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Presbyterian Deacon

Genesis 3:15-- The Seed of the Woman

I've been looking at Genesis lately and I've come to 3:15 [that passage called by many] "The First Promise of Messiah."

Gen 3:15 KJV
Several questions come to mind. What are your thoughts?

What woman is being refered to in this passage?

Is it Eve or Mary?

Of particular interest to me is the identity of the "seed" of the woman. Who is the seed of the woman (or "offspring" as the ESV renders it)?

The Serpent is to have his head crushed and the heel of the seed of the woman is to be bruised. When did (or does, or will) this take place?
bodhisattva

I believe this to indicate Eve/mankind in general, but Mary/Christ in particular.  I'm not the biblical scholar that some of you are, but it has been my experience that much, if not most, Scripture speaks on more than one level and to both a contemporary and a future/prophetic time.

I marked all, but could have used an "All of the above" choice.
Gord

The woman being spoken to is Eve.

"The Serpent is to have his head crushed and the heel of the seed of the woman is to be bruised. When did (or does, or will) this take place?"

A recent John McAurthur sermon may help shed some historical relevance in his speaking about the linage of David thru to Jesus.


Quote:
That’s what they resented. There were tens of thousands of offspring that came out of the loins of David. It was fine for Him to be one of those, but not THE Son of David with an upper case S indicating the Messianic title. So Davidic dynasty and Davidic descent was in fact true concerning Jesus.

But that is not sufficient. So you go from a discerning question, through a deficient answer to, what I’ll call, a divine reality...a divine reality. This is marvelous. This again shows us so much. Verse 42, the question is, “How is it that they say Christ is David’s son? How can you say that when David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.’ David therefore calls Him Lord and how is He his son?” This is just amazing.

Now let me tell you what Jesus is doing here as an argument. Why are you calling Messiah David’s son only, when David himself says in , that’s the Psalm He’s quoting, , “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.”

Now let me tell you the foundation of our Lord’s argument. Everybody...everybody knew  was Messianic, everybody. The standard universal Jewish interpretation of  is it is speaking of the coming Messiah. This coming Messiah is the one who will sit at the right hand of God, the position of power and authority, and make all Israel’s and thus God’s enemies a footstool for His feet. He is the conquering hero. He is the conquering hero. Very reminiscent of . That is how the Jews interpreted . It was a universal interpretation. It’s Messianic. And when the Messiah comes, He will wield the right hand of God, He will wield the authority and power of God and He will subdue all gods, i.e. Israel’s enemies, put them under His feet.


I see the historical custom of the victor using the head of his enemy as a footstool.

Jesus victory over Satan will allow our Lord that privilege.  This passage in Gen. tells us of that time.
Presbyterian Deacon

Gord wrote:
I see the historical custom of the victor using the head of his enemy as a footstool.

Jesus victory over Satan will allow our Lord that privilege.  This passage in Gen. tells us of that time.


Quote:
...will...

So would you say that victory is still a future event, or is there a sense in which that victory is already completed?


Edited to add:
I guess another way to ask the question is this way:

Can Genesis 3:15 be properly taken as referring to the suffering and death of our Lord, or is it rather speaking of the emnity and strife which has marred creation ever since the fall?

In what way did Satan have power to bruise our Lord's heel? Is "bruising the serpent's head" an adequete description of Christ's destroying  him who had the power of death at the cross?

Thoughts?
Presbyterian Deacon

In commenting on this verse, F. F. Bruce wrote:

Quote:
In the history of the exegesis of Genesis 3:15 it is a matter of some interest that while Roman Catholic and Lutheran interpreters have, almost exclusively, taken "the seed of the woman" to refer to Christ alone, Calvinists for the most part have understood the phrase of mankind (or atleast redeemed mankind), which is one day to triumph in Christ over the infernal serpent (cf. Rom 16:20).


John Calvin himself wrote:

Quote:
I explain, therefore, the seed to mean the posterity of the woman generally. But since experience teaches that not all the sons of Adam by far arise as conquerors of the devil, we must necessarily come to one head, that we may find to whom the victory belongs.


Thoughts?
bodhisattva

That could be due to the considerable influence of Thomas Aquinas and his Aristotlian theories of John Calvin and his adherants (and to some factions within the Roman Catholic Church); as contrasted to the fact that Luther's training was as an Augustinian with a strong dose of Plato and this also fit with another faction within the Roman Catholic Church.

At the beginning of his reformation ministry, for Luther it was just that, reformation with a small "r" where the church would be drawn back to its roots in the early fathers just as Augustine had done (and Aquinas as well whether Luther liked him or not).  By the time the Zurich Reformation is underway it is evident to all concerned that it is Reformation, not just with a large "R" but reformation writ large.
Gord

Presbyterian Deacon wrote:
...
So would you say that victory is still a future event, or is there a sense in which that victory is already completed?
......
Can  be properly taken as referring to the suffering and death of our Lord, or is it rather speaking of the emnity and strife which has marred creation ever since the fall?

I see it that as long as Satan is still in operation, Jesus has not yet had that final victory to forever end it.

However, we through the Grace of God, and our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, can enjoy some victory even now over Satan in our day to day lives.
mossy

FWIW, Herman Bavinck in his Reformed Dogmatics says the seed of the woman in Gen 3:15 is humanity.

Terry
Presbyterian Deacon

mossy wrote:
FWIW, Herman Bavinck in his Reformed Dogmatics says the seed of the woman in Gen 3:15 is humanity.

Terry


Yes. Many tie this verse (Gen 3:15) with Christ and use passages such as Galatians 4:4 "born of a woman..." to support their view but I think Calvin, Bavinck and others who hold that the emnity spoken of between the seeds (offspring) of the women and the serpent indicates that in the redemptive process Eve and her "seed" (all humanity in general, and redeemed humanity in particular) will be involved in a God-imposed emnity with the serpent and his "seed" have the better position.

I grant that the devil ultimately is defeated by Christ. Our Lord will "crush his head," but is there a seed (an offspring), anyone among all of fallen humanity, from Eve to the present day, who have not had their heels bruised by the serpent's seed?
Skit

The promise of Christ goes all the way back to the first book of the Bible immediately after our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into sin in the Garden of Eden. In that promise given in (Genesis 3:15) God spoke to the serpent, also known as the Devil. He spoke in the hearing of both Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve heard and understood that God was pronouncing a curse on the serpent that would result in his final doom. This defeat of Satan would be brought about through the woman’s Seed, and that can refer to no one other than Christ.  
Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary which means that He had no earthly father. That was no man’s Seed in Mary’s womb, but a Seed that was implanted by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. That Seed in Mary’s womb was God’s Seed and that Baby who Mary gave birth to 2000 years ago was the Eternal Son of God come in the form of a Man; free from the sinful nature that we inherited from Adam.
His purpose according to Genesis 3:15 was to crush the head of the serpent, but not without Him first undergoing some physical affliction at the hands of Satan.
Ever since the fall God has been actively working in the affairs of man with one purpose and one intent; and that is to redeem out of that fallen race a people for His Name.
As we continue to read the Old Testament Scriptures we see an ensuing battle between good and evil. We see Satan trying his utmost best to thwart the purposes of God, and even though it seemed as if Satan was being victorious, God continued to preserve the nation through whom He would send the promised Messiah. That nation was Israel, and even though the entire nation believed in God’s promise to send the Messiah through them, many of them did not recognize that before the Christ could reign as King, He would first have to suffer and die for the sins of His God given people. You see the promise of Genesis 3:15 was one of redemption, and so part of the Messianic role that Christ had to fulfill was His suffering and death, and then to be risen into glory from whence He would reign victoriously.
This is exactly what we see in the Gospels. We see Jesus born of the Virgin Mary; we see Him live a life free from sin; we see Him suffer, bleed and die on the cross; then we see Him triumphantly rise from the grave. He was seen by many witnesses before He ascended back into heaven.
Genesis 3:15 is the beginning of the history of redemption. Immediately after God judged the parties involved, He made His grace known to Adam and Eve by covering their nakedness with animal skins, which in type, was a covering for their sin (Gen.3:21). Our first parents knew from then on that God would send someone into the world in His own time, someone who would defeat the serpent and restore creation back to its originally intended purpose. We read in Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Earl Jackson

Seed of the Woman? More options

This discussion about “Who is the seed of the woman?” needs to go to the next level.  Simple speculation does not suffice to explain the question and to discover the answer.  The selection of three possible answers to the question, is not good.  Abel, Christ, or all mankind, are not the only options, which could effectively answer this question.  I will present a few more options, which I feel are better than the three suggested answers.

The first thing that needs to be done in connection with this question, is to identify the seed of the serpent.  This text is not just about the woman’s seed, it is also about the serpent’s seed. Her seed should not be treated in isolation from his seed, because they are obviously connected in this passage.  The two seeds are presented,  contrasted,  compared and judged together, not apart.  Whatever the woman’s seed is, it is not the same as the serpent’s seed.  Whatever the serpent’s seed is, it is not the same as the woman’s seed. Her seed is contrasted to his seed, and His seed is contrasted to her seed. And yet there are similarities between them…they are both seeds in the same sense.  They are both enemies of each other in the same sense.  They are both part of God’s judicial punishment and curse because of the sin in Eden in the same sense.  They both play an immediate role in the Edenic narrative in the same sense. They both have the same context.  They both have the same immediate judgment from God. Eve's seed is being judged just like the serpents seed.  (Keep this in mind if you are going to try to make this verse apply to Christ).  And they are both engaged in some sort of crushing blow to the other.  The identification of the serpent’s seed is essential for the identification of the woman’s seed.

The second thing that needs to be done in connection with this question is to explore the significance of the fact that the man’s seed is not mentioned, nor is it cursed.  Everyone knows that the Jewish way of tracing seed is always through the males and not through the females.   Genesis five (just a few chapters away) illustrates this important genealogical concept quite well.  “Adam begat…Seth” (v.3).  Seth begat…Enos” (v.6).  “Enos begat…Cainan” (v.9). Cainan begat…Mahalaleel” (v.12).  Mahalaleel begat…Jared” (v.15).  “Jared begat…Enoch” (v.18).  “Enoch begat… Methuselah” (v.21).   “Methuselah begat…Lamech” (v.25).  “Lamech begat…a son” (v.28).  The seed is traced through the males, not the females.  That Adam and Eve observed this order of the sexes is clear because of Gen. 4:1-2, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”  This divine genealogical order is also observed in Gen 5: 3-4:  “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters”.  Notice how the sons are always mentioned by name, but the daughters are not, it simply says that  He begat “sons and daughters”.  The female seed does not count in the genealogy.  This is not to say that daughters were not born.  They simply were not mentioned.

As I already mentioned Adam’s seed is not alluded to in any way in the curse and judgment of Gen 3:15.  This is a very important feature that must be considered.  We know that the seed was always established through the male element.  Romans tells us that Adam’s seed brought sin into the whole human population, so that there are none who are not sinful seed.  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom.5:12).   This pretty much eliminates the idea that the seed of the woman is the whole human race here in Gen 3:15,  (answer number3),  because elsewhere in the Bible, the whole human race is considered to be the seed of Adam, and not the seed of the woman.

Next, we have to ascertain whether or not  Cain is a candidate for “the seed of the woman”.   Gen. 4:1  lists him as the firstborn of Adam and Eve.  She said when he was born “I have gotten a man from the Lord”.   This is a significant statement, and it could very well indicate that Cain was the seed mentioned in 3: 15.  This, coupled with the Old Testament idea that the firstborn was the rightful heir, may also contribute to the notion that Cain might well have been the promised seed.  When we look at the enmity between Cain and His brother, it becomes possible that he could have been the “seed of the woman” which is in question.  It does not appear, however, that this notion can be sustained or justified Scripturally because 1Jn.3: 12 seems to indicate that Cain was the seed of the serpent.  “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” This verse seems to eliminate Cain as a candidate for the woman's seed.

The next person who must be considered as a candidate for the mentioned “seed of the woman” is Abel (Gen.4:2).  Abel was the second born, and nobody said that he was “a man from the Lord”, as was said of Cain.   Christ said He was righteous (Matt.23:35),  His sacrifice was better than Cain’s (Heb. 11:4), and his blood is mentioned in Lk. 11:51 and Heb. 12:24.  But does any of this make him the “seed of the woman”?   It is possible, that if Cain were the seed of the serpent, as 1Jn.3:12 seems to indicate, that Abel would then be the corresponding “seed of the woman”.   The two seeds are clearly antagonistic, enemies.  Abel, was definitely bruised.  His bruise cost him his life.  But was Cain correspondingly crushed in the head?  Possibly his curse and mark on his forehead could be equated with the mentioned crushing (Gen.4:9-16).  Abel could be a candidate for the seed of the woman.

Next we have to deal with the question of the other people who were on the earth.  When Cain went out from the presence of the Lord by way of divine judgment, he went to the land of Nod, which was already populated, and where he found his wife (Gen.4:16-17).  We know that these people had to descend from Eve, and in some sense be her seed, but is it possible that someone over there in Nod, could have been the mentioned “seed of the woman”?  Yes, it is possible, but the scriptures are silent about it, if that is the case. If her seed were someone who is not mentioned, then the whole issue would be closed to any further inquiry.  My feeling is that the “seed of the woman” does not end like that, (in an unnamed, unidentified person, anticlimax), but that it was important enough to probably be carried somewhere else in the Bible for identification.

Seth comes next (Gen. 4:25-26).  He is a definite candidate, because Eve said:  “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew”.   She clearly saw Seth as “her seed” of replacement for Abel.   Seth is the second person in Christ’s genealogy in Lk. 3:38.  Seth was “the son of Adam, who was the son of God.”  Seth should clearly be a fourth choice in the answers to the Gen. 3:15 question.   I believe that a case could be made for Seth as the promised “seed of the woman”, but it would not be as spectacular and showy as the case for Jesus Christ, but it would definitely fit with the immediacy of the Genesis narrative.  The judgments which were pronounced were immediate, and they seem to have been immediately executed.   This would make a lot more sense than sticking them thousands of years off in the future.   A futuristic interpretation requires allegory and turning the historical narrative into some sort of prophecy.   Other historical narratives in the Bible do not seem to get turned into prophecies in the sense that would be required here to do it.  Here God himself is immediately judging the offending parties, and to stick his judgment thousands of years off in the future seems to be without precedent elsewhere in the Bible.  I could be wrong here, but this passage does not seem to fit with the whole prophetic idiom in the rest of the Bible.  It is not announced as a prophecy, it is announced as a curse.  It would have little relevance to Adam and Eve if it were concerned with a seed thousands of years in the future.  

People try to get around this prophetic problem, by invoking what they call “the law of double fulfillment“.  This makes the prophecy have an immediate fulfillment, and a distant fulfillment at the same time.   There would be an immediate seed (Seth could qualify) and a distant seed (Jesus could qualify).   This would also explain the New Testament references such as Rom. 16:20;  1Jn.3:8 and Rev. 12:17.  Prophetically, it is very difficult to invoke the law of double fulfillment, because it does not apply in all cases of prophecy.   It is up to the interpreter to decide what is a double prophecy and what is not.  It is a purely subjective matter, unless a clear statement to the effect is made somewhere else in Scripture.  Double fulfillment  is often forced into an interpretation in a manner that does violence to the scriptures, such as when the dispensationalists apply the prophecies of Israel’s regathering in the land, to 1948 as well as to their return from Babylon and Assyria.  The New Testament does not substantiate this arbitrary application of double fulfillment.    When double fulfillment is applied like that it becomes purely subjective, and can lead to many unscriptural notions, such as two or three “second comings“,  multiple “last trumps”,  several different “judgment days” etc.  I would caution people to be very careful about invoking the so called law of double fulfillment.  You better have a darn good, and valid reason for using it, or you could be teaching heresy by way of speculation.

