Part II: The Seed of the Woman
God Hath Made All Of One
Have we not all one father?
Hath not one God created us?
[God] hath made of one
all nations of men
for to dwell on the face of the earth.
God is never
devious. He acts simply and directly. When a certain leper came
to the Lord Jesus and said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst
make me clean," Jesus simply put forth his hand and touched
him saying, "I will: be thou clean." And immediately
his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:2,3). By contrast,
the major surgery performed upon Adam's body for the formation
of Eve may seem at first sight to be a devious way of producing
the first parents of the human race. Why not simply create an
Adam and an Eve instantaneously in the first place? Why this
I believe there are two very important
reasons for the initial creation of Adam as androgynous and for
his subsequent division into a male and a female to form the
first father and mother of all mankind. Perhaps there are more
than two reasons: but certainly there are two; and they are now
made apparent in the light of what we know today from a study
of human genetics. What has long been held by Christian commentators
and theologians and proclaimed as a matter of faith ‹
that Adam was first formed
and then Eve out of Adam ‹ we are at long last in the privileged
position of being able to understand with sufficient clarity
to make it worthwhile to discuss the subject in physiological
terms. There is still much that is not fully understood, but
we are beginning to perceive some of the reasons that necessitated
the adoption of this less direct procedure which the Genesis
account sets before us.
These two reasons of which we wish
to speak can be examined from a physiological, or even
more specifically, a genetic point of view: but their real significance
remains essentially theological. They both relate basically
to the redemptive purposes of God.
The first reason
relates to the method adopted by the Creator in the formation
of Eve ‹ a method made necessary for physiological reasons
in order that all men might ultimately be derived from a single
individual, Adam, and not from Adam and Eve as two separately
created individuals. The human race originates therefore from
a single stem with one head, one source, one "original"
‹ Adam. The creation of two separate heads, a father of the
race and a mother of the race, each formed by a distinct act
of creation, would have physiological and genetic consequences
respecting the true unity of the race which would present what
seem to be insoluble problems in terms of provision of a single
Redeemer truly representative of such a duophyletic line of human
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The importance of drawing Eve out
of Adam and not making her a separate creation, and thus meeting
the exact requirement of the statement in Acts 17:26 that God
has made "of one" (not of one blood) all who
dwell on the earth, is clearly brought out by the following consideration.
Every individual in the world who
ever lived or is alive today is descended from a single person.
And this includes Eve herself. It follows that Adam stood as
a Federal Head, and in him we stand as one. For this reason a
single Redeemer tracing descent from Adam can truly represent
any one (or every one) of Adam's descendants.
There are none to whom He is not
related as a brother human being; whether male or female. He
was in Adam (as to his body) as we are in Adam, and therefore
He is brother to all of Adam's seed. He can be the Goel, the
Redeemer, of the whole family of man, none excepted.
We can grasp the significance of
this more clearly by considering the difference between the angelic
population of heaven and the human population of earth. Each
angel appears to have been a separate creation. Angels are not
brothers, or if one wishes to avoid all intimations of sex, they
are not siblings. They have no familial relationships.
They are "angelic" only by virtue of having
been all fashioned according
to a single pattern, all "cast in the same mold," by
their Creator. They do not form a race or a "species"
in the sense that earth's creatures (including man) do. By definition,
a species is an interbreeding community and angels simply do
not interbreed in order to multiply, and did not originate by
breeding. * They are not derived from a single ancestor. But
because of the formation of Eve out of Adam, man does derive
from a single ancestor.
no federal head because they do not form a single "family,"
there could never be for the angels any single angelic redeemer
since there is, strictly speaking, no angelic race but only an
aggregation of angelic individuals of entirely independent origin.
Thomas Aquinas was acute enough to see, in fact, that "each
angel is itself a species."† This statement demonstrated the genius of Thomas in
getting at the nub of the issue ‹ provided, of course, that
he was aware of the truth he was annunciating so succinctly.
In a similar vein, Herman Bavinck observed:‡
(Angels) do not constitute one
race, are not blood relatives, and did not beget each other.
It is possible to speak of mankind but not of angelkind
[emphasis ACC]. When Christ assumed human nature He was immediately
related to all men, related by blood, and He was their brother
according "to the flesh." But angels (merely) live
next to each other, each one accountable for himself and not
for the others, so that a portion of them could fall and a portion
remain faithful to God.
In Adam are all men, and in Adam's
Fall all are involved. In the Second Adam, therefore, all may
again be represented, for He was by blood their kinsman Redeemer.
