Pastor David B. Curtis

HOME | STUDY INDEX


Media #989 MP3 Audio File Video File

Is Cain the Serpent Seed?

(1 John 3:12)

Delivered 12/08/19

We are back in 1 John this morning continuing our study of this challenging book. We finished last time looking at 3:10a, but instead of picking up the study in 3:10b I want to skip to verse 12 today. Next week we'll come back to 3:10b. But for this morning I want to talk to you about verse 12 and the Serpent Seed Doctrine. How many of you have heard of the Serpent Seed Doctrine? Verse 12 says,

We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 1 John 3:12 ESV

"Cain, who was of the evil one"—those who hold to the Serpent Seed Doctrine take this to mean that Cain was literally fathered by Satan. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says this on verse 12,

"Jewish tradition extensively elaborated and underlined Cain's sinfulness. belonged to the evil one. A murderer was a child of the devil (v. 10), for one of the devil's first works had been to bring death to Adam (see note on Jn 8:44). Some later Jewish texts even claim that Cain's father was the devil himself."

Let me try to summarize what this doctrine actually teaches. It is often called the Serpent seed, the dual seed or the two-seedline doctrine. It is a teaching which explains the biblical account of the fall of man by saying that the sin of Eve was not simple disobedience, but sexual contact with the serpent, and that Cain was the son of Eve and the devil. Cain's descendants are, according to this idea, the sons of Satan, and this includes most any race or group that the serpent-seed believer chooses to dislike.

The serpent seed doctrine is also closely related to other erroneous beliefs such as the Christian Identity Movement and the Kenite doctrine. The serpent seed teaching was popularized by William Branham. Branham (April 6, 1909 – December 24, 1965) was an American preacher and faith healer who initiated the post–World War ll healing revival. He is said to have left a lasting impact on televangelism and the modern Charismatic movement and is recognized as the "principal architect of restorationist thought" for Charismatics by some Christian historians. At the time they were held, his inter-denominational meetings were the largest religious meetings ever held in some American cities. His ministry reached global audiences with major campaigns held in North America, Europe, Africa, and India.

Branham claimed to have received an angelic visitation on May 7, 1946, commissioning his worldwide ministry and launching his campaigning career in mid-1946. His fame spread rapidly as crowds were drawn to his stories of angelic visitations and reports of miracles happening at his meetings.

By 1960, Branham transitioned into a teaching ministry. Many of his followers accepted his sermons as oral scripture and refer to his teachings as, The Message. In 1963, Branham preached a sermon in which he indicated he was a prophet with the anointing of Elijah, who had come to herald Christ's second coming. His teachings continue to be promoted through the William Branham Evangelistic Association, who reported in 2018 that about 2 million people receive their material. Here is a quote from Branham,

"Here is what really happened in the Garden of Eden. The Word says that Eve was beguiled by the serpent. She was actually seduced by the serpent.He was so close to being human that his seed could, and did mingle with that of the woman and cause her to conceive. When this happened, God cursed the serpent." [William Branham, "The Original Sin," available at http://www.williambranham.com/the-original-sin/]

William Branham may not have been the first to preach the serpent seed doctrine, but he has become known as one of the major proponents of this doctrine in our modern times. Those who promote this doctrine say that the fall of man was not caused by disobedience but by sexual sin between Eve and Satan.

Let's look at the text and see what it actually says,

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" Genesis 3:1 ESV

"Serpent" here is from the Hebrew word nachash, which, according to Hebrew scholar Michael Heiser, "Is most likely a triple entendre, which is a word or phrase that has three different meanings at once. The root of nachash is (noon, het and sheen), which is the basis for a noun, a verb and an adjective in Hebrew. If you take nachash as pointing to the noun, the word here would mean: 'serpent.' This is a valid translation, but you must keep in mind that 'serpent' is not a member of the animal kingdom."