There is another possibility for the “seed of the woman”, and I think that it merits more detailed research.  As we have indicated, it appears that everything pertaining to the judgment of God upon the offending parties, was immediately executed.  They immediately fell under the curse.  Death immediately began to happen in the world.  They were immediately driven from the garden.  The earth immediately began bringing forth thorns and thistles.  And it would make perfect sense to expect verse 15 to have a somewhat immediate fulfillment as well.  It is telling Eve something about her seed, and it is natural that she should expect it, and look for it’s fulfillment in her own children, and in her own lifetime. To remove this expectation and fulfillment from her is to do violence to the whole passage, which reeks with immediate judgment.  

With that in mind we need to look at the rest of the story. The death of Eve is not recorded in the Bible.  Adam is said to have been 930 years old when he died (Gen 5:5).  But Eve’s dying age is not given.  It was probably the same back then as it is today, in that the average lifespan of a woman is greater than the average lifespan of a man. It is commonly believed that Noah would have been alive at the same time as Adam, and most definitely would have been contemporaneous with Eve.   This is important because some of Eve’s distant grandchildren are mentioned in Gen 5:32 “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”  Here are distant "seeds of the woman" being mentioned, who were most likely contemporaneous with her.  They could have known their distant granmother, because everyone lived so long before the flood.  

Now here is the point that I wish to make.  The very next two verses refer to a people called “the sons of God” Gen. 6:1-2.   I say they are people, because that’s what has been being discussed in chapter five, the births and deaths of people.  And that is who is judged in chapter six (see 6:3,5-7, 11-13).   People are in view here, and not some kind of fallen angels.  To do as some uncareful expositors have done, and say that “the sons of God” are fallen angels, is to insert a speculative element that does not belong here, and cannot be justified by any known laws of exegesis.  Insertions like that do violence to the context and to the history which is being conveyed in a rational story line.  “The sons of God” were people, and as such, that would make them in some sense “the seed of the woman”.   It is highly probable that Eve knew who these people were, and could have recognized if they, or someone of them,  fit the bill to be qualified as the promised seed of Gen. 3:15.  

It is said of these “sons of God”, that they had children who were “mighty men which were of old, men of renown (Gen 6: 4).  It also says that there were Nephilim (giants) in the earth in those days, but it is incorrect to equate the Nephilim with the children of the “sons of God”.  They are different, because they come “after that”… i.e.  after the Nephilim.  Now here is what could have been possible.  The “sons of God” were the seed of the woman, and “the daughter of men” were the seed of the serpent.  This co-mingling of the godly seed, with the ungodly seed resulted in God looking down  “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen6:5).  This interpretation is actually the historic orthodox interpretation.  It is set forth by Jonathan Edwards in his “History of Redemption”, and it should be the sixth possible answer to the question:  “Who is the seed of the woman in Gen 3:15?”  
1) Abel?  
2) Someone in the land of Nod?  
3) Seth?  
4) Jesus Christ?    
5) All Mankind?  
6) The Sons of God (Gen.6)?  

Hopefully this will have sparked a little out of the box thinking for this thread.  God Bless all of you.
Lyncx9

Presbyterian Deacon, bodhisattva, Gord, mossy, Skit, Earl Jackson and the Forum:

Here at the outset I welcome Earl Jackson to the forim and express appreciation for his initial and very substantial posting to this thread.  He has given us all very much material to weigh and consider and also has demonstrated considerable breadth of insight regarding a number of facets impinging upon the interpretation of the Genesis 3:15 text.  My own presentation as now given here moves our thinking in a somewhat different direction and introduces a consideration, aspect and slant on this material which has not previously been suggested and which may hopefully move us to focus our analysis within a somewhat different sphere.

I begin with a consideration of what is generally termed as the "Protoevangelicum."  Since at least the time of Irenaeus, Christian tradition has understood the Genesis 3:15 passage as a prophecy about Christ and His mother Mary.  The "seed of the woman" was referred to one individual descendant who either has, is, or will crush the head of the serpent, whose seed was also referred to as an individual in the person of the devil, Satan, who was and is locked in deadly strugle with "the seed of the woman" and who has, or is, or will, succumb to that seed.  This explication has run throughout the centuries since Irenaeus right down through the history of exegesis in both Roman Catholic and Protestant Evangelical tradition and has had a profound influence on the proclamation of the Gospel.  This is particularly shown by Christian art and hymnody and only slightly less in Christian exegesis.  I am reminded that in my own Christian Reformed Church tradition at Ressurection Day celebration we all sing lustily:  " . . . in songs of holy joy!  For Judah's Lion burst his chains and crushed the serpent's head . . .."

There are, I believe, at least two main reasons that do not allow validity for this "Protevangelicum" understanding.  First of all, I believe it to be beyond doubt that the Hebrew זרע is a singular collective.  The text is speaking of the line of descendants of the woman as well as of the serpent and not any singular person.  Secondly, is the form of the text which is the characteristic pronuncement form for punishmnmt or curse.  It would be extraordinary indeed for such a form to include either promise or prophecy as its primary or even as its secondary meaning.  Consequently Old Testament scholars have almost unanimously abandoned any consideration of Genesis 3:15 as a promise and I would concur with that judgment.  Finding messianic prophecy here, such as the final victory of the woman's seed simply does not agree with the sense of the passage.  It has been aptly said by Loretz :  "If theology really wants to free itself from the charge of distorting the meaning of Genesis 3:15 . . . then it will be forced to leave aside the allegorical-typological interpretation of this passage and not to attribute any absolute theological meaning to the time-conditioned patristic and midieval tradition.  It would be advisable not to use the concept of a Protoevangelicum in the context of Genesis 3:15."  I would heartily agree.

It should be pointed out that though suggestions of a messianic interpretation are found in Late Judaism, none such are found in the New Testament.  It show up only obliquely in Justin, but is first solidly attested in Irenaeus.

Side-by-side with the messianic/mariological interpretation is the so-called "ethical interpretation" which see the snake as the embodiment of demonic power.  That understanding can be traced back into Judaism and at least to Philo, who was certainly no stranger to allegory, and is held in some quarters yet today.  This too is a gratuitous interpretation since when the text speaks of the descendents of the serpent it is a question of animals and their punishment and there is no direct indication of some demonic power behind it.  In fact, the serpent appears as a creature of God, under God's judgment, and the text itself leaves the absolute source of the temptation and disobedience and rebellion against God both unexplained and, in fact, inexplicable.

I leave for a following posting an exegesis of Genesis 3:14-19 which would place Genesis 3:15 into its proper context and deal with the aetiological aspects of the curse.

In Christ

Lyncx
Lyncx9

Presbyterian Deacon, bodhisattva, Gord, mossy, Skit, Earl Jackson and the Forum:

The sentences of punishment incorporate all of Genesis 3:14-19, thus as per Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensia:


14 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים אֶל־הַנָּחָשׁ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת אָרוּר אַתָּה מִ‍כָּל־הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִ‍כֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה עַל־גְּחֹנְךָ תֵלֵךְ וְעָפָר תֹּאכַל כָּל־יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ׃
15 וְאֵיבָה אָשִׁית בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵב׃  ס  
16 אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה אָמַר הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה עִצְּבוֹנֵךְ וְהֵרֹנֵךְ בְּעֶצֶב תֵּלְדִי בָנִים וְאֶל־אִישֵׁךְ תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ וְהוּא יִמְשָׁל־בָּךְ׃  ס  
17 וּלְאָדָם אָמַר כִּי־שָׁמַעְתָּ לְקוֹל אִשְׁתֶּךָ וַתֹּאכַל מִן־הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לֵאמֹר לֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ אֲרוּרָה הָאֲדָמָה בַּעֲבוּרֶךָ בְּעִצָּבוֹן תֹּאכֲלֶנָּה כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ׃
18 וְקוֹץ וְדַרְדַּר תַּצְמִיחַ לָךְ וְאָכַלְתָּ אֶת־עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה׃
19 בְּזֵעַת אַפֶּיךָ תֹּאכַל לֶחֶם עַד שׁוּבְךָ אֶל־הָאֲדָמָה כִּי מִמֶּנָּה לֻקָּחְתָּ כִּי־עָפָר אַתָּה וְאֶל־עָפָר תָּשׁוּב׃


A literal (actually, overly literal, even to the point of being wooden!) translation, showing the metrical form of the Hebrew text, runs as follows:

14:  And Yahweh God said unto the serpent, "Since/because you did this thing:

      You, being cursed from above all the livestock
      And from above all the animal of the field,
      Upon belly of you you will crawl
      And dust you will eat all of the days of the life of you.

15:  And enmity I will place between you and between the woman
      And between seed of you and between seed of her.
      He will crush of you a head
      And you will strike him a heel."

16:  Unto the woman He said:
      "To increase I willl increase pain and/even childbirthing  of you
      In/with/by pain you will give birth sons
      And unto a man/husband of you [is] desire of you and he will rule in you."

17.  And to Adam He said:  "Since/because you listened/heeded to [the] voice of woman/wife of you
     And you ate from the tree which I commanded you, to say, 'You must not eat from him/it:
     Being cursed [is] the Adam/ground by cause of you
     By painful toil/labor you will eat her all of days of life of you.

18.  And thorn and thistle she will produce for you
     And you will eat plan of the field.

19.  By sweat of brow of you you will eat bread/food
     Until to return you unto the Adam/ground
     Since from her you were taken
     Since dust you [are]
     And to dust you will return."

Upon the discovery of the disobedience there was not immediate expulsion from the garden.  There is first this narrated accumulation of punishments aside from, even beyond and in elaboration of the ultimate expulsion.  It should be strongly underscored that the form of the sentences as pronounced are in the literary form of the poetic, with the introductory sentence including the giving of the reason not belonging to the poetic pattern.  Even with in the poetic structure itself the curse stands without introduction such that Genesis 3:14 and Genesis 3:15 differ in poetic meter.  This rhythmic pattern is studiedly in place to correspond to the ancient legal pronouncements of curse which are equally presented in that rhythmic poetic form.

So we confront both pronouncements and curses.  To be sure, in the context of the narrative we clearly have punishment pronouncements, and as such they are part of the form for legal process such that after the discovery of the crime there is the interrogation, the defense, and the judgment following one upon the other.  However, that does not at all fit the curse pattern which is initiated by the formulary expression אָרוּר (being cursed) establishes a different pattern.  Cursing is a quite different proceedure from punishing.  Significantly, neither the man nor the woman is cursed -- only the serpent and the ground are!  Though, to be sure, the ground cursing is because of the man.  Only humans can actually be punished through legal process; animals and things cannot.

Genesis 3:14 contains in formulated direct speech the initial curse.  No reason for the curse is stated because it obviously arises out of the situation previously narrated and it is in formula only in the address to the serpent and as such is found only here and in Genesis 4:11.  Though God blesses in a wide variety of ways in the Old Testament he never engages in pronouncement curse except in these two places.  This present pronouncement curse is constructed of three parts:  [1] the curse formula proper, אָרוּר אַתָּה, (you, being cursed)  [2] a further qualification given (preformative מִן) and [3] the explication in terms of what it means for the serpent.  The meaning of the curse of the serpent is that it is being separated from the rest of the animal kingdom because if its form and way of living.  The preformative מִן itself basically denotes separation, "apart from".  The curse is, in a sense, excommunication, wherein the serpent is taken apart from the community of animals by the curse and is set aside as banished from them.

Furthermore, the curse serves to explain the extraordinary way in ehich the serpent moves and feeds itself.  There is a clear aetiological (related to causation) motif in this, such that when one observes what is peculiar to the serpent and the question arises as to why it is thus, the answer may be given in terms of this narrative and be traces back to this primeval curse pronouncement.  There is no thought given as to what its previous mode of life may have been.  Aetiological explanations are not interested in what may have been previous.  They only explain what is the case now.

Genesis 3:15 continues forward the aetiological motif.  Here enmity is introduced and it is explained as to within what it consists.  Especially significant here is the noun   אֵיבָה (enmity), which occurs elsewhere only in Numbers 35:21,22 and Ezekiel 25:15. 35:5.  In the two Ezekiel passages the word possesses exactly the same meaning as here -- a perpetual enmity from of old.  The usage here in this present context is expression indicative of an emnity not merely in a single determinative situation, but which is on-going even to the point of institutionalization!  The thought is that such enmity as is expressed in this verse goes beyond and runs deeper than that which exists between humans and other animals.  To underscore this facet there is expressed also the descendents of both parties.  This enmity endures so long as there are humans and serpents!  he enmity will be woeked out by humans and serpents continuingly trying to attack and kill each other.  The human by crushing the head of the serpent and the serpent by striking and biting the foot from behind.  This precise two-sided approach is expressed and highlighted by the hebraic play on words in which both actions are expressed by the same word, שׁוּף (crush/strike/bruise), an unusual verb qhich is found only once more in the Old testament, Job 9:17.  Probably the most apt translation here would be, as G.R. Driver suggests, would be:  "He will attack you in the head, and you will try to attack him in the heel!"

Without continuing intensive analysis of the following verses (Genesis 3:16-19 -- which I will post if asked) it can easily be seen that the punishment inflicted on the woman and the man do not have the characteristics of curse.  Aetiological aspects are, however, continued.  The explanation of the cause for exceeding female pain in childbirth is given as is the exceeding labor required to gain sustenance from the very ground for which Adam is named.  Furthermore, mankind, like the animals are generally doomed by death in return to the ground from whence they originally came.  It would not be wise to speculate concerning the state prior to the punishment.  In my judgment, we are entirely too prone to speak where Scripture does not speak.

Yet there are some aspects of things which will at least bear mention.  There is multiplication of pain in childbearing, an expression that implies that the pain was itself already present in some measure before the punishment.  It is equally noteworthy that the subordination of the wife and domination of the husband is seen as punishment rather than as something of a normal state of affairs.  Furthermore, it is explicit to husbands and wives specifically and does not apply to women generally.  Finally, there is much that can be said relevant to the sentence of punishment addressed to the man.


Earl Jackson's very substantial posting requires significant response and I close out this posting with focus upon it.  When he writes:

Quote:
"Simple speculation does not suffice to explain the question and to discover the answer."


he is absolutely on target.  Though I believe the correct answer was included in the three options (all mankind in general as I see it) Presbyterian Deacon provided us, I cannot help, along with Earl, but believe additional options are needed to cover all the posible positions.  However, to say Judaism traces seed soley through the male is not quite correct.  In facy, both male and female Jewishness is to this very day dependent upon having a Jewish mother, not upon having a Jewish father.  Citizenship in the State of Israel for those born outside its borders is entirely dependent upon having a Jewish mother!

I would have serious question regarding Earl's understanding of Romans 5:12-21.  My understanding of the incorporation of humanity being sinful in Adam is federally dependent upon corporate solidarity and not by means of inherited seed.  I would stand in strong opposition to Earl's conclusion that:

Quote:
"Romans tells us that Adam’s seed brought sin into the whole human population, so that there are none who are not sinful seed. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom.5:12). This pretty much eliminates the idea that the seed of the woman is the whole human race here in Gen 3:15, (answer number3), because elsewhere in the Bible, the whole human race is considered to be the seed of Adam, and not the seed of the woman."


