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The Two Seeds

In the beginning God created man and his environment perfect in every respect. Man was in every way in complete harmony with his surroundings and with God. There was no sin; Adam and Eve obeyed God and were at peace with God and their environment. They were given the entire world, everything they would need to fulfill God’s mandate for them:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:  and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Gen. 1:28)

This verse is known as the Dominion Mandate. Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful, to multiply and to take dominion over the earth and everything in it. This involved procreation, care for (replenish and subdue) the land, and dominion over all of God’s creatures.

The earth was then a paradise and, with man’s obedience, would have remained so as it was increasingly populated with God-revering and God-obedient people. In it there was to be no sickness and no death (Rom. 5:12); the people, recognizing themselves as God’s creatures would live together in peace and harmony as they obeyed Him.

This all changed with the temptation and the Fall. Our first parents, thinking they didn’t need God and could be free to decide for themselves between good and evil, submitted to the temptation of Satan and decided to be their own gods. Instead of becoming gods, though, they became slaves, slaves in bondage to Satan. Satan so dominated their minds that they could not shake off their desire to truly be gods themselves, even though they almost certainly could see the impossibility of it.

This condition of satanic bondage was propagated to their offspring; it continued through the ages and is very much with us today. Every child born throughout all of history is born into this bondage (Rom. 3:19,23). This delusion and desire to be self-determining beings has been and continues to be the fundamental cause and source of every form of evil in the world.

God, of course, knew that all this would take place; it was part of His plan for man and the world. For reasons beyond our understanding, it was necessary for man to go through a developmental process that included his sin. The sin, though, was entirely man’s; he was free to obey or disobey. The plan was God’s, who knows His creatures better than they know themselves and always knows in advance whether or not they will obey.

God is indeed great. He is able to predetermine every event in all of history and still give His creatures complete freedom of action. This means that God’s plan, although totally predetermined, is also contingent on man because he is always free to obey or disobey. Man’s future, although fully determined by God, is also fully dependent on what he does or doesn’t do; his future depends on him. MAN IS TRULY RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS ACTIONS!

Speaking to the Serpent immediately after the Fall, God said:

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. (Gen. 3:15)

There is much more here than the struggle between Christ and Satan. Albert Barnes identified the references to the seeds as the great division of mankind into the regenerate and the reprobate:

The spiritual agent in the temptation of man cannot have literally any seed. But the seed of the serpent is that portion of the human family that continues to be his moral offspring, and follows the first transgression without repentance or refuge in the mercy of God. The seed of the woman, on the other hand, must denote the remnant who are born from above, and hence, turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.[1]

We see here the first indication of a yet to come division within mankind; there are to be two seeds, two bodies of people in conflict with each other. It is a division God established; God puts the enmity in place, first between Christ and Satan, and also between the two great bodies of mankind.

At this point in time there was only one body, the entire human race was in Satan’s camp and without God’s interference, it would remain so. God’s plan to create a world that would glorify Him, a world governed by His faithful creatures, would have been frustrated. It would instead be a world of rebellious creatures, controlled by Satan. God, though, is never frustrated. That He would interfere and provide a way out of the dilemma is implicit in His speaking of two seeds, two divisions of mankind, and of a struggle to follow. The seed of the Serpent will face opposition from another seed, the seed of the Woman. The outcome of the struggle is also given. Satan’s head will be bruised (or crushed). This verse is known as the Proto-Evangelium, the first promise of God’s grace toward His wayward creatures.[2]

[1] “Notes on the Bible,” Albert Barnes, 1834. Albert Barnes (b. 1798, d. 24 Dec. 1870) was an American theologian who graduated Hamilton College, Clinton, New York in 1820, and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1823. He was ordained in 1825 as a Presbyterian minister. Born in Rome, New York, Barnes was pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey from 1825-30, and the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia from 1830-67.