The Serpent's Seed
William Branham taught a version of the original sin that was highly unorthodox and which is referred to by his followers as the "serpent's seed" or "serpent seed" doctrine.
This doctrine is comprised of the following related beliefs:
Which scriptures do you reject?
If you believe the Serpent's seed doctrine then you are going against some basic scriptures.
The Serpent's Seed rejects Acts 17:26
The KJV states that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."
Translations into modern English also make it very clear:
The Serpent seed doctrine requires that a person reject Acts 17:26 because it requires the belief that the serpent injected his blood into the human race. That's 2 bloods, not one. That's two origins not one, and two sources, not one.
This is also another case where William Branham can't keep his doctrines straight. He said:
But then he completely goes against this when he states:
The problem is that anyone plagued by Cognitive Dissonance can't see this.
Romans 5:12 is also ignored
Paul said that "as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men..."
That one man was Adam, not Cain. Not one woman, not one serpent. One man - Adam.
If you believe the Serpent's seed is physical, you deny the truth of Romans 5:12
You believe Serpent Seed? Watch out for the traps!
The Serpent's Seed doctrine requires that you accept the following beliefs that you may not be aware are part of this doctrine. In our view, these beliefs eventually lead to the rejection of the Bible as the true, inspired, word of God.
Whose was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
How could the tree be Satan's tree when God created it?
Then it leads you into real hot water
William Branham taught that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was Satan or the serpent:
According to 1 Timothy 2:14, Adam was not deceived. Serpent seed theology interprets Eve eating the fruit as actually having sex with the serpent, a male. Since Adam also ate of this fruit, accepting this theory is to make the claim that Adam purposely committed a homosexual act with the serpent. William Branham's followers suggest that Adam eating of the fruit was a sex act with Eve. But if the tree was Satan or the serpent, wouldn't the fruit have to be the same thing that Eve participated in? Sex with the serpent?
If Eve was the one who the serpent had sex with, was it not Eve who offered Adam the fruit? Note the same fruit and the same tree. If the fruit is sex with the serpent, then the fruit stays sex with the serpent.
How could a man having sex with his own wife be sin? Does that make any sense?
Obviously, this is assine fatuity - which is why message believers are quick to reject this obvious conclusion, and why serpent seed is clearly a false doctrine.
If Serpent's Seed is wrong, accepting it means you are bearing false witness against Adam in that he had sex with the serpent.
And Eve committed adultery?
As mentioned above, Serpent's Seed teaches that Eve had sex with the serpent. Since she was married, it would mean that she committed adultery. The Bible does not teach that.
If the Serpent's Seed doctrine is wrong, it constitutes bearing false witness against Eve.
If Eve committed adultery, don't you think that the Bible would have just come out and said it?
And Adam watched his wife and the serpent have sex?
The KJV states that:
What does the phrase "with her" mean?
Let's look at a couple of other Bible translations:
Are we to believe that Adam watch his wife and the serpent get it on while he watched? That is effectively what William Branham taught if you read the Bible as it is written. Of course, if the serpent seed doctrine is wrong, then this passage makes a lot more sense.
Cain Was The Son of the Serpent
Genesis 4:1 is clear that Adam is Cain’s father. The Serpent’s Seed doctrine completely ignores or dismisses this verse as false in order to uphold their theory. William Branham said that this was proved by the fact that the Bible says that Enoch was the seventh from Adam. But if you read our article on the subject, you will realize that William Branham again twisted the scripture to his own ends.
The Serpent’s Seed doctrine says this is 100% false, forcing you to deny another portion of scripture and call the Holy Spirit a liar.
Cain Was Conceived Inside of The Garden
According to the Serpent’s Seed doctrine, Cain was conceived inside of the Garden when Adam and Eve had sex with the Serpent. However, Genesis 4:1 is clear that Adam and Eve were outside of the garden when Cain was conceived. The Serpent’s Seed doctrine says this is 100% false, forcing you to deny another portion of scripture and call the Holy Spirit a liar.