I do not think that properly exegetes Rom 5:12 (that exegesis would warrant a separate thread) nor properly interprets Gen 3:15.   I do agree that neither Cain nor Abel, whether seen  singularly or severally, constitute the seed either the seed of the woman or the seed of the serpent.  I certainly agree that we by no means deal with any so-called "double fulfillment" here.   However I disagree that we are dealing wit any so-called "sons of God" here.  There is certainly no Biblical indication that we are. So to suggest that seems to me to be highly speculative and to possess no Scriptural warrant.  I surely agree that earl's posting does spark "a little out of the box thinking for this thread," but I am not convinced that such thinking in this case is wise.  If for no other reason, then because it sparks speculation outside the bounds of the Biblical corpus seen in its context.

In Christ

Lyncx
Gord

Presbyterian Deacon, bodhisattva, Lyncx9, mossy, Skit, Earl Jackson and the Forum:

This thread is an absolute blessing in study.  Thank you all.
Presbyterian Deacon

Lyncx9 wrote:
Though I believe the correct answer was included in the three options (all mankind in general as I see it) Presbyterian Deacon provided us, I cannot help, along with Earl, but believe additional options are needed to cover all the posible positions.


I hear ya..but it was not my intent to provide "all the possible positions." However the three I posted are the most common positions taken. They are also the positions for which the strongest biblical cases can be (and have been) made. Some of the other options listed in the earlier post by Earl Jackson are (in my opinion) far too speculative and lacking solid biblical warrant.
Presbyterian Deacon

Lyncx9 wrote:
I would have serious question regarding Earl's understanding of Romans 5:12-21.  My understanding of the incorporation of humanity being sinful in Adam is federally dependent upon corporate solidarity and not by means of inherited seed.  I would stand in strong opposition to Earl's conclusion that:

Quote:
"Romans tells us that Adam’s seed brought sin into the whole human population, so that there are none who are not sinful seed. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom.5:12). This pretty much eliminates the idea that the seed of the woman is the whole human race here in Gen 3:15, (answer number3), because elsewhere in the Bible, the whole human race is considered to be the seed of Adam, and not the seed of the woman."



I do not think that properly exegetes Rom 5:12 (that exegesis would warrant a separate thread) nor properly interprets Gen 3:15.


Yes, indeed. I believe this discussion though interesting has no bearing on the identity of "the offspiring" in Gen. 3:15. The discussion as to "headship" and it's being "Federal" or "Seminal" with respect to the immediate imputation of sin (Romans 5:12-21) is not the subject of this thread.
Ask Mr. Religion

Lyncx9,

Would you say that then enmity spoken of in the Genesis passage is an enmity that does not simply arise, but is a divinely appointed hatred?

Do you see the unusual placement of the noun enmity first in the Hebrew as having any significance, versus the usual placement of the verb first in Hebrew sentences?

Do you see zera (seed) to be one of physical offspring or spiritual offspring?

Is the use of zera in Gen. 3:15 in the singular significant to you, perhaps referring to a singular offspring?

Do you believe Paul is referring to the Genesis passage in Romans 16:20?

In support of your previous assertion
Quote:
There are, I believe, at least two main reasons that do not allow validity for this "Protevangelicum" understanding.

...are you relying upon
Quote:
This rhythmic pattern is studiedly in place to correspond to the ancient legal pronouncements of curse which are equally presented in that rhythmic poetic form...
? If not, can you clearly articulate why you do not view the Protevangelicum as a proper view with respect to the passage in question?

AMR
Lyncx9

AMR and the Forum:

This following is in response to your just previously posted series of questions which are seemingly raised in support of the traditional "Protoevangelicum" interpretation.  They are well-thought-out and appropriate questions in light of my previous posts and I will answer them in order as completely as I am able.

Quote:
#1 Would you say that then enmity spoken of in the Genesis passage is an enmity that does not simply arise, but is a divinely appointed hatred?


The two options you suggest here are not absolutely antithetical such that the acceptance of the one is automatic rejection of the other.  It is certainly a divinely appointed enmity but it is also one certainly instituted as the direct result arising from the preceding narrative and not one that could be characterized as one "simply arise[ing]".  The text does not speak of "hatred" per se so, while I would not outright reject that characterization, I would be loath to insist upon it exegetically since the text does not imploy that terminology.

Quote:
#2 Do you see the unusual placement of the noun enmity first in the Hebrew as having any significance, versus the usual placement of the verb first in Hebrew sentences?


Certainly the placement of the direct object of the verb as placed ahead of the verb in any Hebrew sentence (even also in the syntax of any Greek sentence -- though certainly even more so in Hebrew/Semitic syntax than in Greek!) denotes emphasis of expression.  The effect is to strenghen the impact of the word in the expression and probably also to highlight its perpetuity.

Quote:
#3 Do you see zera (seed) to be one of physical offspring or spiritual offspring?


That would be determined entirely upon context since the word זרע  of itself is capable of either physical or spiritual understanding.  For example in Paul's application of Genesis 12:7, 13:15, and 24:7, where, original context would require the meaning "physical offspring" brings it to appliation as a singular spiritual application in Christ and then broadens its significance to all those spiritually identified as in Christ by spiritual corporate identity resultant by faith.

That said, however, unless we have clear Scriptual warrant for making the extension Paul, the inspired Apostle, made, in my opinion one must hold to the meaning determined by the context in the place where the word is found.  In the case of the use of the term as it is used in the context of Genesis 3:15 I see no warrant to spiritualize the term and hence understand it contexually as referring to physical offspring (especially since human offspring and reptile offspring are of entirely distinct categories).  It would seem to me that to understand it otherwise would be to import a meaning to Genesis 3:15 which is not naturally expressed there.

Quote:
#4 Is the use of zera in Gen. 3:15 in the singular significant to you, perhaps referring to a singular offspring?

   
This question is in obvious adjunct to the prevous question and my answer here was already prepared for in my previous answer.  I reiterate that the Hebrew word itself, though singular in number, is ordinarily of collective significance (much as is true in English idiom such words as "quorum", "congregation", "administration" et al.. and as especially is our English word "offspring" itself!).  Hebrew context usually makes the collective comprehension obvious and only the presence of some factor from some other source would properly effect change of that understanding.  The Apostle Paul's direct inspiration in the Galatians passage relating to Abraham's "seed" as relating to strict singularity in Christ is just such a warranting factor.  I see no such warranting factor in Genesis 3:15 nor in its context.  Furthermore, the dissimilarity of human offspring and of reptile offspring would not natrually suggest warrant of singularity in corporate understanding unless some prior theological supposition somehow were imported to suggest it.

Quote:
#5 Do you believe Paul is referring to the Genesis passage in Romans 16:20?


Certainly there is no direct reference in Romans 16:20 to Genesis 3:15 and the most one might suggest would be oblique allusion and there is by no means any surety of even that.  Douglas Moo in his quite traditionally conservative Romans commentary in the NICOT, while citing the "Protoevangelicum" favorably, notes on p. 932:  "It must be said, however, that the language of Paul's promise [i.e., of Rom 6:20] is not that close to that of Gen. 3:15."  Let me now demonstrate Moo's comments more specifically:

First the LXX (Septuagint) Greek text (the text from which Paul is most wont to make his Old Testament citations and references) of Genesis 3:15:

Gen 3:15 καὶ ἔχθραν θήσω ἀνὰ μέσον σου καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σπέρματός σου καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σπέρματος αὐτῆς, αὐτός σου τηρήσει κεφαλήν, καὶ σὺ τηρήσεις αὐτοῦ πτέρναν.

Literally:  "And hostile enmity I shall set into place through the midst of you and through the midst of the woman and through the midst of the seed of you and through the midst of the seed of her, this same one will hold fast of you a head, and you will hold fast of him a heel."

The last clause here is indeed an odd translation of the Hebrew original and could perhaps best be paraphrased as:  "he will grab tight hold of your head and you will grab tight hold of his heel."

In any event, the expression is not at all close to Paul's words given in Rom 16:20a.

Rom 16:20ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης συντρίψει τὸν Σατανᾶν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας ὑμῶν ἐν τάχει.

Literally:  "Now the God of the peace will break in pieces/crush the Satan/Opposing Adversary under the feet of y'all speedily/soon/with suddenness."

There is obviously very great difference between the words of Paul and the Septuagint text of Genesis 3:15 and, as I stated previously, it is noteworthy that he makes no specific reference to Genesis 3:15.  Even to suggest oblique allusion here I would consider to be some very considerable stretch.  It presumes a number of facts not in evidence in the texts and also presumes that the serpent of Genesis 3:15  and Satan are an identity, again a major fact by no means in evidence.  To presume the allusion appears to require the prior assumption of the very thing that one is attempting to establish!  I do not find warrant anywhere near sufficient for that sort of connection.

#6
Quote:


In support of your previous assertion
Quote:
There are, I believe, at least two main reasons that do not allow validity for this "Protevangelicum" understanding.

...are you relying upon
Quote:
This rhythmic pattern is studiedly in place to correspond to the ancient legal pronouncements of curse which are equally presented in that rhythmic poetic form...
? If not, can you clearly articulate why you do not view the Protevangelicum as a proper view with respect to the passage in question?


This question is a bit more complex.  My answering focus is upon the Genesis 3:15 passage per se in its own context.  I have suggested that there are indeed two main reasons for disallowing the so-called "Protoevangelicum" interpretation.  The first is that זרע must be understood collectively within that context.  The text is speaking of a line of descendents of the woman (human) and the serpent (animal).  Any further extension of that must be made based on considerations foreign to Genesis 3:15 as given in its original narrative setting.  Such cannot be found and read out (exegeted) from within the text and its context.  The second is form critical in nature.  The word occurs within the context of a pronouncement of a punishment or of a curse (whichever term and way you may want to identify it).  It is simply not possible that such a form has either promise or prophecy as its primary or even secondary meaning.

Now I do not stress this second reason here simply because I am well aware that you and others here may not be fans of form critical methodology nor give due weight to the bearing of its results.  However, most Old Testament scholars of the modern era (almost without exception!) have (wisely I believe) abandoned seeing Genesis 3:15 as a promise.  Gerhard von Rad in his Genesis commentary p.90 puts this aptly thus:  "The exegesis of the early church which found a messianic prophecy here, a reference to a final victory of the woman's seed (Protoevangelicum), does not agree with the sense of the passage, quite apart from the fact that the word 'seed' may not be construed personally but only quite generally with the meaning 'posterity'."

I, however, would add a caveat to von Rad's words.  Interpretation of the text would, of course, be altered if some New Testament writer were to have, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, make interpretation of Genesis 3:15 in keeping with the "Protoevangelicum".  In my judgment no such New Testament interpretation has ever thus been made.

AMR, I hope I have addressed all your excellent questions.

In Christ

Lyncx
Earl Jackson

Nice exposition Lynx

I am glad to see this thread moving along.  One of the options which I have never personally considered is the option that the seed of the woman is the whole human race.  Personally I have always held that it was Christ who was here in view.  If one of you could provide me with some information on the view that the "seed" is the whole human race, I would appreciate it.  Specifically I would like to know how the whole race could be in view here, and it not be seminal seed which the text is talking about?  If the seed here is "federal", then I would like to know how it is distinguished from seminal seed?  If there is a difference, I would like to know why and where it is found?  I realize this is not a discussion about Romans 5 or any other passage, but the concept of "seed" here has definitely got to be addressed.  I went to Genesis 5 and 6 because I was tracing physical seed from Eve.  But maybe I am supposed to be tracing "federal seed"?  I don't know how to locate it, however? How am I supposed to distinguish it from literal seed?  Maybe I was wrong in trying to find the seed in chapters 4,5 and 6 which are the immediate context?  if I should not be looking at these contextual chapters, because they introduce too much speculation, then where do I need to look to identify the "seed" of the woman?   Lynx did an excellent job of exegeting the judicial aspects of the text, but he did not tell us anything about the "seed", and that's what we really need to know.   The reason why I went to Roman 5, is because I felt that it is pertinent to the discussion, because the issue here is "who is the seed?"  If I cannot find the answer in Gen. 4, 5 or 6;  and I cannot use Romans 5,  then where am I supposed to look?  And if the "seed" is not literal (seminal), then how will I be able to recognize it?
Thanks Earl
Presbyterian Deacon

Earl Jackson wrote:
One of the options which I have never personally considered is the option that the seed of the woman is the whole human race. Personally I have always held that it was Christ who was here in view. If one of you could provide me with some information on the view that the "seed" is the whole human race, I would appreciate it.

In an earlier post in this thread I mentioned the position of Calvin with a brief quote:
Presbyterian Deacon wrote:
John Calvin himself wrote:

Quote:
I explain, therefore, the seed to mean the posterity of the woman generally. But since experience teaches that not all the sons of Adam by far arise as conquerors of the devil, we must necessarily come to one head, that we may find to whom the victory belongs.


The following extended excerpt from Calvin's commentary may help to shed more light on the view. I offer it here for your consideration. Bold text my emphasis.

