been occasionally promoted in more recent times, such as by American religious leaders Daniel Parker (1781–1844), William M. Branham (1909–1965),:98 and Arnold Murray (1929–2014). This belief is also held by some adherents of the white supremacist theology known as Christian Identity, who claim that Jews are descended from the serpent. It is considered heresy by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and by most Protestants. The Unification Church teaches that Eve committed adultery with the devil, but does not teach the serpent-seed doctrine. A section of the Mormon Fundamentalist group Church of the Firstborn (LeBaron order) led by author and publisher Fred Collier out of Hanna, Utah adhere to a form of "two Seedline" doctrine.
The idea that Eve mated with the serpent, or with Satan, to produce Cain, finds its earliest expression in Gnostic writings (e.g., the Gospel of Philip). It was rejected by mainstream Christian theologians such as Irenaeus. The idea appears in a 9th-century book called Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer. In his book Cain: Son of the Serpent, David Max Eichhorn traces the idea back to early Jewish Midrashic texts and identifies many rabbis who taught that Cain was the son of the union between the serpent and Eve.
Daniel Parker (1781–1844) was an early American leader in the Primitive Baptist Church in the Southern United States and the founder of numerous churches. As an elder, Parker led a group who separated from that church and formed the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists.
William M. Branham (1909-1965) taught that Eve and the serpent had sexual intercourse and that Cain's birth was the result.:98 Consequently, every woman potentially carried the literal seed of the devil.:111 Cain's descendants were today masquerading as the educated and the scientists,:113 who were "a big religious bunch of illegitimate bastard children.":125 The serpent was the "missing link" between the chimpanzee and man.:124
According to Branham's teachings, the central sins of modern culture - immoral women and education - were a result of the serpent's seed. Branham's attitude toward culture was an extremist perspective similar to the "Christ Against Culture" concept of theologian H. Richard Niebuhr. Education was Satan's snare for intellectual Christians who rejected the supernatural. Education was Satan's tool for obscuring the "simplicity" of the messenger and his message (i.e. William Branham and his message).:114
Arnold Murray (1929–2014), founder of The Shepherd's Chapel, taught the serpent seed doctrine. He accepted the belief that the Jews (Kingdom of Judah) were descended from Adam through Seth, as described in the Bible. However, his view was that the Kenites were the offspring of Cain, and that they infiltrated the northern kingdom of Israel. Murray's teachings are disputed by Protestant apologetics ministries CARM and CRI.
Christian Identity movementEdit
Adherents of the white supremacist theology known as Two-Seedline Christian Identity hold the view that only white people are descendants of Adam and hence the chosen people of God. The Jewish people are believed to be descendants of Cain and thus of Satan. This belief was developed by Wesley A. Swift (Church of Jesus Christ–Christian), Conrad Gaard, Dan Gayman (Church of Israel) and William Potter Gale among others. The opposing faction is called One-Seedline Christian Identity and its adherents hold the view that all people are descended from Adam, but they believe that only Aryans (meaning Northern Europeans) are truly God's chosen people.
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