Cain Is Not In Adam’s Genealogy
Again, Genesis 4:1 is clear that Adam is Cain’s father. If you read all of Genesis 4, the rest of Cain’s genealogy is there. This is another belief that makes you deny a portion of scripture.
There are quite a few logical problems when it comes to accepting the the Serpent’s Seed doctrine teachings. There are no rules when it comes to interpreting scripture, so they interpret whatever they want, however they want.
If the tree of good and evil was an act and not an actual tree, why did God place the angel to guard the garden of Eden so that Adam and Eve wouldn't touch the tree of life?
Would that not have been a spiritual act or revelation also?
The problem with sinful genes
The Serpent’s Seed doctrine teaches that the serpent passed his sinful genes down to Cain, which is why he murdered Abel. But the Bible states:
What the Bible really says is that Cain's problems weren't genetic, they were spiritual! They resulted from disobedience.
If the Tree of Knowledge is Satan, then???
The Serpent’s Seed doctrine teaches that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was Satan. It also interprets eating from this tree as having sex with the Serpent.
But what about the Tree of Life. Traditionally the Tree of Life is compared to Christ while also being a literal tree. If you follow the Serpent’s Seed, do you also believe that Adam and Eve had permission to have sex with the Tree of Life? Did God put cherubim around the tree to keep Adam and Eve from having sex with the good tree?
These are some of the strange places that this doctrine leads!
The Bible states that:
Message preachers use this scripture to justify the serpent's seed doctrine by saying that the sexual act is likened to the eating of a fruit.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with this rationale:
Based on the above, using Proverbs 30:20 to justify Serpent's Seed is eisegesis (which is a common method of interpreting scripture in message circles) and not exegesis.
Eve was an after-thought?
William Branham frequently said of the woman, “She was not part of the original creation. She was a by-product, designed by Satan, to deceive by.” By taking Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 together and by reading them carefully, we can see that this is an error. God created both male and female, one from the dust of the ground and the other from a rib. Both were part of God's creation, which was said to be very good.
Was the tree of knowledge a fruit tree or something else?
What part about being "good for food" makes eating the fruit of the tree a sexual act? This is probably the clearest sign of a false doctrine that there is in the serpent seed doctrine.
This is even clearer in other versions:
Cain was of the wicked one?
The Bible states that:
William Branham interprets this as follows:
Does the Bible say that Cain was "born of" the Wicked One?
But what the apostle John is saying in his epistle is that Cain literally, "belonged to the evil one", just as Jesus’ opponents in the Fourth Gospel “belong to your father, the devil” who “was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44), and just as John’s opponents were “the children of the devil” (1 John 3:10).
John is not stating that his opponents were genetically of the serpent. Their problem was spiritual, just as Cain's was.
The key to really understanding scripture is context. Isolating verses and taking them out of context leads to all sorts of interpretational problems.
Heb 11:4 states, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than did Cain”; and Jude 10–11 says that those who revile what they do not understand “have gone on the path of Cain.”
John’s statement that Cain “belonged to the evil one” reflects Jesus’ words regarding those who were trying to murder him: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Verse 13 echoes John 15:18–19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” There are also a number of lesser references (cf. John 3:7; 5:28, 38).
John's description of Cain as one ‘who belonged to the evil one’ has no parallel in the Genesis account, but in some Jewish texts (e.g., the second-century-b.c. T. Benjamin 7:1–5 and the first- or second-century-a.d. Apocalypse of Abraham 24:3–5) the murder of Abel by his brother Cain is regarded as an act inspired by the devil. The evil character of Cain is universally assumed in both biblical and extrabiblical sources. The apostle John, too, works on this assumption when he adds: And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. The text of Genesis, while implying that it was because Cain’s actions were evil that his offering was not accepted by the Lord, and that it was because of Abel’s righteous actions that the Lord accepted his offering, does not specify the nature of their respective actions. However, the writer to the Hebrews, reflecting on the text of Genesis 4, notes that: ‘By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings’ (Heb 11:4). As far as that writer was concerned, what differentiated Abel from Cain was the former’s faith and, presumably, the latter’s lack of it.
