In his comic strip, “BC,” Johnny Hart focuses a lot of attention and humor on the ongoing battle between the woman in his cartoon and the snake. It is one of his regular themes. He gets this, of course, from Genesis 3:15 which describes the curse God put upon the serpent. It reads, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring…” The King James Version uses the literal rendering of “seed” instead of offspring. It says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed.” Hart uses this idea to show how the woman hates the snake and is always clubbing it. The snake, in his cartoons, can talk of course. Sometimes you see him instructing his “offspring” regarding the ongoing feud with the woman and plotting ways to get at her. His understanding of “the seed” is the many generations of the snake and the woman.

Adam names his wife “Eve” because she’s the mother of all the living. As such all humanity comes from her. It seems that the “enmity” mentioned here is more than the dislike that we normally have for snakes, but something much more dire. It’s a battle between ultimate evil and a “Savior” who will defeat this enemy that defeated Adam and Eve in the garden. Let’s get specific. To whom does the woman’s seed refer? Some say the term simply points to her many descendants, suggesting enmity between women and snakes like Hart depicts in his comic. Swindoll says, “But several factors indicate her seed is one person, namely, Christ. First, since the crushing blow is to come on the head of one individual (the serpent himself) and not his offspring, the implication is that a single individual is to inflict it. To take the seed of the woman as collective here conflicts with the use of the singular ‘he’ and ‘you.’ The reference is to an individual, not a group.”[1]

Galatians 4:4, speaks to us about the victory that will come to conclude this battle and it will come from the Son who will be “born of a woman.” That seed, the individual, will bring victory over the “seed of the serpent” for all mankind. Since the “seed” is said by God to be of the woman only, we might conclude that a virgin birth is in mind. Ross sees it this way and writes, “The ‘seed of the woman,’ i.e., the human race, will have victory over evil finally in the representative of the race, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, without a human father, so he was truly ‘the seed of the woman.’” The seed of the serpent, however, does not refer to any particular offspring, but of the sinful nature of Satan himself. Ross goes on and says, “The expression does not refer to baby snakes; it is referring to anyone who shares the nature of the evil one behind the serpent (such as the ‘sons of vipers,’ Matt 23:33). Such ungodly people, driven by spirits or demonic forces, would work to destroy life, and ultimately to destroy Christ. But the victory would be Christ’s on behalf of the human race.”[2]

[1] Swindoll, Charles R., and Roy B. Zuck. 2003. Understanding Christian Theology. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Ross, Allen, and John N. Oswalt. 2008. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Genesis, Exodus. Vol. 1. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.