Serpent seed

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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 in the Garden of Eden mated with Eve, and the offspring of their union was Cain. This appears in early Gnostic writings such as the Gospel of Philip (c. 350). This teaching was explicitly rejected as heresy by Irenaeus[1] (c. 180) and later mainstream Christian theologians. A similar idea appeared in Jewish midrashic texts in the 9th century and in the Kabbalah. It is considered heresy by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and by most Protestants.[2] Notable proponents have included Daniel Parker (1781–1844),[3] William M. Branham (1909–1965),[4]:98 and Arnold Murray (1929–2014). This belief is also held by some adherents of the white supremacist theology known as Christian Identity, who claim that the Jews are descended from the serpent.[5][6]


The idea that Eve mated with the serpent, or with Satan, to produce Cain, has been taught in various forms for thousands of years, and it finds its earliest expression in Gnostic writings (e.g., the Gospel of Philip) and especially in Manichaean doctrines; however, it was soundly rejected by mainstream Christian theologians such as Irenaeus.[1] The idea appears in a 9th-century book called Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer.[7] 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.[7] Some Kabbalist rabbis also believe that Cain and Abel were of a different background than Seth. This is known among Kabbalists as "The Theory of Origins".[8]

Daniel Parker[edit]

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 who separated from that church and formed the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists.[9]

William Branham[edit]

William M. Branham (1909-1969) taught that Eve and the serpent had sexual intercourse and Cain was born.[4]:98 Consequently, every woman potentially carried the literal seed of the devil.[4]:111 Cain's descendants were today masquerading as the educated and the scientists,[4]:113 who were "a big religious bunch of illegitimate bastard children."[4]:125 The serpent was the "missing link" between the chimpanzee and man, who was perhaps ten feet tall and looked just like a man.[4]:124

The central sins of modern culture - immoral women and education - were a result of the serpent's seed. Branham's attitude toward culture was a very extremist perspective of "Christ against Culture". 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).[4]:114

Arnold Murray[edit]

Arnold Murray (1929–2014), founder of The Shepherd's Chapel, taught the serpent seed doctrine. He accepted that the Jews (Kingdom of Judah) were descended from Adam through Seth, as described in the Bible. However, his view was that the Kenites (rather than the Jews) were the offspring of Cain, and infiltrated the northern kingdom of Israel.[10] Murray's teachings are disputed by Protestant apologetics ministries CARM and CRI.[2][11]

Christian Identity movement[edit]

Adherents of the white supremacist theology known as Two-Seedline Christian Identity hold that white people are descendants of Adam and are hence the chosen people of God. The Jewish people are said to be descendants of Cain and thus of Satan. This belief was developed by Wesley A. Swift, Conrad Gaard, Dan Gayman[12][13] and William Potter Gale among others.[14] The opposing faction is called One-Seedline Christian Identity and it holds that all people are descended from Adam, but only Aryans (here meaning Northern Europeans) are truly God's people.[5][6][15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus - Christian Classics Ethereal Library". 2005-07-13. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ "Primitive Baptists". Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  4. ^ 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 978-0253202215. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b Cain: Son of the Serpent. Rossel Books. 1985. ISBN 0-940646-19-6. 
  8. ^ Rabbi Donmeh West. "Kabbalistic Genetics". 
  9. ^ Interpreting the Scriptures-The “Two Seed” Heresy
  10. ^ The Shepherd's Chapel Answers Page. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  11. ^ Arnold Murray and the Shepherd's Chapel, criticisms by the Christian Research Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "Extremism in America: Dan Gayman". Anti-Defamation League. 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Christian Identity". Watchman Fellowship. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Barkun, Michael (2006). A Culture of Conspiracy (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-520-24812-0. Retrieved 2009-02-20.