Jesus said they (the religious leaders) were of their father, the devil. He didn't mean this genetically, and neither was the apostle john referring to Cain's genes.
Watch out for the lie!
A number of Serpent Seed believers end up mocking any idea that man fell "simply" for taking and eating of the fruit of the tree, resorting to the apologetics of embarrassment - "Are you serious? You believe that??"
What they are in essence asking - what William Branham in essence taught - was, "Did God really say that?" Following the question with the declaration, "God really didn't say that."
It has an all too familiar ring to it... doesn't it?
The challenge followed by the lie.
This is a spiritual war, and the one behind the serpent seed lie is the devil, who became the father of all lies in that garden moment, with the planting of the "unseed", the lie that produced death for the first time in the history of the universe. He is the one with the audacity to snuggle up next to the truth and tell you the truth is the lie and the lie is the truth.
He's been doing it from the beginning.
The Jews taught the Serpent's Seed doctrine
Message believers are quick to point to the fact that there is some Jewish fiction and rabbinical speculation that regarded the fall of Eve as a sexual sin. The suggestion that they cast light on Paul’s reference to Eve and that Paul might at least have had them in mind, since he pictures the Corinthians as a pure virgin who may not be found pure at her presentation to her bridegroom, is a distortion of the text. There is nothing sexy in Paul’s words. Eve was a married woman and not a virgin. The notion of the devil and of devils and evil angels having sexual intercourse with women is monstrous and found its ugliest form in the fiction of the incubus and the succubus in the days of the witchcraft craze. We mention this aberration only because it still appears in books.
Reading 2 Cor. 11:3 as saying that the serpent sexually seduced Eve, seems to be reading biases into the text. It is also contrary to Titus 1:15 - Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
The serpent’s seduction of Eve was not sexual, but rather a beguiling of the mind by denying the truth of what God had said. The story of Eve aptly depicts the sort of danger the Corinthians faced, i.e. that their minds might be led astray. 4 Paul spells out the exact nature of the seduction he fears: the easy acceptance by the Corinthians of a different Jesus, a different spirit and a different gospel from those they received through his preaching. Paul does not tell us in what way they differed.
With the expression “just as the snake deceived Eve by his cunning” Paul states a precedent that informs his fear. It would appear that he intends his hearers to recognize three parallels between the record of Eve’s temptation by the snake in Gen. 3:1–13 and the situation he himself faced in Corinth.
First, just as Eve was deceived in her thinking (Gen. 3:1–6) and so lost her innocence (Gen. 3:7),54 so too the Corinthian church was at risk of being deluded in thought (φθαρῇ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν) and so losing her virginity (ἀπὸ … τῆς ἁγνότητος). In response to God’s inquiry, “What is this you have done?” Eve declares, “The snake deceived me (ὁ ὄφις ἠπάτησέν με, LXX)” (Gen. 3:13). As in 1 Tim. 2:14, Paul uses the compound verb ἐξηπάτησεν, where the prefix ἐκ- points to “successful deceit” (Moulton and Howard 311) or, more probably, to complete deception.
With the movement from παρθένον ἁγνήν (v. 1) to ἁγιότητος (v. 2) Paul is clearly developing the betrothal-marriage analogy further, but he may also be introducing a new analogy, that of “the church as in some sense the last Eve, related to Christ in the same way that Eve was related to Adam — derived from him, existing for his sake, and for him only.”
Now although the verb ἐξαπατάω, “I turn (someone) away from the right road by deceit” (Zerwick, Analysis 409), could be rendered “entice” or “lure,” it need not refer to sexual seduction. For Paul, the means of the deceit was not lust, but cunning (ἐν τῇ πανουργίᾳ αὐτοῦ), and the word νοήματα, not σώματα, is the subject of φθαρῇ. We need not go outside Genesis 3 to explain the expression ὁ ὄφις ἐξηπάτησεν Εὕαν.