Serpent seed Redirected from Serpent Seed

For the Christian concept of the "seed of the serpent" see Seed of the Woman

Serpent seed, dual seed or two-seedline is a controversial religious belief which explains the biblical account of the fall of man by saying that the serpent mated with Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the offspring of their union was Cain. It appears in early Gnostic writings such as the Gospel of Philip (c. 350). Irenaeus (c. 180), an early church father, explicitly rejected the doctrine as heresy, a view which was echoed by subsequent mainstream Christian theologians.[1] The serpent-seed doctrine has occasionally been promoted in more recent times, such as by American religious leaders Daniel Parker (1781–1844),[2] William M. Branham (1909–1965),[3]:98 and Arnold Murray (1929–2014). This belief is also held by the Unification movement and some adherents of the white supremacist theology known as Christian Identity, who claim that Jews are descended from the serpent.[4][5]


The idea that Eve mated with the serpent, or Satan, and produced Cain, finds its earliest expression in Gnostic writings (e.g., the Gospel of Philip). It was rejected by mainstream Christian theologians such as Irenaeus.[1] The idea appears in a 9th-century book titled Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer.[6] In his book Cain: Son of the Serpent, David Max Eichhorn traces the idea back to early Jewish Midrashic texts and identifies many rabbis who taught that Cain was the son of the union between the serpent and Eve.[6]

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker (1781–1844) was an early American leader in the Primitive Baptist Church in the Southern United States and the founder of numerous churches. As an elder, Parker led a group which separated from that church and formed the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists.[7]

William Branham

William M. Branham (1909-1965) taught that Eve and the serpent had sexual intercourse and Cain's birth was the result of it.[3]:98 Consequently, every woman potentially carried the literal seed of the devil.[3]:111 Cain's descendants were today masquerading as the educated and the scientists,[3]:113 who were "a big religious bunch of illegitimate bastard children."[3]:125 The serpent was the "missing link" between the chimpanzee and man.[3]:124

According to Branham's teachings, the central sins of modern culture - immoral women and education - were a result of the serpent's seed. Branham's attitude toward culture was an extremist perspective that was similar to the "Christ Against Culture" concept which was invented by theologian H. Richard Niebuhr. Education was Satan's snare for intellectual Christians who rejected the supernatural. Education was Satan's tool for obscuring the "simplicity" of the messenger and his message (i.e. William Branham and his message).[3]:114

Arnold Murray

Arnold Murray (1929–2014), founder of The Shepherd's Chapel, taught the serpent seed doctrine. He accepted the belief that the Jews (Kingdom of Judah) were descended from Adam through Seth, as described in the Bible. However, he held the view that the Kenites were the offspring of Cain, and he also believed that they infiltrated the northern Kingdom of Israel.[8] Murray's teachings are disputed by Protestant apologetics ministries CARM and the CRI.[9][10]

Christian Identity movement

Adherents of the white supremacist theology which is known as two-seedline Christian Identity hold the view that only white people are the descendants of Adam and hence the chosen people of God. The Jewish people are believed to be the descendants of Cain and thus the descendants of Satan. This belief was developed by Wesley A. Swift (Church of Jesus Christ–Christian), Conrad Gaard, Dan Gayman[11][12] (Church of Israel) and William Potter Gale among others.[13] The opposing faction is called One-Seedline Christian Identity and its adherents hold the view that all people are descended from Adam, but they believe that only Aryans (meaning Northern Europeans) are truly God's chosen people.[4][5][14][15]


P'ikareum is a ritual which is possibly practiced in several Korean new religious movements, in which a female devotee has sex with the male leader (who claims to be the messiah) in order to purify her descendants from sin.[16][17] The purpose of this ritual is to undo the original sin, which (as in the classic serpent seed doctrine) was believed to have been committed when Eve had sex with the serpent.[16] British religious scholar George Chryssides also notes that there were cases in which the messianic leader was a female and the neophyte was a male.[16] The person so initiated will then have intercourse with his or her spouse, and the purity which is acquired from the messianic leader will be transmitted to both the spouse and the progeny.[16] The most notable Korean new religious movement to have faced allegations of performing p'ikareum is the early Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon;[17] however, Chryssides notes that, aside from the use of language which involves the purifying of sinful bloodlines, there is no actual evidence that this ritual occurs within the Unification movement.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b "ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus - Christian Classics Ethereal Library". Ccel.org. 2005-07-13. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  2. ^ "Primitive Baptists". Primitivebaptist.info. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Weaver, C. Douglas (2000). The Healer-Prophet: William Marrion Branham (A study of the Prophetic in American Pentecostalism). Mercer University Press. ISBN 978-0865547100.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  4. ^ a b Borgeson, Kevin; Valeri, Robin (2008). "3: Christian Identity". Terrorism in America. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. pp. 52–55. ISBN 0-7637-5524-9. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  5. ^ a b Martin, Gus (2006). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues (2, illustrated ed.). SAGE. pp. 453–454. ISBN 1-4129-2722-6. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  6. ^ a b Cain: Son of the Serpent. Rossel Books. 1985. ISBN 0-940646-19-6.
  7. ^ Interpreting the Scriptures-The “Two Seed” Heresy
  8. ^ The Shepherd's Chapel Answers Page Archived 2010-02-16 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Matt Slick, The serpent seed and the Kenites, criticizing the teaching of Arnold Murray and the Shepherd's Chapel. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Arnold Murray and the Shepherd's Chapel, criticisms by the Christian Research Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  11. ^ "Extremism in America: Dan Gayman". Anti-Defamation League. 2005. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Christian Identity". Watchman Fellowship. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  13. ^ Lewis, James R.; Jesper Aagaard Petersen (2005). Controversial New Religions (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press US. pp. 394–395. ISBN 0-19-515682-X. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  14. ^ Dobratz, Betty A.; Shanks-Meile, Stephanie L. (2000). The White Separatist Movement in the United States (illustrated ed.). JHU Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-8018-6537-9. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  15. ^ Barkun, Michael (2006). A Culture of Conspiracy (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-520-24812-0. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  16. ^ a b c d e Chryssides, George (1991). The Advent of Sun Myung Moon: The Origins, Beliefs and Practices of the Unification Church. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 102–105. ISBN 978-0312053475.
  17. ^ a b Barlow, Richard (2017). "The Unification movement: key issues in historical perspective". In Gallagher, Eugene V. (ed.). 'Cult Wars' in Historical Perspective: New and Minority Religions. London: Routledge. pp. 127–129. ISBN 978-1-4724-5812-4.

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