Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seed of the Woman--Christ & Christians

The purpose of this article is to show a couple of things in Genesis 3:15(16):
1) Christ is the Seed of the Woman
2) All Christians are the Seed of the Woman
3) The Woman is Mary, therefore all Christians are the sons of Mary.
4) The term "seed of the woman" does not refer to the Virgin Birth.

First of all, the text of Genesis 3 concerning the woman and her seed:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; they shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise their heel.'--Genesis 3:16

Now for the Hebrew Text according to the Masoretic Text (notice the word seed, zar'akah, is in red):
וְאֵיבָה אָשִׁית, בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה, וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ, וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ:  הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ, וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵב

Here is the Greek Text of the same verse in the Septuagint with the word seed, spermatos, in red:
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--Genesis 3:15, LXX 
To address claims of corruption concerning the Latin Vulgate, we have it too:
inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem et semen tuum et semen illius ipsa conteret caput tuum et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius--Genesis 3:15, Latin Vulgate (old, by St Jerome)     
The term "seed" in Genesis 3:15 is written with a singular ending and not the plural, however, this does not prove it is not plural in meaning, since often Hebrew words are singular in form and plural in meaning. Take for instance the word day-- "yom."  The word is singular, the word with a plural ending would be "yommim."  But when the word has a definite number and its over 20 the "im" suffix is not used as in the phrase.  Similar can be seen with the word night--Laylah. This was pointed out to me by a Hebrew professor.
then I abode in the mount forty days יוֹם  and forty nights לַיְלָה..... --Deuteronomy 9:9
וָאֵשֵׁב בָּהָר, אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה

So we see the Hebrew suffix does not REALLY prove a thing when Genesis 3:15's zar'akah does not have a plural ending. This means "seed" here could possibly carry the meaning of "seeds." This point can be shown by looking at similar verses. Notice also, that theses verses refer to a woman and her "seed." So the idea of "the seed of the woman" does not refer to the Virgin Birth at all.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her: 'I will greatly multiply thy seed זַרְעֵךְ, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.-Genesis 16:10
And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her: 'Our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed זַרְעֵךְ possess the gate of those that hate them.'-Genesis 24:60
We see these woman have a "seed," and the word "seeds" is not used, even though the context of them show the woman will have many descendants, not just "one."

In fact, the New Testament accepts the reading that the word "seed" in Genesis 3:15 is plural in meaning as we see in the Book of Revelation:
Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her seed, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.--Revelation 12:17
Notice, it has "the woman" and "her seed." The word for seed here is spermatos, the same word the LXX has above for Genesis 3:15.  The word here is also "singular" though its clear there are multiple children being referred to here.  This is referring to Genesis 3:15, since Revelation 12 also refers to the dragon as the "ancient serpent." This shows the Apostle John accepted the plural reading of Genesis 3:15.  Furthermore, this demonstrates Mary is the woman of Revelation 12, since its generally accepted even among Protestants that she is the woman of Genesis 3:15.  Keeping this in mind, it would not be a surprise that Jesus would refer to His own mother as "woman," especially in St John's Gospel.

As far as the reading that the woman is doing crushing, I inquired a Jewish professor about this--and he confirmed the text of Genesis 3:15 can be read that both the woman and her seed will stomp on the head of the serpent.

In fact, many Protestants like James White and others of his ilk accuse the Vulgate of mistranslating a clear thing in Genesis 3:15, they assert "it clearly says hu, not hi" in the Hebrew text, therefore it cannot be read as "she" but only "he." This argument backfires on them for several reasons 1) it shows their lack of knowledge concerning the Hebrew Bible, especially the Hebrew language, 2) it shows they assume the tradition of the Masoretic texts diacritics (vowel pointings) as being original, which is somewhat ironic, since its from post biblical rabbinical Judaism.

There are some before St Jerome that understood the person to crush the head was to be a "she" like Philo of Alexandria (a Jew that lived in the same time as the New Testament and also wrote in Greek following the LXX), who thought it was the woman's mind.
And the expression, "He shall watch thy head, and thou shalt watch his Heel,"{93}{#ge 3:15.} is, as to its language, a barbarism, but, as to the meaning which is conveyed by it, a correct expression. Why so? It ought to be expressed with respect to the woman: but the woman is not he, but she. What, then, are we to say? From his discourse about the woman he has digressed to her seed and her beginning. Now the beginning of the outward sense is the mind. But the mind is masculine, in respect of which one may say, he, his, and so on. Very correctly, therefore, does God here say to pleasure, that the mind shall watch your principal and predominant doctrine, and you shall watch the traces of the mind itself, and the foundations of the things which are pleasing to it, to which the heel has very naturally been likened. --Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation III
Going back to my points about the Hebrew language and the Masoretic tradition, the Hebrew text did not have the vowel marks until about 1500 years ago, before that in the original Torah there were no vowels, furthermore, in the Torah the modern spelling for the Hebrew word for she is only used 8 times, and only 2 of those are in Genesis. The modern spelling used only 8 times is , הִיא hi, however, the other spelling for the same word is הִוא hi spelled with a vav instead of the yod (which the modern spelling has).  Now, the Hebrew word for the masculine/neuter "he" is the Hebrew word הוּא hu.  This significant since the word for she and he both appear the same in the Torah and were spelled identical since biblical Hebrew does not have the vowel marks, so the word for 'he' (a male) הוּא hu and a 'she' (a female) הִוא hi would both appear with the same letters as הוא.  If you do not believe me, here are a few examples where הוא means "she" and not "he", just a few verses before Genesis 3:15 we read:
 וַיֹּאמֶר, הָאָדָם:  הָאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּה עִמָּדִי, הִוא נָתְנָה-לִּי מִן-הָעֵץ וָאֹכֵל.--Genesis 3:12
And the man said: 'The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she [הִוא hi] gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'--Genesis 3:12
 If we were to take away the vowel points, we would not know if הוא refers to a man or a woman, other than from context since it refers to the "woman" and the verb following it is in the feminine "she gave."  This archaic spelling for she is also found in Genesis 3:20, 4:22, 7:2, 10:12, 12:14, 12:18-19, 14:7-8, 19:20, 19:38, 20:2, 20:5 and so on. In total the feminine הוא is used a total of 124 times in 117 verses and ONLY in the Torah. So, if anything its amazing the two times הִיא  appears in the book of Genesis appear at all! So the argument behind Genesis 3:15 being "he" instead of "she" cannot rely on the word at all, but it would have to look at if the masculine or feminine is used in the rest of the sentence.

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