Bavinck comments further that both animals and plants have, so
to speak, multiple origins, "various ancestors" as
he puts it.◊
By contrast, all men are descended
from a single parental pair. The human race has only one ancestry
* Some such idea seems to have been held by
Gregory of Nyssa (310‹ c.395). In his work On the Making
of Man (chapter XVII) he notes that there are evidently billions
of angels. But they cannot have multiplied by breeding, because
they do not inter-marry. Since man is to become like the angels
(Matthew 22: 30), and at the same time to regain his original
constitution, he too was at first designed to multiply without
conjugation. This means in effect that Adam was bisexual.
† Thomas Aquinas: quoted by H. 0. Taylor, The Medieval
Mind, London, Macmillan, 1911, vol.2, p.458.
‡ Bavinck, Herman, Our Reasonable Faith, translated
by H. Zystra, Grand Rapids, Baker, 1956, p.201.
◊ Bavinck, Herman, ibid., p.199.
thus constitutes a single
generation. To redeem the animal kingdom one would need as many
saviours as there are species: a lamb could not redeem a lion
and a mouse could not redeem an elephant. The same circumstance
applies on an even wider scale in the plant kingdom, except that
it is impossible to even conceive of redemption where there is
It therefore follows that if Eve
also had been a separate creation, the human race would effectively
have been composed of a line of descendants who were "pure
Adam-ite" and owed nothing of their inherited constitution
to Eve, and a line of descendants who were "pure Eve-ites"
and owed nothing of their inherited constitution to Adam. In
addition there would have been a mongrel line neither strictly
Adam-ite nor Eve-ite. These three strains could never be truly
represented by a single Redeemer.
The principle of the inevitable
sorting out of the two strains (the Adam-ite and the Eve-ite)
is clearly established by breeding experiments in nature. Ordinary
conditions of miscegenation of two separately created seeds would
always result in a certain percentage of pure Adam-ites who owed
none of their genes to Eve, and of pure Eve-ites who owed none
of their genes to Adam, so that a single Redeemer-substitute
in his individual person could only stand for one of these lines.
The rest would be without the means of redemption. This would
be the situation if Adam and Eve had been separate creations.
The situation is quite otherwise
if Eve was not a separate creation but was derived out of Adam's
loins. For in this case, all descendants are basically Adamic
since all trace back to Adam, including Eve. A single Redeemer
can thus stand in the stead of all, without exception.
It may seem absurd to suggest that
in a race of men all descended from a first pair, Adam
and Eve; there could still be a significant number of people
whose hereditary constitution owed nothing to the first father,
Adam, and an equally significant number whose hereditary constitution
owed nothing to their first mother, Eve. Genetically speaking,
Eve would not be the mother of all living ‹ contrary to Genesis
3:20. Yet it is so. Remarkably enough, Augustine was aware of
it! In his City of God (Book XII, 21) he states the matter
thus: "And indeed He did not even create the woman that
was to be given him as his wife, as he created the man; but created
her out of man, that the whole human race might derive from one
man." This was certainly an amazing insight from a man living
1500 years ago!
So we conclude that whether the
word blood belongs in Paul's observation in Acts 17:26
or not, his statement was more profoundly true and important
than appears at first sight. We are indeed the offspring of God
through Adam (Acts 17:29) and because we are all truly Adamic
in our constitution and share the same line of heredity and
therefore stand undifferentiated
in so far as human nature is rooted in a truly common clay, *
it is perfectly appropriate that we should be saved by the same
Redeemer and the world should be judged by the same standard
(Acts 17:31) ‹ since that Redeemer as the Second Adam properly
represents us all individually.
There is a second
reason for forming Eve out of Adam. It is related in a way to
the first, and yet in some respects it stands as an entirely
independent issue. We have already touched upon it several times
in Part I† but we must bring
it forward again here because it forms the starting point for
much that follows in the next two chapters.
One day, a Saviour was to be born
in the line of Adam, made in the likeness‡
of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) but escaping the entail of corruption
which man can no longer escape in his flesh if he is begotten
and born by the natural union of the male and female seed.
It now appears that the poison
introduced into Adam's body also reached Adam's seed, or germ
plasm as Weismann termed it (of which more anon). By contrast,
however, that same poison, though equally damaging to Eve's body
as it was to Adam's, did not apparently reach her seed.
Adam and Eve were both literally poisoned to death, but the
effect of the poison upon each seems to have been different in
this important respect, that while the seed of the man was also
infected by the poison, the seed of the woman evidently was not.
And in this respect the body of the man and the body of
the woman were, and still are, constituted differently in a way
that is crucial to the working out of the Plan of Redemption.