John Calvin wrote:
15. "I will put enmity." I interpret this simply to mean that there
should always be the hostile strife between the human race and serpents,

which is now apparent; for, by a secret feeling of nature, man abhors
them. It is regarded, as among prodigies, that some men take pleasure in
them; and as often as the sight of a serpent inspires us with horrors the
memory of our fall is renewed. With this I combine in one continued
discourse what immediately follows: 'It shall wound thy head, and thou
shalt wound its heel.' For he declares that there shall be such hatred
that on both sides they shall be troublesome to each other; the serpent
shall be vexatious towards men, and men shall be intent on the
destruction of serpents.
Meanwhile, we see that the Lord acts mercifully
in chastising man, whom he does not suffer Satan to touch except in the
heel; while he subjects the head of the serpent to be wounded by him. For
in the terms head and heel there is a distinction between the superior
and the inferior. And thus God leaves some remains of dominion to man;
because he so places the mutual disposition to injure each other, that
yet their condition should not be equal, but man should be superior in
the conflict. Jerome, in turning the first member of the sentence, 'Thou
shalt bruise the head;' and the second, "Thou shalt be ensnared in the
heel,' does it without reason, for the same verb is repeated by Moses;
the difference is to be noted only in the head and the heel, as I have
just now said. Yet the Hebrew verb whether derived from "shof", or from;
"shafah", some interpret to bruise or to strihe, others to bite. I have,
however, no doubt that Moses wished to allude to the name of the serpent
which is called in Hebrew "shififon", from "shafah", or "shof".
 We must now make a transition from the serpent to the author of this
mischief himself; and that not only in the way of comparison, for there
truly is a literal analogy; because God has not so vented his anger upon
the outward instrument as to spare the devil, with whom lay all the
blame. That this may the more certainly appear to us, it is worth the
while first to observe that the Lord spoke not for the sake of the
serpent but of the man; fur what end could it answer to thunder against
the serpent in unintelligible words? Wherefore respect was had to men;
both that they might be affected with a greater dread of sin, seeing how
highly displeasing it is to God, and that hence they might take
consolation for their misery, because they would perceive that God is
still propitious to them. But now it is obvious to and how slender and
insignificant would be the argument for a good hope, if mention were here
made of a serpent only; because nothing would be then provided for,
except the fading and transient life of the body. Men would remain, in
the meanwhile, the slaves of Satan, who would proudly triumph over them,
and trample on their heads. Wherefore, that God might revive the fainting
minds of men, and restore them when oppressed by despair, it became
necessary to promise them, in their posterity victory over Satan, through
whose wiles they had been ruined. This, then, was the only salutary
medicine which could recover the lost, and restore life to the dead. I
therefore conclude, that God here chiefly assails Satan under the name of
the serpent, and hurls against him the lightning of his judgment. This he
does for a twofold reason: first, that men may learn to beware of Satan
as of a most deadly enemy; then, that they may contend against him with
the assured confidence of victory.
 Now, though all do not dissent in their minds from Satan yea, a great
part adhere to him too familiarly--yet, in reality, Satan is their enemy;
nor do even those cease to dread him whom he soothes by his flatteries;
and because he knows that the minds of men are set against him, he
craftily insinuates himself by indirect methods, and thus deceives them
under a disguised form. In short, it is in grafted in us by nature to
flee from Satan as our adversary. And, in order to show that he should be
odious not to one generation only, God expressly says, 'between thee and
the seed of the woman,' as widely indeed, as the human race shall be
propagated. He mentions the woman on this account, because, as she had
yielded to the subtlety of the devils and being first deceived, had drawn
her husband into the participation of her ruin, so she had peculiar need
of consolation.
 "I shall bruise." This passage affords too clear a proof of the great
ignorance, dullness, and carelessness, which have prevailed among all the
learned men of the Papacy. The feminine gender has crept in instead of
the masculine or neuter. There has been none among them who would consult
the Hebrew or Greek codices, or who would even compare the Latin copies
with each other. Therefore, by a common error, this most corrupt reading
has been received. Then, a profane exposition of it has been invented, by
applying to the mother of Christ what is said concerning her seed.
 There is, indeed no ambiguity in the words here used by Moses; but I do
not agree with others respecting their meaning; for other interpreters
take the seed for Christ, without controversy; as if it were said, that
some one would arise from the seed of the woman who should wound the
serpent's head. Gladly would I give my suffrage in support of their
opinion, but that I regard the word seed as too violently distorted by
them; for who will concede that a collective noun is to be understood of
one man only? Further, as the perpetuity of the contest is noted, so
victory is promised to the human race through a continual succession of
ages. I explain, therefore, the seed to mean the posterity of the woman
generally. But since experience teaches that not all the sons of Adam by
far, arise as conquerors of the devil, we must necessarily come to one
head, that we may find to whom the victory belongs. So Paul, from the
seed of Abraham, leads us to Christ; because many were degenerate sons,
and a considerable part adulterous, through infidelity; whence it follows
that the unity of the body flows from the head. Wherefore, the sense will
be (in my judgment) that the human race, which Satan was endeavouring to
oppress, would at length be victorious.
In the meantime, we must keep in
mind that method of conquering which the Scripture describes. Satan has,
in all ages, led the sons of men "captive at his will," and, to this day,
retains his lamentable triumph over them, and for that reason is called
the "prince of the world," (John 12: 31.) But because one stronger than
he has descended from heaven, who will subdue him, hence it comes to pass
that, in the same manner, the whole Church of God, under its Head, will
gloriously exult over him. To this the declaration of Paul refers, "The
Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly," (Rom. 16: 20.) By which
words he signifies that the power of bruising Satan is imparted to
faithful men, and thus the blessing is the common property of the whole
Church;
but he, at the same time, admonishes us, that it only has its
commencement in this world; because God crowns none but well-tried
wrestlers.


I have more to add to this, but wish to post Calvin's position, at this point, without further commentary in answer to Earl's request that we provide him with some information on the view that the "seed" is the whole human race.

More to come in future post.
Presbyterian Deacon

Earl Jackson, bodhisattva, Gord, mossy, Skit, AMR, and the Forum:

It seems some additional confusion has arisen in this thread, as evidenced by the following:

Earl Jackson wrote:
Specifically I would like to know how the whole race could be in view here, and it not be seminal seed which the text is talking about?  If the seed here is "federal", then I would like to know how it is distinguished from seminal seed?... But maybe I am supposed to be tracing "federal seed"?  I don't know how to locate it, however? How am I supposed to distinguish it from literal seed?  


Perhaps it is my fault for mentioning "federal headship" with respect to the imputation of sin in Romans 5. Strictly speaking, there is no such concept as "federal seed." Perhaps we would do well to have another thread on Romans 5:12-21, but for now suffice it to state that Federal Headship as found in Romans 5 does not deal with "seed" and "offspring" but rather sees all mankind as under the Headship of Adam with regard to sin and its imputation to the race.

I believe that "seminal seed" is indeed what Genesis 3:15 is referring to. The seed of the woman is indeed her natural born offspring. The question however is with respect to identity of said "offspring." We agree with Calvin that "offspring" (seed) are to be identified as all mankind corporately and not as any one single individual. This position traces back, however, much further than Calvin.

In an earlier posting, Lyncx9 has given a fine treatment of the Septuagint (LXX) Greek rendering of Gen. 3:15. The LXX treatment of our text (so far as I can determine) is the earliest attested interpretation of "zera" as a "single individual." The LXX translates "zera" with the Greek "sperma" which is a neuter noun. The expected antecedent pronoun is "it" (auto), but LXX has "he" (autos), which supports the translators' interpretation that "seed" is an individual.

However, the ancient Targums, Jewish pseudepigrapha, and later rabbinic writings have always (and almost unanimously) viewed "zera" as used in Gen 3:15 as a collective for humankind.
 
Quote:
If there is a difference, I would like to know why and where it is found?  I
realize this is not a discussion about Romans 5 or any other passage, but the
concept of "seed" here
has definitely got to be addressed.


Exactly, our point: the concept of "seed" [zera, sperma, or pumpkin :) ] is not found in Romans 5, and to introduce it as a "looking glass" of sorts by which we interpret Genesis 3 is (in my opinion) not a valid hermeneutical approach.
Earl Jackson

Thanks for Calvin's thoughts

I am a little befuddled by this viewpoint, perhaps because I have been thinking of the serpent not as a snake but as the Devil himself (Rev. 12:9; Rev.20:2).  Calvin's view seems to stress the enmity between men and snakes, with the whole affair being some sort of vestige of man's dominion over the animal creation which was left from pre-fall times.  I really tend to see this as an over simplification, although it certianly has some literalistic tendancies.  The question of the serpent's identity is an issue here.  If he was the "Devil" as we are told in Revelation, then why would his seed be the snakes of the ground, which Calvin seems pretty clear about?  Obviously we are dealing here with something more than a snake.  Snakes do not communicate, as we see "when the serpent beguiled Eve with his subtilty" (2Cor. 11:3).  That Calvin is confusing Satan with snakes is seen in the following two quotes from his post:

Quote:
"The sight of a serpent inspires us with horrors the memory of our fall is renewed."  And in the next paragraph he says: "the serpent shall be vexatious towards men, and men shall be intent on the destruction of serpents. Meanwhile, we see that the Lord acts mercifully in chastising man, whom he does not suffer Satan to touch except in the
heel;
while he subjects the head of the serpent to be wounded by him."


Obviously Calvin thinks that snakes are the Devil...Satan is allowed to touch man in the heel.  

I'm sorry, but I have a problem with this.  This seems to me to be literalism gone astray in one sense, and not enough literalism in another sense.  If the seed of the serpent is serpents (Calvin's literalism), then the serpent is not the Devil as John teaches us (Lack of literalism). It seems to me to be a dilemma.  Either the serpent was a talking Devil, which would make his seed "demon spawn" or something like that; or the serpent was a mute snake, with seed which were cobra's, asps, cotton mouths etc.  I do not think confusing the "kinds" is the answer to interpreting this passage.  The Devil is clearly an intelligent, beguiling, communicative "kind" of being, snakes are not. They are clearly non rational, although poisonous in some cases, but non-rational none the less.   How can this just be about man's hatred of snakes?  That's what Calvin makes it sound like.  

Listen to how he puts it:

Quote:
while he subjects the head of the serpent to be wounded by him. For in the terms head and heel there is a distinction between the superior and the inferior. And thus God leaves some remains of dominion to man;


This whole affair in Calvin's view seems to be  about a remnant of dominion left in the human race as expressed by man's stomping on the head of snakes.  I have my doubts that this is what was in God's mind when He cursed the serpent and pronounced judgment upon the woman.   It is too simplistic, and not literal enough when it comes to "That Old Serpent The Devil".

Then Calvin says that the seed is not Christ:

Quote:
There is, indeed no ambiguity in the words here used by Moses; but I do
not agree with others respecting their meaning; for other interpreters take the seed for Christ, without controversy; as if it were said, that some one would arise from the seed of the woman who should wound the serpent's head. Gladly would I give my suffrage in support of their opinion, but that I regard the word seed as too violently distorted by
them; for who will concede that a collective noun is to be understood of one man only?


But a few sentances later he implies that the seed is Christ:

Quote:
But because one stronger than he has descended from heaven, who will subdue him, hence it comes to pass that, in the same manner, the whole Church of God, under its Head, will gloriously exult over him. To this the declaration of Paul refers, "The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly," (Rom. 16: 20.)


But Calvin does not interpret this as "The Lord" bruising Satan's head, because that would not be consistent with what he has expressed, so he turns it around and makes this apply to men, who are the seed of the woman and not Christ:

Quote:
To this the declaration of Paul refers, "The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly," (Rom. 16: 20.) By which words he signifies that the power of bruising Satan is imparted to faithful men, and thus the blessing is the common property of the whole Church;


What I get out of this is not helpful to the cause of trying to win me to the idea that the seed of the woman is the whole world.   Only because it makes the seed of the Devil a bunch of snakes, and it takes the "seed" in some kind of literal sense, but not the verses is Revelation which identify the serpent with the Devil, or the Romans 16 passage which clearly says "the Lord shall bruise Satan".  I think those passages should be literal over above the Genesis account.  Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that we should not take the Genesis passage literally, I am simply saying, that the proper hermeneutic here is that the New testament explanation takes precedence over the interpretation of the Mosaic passage.  The New interpret the Old, and not vice versa.

Thanks for trying to help, I do appreciate your effort, and your thoughtful analysis, but at this point I want to favor a different view, however I will continue to pray for enlightenment.  God Bless you all.  Earl
Ask Mr. Religion

Earl,

I tend to side with Vos (Biblical Theology), who noted that in the passage a serpent and a demonic power was present. The demonic power made use of the serpent for his evil plan. Vos goes on the explain that this would not be impossible, citing the analogy of the demoniacs in the NT. Obviously something supernatural was at work.

As for the personal characteristics used to describe the serpent, I would look to descriptions of behavior of animals elsewhere in Scripture which sometimes are but analogies of human behavior. We know that these descriptions do not imply the same elements of what we know to be true of human behavior. Mt. 10:16 comes to mind for me, for we surely do not think Jesus was equating the human qualities of wisdom and harmlessness to that of serpents and doves! Likewise, I may be wrong, but I don't think the word arum (e.g., crafty) from Genesis 3 refers in any way to what we would equate in a human having that quality.

I do strongly believe that Genesis 3:15 has an eschatological/prophetic character, a soteriological character, and a Christological character, hence its common reference as the Protoevangelium. After all Paul was not waxing eloquent when he stated that "the serpent beguiled Eve". I do not think that Genesis 3:15 is nothing but etiology, devoid of these characteristics. Thus, I can say that at the eschatological level Satan is cursed, while at the temporal level the serpent is cursed. If we start divorcing the eschatological aspect from the historical narrative, what are we left with? Nothing but allegory, IMHO. Jesus referred to Satan as a "murderer from the beginning". The actions of the serpent are not mere analogies to Satan's activities, but were united.

AMR
Earl Jackson

Thanks AMR...A question?

I think that your view of the situation is interesting because it brings in all of the apparent factors...i.e. eschatalogical, soteriological, christological;  So with that in mind, I am assuming that you do not interpret the woman's seed to be "the whole of mankind"?  Am I correct in thinking this?  If I am correct in that assumption would I also be correct in assuming that you see the woman's seed as Jesus Christ?

I found you post helpful, so now I'll wait to see if my conclusions about it are correct.  Thanks very much.  Earl
bodhisattva

If I read AMR correctly, then this passage should be read on three levels:

1.  Eve's seed is all of mankind/the serpent's seed is all serpents

2.  Eve's seed is Christ/serpent's seed is the Great Dragon of Revelation

3.  Eve's seed is Christ's elect/serpent's seed is all the rest of lost creation (which was cursed on Adam's account
Lyncx9

AMR:

I find yours indeed an engaging posting, one that, for me, raises some unanswered questions.

#1  You mention with appreciation the work of an outstanding biblical Scholar, Geerhardus Vos, a man for whose work I ordinarily would have the utmost respect.  Certainly one may infer or sense a demonic power present in the passage even in the very urging to disobey God and, ultimately, in the action of disobedience that transpired as a result.  That said, however, did Vos [or, if not Vos, then could you yourself] suggest, in direct substantiation of that inference or sense, to any specific textual citation of such demonic presense apart from either interpretive inference or drawn analogy?

#2  I quite agree with your commentary on the means being by analogy to be used in understanding the characterists noted of animals as related to humans.  However we may understand the machinations of the serpent in the text, he certainly cannot be accounted as, strictly speaking, human.  However, is there any direct Biblical warrant, apart from New Testament analogy, for specifically denoting the serpent of the Genesis text as otherwise than animal?

#3  You directly state that you believe that Genesis 3:15 possesses what you describe as  "eschatological/prophetic character, a soteriological character, and a Christological character".  This would indeed be in keeping with the "common reference" as the Protoevangelicum.  Could you give us foundational Biblical textual warrant for the discovery of these three characters as specifically to be found in the Genesis 3:15 text?

#4  You affirm that Genesis 3:15 is more than aetiology.  It is certainly that, of course.  But what biblical warrant can you give us for understanding it to be more than that?

#5  You say that at the eschatological level Satan is cursed.  Certainly Satan is indeed cursed, even as other specific Biblical texts assure us.  But what in Genesis 3:15 tells us that?  Or wherein is that interpretation of Genesis 3:15 elsewhere in Scripture given us that warrant?

#6  You suggest that we must not divorce the eschatological aspect from historical narrative.  I fully agree.  But in the instance of Genesis 3:15 where in the Biblical record do we learn that the eschatological or Christological aspects, the presumed Protoevangelical, aspects of that text were ever duly married?

#7  Need we have these eschatological, soteriological and Christolohgical aspects to be found in this specific Genesis 3:15 text in order to maintain their legitimate presence in other Biblical texts and passages wherein they are certainly and specifically present?  I do not think so.  Do you?

In Christ

Lyncx
Presbyterian Deacon

Earl Jackson wrote:
That Calvin is confusing Satan with snakes is seen in the following two quotes from his post:

 
Quote:
"The sight of a serpent inspires us with horrors the memory of our fall is renewed." And in the next paragraph he says: "the serpent shall be vexatious towards men, and men shall be intent on the destruction of serpents. Meanwhile, we see that the Lord acts mercifully in chastising man, whom he does not suffer Satan to touch except in the
heel; while he subjects the head of the serpent to be wounded by him."


Obviously Calvin thinks that snakes are the Devil...Satan is allowed to touch man in the heel.