Have you ever wondered why so many of God's enemies are described with serpent-like language? Think of Job's leviathan, or Revelation's dragon, or Daniel's beasts from the sea. Why was it a serpent that came to tempt Adam and Eve? The Bible uses all kinds of images to talk about the spiritual forces of evil: serpents, dragons, sea monsters, and other creatures of chaos. The serpent (nachash) here is Genesis 3 is a chaos monster. The Bible uses chaos monster imagery all over the place to depict God's power over chaos/evil.

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. Psalms 74:12-14 ESV

So, in Genesis 3 we have the nachash, causing chaos but in 3:15 Yahweh promises a coming deliver who will crush the serpent of chaos and restore man to Yahweh's presence.

Okay, back to nachash being a triple entendre. If you were to take it as a verb, it would mean: 'deceiver' or 'diviner.' So nachash could imply a 'deceiver.'" This option also fits the story. Hang on to this meaning it's important in refuting the Serpent Seed Doctrine.

As an adjective it would mean: "bronze," or "the shining one." In our text it is "ha nachash" (the Shining one). Luminosity is a characteristic of a divine being in the Hebrew Bible and in the ANE texts, luminosity is not the characteristic of an animal or a man. This is a divine being, it is not a member of the animal kingdom, but a member of the divine council. This watcher chose to oppose Yahweh's plan for humanity by prompting humans to disobey Yahweh, so they would either be killed or removed from Eden, Yahweh's council and family.

And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:2-5 ESV

So, Eve says they were allowed to eat from all the trees in the garden except one, hang on to that thought. The serpent tells Eve you won't die, go ahead and eat.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV

What just happened? Eve ate the forbidden fruit. We are told by those holding the Serpent Seed Doctrine that eating of the fruit is a sexual sin, it's adultery on Eve's part with the devil. I hope you're thinking, Wow, how on earth do they get that?

Those who support serpent-seed ideas cite many passages in the Bible as proof that their idea is correct. Almost without exception, these "proofs" require an interpretation that is totally inappropriate to the context of the passage.

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9 ESV

Branham's view is that the Tree of Life in Genesis refers to Yeshua. Branham writes, "If the Tree of Life is a person, then the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a person ALSO. It can't be otherwise. Thus the Righteous One and the Wicked One stood side by side there in the midst of the Garden of Eden." By arguing that Yeshua is the Tree of Life, Branham then concludes that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the serpent. This leads Branham to conclude that the sin in the Garden of Eden involved sexual relations between Eve and the Satan.

Well if Yeshua is the "tree" of Life then that would mean that after they had sex with Satan "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" God stopped Adam and Eve from having sex with Yeshua.

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—" Genesis 3:22 ESV

This would also mean that up until this point it would have been perfectly okay for Adam to have had sex with Yeshua as there was no forbidding of eating from this tree and in fact Adam was told he could eat from any other tree which must have included the tree of life. And if that is true what does Revelation 2:7 mean?

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.' Revelation 2:7 ESV

With the serpent seed understanding the way that believers will obtain eternal life is we will all have sex with the Lord Yeshua.

Also, the doctrine would assert that Satan is being referenced as both the serpent and the tree of knowledge of good and evil in this passage which in itself is to interpret the verse in such a way as to biasedly support the doctrine.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV

The plain words of the text should be sufficient to explain the meaning of it not being any sexual act, but an act of disobedience to the command of eating from the one tree God put off limits.

What in the text tells us that eating fruit is not a sexual sin? Who else ate the fruit? Adam. So, if one is going to say Eve eating of the tree was sexual in nature then it needs to be applied to Adam as well. Adam and Eve both ate of the fruit of this tree. And if eating the fruit is a euphemism for sexual intercourse, then God would have said that it was ok to have sex with all the other "trees", Persons in the Garden,

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, Genesis 2:16 ESV

Who were these other trees that Adam was told he could have sex with? Eve had not yet been created.

Clearly this is about eating. The Bible makes it clear that fall of man came from the disobedience of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, it had nothing to do with intercourse?

For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 ESV

Adam's disobedience is contrasted with Christ's obedience. This is the issue, it is obedience to Yahweh.