I think we have to conclude from
the subsequent course of events in Scripture which lead up to
the Virgin Birth, that the body of Eve and the bodies of all
female descendants of Eve from that day forward provided (and
continue to provide) a housing which has uniquely protected her
seed in a way that Adam's body did not protect his. It thus becomes
highly significant to refer, as Scripture does, to the promise
of the coming Redeemer as being the "seed of the woman"
as opposed to the seed of the man ‹ while at the same time
tracing the Saviour back, step by step, not to Eve but to Adam
(Luke 3:38). Clearly if Eve was indeed derived from Adam then
the seed of the woman was
* Perhaps the "one blood" of Acts
17:26 is to be identified with the "same lump" of Romans
‡ On the difference between likeness or similarity,
and identity, see #223 at the end of this chapter (page 8).
originally the seed of
Adam, and thus to call the Saviour the Son of Adam (i.e., the
Son of "man") rather than the Son of Eve (in spite
of the wording of Genesis 3:15) is perfectly proper.
What if Eve had not been separated from
Adam until after the Fall? When he ate the forbidden fruit,
presumably the female seed within his body would be afforded
no greater protection against the poison than the male seed.
Consequently, her seed (now separated) would convey the same
fatal poison in each generation just as Adam's seed. Thus there
could never have arisen a Redeemer, even virgin born, who could
escape the entail of sin ‹ as we know the Lord Jesus Christ
did. Eve must, therefore, be separated from Adam before the
Fall in order to preserve that seed which was the sole guarantee
and promise of such a Saviour.
For it was necessary that some step be
taken to make possible the recovery of the first Adam in the
form of a genuine descendant who was entirely uncorrupted by
the stream of poison that runs without fail in all his other
descendants. The seed of the woman which was once Adam's seed
and therefore carried the Adamic line unbroken, had to be separated
and set apart where it could be preserved uncorrupted to await
the day when it would be germinated miraculously, the normal
component which a male in Adam's line should have supplied being
provided supernaturally by God Himself through the Holy Spirit
In his wisdom God therefore set the stage
for the coming of the Saviour who was to redeem man's body as
well as his spirit, by first creating an Adam who was potentially
immortal, encompassing within himself the reproductive mechanisms
(both male and female) for the multiplication of his own kind,
and then by separating Eve out of him and entrusting to her one
of these mechanisms, fashioning for her a body specially designed
to preserve that seed intact as it passed uncorrupted through
each successive generation from daughter to daughter, regardless
of the fate of her own body or of theirs. The record is set forth
in Scripture without embellishment and it bears all the earmarks
of simple truth. We are only now beginning to grasp the possibilities
of such an operation as was involved in the formation of Eve,
and its consequences in the light of developmental physiology.
That some such process of formation of
Eve was involved has, it seems, been "in the air" for
some years. Humphrey J. T. Johnson in his book The Bible and
Early Man, * notes that a Brazilian biologist,
* Johnson, Humphrey J. T., quoting Piza in
a paper entitled "A Costela de Adao a luz da biologica"
["Adam's Rib in the Light of Biology"], Revista
de Agricultura, Sept-Oct., 1946, p. 359ff, with English summary.
S. de Toledo Piza, in
1946 suggested that what God took from Adam's body for the purpose
was not a rib but a chromosome, perhaps one of Adam's X chromosomes.
It should not be beneath the concern of any biologist with Christian
convictions to contemplate what could be the meaning of this
ancient record of what happened. It is only our fear of being
labeled "literalist" that puts the subject in the not-to-be-taken-seriously
category by any biologist who has a weather eye on the safety
of his or her professional reputation.
This seemingly roundabout way of
providing a helpmeet for Adam proves to have been a necessary
step in the provision which God foresaw was going to have to
be made for the redemption of a creature who was to be allowed
freedom of choice. In the first place, it was necessary in order
that a single Person could be the Redeemer of any member of that
race, being kinsman to all men without exception. And in the
second place, it was necessary because there was no other way
in which One who was to be truly the Son of Man could be born
of woman without the entail of sin.
There is nothing arbitrary here. Nor
is there anything purely miraculous as though God could only
work by miracle, or purely natural as though there was
no need for divine intervention. God seems from the very beginning
to have so designed the process of conception and birth throughout
nature that He could use it, later on, without doing any violence
to his own created order when the time finally came to objectify
Himself by entering into this world of time and space in
the likeness of ourselves as our Redeemer in the Person of Jesus
Christ. He did violence neither to nature nor to Himself.
Just how this seed was preserved and
carried in the female line from generation to generation (as
it is still being carried even today) without surrendering its
original immortality, is the subject of the next two chapters.