Earl, I think you have misunderstood what Calvin has said in his commentary. Calvin certainly knew the difference between Satan and serpents and is careful to address both in the text. Perhaps you missed it:

John Calvin wrote:
We must now make a transition from the serpent to the author of this mischief himself; and that not only in the way of comparison, for there truly is a literal analogy; because God has not so vented his anger upon the outward instrument as to spare the devil, with whom lay all the blame. That this may the more certainly appear to us, it is worth the while first to observe that the Lord spoke not for the sake of the serpent but of the man; for what end could it answer to thunder against the serpent in unintelligible words? Wherefore respect was had to men; both that they might be affected with a greater dread of sin, seeing how highly displeasing it is to God, and that hence they might take consolation for their misery, because they would perceive that God is still propitious to them. But now it is obvious to and how slender and insignificant would be the argument for a good hope, if mention were here made of a serpent only; because nothing would be then provided for, except the fading and transient life of the body. Men would remain, in the meanwhile, the slaves of Satan, who would proudly triumph over them, and trample on their heads. Wherefore, that God might revive the fainting minds of men, and restore them when oppressed by despair, it became necessary to promise them, in their posterity victory over Satan, through whose wiles they had been ruined. This, then, was the only salutary medicine which could recover the lost, and restore life to the dead. I therefore conclude, that God here chiefly assails Satan under the name of the serpent, and hurls against him the lightning of his judgment.


Of interest to me is AMR's reply:

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
Earl,

I tend to side with Vos (Biblical Theology), who noted that in the passage a serpent and a demonic power was present. The demonic power made use of the serpent for his evil plan. Vos goes on the explain that this would not be impossible, citing the analogy of the demoniacs in the NT. Obviously something supernatural was at work.


Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see that Vos and Calvin are saying anything all that different from one another. That Satan is speaking through the serpent is Calvin's point as well as Vos'...and God's judgment is upon the serpent because of his part in being used by Satan. But that judgment is not against the serpent only for it is further and ultimately seen in the judgment of Satan.
Ask Mr. Religion

Re: Thanks AMR...A question?

Earl Jackson wrote:
I think that your view of the situation is interesting because it brings in all of the apparent factors...i.e. eschatalogical, soteriological, christological;  So with that in mind, I am assuming that you do not interpret the woman's seed to be "the whole of mankind"?  Am I correct in thinking this?  If I am correct in that assumption would I also be correct in assuming that you see the woman's seed as Jesus Christ?

I found you post helpful, so now I'll wait to see if my conclusions about it are correct.  Thanks very much.  Earl
Yes, in my opinion the seed of the woman is Christ. That is how I voted when the original poll was posted. Wink

AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Lyncx:

Though your questions are directed toward Ask Mr. Religion, I was curious as to the answer myself. I have therefore spent sometime this evening reviewing and typing the Vos position (which, as I mention in my previous post, I view as not that much different from the Calvin position) so that you may read what Vos has on the matter.

You ask:
Lyncx9 wrote:
#1 You mention with appreciation the work of an outstanding biblical Scholar, Geerhardus Vos, a man for whose work I ordinarily would have the utmost respect. Certainly one may infer or sense a demonic power present in the passage even in the very urging to disobey God and, ultimately, in the action of disobedience that transpired as a result. That said, however, did Vos [or, if not Vos, then could you yourself] suggest, in direct substantiation of that inference or sense, to any specific textual citation of such demonic presense apart from either interpretive inference or drawn analogy?


No. Vos is entirely drawing upon hermeneutical inference, archaeological discovery, the nature of progressive revelation, and a systematization of biblical texts. But I don't discount Vos' conclusions because they are drawn on interpretative inference.

I think inference and conclusions are a part of hermeneutics. I grant that to read back into a text all that is learned from the systematization of other passages which form our theological construct is not pure exegesis, nevertheless I believe that texts should not be either isolated or abandoned after exegetical work, but that it is a valid approach to, having once exegeted various texts treating of a particular subject to bring those texts together in a systematic way, and thereby discover all that maybe understood about a particular subject. Afterall, is this not what "Biblical Theology" is about?

In his work, Biblical Theology (pages 43-45) Vos writes the following:

"The problem arises, how we must concieve of the role played by the serpent in the fall, and of its traditional connection with an evil spirit. There are varying views in regard to this. Quite in keeping with the modern aversion to much Biblical realism in general, many are inclined to understand the entire account as a piece of allegorizing, which in the intent of the writer was not meant to describe a single occurrence but the ever-repeated efforts of sin to fin an entrance into the human heart. The serpent then becomes a symbol or allegory with the rest. This view is contrary to the plain intent of the narrative; in Gen 3:1, the serpent is compared with the other beasts God had made; if the others were real, then the serpent was. In verse 14 the punishment is expressed in terms of requiring a real serpent. Others have gone to the opposite extreme of asserting there was nothing but a serpent. The terms used in this passage would certainly fit better into this than into the allegorical view. But it ill accords with the Scriptural teaching on the animal world in general to conceive of a simple serpent as speaking. The Bible always upholds against all pantheizing confusion the distinction between man who speaks and the animals who do not speak, Balaam's ass forming the only exception on record. It therefore becomes necessary to adopt the old, traditional view according to which there were present both a real serpent and a demonic power, who made use of the former to carry out his plan. So far from there being anything impossible in this, it finds close analogy in the demoniacs of the Gospels, through whose mouths the demons speak. The more recent archaeological scholarship has at this point vindicated the correctness of the old exegesis, for in the Babylonian representations there appears often behind the figure of a serpent the figure of a demon. Besides there is ample Biblical testimony for the presence of an evil spirit in the temptation. True the Old Testament throws no light upon the subject. This is for the twofold reason that, on the one hand, the fall is seldom referred to, and on the other hand, the whole subject of evil spirits and of  "the Satan," "the adversary" is long kept in darkness. For reference to the fall cpr. Job 31:33; Hos. 6:7; Ezek 28:1-19. For reference or allusion to the 'Evil Spirit' cpr. "the Satan" in Job; in I Chron 21:1. Evil spirits in general appear, I Sam 16; I Kings 22. In none of these passages, however, is the first entrance of evil into the world of men brought into connection with Satan. For the first time, so far as we know, this is done in the Apocryphal book of "Wisdom," where in II:24 it is stated: "By the envy of Satan death entered into the world." In later Jewish writings also Sammael (The Angel of Death) is called "The Old Serpent." In the N.T. we have the words of Jesus to the Jews, John 8:44, where in reference to the Devil he is represented as both a liar and murderer from the beginning. This must refer to the temptation. "The father thereof," i.e., of lying means the primordial liar. Further, "your father the devil" alludes to the phrase "your seed" addressed to the serpent (Gen 3:15). So does the phrase "children of the Wicked One" in Matt. 13:38. Paul in Rom. 16:20 understands of Satan what in the curse is made the serpent's punishment, viz., his being bruised under foot. I John 3:8 says that the Devil sins from the beginning. In Rev 12:9 Satan is called 'the great dragon, the old serpent.'"
Earl Jackson

Presbyterian Deacon

I think your assessment of Vos on this is not quite right.  You said:

Quote:
Vos is entirely drawing upon hermeneutical inference, archaeological discovery, the nature of progressive revelation, and a systematization of biblical texts. But I don't discount Vos' conclusions because they are drawn on interpretative inference


That seems to be a little bit of a harsh assessment to me.  In fact I think you are actually misrepresenting Vos altogether.  You typed a nice long quote of his that proves your analysis is entirely wrong.  Here is some of what you typed from Vos himself:

Quote:
In the N.T. we have the words of Jesus to the Jews, John 8:44, where in reference to the Devil he is represented as both a liar and murderer from the beginning. This must refer to the temptation. "The father thereof," i.e., of lying means the primordial liar. Further, "your father the devil" alludes to the phrase "your seed" addressed to the serpent (Gen 3:15). So does the phrase "children of the Wicked One" in Matt. 13:38. Paul in Rom. 16:20 understands of Satan what in the curse is made the serpent's punishment, viz., his being bruised under foot. I John 3:8 says that the Devil sins from the beginning. In Rev 12:9 Satan is called 'the great dragon, the old serpent.


Please show us what in this statement of Vos is “hermeneutical inference”?  What part of this is “archaeological discovery”?  Is Vos alluding to “progressive revelation” when he quotes the New Testament interpretation of the Genesis text?  How is referencing  the pertinent New Testament verses “systematizing”?  How is any of this “interpretative inference”?  I don’t see any of the stuff going on that you say.

I think Vos is doing what we all should be doing, and that is letting the New Testament speak to the issues which are brought up in Gen. 3:15. If the New Testament speaks, and we do not listen, then all the exegesis in the world will be just a waste of time.

Earl Jackson
Lyncx9

Presbyterian Deacon and the Forum:

Many thanks for taking on the question I raised to AMR regarding Vos and for relating the Vos position in his own words.  I was pretty sure from my remembering Vos on the issue (my text of Vos on Biblical Theology is back home in Arkansas) that he did not cite any specific text of demonic presence apart from interperative inference and/or drawn analogy and your investigation confirmed my memory on the issue.

You note that his conclusions come entirely "from drawing upon hermeneutical inference, archaeological discovery, the nature of progressive revelation and a systemization of Biblical texts".  I would agree that the conclusions drawn ought not to be discounted "because drawn on interpretive inference," or perhaps better said, ought not to be discounted simply because of that process.  Yet, in fact, that process does need to be carefully reviewed to evaluate exactly how legitimate is the process by which said interpretive inference, archaeological discovery,the nature of progressive revelation and the systemization of biblical texts was actually achieved.

With that thought in mind it is appropriate to review carefully the process Vos has followed as you have laid it out for us.

You write:

Quote:
I think inference and conclusions are a part of hermeneutics. I grant that to read back into a text all that is learned from the systematization of other passages which form our theological construct is not pure exegesis, nevertheless I believe that texts should not be either isolated or abandoned after exegetical work, but that it is a valid approach to, having once exegeted various texts treating of a particular subject to bring those texts together in a systematic way, and thereby discover all that maybe understood about a particular subject. Afterall, is this not what "Biblical Theology" is about?


This is a perspective with which I am in general agreement.  Inference and conclusions are certainly a part of hermeneutics.  Certainly too this is what "Biblical Theology" is all about.  Texts ought not to be either isolated or abandoned after their exegesis is complete.  Yet would it not be better to state that once texts are exegeted in their given contexts, if it be deemed that they are treating of a single subject, to be brought together in a systematic way, if and only providing that they not be so systemized as to nullify their meaning in their original setting and furthermore if no violence be done to any of those texts in the contexts from whence they came!  It would seem to me that only then would that lead to the true discovery of all that may be understood about a particular subject and only then would the validity of the resultant "Biblical Theology" be legitimately established.

Certainly also the factors of "archaeological discovery" and "the nature of progressive revelation," when applicable, must also be given their due consideration in the interpretive process.

These things said it is appropriate to evaluate the explication Vos gives as you have graciously laid it out for us.

You quote him first thus:

Quote:
"The problem arises, how we must concieve of the role played by the serpent in the fall, and of its traditional connection with an evil spirit. There are varying views in regard to this. Quite in keeping with the modern aversion to much Biblical realism in general, many are inclined to understand the entire account as a piece of allegorizing, which in the intent of the writer was not meant to describe a single occurrence but the ever-repeated efforts of sin to fin an entrance into the human heart. The serpent then becomes a symbol or allegory with the rest. This view is contrary to the plain intent of the narrative; in Gen 3:1, the serpent is compared with the other beasts God had made; if the others were real, then the serpent was. In verse 14 the punishment is expressed in terms of requiring a real serpent.


One (and certainly not I), cannot quarrel with the reasoning and interpretation Vos has given here to this juncture.  The narrative gives every appearance of being one of realism and the serpent a reality.

You go on to further quote Vos thus:

Quote:
Others have gone to the opposite extreme of asserting there was nothing but a serpent. The terms used in this passage would certainly fit better into this than into the allegorical view.


I have no quarrel with the expressed realism of the serpent, but I do have problem with it being called "the opposite extreme."  In fact, all the texts consistently list nothing but a serpent.  All the terms given fit it as being exactly that, a serpent.  There is nothing "extreme" about it.  Making the serpent something else than serpent would be to bring into the text something absolutely not present there.  It is to read the text as saying something it simply does not at all state at any point.  It not only fits better than the allegory view, it is the only view that absolutely and exactly fits the text as it is given to us.  Only some unexpressed presupposition about the text can determine that the text tells us something else!  It would be a presupposition uncomfortably akin to the sort of presupposition that has been correctly alleged as falsely motivating the allegory interpretation that has been properly rejected!

Vos goes on thus:

Quote:
"But it ill accords with the Scriptural teaching on the animal world in general to conceive of a simple serpent as speaking. The Bible always upholds against all pantheizing confusion the distinction between man who speaks and the animals who do not speak, Balaam's @%$ forming the only exception on record. It therefore becomes necessary to adopt the old, traditional view according to which there were present both a real serpent and a demonic power, who made use of the former to carry out his plan. So far from there being anything impossible in this, it finds close analogy in the demoniacs of the Gospels, through whose mouths the demons speak."


In this Vos, in my judgment, very wrongly deliberately and without valid warrant, now seeks to destroy the obvious realism of the text that he previously touted!  He uses the expression "a simple serpent speaking" and identifies the serpent in terms of what the serpent became instead of what the texts declare that the serpent was and had been!

Does Vos discount the realism of that aspect of the narrative account?  It would seem so.  Strangely Vos has already cited Genesis 3:1 to establish realism and now, since it suits him, evidently ignores Genesis 3:1 in terms of what is its clear statement.  Without going into the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:1 (which I would do if asked) we are clearly told at the outset that the serpent was, at the very beginning of the narrative, more crafty (i.e., clever), more than all the animals of the field God had created.  In our concern for realism is this datum to be ignored?  Perhaps because it does not suit the build up of our predetermined case and rationale?  Apparently so.  At least Vos summarily ignores it after he has used it to nullify the allegorical approach.  Hardly a fair determination or disposition in my opinion.

This is no "simple serpent" here!  Is Vos prepared to assert that the serpent in question here could not speak and reason in the encounter with Eve?  Apparently so!  And apparently on the basis of what other animals presently cannot do and on the basis of their having in other situations been given voices by either God or the demonic.  So then Vos immediately moves to invoke the, "It therefore becomes necessary to adopt the old, traditional view according to which there were present both a real serpent and a demonic power, who made use of the former to carry out his plan."

What then has become of Genesis 3:1?  It has become nullified!  And along with it so also is its value in opposing the allegorical interpretation it was useful to discount!

Now the way has become clear to introduce demonic power into a text that expresses none of the sort!  Frankly I can hardly place this into the realm of "hermeneutical inference."  It seems to me to be more in the line of exegetical nullification.  But it doesnt stop there.  once the demonic is in the door (or the camel has his nose in the tent flap!) the way is open for the further material of Vos that immediately follows and we move directly into the New Testament wherein we do have demons speaking through animals.

Vos goes on with evidence from archaeology:

Quote:
"The more recent archaeological scholarship has at this point vindicated the correctness of the old exegesis, for in the Babylonian representations there appears often behind the figure of a serpent the figure of a demon."


