Seed of the Woman
There is an interesting talk here about Bible prophecy, specifically focused on genetics and the Antichrist. As part of the discussion the matter of sin and maleness came up, and I’ve examined that issue before. But I’d like to once again highlight the problems that arise from concept of sin passed through only the Y chromosome, as it seems to affect more than just the topic of women in Christianity.
The speaker argues that Satan’s motivation for corrupting the human genome (Gen. 6:2) was from his observation that God reckoned sin as being transmitted by the male, and it is only the male Y chromosome that carries this (males have both X and Y). That is, the speaker first presumes that the Y chromosome is “the sin gene” and then constructs a theory from it as to how and why Satan wanted to create man in his image rather than God’s.
Yet both male and female are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27), so Satan would have to corrupt more than just the Y chromosome to ruin that image. Since both male and female have X chromosomes, the rational point of attack would be those Xs rather than the Ys. And what need was there for Satan to corrupt the Y chromosome if it had already been corrupted by sin? We would have expected Satan to target the corruption of women’s genes instead, such that no woman would ever be capable of delivering the Savior.* The seed of the woman is exclusively X, but the seed of the man can be either X or Y, so again there is no point in targeting males since not all male “seed” is Y.
We must conclude, then, that Satan’s intent was to rob humanity of the image of God by mixing it with his own. So why did he choose for his angels to take on the form of males only? Possibly because females were easier to “take”, but we cannot so quickly forget that God had placed “enmity” or extreme hostility between the serpent and the woman; that is, Satan hates women more than men. Yet they were said to consider the women beautiful, so does this mean the angels of Satan are anatomically male? All things considered, it’s my opinion that they had taken on male form initially because males were the “ruling class”, as God warned Eve would happen if she chose to follow Adam out of the Garden, and that as males it would be the females they lusted after. We might also speculate that for some reason Satan cannot “incubate” life as females can.
Now if the reason for sparing Noah was that he had a pure human genome (which it was), then it had nothing to do with his Y chromosome alone but the entire human genome. This is supported also by the fact that his wife and daughters-in-law were spared as well. Besides, if all Satan had to do the first time was tempt people to sin, then why bother with the genetics anyway? Again, it seems clear that there needs to be more than a corruption of one chromosome to change the human “image”.
And what about tracing lineage through males? If the Y chromosome is tainted, what is the reason for God choosing a genetic line through males? Abraham’s being “credited with righteousness” was a legal declaration, not a cleansing of the Y chromosome, and clearly his male descendants were not sinless. We might also ask why the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham was circumcision, a clearly male-only ritual.
The answer, it seems to me, is that there must be something symbolic going on here. God did call circumcision a sign rather than a cure or a cleansing; otherwise there would be no need for all the laws and sacrifices, which were required for women as well as men. So what is the sign pointing to?
We see sin blamed on Adam, Moses tracing male lineage in the Pentateuch, Noah’s lineage being emphasized rather than that of his wife or daughters-in-law, Abraham being chosen and given the sign to pass down to all his male descendants, the clear favoring of males in the Levitical laws (which came after God saying Moses’ sister Miriam was a prophet like any other), select males for the priesthood, male animals preferred in sacrifice, Jesus as male, etc. It is only in Jesus’ time of teaching and beyond when we see this pattern significantly broken.
But while many cite all this as a sign that God prefers males, consider the equal possibility that it is a reminder that only Adam added to his sin by blaming God for “that woman you gave me”-- the woman God then honored by promising the Savior through her seed. It is thus a sign that he would remove Adam’s shame, which is essentially what he said to Abraham regarding the “covenant”. Rather than blame God as Adam did, Abraham trusted God.**
But perhaps the most obvious fault in the “sin gene” argument is that if sin is passed only through the Y chromosome, then only men are sinners in need of a savior, so Jesus only died for men. And if only the Y chromosome holds the image of God, then women do not have it and are thus sub-human. Yet it was the apostle Paul who silenced any notion that genetics or chronology or social standing mattered for those who are in Christ (Gal. 3:28, 1 Cor. 11:11-12).
It seems clear to me that Satan’s meddling with human genetics has nothing to do with any “sin gene” but with the image of God in which both men and women are made. Mixing human genes with those of angels or animals (chimeras) is what ruins that image, not our gender or even our sin (James 3:9). Since Satan had failed to prevent God from rescuing humanity via sin, he has tried to prevent it through corruption of what it means to be human. Even knowing that this too has failed, he continues to try and wipe humanity from existence to keep God from fulfilling the remaining prophecies, especially concerning the Jews. He wants mankind as his slaves, whether through trickery or biology.
If there is any “line” God has recognized through history, it is the line of faith, from Eve’s expressions of trust in God’s promise (Gen. 4:1; see also this article), to Noah’s faithful obedience, to Abraham’s leaps of faith into the unknown, to brave women like Sarah and leaders like Deborah, to Mary accepting the most bizarre announcement, to Jesus “the author and finisher of the faith” (Heb. 12:2). What Jesus rhetorically asked was not whether he’d find humans when he returned, but whether he’d find faith (Luke 18:8).
But this line applies only to human beings made in the image of God; the forces of Satan are excluded. So he tries to make his own lineage of hate and violence and corrupted flesh, but his time is running short. I thus agree with the speaker that the Antichrist will be one such chimera, possessed by Satan himself halfway through the Tribulation. But I don’t agree that the image of God is limited to Y chromosomes.
The “seed of the woman” is Satan’s undoing, and he knows it. He tries to trick us into believing that women are somehow less important to God, less reflective of God’s image, less worth dying for, less trustworthy, less intelligent, less spiritual-- less human. He has women believing that the very pivotal error of Eve-- following her husband rather than God-- is what God wants. He has men believing that they too can become gods-- over other men and especially over women. He convinces the worldly that since he can play “mad scientist” with what God created that somehow this means there is no God.
I believe that the final deception, the “Big Lie” (2 Thes. 2:11-12), will involve convincing the world that the Antichrist is the real Christ by faking a resurrection from the dead (Rev. 13:1-4; see also this article). It’s quite possible that this is accomplished by altering the man’s DNA. But all speculation aside, the important point is to come to God on his terms: wanting to be reconciled to God through faith in the risen Jesus alone. The time is short, given how close mankind is to “the days of Noah” when human/angel hybrids wreaked havoc around the world.
* This presumes that “seed” is singular, not plural; that is, it refers to individuals rather than human/demon races. If this were not a Messianic prophecy, then the meaning and significance of why this “seed” is only of the woman becomes obscure and rather pointless. Some discussion here.
** Remember also that the God who put into law how women were to be treated (e.g. being “unclean” for longer times than men) is the same God who put into law how slavery was supposed to work. That is, if God did not thereby sanction the institution of slavery, then he also did not sanction the treatment of women as less important or spiritual than men. So the laws about uncleanness being slanted against women were, as was slavery, a concession rather than God’s divine will (Mt. 19:8).
Additional note: Biologically, we know that even with a Y chromosome, a person will not exhibit maleness if there is a defect in the fetus at a crucial stage in development, which is related also to the phenomenon of hermaphroditism. (medical article) That is, without a modern genetic analysis, there are people whose gender is misidentified.