God confronts this first couple after their sin. Adam blames Eve and God. Eve blames Satan.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. Genesis 3:13 KJV

In the KJV, it translates that she said, "the serpent beguiled me and I did eat." The people who hold to the Serpent Seed Doctrine love the KJV. They say that the word "beguiled" in some contexts can be synonymous with "seduced." Context and scholarship would disagree.

Branham explains, "He seduced her [Eve] and by her did Satan have a child vicariously. Cain bore the full spiritual characteristics of Satan and the animalistic (sensual, fleshly) characteristic of the serpent."

This view requires the interpreter to suggest that "beguiled" in this context actually means sexually seduced. However, in contemporary translations, the Hebrew word that the King James renders as "beguiled" is often translated as "deceived" (ESV, NIV, HCSB, NLT) or "tricked" (NRSV, NET), none of these translations render the word as "seduced" or imply sexual seduction.

Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Genesis 3:13 ESV

"The serpent deceived me"—remember what verb form of nachash meant? It meant: "deceiver" or "diviner." The word "deceived" here is from the Hebrew nasha, which is used sixteen times in the Tanakh. In the King James Bible it is translated beguiled once, seize once, and deceive or deceived thirteen times. And in the fifteen other passages where nasha is used; not once is it used with sexual connotations. Eve is saying the deceiver nachash deceived nasha me.

If the Hebrew word nasha means to sexually seduce as all seedline teachers claim, then in 2 Kings 18:29, Rabshakeh was warning the inhabitants of Jerusalem not to let King Hezekiah sexually seduce them.

Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive [nasha] you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 2 Kings 18:29 ESV

And in 2 Kings 19:10, Rabshakeh was warning Hezekiah lest he be sexually seduced by Yahweh.

"Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive [nasha] you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 2 Kings 19:10 ESV

And in Jeremiah 4:10, Jeremiah was accusing Yahweh of sexually seducing the descendants of the House of Judah!

Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived [nasha] this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,' whereas the sword has reached their very life." Jeremiah 4:10 ESV

And in Jeremiah 29:8, Yahweh was warning the remnant of Judah about sexual seduction of false prophets.

For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive [nasha] you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, Jeremiah 29:8 ESV

And in Jeremiah 37:9, Yahweh was warning King Zedekiah and the remnant of Judah not to sexually seduce themselves!

Thus says the LORD, Do not deceive [nasha] yourselves, saying, "The Chaldeans will surely go away from us," for they will not go away. Jeremiah 37:9 ESV

So, their whole argument based on the word nasha is made up. In context, Eve is blaming the serpent for tricking her into eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. She is not stating that the serpent seduced her sexually.

Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Genesis 3:13 ESV

Another problem with the serpent seed view is that this Hebrew word akal (ate) is consistently used for physically eating-not for sex. So, you might ask, How do they turn eating into having sex? Good question, I'm glad you asked. To support their view that eating is sexual sin they go to verses like,

This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, "I have done no wrong." Proverbs 30:20 ESV

This is not saying that eating is a metaphor for adultery. The idea here is just like one eats something they shouldn't, and then wipes his mouth so it won't appear that he has eaten anything; so an adulteress commits sexual sin; and then acts like she has done nothing wrong. She hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence. This is greatly overstated by the serpent-seed believer as proof that the Fall was sexual.

"The serpent deceived me, and I ate"—the word "ate" is from akal which simply means to eat. This word and its derivatives are used 810 times in the Hebrew texts. Let's look at some examples.

But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Genesis 9:4 ESV

If we apply the understanding that "to eat" is a euphemism for sex then here we have God informing the Hebrews that they cannot have sexual intercourse with any flesh that has blood in it.

During the feast of unleavened bread the Hebrews must not have sexual intercourse with leavened bread only unleavened bread.

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. Exodus 12:15 ESV

The exact same wording תֹֽאכְל֔וּוּ is used in both of these verses. We must ask why the word is a euphemism in Genesis 3 but not in Genesis 9 or Exodus 12.

