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Covington, GA., 1859.

BRETHREN EDITORS: - I saw in the MESSENGER for May 15th, an earnest request from brother Culp for my views on Gen. 3:15. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Give whatever fair construction you may of this text, and it will be found in direct opposition to Elder Parker’s Two-seed system; for according to his system the elect alone were created in Adam, and they of course were his seed, and the non-elect were the multiplication of the woman’s conception, they of course were her seed, in distinction from Adam’s, and are the serpent’s seed, but the enmity is between the woman’s seed, and the serpent’s seed, and therefore between themselves. And the elect of course are not involved in this enmity. But without pursuing that idea further, we will inquire what is to be understood by the woman’s seed. It must be a seed or posterity that does not proceed from man, and of which therefore man has no agency in bringing into existence. This is not and has not been the case with any of the natural family of mankind. Adam was alike the agent of Cain and of Seth’s being brought into existence, and undoubtedly of Abel’s existence also. See Gen. 4:2 & 5:3. Hence the natural family are all the seed of man. But Eve, the woman was a type of the church as Adam was a figure of Christ or him that was to come. As proof that she was a type of the church compare, Eph. 5:30-32, with Gen. 2:23,24. Hence the church is evidently the woman intended in the declaration, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman;” for there has not appeared any more enmity between Satan that old serpent, and women naturally, than between him and men. But in coming more directly to the seed, we must bear in mind that Christ and his church are one, and all of one. Heb. 2:11. Christ is the head and the church is his body, and all the members are that one body. See I Cor. 12:12 & 27, and Eph. 5:23 & 30. Hence as the head naturally, and the body including all its members, constitute but the one person, so Christ and the church are one. Again the term seed, both in the translation and in the original, signifies not only, that fruit which the plant bears and by which its species is propagated or multiplied, but also that from which it proceeded. There is in this case a peculiar beauty and fitness in this generality of the term, the seed of the woman or, her seed. For Christ is not only as the antitype of Adam, he from whom the church was taken, but he is also the fruit she bears, and by which alone she is propagated. For she is of his flesh, and his bones, and it is as Christ is held forth in her doctrine, order and ordinances, that she is classed or her species is defined; and it is Christ in them the hope of glory, that characterizes all her true children. Hence although in some instances in this brief text, Christ personally is intended, and in others his body and its members, there is no confusion in the text, whatever there may be in our minds. But it may still be asked further, why this figure of the woman’s seed is used? I answer it is so manifestatively. First, in Christ’s being manifested in the flesh, he was made of a woman, no seed, no agency of man was used or admitted into the formation of his manhood. So in the production of all of the living children of the church, although they are born into her doctrine and to a right to a participation in her ordinances, fellowship, &c., and thus born as her children, yet they are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. No human agency in the affair.

We will now enquire after the serpent’s seed. This is not a race of natural persons by which the earth is in part peopled, for God had provided for the peopling of the earth before the serpent beguiled Eve, in the command to Adam in the day God had created him, male and female, to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Gen. 1:28. What is it then? It is not a natural or fleshly seed, but as the seed of the woman throughout is a spiritual or religious seed, so is the seed of the serpent. Our Lord illustrates this subject in his conversation with the Jews. John 8:37, he saith to them, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed,” again, he saith, verse 39, “If ye were Abraham’s children ye would do the works of Abraham,” and goes on to tell them, verse 44, “ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” Now in saying that they were the seed of Abraham, he evidently did not mean that they were the spiritual seed of Abraham, but that they were his natural seed. And in being his natural seed they descended from him after the flesh, and consequently through him descended from Adam, and were of course his seed. And in saying they were not Abraham’s children he meant, that they were not his spiritual children, or seed; not his in the sense in which he is the father of all them that believe. {See Rom. 4:11,16} In verse 23, he had told them, “ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world,” thus clearly drawing the contrast between the two seeds. The one is heavenly, the other is of this world. But to come to the point, I understand sin to be the devil’s seed, hence we are told, that “he that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” I John 3:8. Hence in telling the Jews that they were of their father the devil, he says, “the lusts of your father ye will do,” and further adds, “when he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44. Christ is truth and his seed know and love the truth, and the truth maketh them free; the devil is a liar, and his seed love a lie. Hence whosoever loveth and maketh a lie is classed with those who are without. Rev. 21:27 & 22:15. And hence the devil is used as representing sin in Heb. 2:14, compared with Rom. 5:12,21. The enmity which God has placed between Satan and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, is that enmity which reigns in the human heart in consequence of sin. “The carnal mind is enmity against God,” and hence enmity against Christ, and the children of God.

This seed of the devil or serpent, and this enmity is alike in all of the human family elect and non-elect, in a state of unregeneracy. Hence, Paul tells the Ephesian brethren that in times past “ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Eph. 2:2.

I will now come to the last clause of this text, “It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The pronoun here rendered it, is, in the original, of common gender, it may be translated either he, she or it, according to the antecedent. Many persons consider the woman’s seed that is Christ, to be the antecedent here, and hence think that it should read he shall bruise &c., instead of it shall &c. It is true that as God, Christ is over-ruling and controlling all the enmity of Satan and of his seed, to the accomplishment of his own glorious purpose and to the ultimate downfall of Satan’s kingdom. But the translators evidently understood, the enmity to be the antecedent, and therefore used the word it; and I think correctly; for Christ as here represented by the seed of the woman, is presented to view as the life of his people and in his humiliation, as made flesh. We are told that, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” Heb. 2:14. It was evidently the enmity of the devil and of his children the Jews, that accomplished the death of Christ, and hence that destroyed the devil’s power over death. The same enmity is still manifested in the whole anti-christian interest, and it will ultimately prove the destruction of that power.

“And thou shalt bruise his heel.” The word here rendered heel signifies the extremity, or the sole or heel of a man’s foot. This declaration may have reference to Christ in his spiritual body, the church, or to him in his own purpose. If the former, then it refers to the fact that the devil, with all the persecutions he can raise against the church, can only kill the bodies of the saints. Neither their life, nor their future happiness can he touch. The same is true in reference to his temptations. If the person of Christ be intended, then it refers to his manhood, that which he last took into union with his person in being made of a woman. This manhood, the devil or sin, did bruise to the full extent of the wrath of God’s law, so that nothing short of his Godhead could have sustained his manhood under the sufferings he endured.

J.L. Purington.