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 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] According to The Celtic Church In Britain, by Leslie Hardinge, the early Celtic church taught the belief in re-telling the seduction of Eve by the serpent.[citation needed]

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 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[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 which separated from that church and formed the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists.[7]

William Branham[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Adherents of the white supremacist theology known as two-seedline Christian Identity hold the view that only white people are descendants of Adam and hence the chosen people of God. The Jewish people are believed to be descendants of Cain and thus 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]

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. ^ "Primitive Baptists". 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.
  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.