I find this citation particularly interesting on at least three counts.  First, because it is at least questionable as to whether the figures represented are demons and second, it is questionable whether the serpent is a replica of the serpent before or after the curse and, finally, may it not be simply some uninspired interpretation of the Genesis account?  One wonders to what extent Vos thinks the Enuma Elish, for example, is normative as having bearing on the Genesis creation accounts?

All told I hardly think this archaelogical notation brings anything definitively pertinent in determing the hermeneutics of Genesis 3.

Vos continues:

Quote:
Besides there is ample Biblical testimony for the presence of an evil spirit in the temptation. True the Old Testament throws no light upon the subject. This is for the twofold reason that, on the one hand, the fall is seldom referred to, and on the other hand, the whole subject of evil spirits and of  "the Satan," "the adversary" is long kept in darkness. For reference to the fall cpr. Job 31:33; Hos. 6:7; Ezek 28:1-19. For reference or allusion to the 'Evil Spirit' cpr. "the Satan" in Job; in I Chron 21:1. Evil spirits in general appear, I Sam 16; I Kings 22. In none of these passages, however, is the first entrance of evil into the world of men brought into connection with Satan.


This analysis is essentially correct.  It is indeed noteworthy that in the Old Testament the fall is seldom referred to (in fact, never referred to directly!).  And, though Vos doesn't mention it, even the category of angels and of spirits generally doesn't come into vogue until the exile in Babylon for it is there in that culture that those categories first arise (and not as a natural example of progressive revelation per se!).  Incidently that is the reason that the Sadducees refused to use the categories at all, since they are not found in Torah, but only in texts composed subsequent to the exile!

Continuing with Vos:

Quote:
"For the first time, so far as we know, this is done in the Apocryphal book of "Wisdom," where in II:24 it is stated: "By the envy of Satan death entered into the world." In later Jewish writings also Sammael (The Angel of Death) is called "The Old Serpent."


These evidences are indeed puzzling for one espousing a closed canon excluding such sources, though they are indeed interesting commentary.  All that can be said for them is that Judaism gradually came to accept an interpretation akin to the later interpretation of Irenaeus regarding a form of the "Protoevangelicum".  

Finally Vos writes:

Quote:

"In the N.T. we have the words of Jesus to the Jews, John 8:44, where in reference to the Devil he is represented as both a liar and murderer from the beginning. This must refer to the temptation. "The father thereof," i.e., of lying means the primordial liar. Further, "your father the devil" alludes to the phrase "your seed" addressed to the serpent (Gen 3:15). So does the phrase "children of the Wicked One" in Matt. 13:38. Paul in Rom. 16:20 understands of Satan what in the curse is made the serpent's punishment, viz., his being bruised under foot. I John 3:8 says that the Devil sins from the beginning. In Rev 12:9 Satan is called 'the great dragon, the old serpent.'"


There is certainly a very loose exegesis stated for the texts cited here.  I have already dealt with Romans 16:20 and defused its relationship to the text of Genesis 3:15 and would be willing to do the same with the other texts cited by Vos here.

"Biblical Theology" we certainly have here.  Legitimate "Biblical Theology"?  That is quite another question.  None of these texts cite Genesis 3:15.  Despite Vos saying "must" regarding John 8:44 regarding the temptation it is to be noted that no such direct reference is made in the text itself.  Reference to "your father the devil" being born from Genesis 3:15 is indeed a considerable stretch as well.  Rev 12:9, rather than being a direct reference to Genesis 3 is a direct reference to the dragon image given in the immediate context at Rev 12:3,4 and 7.  It would be dangerous in the extreme to make "back reference" from that symbolism to the previously avowed realism of Genesis 3!

In sum, I hardly think Vos has proven his case except to those who have already presumed the reality of the "Protoevangelicum on other grounds.  it seems to me that we have in Genesis 3 a real narrative in which the characters must be understood for what the text declares them to be, rather than what a read-back from other sources may impress upon them by way of allusion.

In conclusion,  I reiterate in respect to Genesis 3:15 that the text is nowhere cited to have the meaning that the "Protoevangelicum" suggests.

In Christ

Lyncx
Ask Mr. Religion

Re: Presbyterian Deacon

Earl Jackson wrote:
I think your assessment of Vos on this is not quite right.  You said:

Quote:
Vos is entirely drawing upon hermeneutical inference, archaeological discovery, the nature of progressive revelation, and a systematization of biblical texts. But I don't discount Vos' conclusions because they are drawn on interpretative inference


That seems to be a little bit of a harsh assessment to me.
Earl,

You are tilting at windmills, sir. PD's comments would be basically what I would argue. And I think you and PD are not that far apart on the matter of Vos' approaches. That said, I would have preferred the phrase "interpretative inference" to read "interpretative deduction" as my approach to systematics is far more deductive than inductive. The latter, to me, can never yield bona fide doctrinal truths in systematic theology and I am not convinced that Vos was an inductive systematizer.

Quote:
I think Vos is doing what we all should be doing, and that is letting the New Testament speak to the issues which are brought up in Gen. 3:15.
I agree and have not seen anyone here claiming otherwise. Lyncx9 has simply argued that there is no NT evidence for the protoevangelium that could be read back into the passage in question. All this said, there are those that have come to the protoevangelium interpretation strictly by localized OT exegesis, without the typical threefold methods of historical-exegetical, biblical-theological, and canonical-systematic readings.

AMR
Lyncx9

Earl:

Please take close to heart what AMR has just written!

I have differences of opinion with AMR over the "Protoevangelicum" and with both AMR and Presbyterian Deacon regarding the presentation of Geerhardus Vos as Presbyterian Deacon has set it before us.  But I respect them both highly as skilled exegetes and theologians.

We all are concerned to take seriously the ways the New Testament speaks or does not speak to or about Old Testament texts.  To exegete and interpret all Biblical texts conscientiously and to be governed by the results of what we find.  We all are seriously concerned to approach and undertake the task with careful intent to accomplish the task with the best possible workmanship, as I am sure is your own intent.

Please read whatever is posted carefully and strive to understand what each is saying before being critical.

In Christ

Lyncx
Earl Jackson

Lynx,
Thank you for the rebuke, You are right, I was being critical, and after reading the last few posts I realize that.

I come from a fundamentalistic background, and with that is a tendancy to elevate the New Testament over other portions of Scripture.  But "all Scripture is given by inspiration...and is profitable" (2Tim. 3:16).  

There is, however, some validity to the assumption that the New Testament statements are in fact the inspired commentary and the inspired exegesis of all the old testament passages which it references.  You acknowledge this and call it "back-referencing", but do not seem to see it going on in any of the passages which Vos quotes.  

With reference to the use of Rev. 12:9  by Vos you said: "It would be dangerous in the extreme to make "back reference" from that symbolism to the previously avowed realism of Genesis 3!" I think what you are saying is that because there is symbolism going on in the Revelation context, it cannot be a "back-reference" to the Genesis context because that is not "symbolism", it is "realism".  But this I do not agree with, because the New Testament in fact "symbolizes" many of the "realisms" of the Old Testament, and when it does so, it is in fact an inspired exegesis.  

Acts two and the Throne of David is a good example.  The "realism" of the old Testament seed of David sitting upon David's throne, is clearly reinterpreted to be the "symbolism" of Christ sitting on His heavenly throne in his present session (Acts 2:29-36).  If we were to take this passage and say that "it would be dangerous in the extreme to make "back reference" from that symbolism to the previously avowed realism", we would end up with the hyper-literalistic view of the Pharisees, and we would entirely miss the import of what the New testament was actually saying. To me this is what would be "dangerous in the extreme", not the use of a New Testament "symbolism" to explain an Old Testament "realism".  

I know that what you are saying, is the fact that these passages are not actual quotes from Gen. 3:15, and that they are not in fact, actual references.  That is very true, but "inferences" or "deductions", if you will; have to be drawn from the plain statements given in the New Testament, even if they do not appear to be actual references to the specific Old Testament texts.  

A very large portion of the New Testament is taken up with the "reinterpretation", "spiritualization" and "symbolization", and correct "application" of Old Testament materials.  John the Baptist being the return of Elijah might be a good example of this. The spiritualization of the "Temple theme" might be another example.  So I do not think that we can entirely rule out a "symbolization" or "spiritualization" of the "seed of the woman theme" when we come to the New Testament. There is ample precidence for the idea that the "seed of the woman" might indeed be the proto-evangelium, if the New Testament is in fact "spiritualizing" or "symbolizing" the material, even if it is doing so without direct citation of Gen. 3:15.

In my opinion, that is exactly what Vos is trying to point out...that the "seed of the woman" has gone from an Old Testament historical "reality" to a New testament "symbolic" reality.  I do not think that this is "dangerous in the extreme" as you have suggested. In my opinion failure to acknowledge this and give it a proper understanding and anaylsis in our exegesis, that is what would be "dangerous in the extreme'.

Earl Jackson
Lyncx9

Earl Jackson and the Forum:

My words to you were by no means intended as any sort of rebuke.  They were merely given as advice intended to make your experience here on RTI more productive and more personally satisfying.  I do think your experience here would be more satisfying and personally productive if you were to read the postings of others a bit more carefully and were a bit better schooled in the areas of exegesis and hermeneutics.

I see that lack of care also in your reading of my just previous posting as well.

You write:

Quote:
There is, however, some validity to the assumption that the New Testament statements are in fact the inspired commentary and the inspired exegesis of all the old testament passages which it references.  You acknowledge this and call it "back-referencing", but do not seem to see it going on in any of the passages which Vos quotes.


This shows me that you either did not read carefully what I wrote or, if you did, you did not understand it.  I do not deny that New Testament statements would be inspired commentary nor do I deny that such commentary may well include inspired exegesis of the Old Testament passages which it references.  It is not that simply I do not seem to see such inspired commentary and inspired exegesis going on in any of the passages Vos quotes.  The fact is that such is not to be found in any of the passages Vos quotes!  In point of fact Genesis 3:15 is not found in any of the passages Vos quotes!  Furthermore, that passage, Genesis 3:15 is never cited by any New Testament writer anywhere!

All that can be said with legitimacy is that there may be oblique allusions to Genesis 3:15 in some of the texts Vos cites.  Vos is no more an inspired exegete than either you or I are.  None of us are inspired New Testament writers!  My posting was in critique of Vos' exegesis and commentary as Presbyterian Deacon has provided it for us.

Then you write:

Quote:
With reference to the use of Rev. 12:9  by Vos you said: "It would be dangerous in the extreme to make "back reference" from that symbolism to the previously avowed realism of Genesis 3!" I think what you are saying is that because there is symbolism going on in the Revelation context, it cannot be a "back-reference" to the Genesis context because that is not "symbolism", it is "realism".  But this I do not agree with, because the New Testament in fact "symbolizes" many of the "realisms" of the Old Testament, and when it does so, it is in fact an inspired exegesis.


Again you misread me in the context of what Vos had written.  Vos took great pains to deny that Genesis 3 was not allegory but was realism (correctly  in my judgment) and thus was not symbolic.  Then he turned quite around and attempted to read back into that realism from material fraught with the symbolism of the apocalyptic genre!  Besides that, he evidently ignored the closer reference from the texts in the preceding immediate context.  Furthermore, any New Testament symbolization of Old Testament realism would have to be shown by some referential citation.  None such is given in the Revelation text.

You then write:

Quote:
"I know that what you are saying, is the fact that these passages are not actual quotes from Gen. 3:15, and that they are not in fact, actual references.  That is very true, but "inferences" or "deductions", if you will; have to be drawn from the plain statements given in the New Testament, even if they do not appear to be actual references to the specific Old Testament texts."


I take it you are favorable to the drawing of inferences even when implications are not present.  That is a dangerous and notoriously invalid business for exegetes and can make any text mean anything in the mind of the one drawing the inference.  I think you had better re-think your suggestion more carefully.

Then you go deeper into dangerous waters as you write:

Quote:
A very large portion of the New Testament is taken up with the "reinterpretation", "spiritualization" and "symbolization", and correct "application" of Old Testament materials.  John the Baptist being the return of Elijah might be a good example of this. The spiritualization of the "Temple theme" might be another example.  So I do not think that we can entirely rule out a "symbolization" or "spiritualization" of the "seed of the woman theme" when we come to the New Testament. There is ample precidence for the idea that the "seed of the woman" might indeed be the proto-evangelium, if the New Testament is in fact "spiritualizing" or "symbolizing" the material, even if it is doing so without direct citation of Gen. 3:15.


Can you not see in the examples you cite the references are direct to the individuals concerned?  Can you not see that in the case of the seed of the woman no such direct reference is made?  It seems to me that you do not employ the criteria of careful exegesis and hermeneutics.  Perhaps that has not been included in your academic studies.  Might I suggest you would probably profit greatly by working through a good textbook on New Testament exegesis and hermeneutics that would outline the acceptable boundaries in the arenas you suggest.  There are two texts I would heartily reccommend, both of which are commonly used to teach exegesis and hermeneutics.

"New Testament Exegesis (A Handbook for Students and Pastors -- Third edition)" by Gordon Fee and published by Westminster John Knox Press.

"The Hermeneutical Spiral (A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation)" by Grant Osborne and published by InterVarsity Press.

These might be helpful in changing some of your strongly stated opinions, opinions with which I, and most other exegetes, would strongly disagree.

In Christ

Lyncx
Earl Jackson

Lynx,
You said, that you were not rebuking me, but that is the way I took it, and now after this post, I feel like you are trying to insult me as well.  You said:
Quote:
I do think your experience here would be more satisfying and personally productive if you were to read the postings of others a bit more carefully and were a bit better schooled in the areas of exegesis and hermeneutics.

I do read the posts thoroughly, and you know nothing at all about my schooling, my exegesis or my hermeneutics.  It is true that they may not agree with your's but it is not true that I am ill schooled in these areas.

You wrote:

Quote:
It is not that simply I do not seem to see such inspired commentary and inspired exegesis going on in any of the passages Vos quotes.  The fact is that such is not to be found in any of the passages Vos quotes!  In point of fact Genesis 3:15 is not found in any of the passages Vos quotes!  Furthermore, that passage, Genesis 3:15 is never cited by any New Testament writer anywhere!

All that can be said with legitimacy is that there may be oblique allusions to Genesis 3:15 in some of the texts Vos cites.  Vos is no more an inspired exegete than either you or I are.  None of us are inspired New Testament writers!  My posting was in critique of Vos' exegesis and commentary as Presbyterian Deacon has provided it for us.  


This shows me that it is you, who are not reading my post carefully or not understanding it.  I was not implying that Vos is some kind of inspired exegete. Surely you can't think that I am that stupid do you?  Of course he is not an inspired exegete.  But Paul, whom he quotes; Christ whom he quotes; and John whom he quotes; they are inspired exegetes.

Quote:
It is not that simply I do not seem to see such inspired commentary and inspired exegesis going on in any of the passages Vos quotes.  The fact is that such is not to be found in any of the passages Vos quotes!  In point of fact Genesis 3:15 is not found in any of the passages Vos quotes!  Furthermore, that passage, Genesis 3:15 is never cited by any New Testament writer anywhere!