It could be context. Context always should give us the answer as to why a word is used to mean something. However for this word to mean a sexual act in Genesis 3 and not in the rest of its uses in the bible the context would have to dictate that different application but in order to do that it must already be believed that it is in fact a euphemism for a sexual act to read that into and then out of the text , this is circle reasoning and simply fails.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15 ESV

In the King James Version, the first portion of Genesis 3:15 reads, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." The serpent seed doctrine takes the view that both seeds are literal. And attempts to show that Satan has a physical seed just as the woman does. But if we use some logic, this interpretation just completely falls apart. The Bible does not state that the enmity would be put between Satan's seed and Adam's seed but between Satans and the woman's. If Satan did in fact produce his seed through Eve then that seed would also be the seed of Eve, the woman, so her seed would in fact be both Satans and Adams. This would make God's statement be that God would put enmity between her seed and her seed. This makes a completely illogical argument that God is putting enmity between her physical seed and her physical seed. That is not the distinction God is making.

Let's look at Genesis 4:1 which teaches that Cain was Adam's son:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD." Genesis 4:1 ESV

To me this verse is the death of the serpent seed doctrine. It clearly shows that Cain was the son of Adam and not the devil. Here Eve conceives when Adam "knew" Eve his wife. Here "knew" is a euphemism for sex. Eating is not a euphemism for sex. And she bare Cain. Cain then would seem to be the result of Adam knowing his wife NOT from a sexual act with Satan. Eve declares, "I have gotten a man with the help of Yahweh. Hardly the proclamation of someone who was pregnant with the child of Satan.

But those who hold to the serpent seed doctrine would take us to:

When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. Genesis 5:3 ESV

And from this verse they would argue, Genesis 5:3, Says that Adam "fathers a son in his own likeness—after his image". Those phrases were not used of Cain in Genesis 4:1, therefore Cain is not really the son of Adam.

If you go to Genesis 4:25, it wipes out the Genesis 5:3 argument that is the basis for Genesis 4:1's argument.

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him." Genesis 4:25 ESV

We don't have this image language in Genesis 4:25, and we don't need it. Verse 25 connects back to verse 1. So, Adam is the father of both Cain and Seth. And this language of Genesis 5:3 doesn't telegraph anything different.

This view that Cain was the offspring of Satan focuses on some unusual things in the Hebrew text of Genesis 4:1 and a Targum on this verse.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD." Genesis 4:1 ESV

The Hebrew at the end of Genesis 4:1 is kind of strange. Eve literally says, "I have created a man Yahweh" Because of this literal translation certain cults and sects held the view that Yahweh had a sexual relationship with Eve. Well as weird as that is Yahweh isn't Satan so why would the serpent seed people use this verse?

Hang on I'll try to explain. Right before the word Yahweh is the two-letter particle aleph-tav, which usually marks a direct object. But it can also be a preposition. So, it's, "I have created a man" and then the direct object is "Yahweh".

Scholars look at this and say, "Okay, we have to take the aleph tav here as a preposition." Which would be, "I have created a man with Yahweh." The ESV has "with the help of the Lord." But the English word "help" here has no Hebrew equivalent in the verse. It's just "I have created a man with Yahweh."

In his book, Outside of Eden: Cain in the Ancient Versions of Genesis 4.1-16, M. W. Scarlata says this: "If את is taken as a predicative accusative, the sentence could be translated, ‘I have acquired/created a man, who is YHWH,' which could signify that Eve believed she had given birth to the promised seed of Gen 3:15. Now, that was actually Martin Luther's view."

Maybe because of the difficulty of the Hebrew or maybe because the translator was smoking something, we have a very strange translation of this verse in one of the Targums. Targums are Aramaic translations of the Tanakh. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan has this reading for Genesis 4:1,

"Adam knew his wife Eve, who had conceived from Sammael, the angel of the Lord. Then, from Adam her husband she bore his twin sister and Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a man tilling the Earth."