How wonderfully the Word of God is illuminated in so many familiar
passages, once the meaning of these things has been understood,
will be abundantly clear as we proceed towards the time of that
most amazing of all events since the creation of the Universe,
the moment when God became flesh and was dwelling among us.
223. (See page 5) In some circles there is considerable
debate as to whether the Lord's body was identical with ours
or only similar. It is argued that if his body was only
similar, then He was not a true representative of man.
Against this argument it may be said by contrast that we ourselves
in our present fallen state are not truly man, and that
true Man is to be found only in Adam before he fell. Since the
Fall did irreparable and fatal damage to his body, a damage shared
by all his natural born descendants, then any human being appearing
with such a body as we now have is not a true representative
of manhood as originally constituted by God.
Thus it is appropriate that Romans 8:3 should
state very specifically that God sent his Son only "in the likeness
of sinful flesh" but not actually in the flesh of sin which is
ours since the Fall. The Greek is unequivocal. It reads: en homoiomati
sarkos hamartias ().
The crucial word here is homoiomati ()
which means very precisely "similar to" but not "identical
with." The first part of this word is homoi- ()
which is to be most carefully distinguished from homo- ().
The difference lies only in the single letter i (iota in Greek)
which though seemingly slight makes all the difference in the world. A
Greek scholar will not need elaboration of this, but for the reader not
acquainted with Greek, here are a number of examples of this prefixed
syllable in its two forms and the difference it makes to the words to
which they are prefixed.
"like" (so rendered 47 times in the King James Version)
homometrios means "of
the same mother" (i.e., true siblings).
The verb homoioo is regularly
used to introduce parables: for example, "the Kingdom of
heaven is like unto. . . " [see Kittel, Theological
Dictionary of the New Testament, vol.5, p.189].
In the article in Kittel on the
word homoioma by Johannes Schneider, emphasis is placed
upon the above distinctions, and Romans 8:3 is particularly referred
to. As Schneider says: "Paul is emphasizing that Christ
was really man. He bore a physical body, fashioned according
to the human body which is infected with sin. In outward form
He was in no way different from other men. But Paul does not
say that He came en sarki hamartias [i.e., He did not
come in sinful flesh, but only in the likeness of sinful
flesh, ACC]. With his words en homoiomati Paul is showing
that for all the similarity between Christ's physical body and
that of [other] men, there is an essential difference between
Christ and men . . . He became man without entering the
nexus [the actual stream, ACC] of human sin" [p.195].
between the two groups of words prefixed by homo- and
homoi- is universally recognized by scholars, and by taking
careful note of these distinctive usages in the New Testament
many wonderful truths become apparent. For example, that the
Lord was tempted in all points like we are, means (according
to the Greek) "in a similar manner" but not "in
an identical manner" (Hebrews 4:15). The Lord "was
made in the likeness of men," but not identical with
us as fallen creatures (Philippians 2:7). We have been "planted
together in the likeness of his death" but obviously
not in precisely the same way (Romans 6:5). Schneider quotes
H. Schlier on this verse as saying "the image (or likeness)
of his death is like its object but not equivalent"
[p.192]. And he quotes S. Stricker as saying, "It is something
similar in another form." Again, "It behooved
Him to be made like unto his brethren in all things that
He might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Hebrews
2:17) but manifestly not to be made exactly as his brethren are,
for then He could never have become our High Priest in the very
presence of God.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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Students of Church History will
recognize the importance of the distinction between the words
homo-ousias (of the same substance) and homoi-ousias
(of like substance) in the formulation of the Nicene Creed
(325‹374). The Eastern Church favoured the view that the
Lord Jesus was only of like substance with the Father,
whereas the Western Church held the view that He was of the same
substance ("of one substance") with the Father.
The result was a final rupture between the Eastern and Western
branches of the Church which remains officially to this day.
This fundamental division was over an iota, the difference between
homo- and homoi-. Yet this iota was crucial
to the preservation of the Christian faith! It is interesting
that the Lord should have said "not one jot (the Greek iota)
. . . shall pass away from the law till all be fulfilled"
Athanasius himself (c. 296‹373),
who became a great defender of the homo-ousias principle,
tells us that in the matter of proving the faith of Christian
leaders "homo-ousias became the crucial test of orthodoxy"
[The New Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge,
Grand Rapids, Baker, 1969, vol.1, p.345]. And Augustus Neander,
in his nine volume General History of the Christian Religion
and Church, tells us that it was made the "watch-word"
as a bulwark in the Nicene Creed against the Arianism favoured
by the Eastern Church at that time [Edinburgh, Clark, 1885, vol.4,