You are emphatically stating as "fact", that there is no inspired commentary or exegesis going on in the passages Vos is using.  You said: "The fact is that such is not to be fround in any passages Vos quotes!" I disagree, and it is not because I have not read your post carefully enough; it is not because I am ignorant or not educated up to your standards; it is because I have read the words "Ye are of your father the Devil", and have seen them, like Vos, to have a clear relationship to to the question of who's children they are?  Since Gen. 3:15 is talking about the children of the Devil also, I do not see that as any kind of a "stretch" like you are saying that it is. When John makes at least 3 references to "That old serpent the Devil", I cannot dismiss it smugly by saying that "Genesis 3:15 is "never cited by any New Testament writer anywhere!"  Nor can this be taken as some sort of vague "oblique allusion"as you say. It is a primary New Testament text dealing with the subject of the identity of the Devil, The dragon, The crooked serpent, That old serpent;  and it is not oblique...It is Primary!   Your opinion on this is no better than mine or Vos's.  We happen to see here a definite citation of Genesis 3:15. When I read the words "The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly", I see in them a definite citation of Gen. 3: 15.  Just because you do not see it, just because you think you have debunked it, does not make you right, or make my hermeneutics or exegesis wrong. Obviously Vos does not see it your way either.  Maybe it's because he has not read the texts which you suggest.  I'm sure we could all learn a thing or two from Gordon Fee, but even he is not an Apostle! Come on.  Don't insult my intelligence, and don't tell me "any New Testament symbolization of Old Testament realism would have to be shown by some referential citation.  None such is given in the Revelation text."   That is simply your opinion, plain and simple.  You choose not to see it as a referential citation.  That is a problem with your view, not a problem with my exegesis, hemeneutics, reading, comprehension or education.  Please don't insult me like that. I may not be up to your speed, but I am not a moron either.
 
Quote:
Can you not see in the examples you cite the references are direct to the individuals concerned?  Can you not see that in the case of the seed of the woman no such direct reference is made?  It seems to me that you do not employ the criteria of careful exegesis and hermeneutics.  Perhaps that has not been included in your academic studies.  Might I suggest you would probably profit greatly by working through a good textbook on New Testament exegesis and hermeneutics that would outline the acceptable boundaries in the arenas you suggest.


What is it about the words "That Old Serpent the Devil" that is not a direct reference to the person involved...THE OLD SERPENT?   "TO THE SERPENT HE SAID."  Can you not see that in the case of the serpent a direct reference IS MADE?  What "academic studies" should I have that does not include common and ordinary plain English?  Serpent...Old Serpent...Devil...How are these words a matter of any kind of advanced learning, which I may not have availed myself of? The bare bones minumum for "acceptable boundaries" is plain English! And unless I am missing something I seem to be able to understand at least these first or second grade words.  You have determined that "I do not employ the criteria of careful exegesis and hermeneutics", but you cannot see any citations of Gen.3:15 in any of the passages of the New Testament which Vos has quoted?   Come on. Just because you are enamoured with your exegetical skill, don't put down other people who might not be a smart as you. That is an insult, plain and simple.  

I would have been OK with your initial rebuke, because I was wrong, and I was willing to admit it. But stupid I am not, and I will never ladmit to that.   I realize my faults and limitations just fine, and I do not need you to point them out to me, or to other people on this blog. That is simply rude and condescending, especially when you know nothing about me.  Every day, I ask the Lord to show me more about Christ, and make me more like Christ.  I am a student in his school, and for over 40 years, He has never failed to teach me new things every day, and lead me into many glorious and wonderful truths.  So you have no right, nor warrant to question my education, when I am under his tutiledge.  He is a far better teacher, then you or Godon Fee could ever be.

For now, It would be best for you to back off, and quit posting anything to me, until you apologize, because I didn't come here to be insulted or to try to win friends or influence people who live in towers so high that mere mortals can never speak to them. I'm not interested in that kind of stuff, and I will not participate in it.
Earl
Lyncx9

Earl:

I know you asked me not to post to you without apology, but though I have not rebuked you nor have I tried to insult you I apologize for anything I have said that might have seemed to you as either rebuke or insult.  I was simply suggesting ways by which you could get a better experience from your time here at RTI.

Perhaps it is we who have misread your postings and from them have understood you to be (as AMR put it) "tilting at windmills."  I think we conclude that (at least I know I do) you either do not read well what has been posted by Presbyterian Deacon or myself or perhaps you do not understand it.  For my part, I thought that suggesting a couple of good resources on exegesis and hermeneutics could be helpful to you.  I certainly did not mean it as insult.

It is true that you may well be schooled in an exegetical method and hermeneutics which is alien to my own.  It seemed to me that you were defending the exegesis of Vos but you now inform me that it is instead the exegesis of Paul, Christ and John whom Vos quotes.  Could you show me the exegesis they have presented?  I see no exegesis of any Old Testament texts that they have provided us with in the New Testament that Vos has cited.  Certainly they provide no exegesis of Genesis 3:15.  The interpretive work posted on those texts is entirely the work of Vos, not Paul, not Christ and not John.  At the very most one could only truly say regarding those texts cited that they may be obliquely allusive to Genesis 3:15.

I choose to ignore your long paragraph of expressed ire directed against me, other than to say that I do not by any means consider you a moron nor have I suggested that you are.  Both AMR and I have tried to help you and evidently that has been perceived as insult.  For that I am saddened.

I only note one other thing.  I was especially surprised and somewhat shocked to read that you learned your work of interpretation directly from Christ and also that you would denegrate the work of Gordon Fee who is well recognized as one of the finest exegetes of our era.

In Christ

Lyncx
Ask Mr. Religion

I am going to close this thread for a few days to allow a cooling off period for us all. During that time let's all think about the concept of epistemtic humility in how we write when interpreting Scripture.

Providentially, this piece recently landed in my inbox and is worth contemplating by us all during the cooling off period:
http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/...ruth-and-other-stupid-statements/


AMR
Ask Mr. Religion

Am now unlocking the thread in hopes that we have all had time to cool down and can proceed in a manner that is edifying and bringing glory to God.

Thanks for your patience.


AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
Am now unlocking the thread in hopes that we have all had time to cool down and can proceed in a manner that is edifying and bringing glory to God.

Thanks for your patience.


AMR


:) I've wanted to ask this for about a week now.

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
Lyncx9 has simply argued that there is no NT evidence for the protoevangelium that could be read back into the passage in question. All this said, there are those that have come to the protoevangelium interpretation strictly by localized OT exegesis, without the typical threefold methods of historical-exegetical, biblical-theological, and canonical-systematic readings.


AMR:

Please show me, or point me to someone who has found the protoevangelium in a localized exegesis of Genesis 3:15 apart from employing these methods. I am not at all certain it is possible to find the protoevangelium in the text without reading it into the passage.

Those who see it there, do so, I contend, because of a New Testament based presupposition that we should find it there.
Ask Mr. Religion

PD,

See Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998)

AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
PD,

See Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998)

AMR


I dunno Thanks for the link, but that's not very helpful.... :? Money's a bit tight these days, and $25.00 for the book isn't likely to happen in the next few days.  :(

Would you kindly summarize his position for me? How does he find the protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15? What does he have to say with respect to "seed" being a singular collective?

Thank you.
Ask Mr. Religion

PD,

As soon as I can manage to get the book returned to me I will be happy to provide his views. My soon to be ex-friend, Wink , who lives in California and teaches at Golden Gate, borrows my books when visiting and then conveniently forgets to return them. The last time this happened I had to send a postage paid mailer to him so that all he had to do was drop the book inside and then send the dang thing to me.

If I am not mistaken, I believe Fruchtenbaum appears to rely (or duplicate) upon the work of Collins. My memory is cloudy here. Below is a paper that refers to the work of Collins as well as the original Collins paper:


Click to download file


Click to download file

Sorry, but this is the best I can do for now. Please don't spend your hard earned and scarce money on the book. I will get it back in my hands soon enough.

AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
PD,

See Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998)

AMR


Okay.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum wrote:
The Law
Genesis 3:15
The Seed of the Woman
3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. (NASB)
3:15 וְאֵיבָה אָשִׁית בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵב׃ ס
MESSIANIC prophecy begins as early as the third chapter of the Book of Genesis. It is no surprise that the very first messianic prophecy should occur within the context of the Fall. If sin had not entered the world, there would never have been a need for a redeeming Messiah. After the Fall, God curses the serpent who had caused the Fall, and declares enmity between the serpent and womanhood. This enmity is to extend to the Seed of the Woman and the seed of the serpent. The Seed of the Woman refers to Christ, the Messiah, and the seed of the serpent will be the Antichrist. (A discussion of the Antichrist lies beyond the scope of this study, but see The Footsteps Of The Messiah, pages 135–146, for further details.)
The Prophecy
This, the first messianic prophecy, declares that the Messiah’s descent or genealogy will be reckoned after a woman, not a man. This immediately runs contrary to the biblical norm. There are many genealogies in Scripture: Beginning with the earliest in Genesis five and 10, through the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, to Matthew one and Luke three (among many others), virtually all of them are lists of men’s names. Legal descent, national and tribal identity, were always taken from the father, never from the mother (The sole exception to this is found in Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63). It is very rare that a woman’s name would be included at all unless she figured very prominently in Jewish history, and even then she would warrant only a passing reference.
The fact that Moses traced this genealogy through the woman tells us that there will be something very different about! the Mes siah, something that necessitates tracing His ancestry through His mother, not His Father. Moses gives no explanation here, and none will be given for several centuries until the time of the Prophet Isaiah—when he will prophesy (in chapter 7) that Messiah is to be born of a virgin and have no human father.
Genesis 3:15 states that Messiah will crush the head of the serpent, that is, Satan (Revelation 12:9, 15; 20:2). In the process Satan will manage to wound the heel of Messiah, but will be unable to prevent his own destruction. The bruising of Messiah’s heel took place at Jesus’ crucifixion—painful but, in the eternal sense, not fatal. The crushing of the serpent’s head began with Jesus’ death and resurrection, a point made in Hebrews 2:14–18. Romans 16:20 sees the crushing of Satan’s head as still future and, so, his final destruction will not come until he is thrown into the Lake of Fire, as described in Revelation 20:10.
As well as hinting at the virgin birth, this verse also emphasizes the humanity of the Messiah. Messiah, the Redeemer, will not be angelic nor simply divine, but will be a man. It also lays the groundwork for the Messiah to be the God-Man.
These ideas are further developed in subsequent prophecies.
Genesis Four, Five and Six: Early Echoes of the Promise
These understandings about Genesis 3:15 come from our own historical perspective with the light of full revelation we have from the Scriptures. But how was this verse understood by those who first heard it? There are three passages in the following chapters which offer some clues as to the thinking of three significant individuals concerning the meaning of Genesis 3:15. A study of these passages shows that though the virgin birth would not be understood until Isaiah, the expectation of a God-Man Redeemer was understood.
Genesis 4:1
A literal translation of the Hebrew text for Genesis 4:1 would read:
And the man knew Eve his wife, she conceived and bare Cain and said “I have gotten a man: Jehovah.”
וְהָאָדָם ! יָדַע אֶ ת־חַוָּה אּשְׁתּוֹ וַתַּהַר וַתֵּלֶד אֶת־קַיִן וַתֹּאמֶר קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת־יְהוָה׃
This is exactly the same sentence construction as in the next verse:
Again she bare his brother: Abel.
וַתֹּסֶף לָלֶדֶת אֶת־אָחִיו אֶת־הָבֶל
Few Bible translators really understand what Eve is saying here, which is why our English translations do not read as given above. Eve has clearly understood from God’s words in Genesis 3:15 that the serpent will be defeated by a God-Man. She obviously thinks that Cain is Jehovah. Her basic theology is correct: Messiah would be both man and God. Her mistake is in her application of that theology. She has assumed that Cain, her first child, was the promised God-Man. That she quickly realized her mistake is evident at the birth of Cain’s brother whom she names Abel, meaning “vanity.”
It is interesting to see how different scholars have dealt with this verse at different times. Most English translations read, “I have gotten a man with the help of Jehovah.” The words “with the help of” were added by the translators to avoid giving a reading which was unacceptable to them. But the Hebrew does literally read, “I have gotten a man: Jehovah.” This is actually the same construction as the Hebrew for the immediately preceding words, “and she bare: Cain.” The common English translation is not based on the Hebrew text but on the Greek Septuagint which reads “through God.” This was followed by the Latin Vulgate which also reads “through God.”
The Jerusalem Targum, an Aramaic translation, reads, “I have gotten a man: the angel of Jehovah.” The rabbis gave a reading here which is much closer to the original Hebrew text. The Targum Pseudo—Jonathan reads, “I have gotten for a man the angel of the Lord.” Another Aramaic translation is the Targum Onqelos which says “from before the Lord.” These Aramaic translations and paraphrases are seeing what the Hebrew is saying and the supernatural implications of it. In Christian theology the Angel of Jehovah is seen as the second person of the! triune God (something which is discussed later under “Other Lines Of Evidence”) but, of course, that was not the view of the Jewish translators of the Targumim.
The Midrash Rabbah (on Genesis, 22:2), the rabbinic commentary, says of Genesis 4:1 “with the help of the Lord.” ‘Rabbi Ishmael asked Rabbi Akiba, “Since you have served Nahum of Gimzo for 22 years and he taught that every ach and rach is a limitation but every et and gam is an extension, tell me what is the purpose of the et here.” He replied, “if it is said ‘I have gotten a man: the Lord’ it would have been difficult to interpret, hence et ‘with the help of the Lord’ is required.” ’ The footnote on page 181 of this Midrash says “it might imply that she had begotten the Lord.” The rabbis clearly understood the implications of the construction and so had to make the necessary adjustments in their translation.
The Peshitta says, “I have gotten a man to the Lord.” A leading rabbi known as Saadia Gaon read it “from with the Lord.” Rashi translates it as “with the Lord” and Nachmanides translates it as “unto the Lord for the service of the Lord.” Here again attempts are made to get around the obvious.


From: Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1998). Messianic Christology : A study of Old Testament prophecy concerning the first coming of the Messiah (13–16). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

I do not see that Fruchtenbaum has found "the protoevangelium in a localized exegesis of Genesis 3:15 without the typical threefold methods of historical-exegetical, biblical-theological, and canonical-systematic readings."

His references to Isaiah and Hebrews, Romans and Revelation clearly show Fruchtenbaum's New Testament based presupposition, and his conclusions clearly seem to me to be a reading back into the Genesis text what is not there.

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
If I am not mistaken, I believe Fruchtenbaum appears to rely (or duplicate) upon the work of Collins.


No, Fruchtenbaum doesn't use Collins' work, and is, in my estimation much less convincing than Collins.
Presbyterian Deacon

As for Collins' work:

T. Desmond Alexander wrote:
In a recent study relating to Genesis 3:15, Jack Collins observes that certain syntactical features make it possible to distinguish between  זרע  meaning ‘seed’ (singular) and ‘seeds’ (plural).1 This is important because the noun  זרע  itself does not have distinctive singular and plural forms; the singular form  זרע  also functions as a collective noun. After surveying all the occurrences of   זרע  meaning ‘offspring’ in the Hebrew Bible, Collins concludes that when a writer wishes to indicate that  זרע  ‘denotes a specific descendant, it appears with singular verb inflections, adjectives, and pronouns’.2 On this basis the ‘seed of the woman’ in Genesis 3:15 must be understood as referring to a single individual and not numerous descendants.


I readily admitt that I am not a Hebrew scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me that Dr. Collins overstates the case here for zera with a singular pronoun to be understood not as a collective, but as an individual or "a specific descendant."