That's Genesis 4:1-2 in Clarke's edition of Targum Pseudo-Jonathan.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD." Genesis 4:1 ESV

Eve's exclamation isn't even in the verse. The translator, or I should say the fabricator, just inserts his own words, this is not a translation at all, it's totally made up.

Sammael is a Satan figure known from pseudepigraphical texts, like The Ascension of Isaiah or Martyrdom of Isaiah. Sammael is a Satan figure, and he is just inserted into the text. There's a complete absence in Genesis 4:1 or any other passage that Cain was fathered by Satan. The idea is just not present in the Bible. This is eisegesis, presented to the world as a translation in Aramaic.

This Targum is just one of the many ancient texts that have this idea of Cain being the Serpents offspring. We find this teaching in the Zohar a Jewish Mystical book that has alternate explanations of the Bible, much of it is done from a non Biblical interpretation, but a mystical one. The Zohar (Soncino translation) in Bereishis 36b says,

"When they begat children, the first born was the son of the (serpent's) slime. For two beings had intercourse with Eve and she conceived from both and bore two children. Each followed one of the male parents and their spirits parted one to this side and one to the other and similarly their characters."

Rabbi David Max Eichhorn traces the idea back through early Jewish Midrashic texts in his book, Cain: Son of the Serpent. He identifies rabbis who taught that Cain was the son of the union between the Serpent and Eve.

One of the Gnostic Gospels, from the third century, the Gospel of Philip states:

"First, adultery came into being, afterward murder. And he was begotten in adultery, for he was the child of the Serpent. So he became a murderer, just like his father, and he killed his brother. Indeed, every act of sexual intercourse which has occurred between those unlike one another is adultery."

The Serpent Seed idea appears with third century Gnostics and then in a 9th century book called Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer. Who on Genesis 1 Ch. xii.-xxiii. Identifies the serpent with Samael who is an archangel in Talmudic writings, a accuser, seducer and destroyer, regarded as both good and evil.

This teaching is not just wrong, it is destructive. It leads directly and logically racism: believing that certain races are irredeemable. The only possible outcome of such a worldview is prejudice and bigotry.

The Aryan Nations Web site states: WE BELIEVE that there are literal children of Satan in the world today. These children are the descendants of Cain, who was the result of Eve's original sin, her physical seduction by Satan. [The ARYAN NATIONS website URL http: //www.nidlink.com/~aryanvic/index-E.html.]

Racism and bigotry are sin, and this serpent seed teaching leads to both. Paul teaches that there is no difference between ethnicities.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Yeshua. Galatians 3:28 ESV

The Jews and Greeks hated each other. We see this in:

The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) John 4:9 ESV

The Greek word used here for "dealings" is sugchraomai, which means: "use the same objects or utensils." Literally, the verb is, "They don't use the same utensils." Or "use not anything together with Samaritans." They don't use the same things. They don't drink out of the same cup. It's very specific. It's not saying they have no dealings, it's saying they don't use the same utensils.

This woman is saying, "I know your culture, I know what you think about us." And Yeshua shattered that because that was non-biblical tradition. That kind of hatred toward the Samaritans that came from the Jews was wrong.

Paul writes, When we are in Yeshua, there is neither Jew nor Greek. Paul makes this same point in:

But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Ephesians 2:13-16 ESV

In Christ Jew and Gentile are one. God is no respecter of person. In Christ, all believers stand on the same ground.

Heaven is described as people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" Revelation 7:9-10 ESV

All who believe in Christ are brothers and sisters in Christ. It's a sad thing when people use the Bible to support their sin of prejudice. This serpent seed doctrine is a sick twisted teaching that distorts the Word of God. The devil's children are not a physical people they are those who do not believe in Christ, no matter what race they are.

Continue the Series

Berean Bible Church provides this material free of charge for the edification of the Body of Christ. You can help further this work by your prayer and by contributing online or by mailing to:

Berean Bible Church
1000 Chattanooga Street
Chesapeake, VA 23322