There are any number of examples one may point to in the Old Testament where you will find a singualr collective with a singular pronoun and the noun most certainly speaks of a collective and not an individual. Used in such context, the singular pronoun "personifies" the collective (ie., "mankind ....he" or "Israel...she").
Ask Mr. Religion

PD,

Did you review Collins' paper that Alexander quotes from? I would appreciate your comments.

As for Fruchtenbaum, I admitted my memory was cloudy on his exact argument. Given what you have clearly shown from his writings, my "localized exegesis" claim in Fruchtenbaum's case, should have been moderated to read "OT localized" and not to have claimed a three-fold interpretation is required, versus a one-time historical-exegetical approach within the OT.

AMR
Presbyterian Deacon

Ask Mr. Religion wrote:
PD,

Did you review Collins' paper that Alexander quotes from? I would appreciate your comments.


AMR:

Yes I have read Collins' paper. Thank you for providing it. In my previous post, I elected to use T. Desmond Alexander's summary of Collins' position because of the concise way in which Alexander had presented it.

In his paper, Dr. Collins writes: "The larger question of whether this is a ‘Messianic promise’ is also outside the scope of a mere syntactical note."

While interesting at a syntactical level, it is my opinion that Collins' references to apparent exceptions to his findings, footnoted "ambiguity" which arises from the inability to distinguish masculine from neuter pronouns in places, his reliance upon the Septuigent renderings, and admission that data at the syntatical level does not alone answer the question conclusively at an exegetical level--leaves the "larger question" as yet unanswered. Given that the answer lies "outside the scope" of syntatical notes, Collins' "meaningful generalizations" are interesting, but hardly conclusive.

Quote:
As for Fruchtenbaum, I admitted my memory was cloudy on his exact argument. Given what you have clearly shown from his writings, my "localized exegesis" claim in Fruchtenbaum's case, should have been moderated to read "OT localized" and not to have claimed a three-fold interpretation is required, versus a one-time historical-exegetical approach within the OT.

AMR


It seems to me that a dispensational Messianic Jewish perspective is the presuppositional basis from which Fruchtenbaum writes, and his argument is far more apologetic in nature than it is exegetical.
freshmao

The word "seed" in this verse, Gen 3:15.  Does the Hebrew word for seed typical refer to or allude to something such as a seed from a plant which is planted in the ground or are there more than one kind of word that refers to "seed" in Hebrew?"

Mark :D
Presbyterian Deacon

freshmao wrote:
The word "seed" in this verse, Gen 3:15.  Does the Hebrew word for seed typical refer to or allude to something such as a seed from a plant which is planted in the ground or are there more than one kind of word that refers to "seed" in Hebrew?"

Mark :D


Mark:

To my knowledge, which I freely admit, (when it comes to Hebrew), is rather meager, in all places in the Old Testament where the word "seed" appears in the text, (with one exception) the word  זַרְעָ֑הּ"zera" is used.

The exception is found in Joel 1:17 where the word פְרֻדֹ֗ות "ferudovt" is used. This word indicates "grains" according to Aaron Pick's Dictionary of Old Testament Words (Krergal Publications, (1977). In Old Testament Word Studies by William Wilson (MacDonald Publishing Co) page 377, we find that this word is used of "kernels of grains scattered in the ground as seed."

Edited to add:
In places in the Old Testament where the English plural "seeds" is used as the translation (such as Deuteronomy 22:9) the word הַזֶּ֙רַע֙  "hazzera" is used and has more the connotation of "a mixture of grains" according to Pick.

But the more commonly used זַרְעָ֑הּ"zera" seems to be used for either "human seed" or the "seed from a plant which is planted in the ground," with context being the factor which determines the meaning in any given text.

I dunno Perhaps Lyncx has more to say on this, but that's about the extent of what I can tell you about it.

________________

By the way, http://biblos.com/ is the site I "cut and paste" the Hebrew text from (in case anyone is interested.  :)
Lyncx9

Presbyterian Deacon, AMR, Earl Jackson, freshmao and the Forum:

In the process of referring to notes while posting in this thread, the bulk of which notes were made some time ago, I leaned heavily first of all upon the class notes and discussion notes I made in the Old Testament exegesis class taught by Dr Charles Kraft, the Late Professor of Old Testament at Garrett Theological Seminary, and which took place in 1970/71.  In the process of the classwork on exegesis I remember that we concluded with an aetiological interpretation of Genesis 3:15 which I then noted and I have defended here in this thread.  Later, perhaps a year after it was published in English translation in 1985, I quite evidently supplimented my notes from Volume 2 of Claus Westermann's Genesis Commentary, including verbatim citations, without making notation of source, but only making notation of the substantial issue and the notes were further confirmatory of my already held position, though its expression was certainly from Westermann.  My intention then was that the notes I was making were to be only for my personal information, for my teaching and sermon preparation.  I then had no notion of ever publishing them in any forum whatsoever.  Even later I believe I also included notes from James Barr's comments in support of the aetiological interpretation, but I cannot be certain of that.

I am noting this from memory jogged by having it pointed out to me that some of my words in this thread were verbatim from Westermann!  I had no inkling of what I had done in the post and that I was unwittingly in violation of our stated Code of Conduct.  For this I apologize to the forum.  My focus was only upon the issue being discussed and not upon the sources of my notes that I was using indescriminately in this thread, quite unaware that I was appropriating copyrighted material in the process.  Ignorance is, of course, no excuse, but it is the reason.

The sources used for my handwritten notes were:

#1 The class notes from 1970/71.

#2 Volume 2 of 4 of Westermann's outstanding Genesis Commentary: Claus Westermann, Genesis 1-11, 1977, [ET:1984], pp. 259-261.

(Incidently, since the issue of the citations has arisen, it has been pointd out to me that excerpts from that volume can be found at this site:

http://books.google.com/books?id=...over#v=onepage&q=&f=false

I recommend that exhaustive commentary as the very best to date on Genesis.)

#3 Perhaps some of my notes could have come from references to aetiology by James Barr, but I cannot say for certain.

In any event, I was in violation of our Standards of Conduct regarding copyright materials.  For that I apologize to you all.

In Christ

Lyncx
Decalogue

Re: Genesis 3:15-- The Seed of the Woman

Presbyterian Deacon wrote:
I've been looking at Genesis lately and I've come to 3:15 [that passage called by many] "The First Promise of Messiah."

Gen 3:15 KJV
Several questions come to mind. What are your thoughts?

What woman is being refered to in this passage?

Is it Eve or Mary?

Of particular interest to me is the identity of the "seed" of the woman. Who is the seed of the woman (or "offspring" as the ESV renders it)?

The Serpent is to have his head crushed and the heel of the seed of the woman is to be bruised. When did (or does, or will) this take place?




Hello Presbyterian Deacon.  Good question.

 I've been a Christian for 31 years and 51 weeks now.  I still scratch my head at that verse and say: ..." Hummmm..."  I flat out don't know.  Smart folks and Commentators, and my trusty Open Bible say that verse is a Messianic Prophecy verse.  I just don't see it.

There is a verse over in Romans 16:20 which seems to  (maybe) shed some light on the Gen. 3:15 passage.

BTW ---I voted in your Poll.... Not because I know the answer, but , to help out the numbers... 238 members and only 19 votes.  Where is everyyy bbooddyyy ??....
Presbyterian Deacon

Re: Genesis 3:15-- The Seed of the Woman

Decalogue wrote:
BTW ---I voted in your Poll.... Not because I know the answer, but , to help out the numbers... 238 members and only 19 votes.  Where is everyyy bbooddyyy ??....


:D Good question!
J.D.Longmire

I believe the analogy of faith applies here:

Luke 24:27
Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

John 5:39
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Galatians 3:16
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, " And to your seed," that is, Christ.
jd.morrison

Well...

I was under the impression that "the seed" of the woman would be all the elect in Christ, while the seed of the serpent was the reprobate.

Any clarification would be helpful.
Presbyterian Deacon

Re: Well...

jd.morrison wrote:
I was under the impression that "the seed" of the woman would be all the elect in Christ, while the seed of the serpent was the reprobate.

Any clarification would be helpful.


Hi jd--

Alot of information about the varying positions is already found within this thread. Rather than repeating it, I'd like to suggest that you take the time to read through the many posts here. They might help to clarify the various views for you abit.

Of course, after you have read through the thread, any specific questions you may have, we will be happy to discuss.

Thank you,
PD
Lon

Okay, I was late to jump in here and hesitant to open up an older topic but it is still a front page linked poll and so I will chime in.

My first introduction through Genesis 3:15 had me wrestling as a young lad but I felt in reading the text it carried a curse and a promise so both B. Jesus Christ and C. Mankind rolled around in my head.   The latter because it seemed part of the ordering of the curse, and the former because I don't ever remember bruising his head.   If we took it literally, it is exactly what happens today, we kill snakes bashing them with a shovel, they strike our foot area and they definitely crawl on and eat dust.  

When I arrived at Multnomah, a classic dispensational school, the pro-evangelion was introduced in Petateuch (first 5 books) class.  It briefly states that this is a promise of Messiah bruising Satan's head which occured when he broke the curse of sin.   In the Garden, it was the deceiver's intention to ruin God's creation, as the presentation went, and he succeeded in cursing us under sin as he himself was.   This was the striking of the heel.
Christ's redemption broke the power of that aweful curse effectively crushing the plans of the deceiver and ruining his powerful hold over the elect.

As a Covenantalist, I believe this seems to be an area of mutuality regarding the truths we see here.   Because we view this verse holistically, we can see promise of Savior and we can see that the gates of hell cannot stand against the force of His Church.

Is it plausible to see reality in both B. and C. as well as possibly D. "a literal enmity between man and beast?"
Lyncx9

Lon and the Forum:

Welcome back Lon!  It is great to see you posting here -- seems like old times!  We have all missed you!

I long ago posted what I believe to be the proper interpretation of the Genesis 3:15 text, a basically aetiological understanding.  I see no grounds within the text or context to extrapolate beyond that analysis -- though I am well aware that many have done exactly that.  You write:

Quote:
When I arrived at Multnomah, a classic dispensational school, the pro-evangelion was introduced in Petateuch (first 5 books) class.  It briefly states that this is a promise of Messiah bruising Satan's head which occured when he broke the curse of sin.   In the Garden, it was the deceiver's intention to ruin God's creation, as the presentation went, and he succeeded in cursing us under sin as he himself was.   This was the striking of the heel.
Christ's redemption broke the power of that aweful curse effectively crushing the plans of the deceiver and ruining his powerful hold over the elect.

As a Covenantalist, I believe this seems to be an area of mutuality regarding the truths we see here.   Because we view this verse holistically, we can see promise of Savior and we can see that the gates of hell cannot stand against the force of His Church.


Frankly I see no warrant from the text or context to validate either the dispensationalist or the covenantalist positions as you have described them here.  The protoevangelicum perspective has been around theologically a very long time and the covenantalist perhaps even longer.  Yet I see both as being far more allegorical than "holistic."  Hermeneutically I believe that such allegorical interpretations may be fine at the level as used for illustrative purposes in the genre of preaching.  But even then I believe it ought to be qualified such that it be done both carefully and sparingly.

I do not see these interpretations as exegetically being developed from the text and thus I do not see them as being "holistic."  Why?  Simply because they are interpretations imposed upon the text from outside this Genesis text in its context!  They come as theologically driven explications and, as such, I believe them to be highly quesionable and, in fact, exegetically indefensible.  I grant that "holistic" sounds better than "allegorical."  But I do not think that term rescues them from being exegetically unwarranted.

In Christ

Lyncx

.
Presbyterian Deacon

Wave Lon! Welcome back. Good to see you.

Lon wrote:
Okay, I was late to jump in here and hesitant to open up an older topic but it is still a front page linked poll and so I will chime in.......Is it plausible to see reality in both B. and C. as well as possibly D. "a literal enmity between man and beast?"


As for a possible "D. a literal enmity between man and beast" -- or better (a literal emnity between man and serpent)--I think that is certainly involved in the "aetiological understanding" of the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. But that answer is a bit beyond the scope of the poll which was simply to identify the "seed of the woman."

Even though Calvin alludes to a "greater fulfillment" in Christ and His victory over Satan, he definitely and squarely identifies the seed of the woman as "the posterity of the woman generally..."

Calvin wrote:

Quote:
I explain, therefore, the seed to mean the posterity of the woman generally. But since experience teaches that not all the sons of Adam by far arise as conquerors of the devil, we must necessarily come to one head, that we may find to whom the victory belongs.


I find Calvin's position more in line with Scripture than most of what we see from those who defend the idea of a "proto-evangelium."
Lon

Hi Gentlemen!  

Thanks for the warm returning welcome.

When I read the N.T., I see parallels I can't think accidental concerning the way Christ's work crushes Satan's power.   If it is indeed an imposition on the Genesis text, I have a very difficult time seeing it that way, especially as a Covenantalist where all things were in His mind and working together for His purpose in Christ.   So, if anything, my Covenantal understanding has only increase the viability of the Genesis 3:15 interpretation.   Lest I be accused of assuming Apostleship in comparing prophecy, however, I acquiesce the points made.   If it is an imposition on the text, I believe it a very natural one.
freshmao

I came across Psalm 89:3 - 4 which refers to the seed of David (See NASB translation).  Is "seed" in this Psalm referring to plural "seed" of David or is it referring to singular "seed" of David (i.e. Christ).  It seems to me that "seed" can refer to both an individual and a plurality of descendants, so that the interpretation of "seed" in Gen 3:15 can refer to both the singular and the plural use of the word.

The logic would go something like this:

Neutral Example:
1) All men are humans.
2) Socrates is a man.
3) Therefore Socrates is a human.

Example of Concern:
1) All offspring of the woman, Eve, are seed.
2) Christ is an offspring of the woman, Eve.
3) Christ is a seed.

If Hebrew usage of language is similar to English in this respect, then I can see how "seed" can be both interpreted as plural for humanity and singular for Christ. (this point here is key for the argument to go through)

Additionally, Psalm 132:11 seems to parallel Psalm 89:3 - 4 (again see NASB translation), but instead of using the word "seed" it uses the word "fruit".

As we all know the "seed" of David ultimately (as God's revelation progresses) leads us to Isaiah 9:6 - 7.  If God's promise to David is part of a progressive revelation that ultimately leads to Christ, then logically we must follow the regression of the revelation back to Abraham and then back to Adam and Eve.

If you hold to a hermeneutic that is based upon the progressive revelation of God's word, then interpreting Gen 3:15 as a "protoevangelium" using a regression approach is justified.  However, the interpretation of "seed" must be able to be interpreted as "singular" for the regression to work logically, and I see no logical problem with interpreting "seed" as singular.

Mark
Presbyterian Deacon

bodhisattva wrote:
Thank you all for addressing my questions, and I hope I didn't derail the discussion.  Just trying to follow.


You're Welcome.

Off Topic

I am closing this thread. In a day or so, I will separate several of the last posts into a new thread in the exegesis/hermeneutics forum.

I think this thread needs a break for a day...or two ...especially on the Lord's Day


:locked:
Presbyterian Deacon

Presbyterian Deacon wrote:
I am closing this thread. In a day or so, I will separate several of the last posts into a new thread in the exegesis/hermeneutics forum.

I think this thread needs a break for a day...or two ...especially on the Lord's Day


:locked:


I have split several posts from this thread to create a new thread called Gen 3:15 exegesis and other matters... in the Exegesis-Hermeneutics Forum.

This thread, at least for now,  remains closed.
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