In an article by Ben Heath titled Sex Affair in the Garden of Eden, he claims that the sin for which God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden was sexual intercourse with the serpent.

Heath goes on to say that Cain and his descendants are literally physical descendants of the serpent, who he interprets as Satan. The doctrine seems to hold a central place in his other teachings.

Consider 2 Corinthians 11:2-3:

For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Heath claims that when Paul uses words translated to deceived and beguiled in this and other verses, a better translation is the word seduced, in the sense of tempting to sexual immorality.

In addition, this website offers an apology of the doctrine, which it calls the serpent seed doctrine, saying:

You see, those who denounce the Serpent seed teaching as heresy not only deny the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they also miss out on the first prophecy of the entire Bible.

According to mainstream Evangelical Protestant denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, the Assemblies of God, the Presbyterian Church, and the Episcopalian Church, is the serpent seed doctrine a valid interpretation of Genesis 3 and subsequent verses in the New Testament about Eve and the serpent?

  • related to: Did Adam and Eve have sex with the serpent question Sep 13, 2014 at 14:28
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    So... this stuff appears to come out of 'Christian Identity' (White Supremacism) and is related to the doctrine that "that non-Caucasian peoples have no souls, and can therefore never earn God's favor or be saved." Is this really the sort of thing you're wanting the Christianity.SE community to weigh in on Andrew? Sep 13, 2014 at 14:58
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    @bruisedreed I didn't realize we were now engaging in censorship. If the question is about a real Christian theology then it is on topic. If it requests the perspective of a real Christian denomination or tradition, etc, then it is on topic. This question does both of those.
    – user3961
    Sep 13, 2014 at 15:05
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    @bruised Then set the record straight with an answer: "No absolutely no mainstream groups (evangelical or otherwise) hold this view. In fact most teach emphatically against it. The real roots of the idea come out of X theological movement and are only endorsed by Y." Etc.
    – Caleb
    Sep 13, 2014 at 15:30
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    This is either a Rabbinic or Gnostic legend (I'm not sure which) and is rejected by all of Christendom (aside from perhaps Augustine and some of his Gnostic followers who viewed matter and sex, even within marriage, as of the devil). Sep 14, 2014 at 6:10

3 Answers 3


I don't have enough information to speak about the Southern Baptist Convention, where each congregation is a separate entity, and some could accept what the OP cites as the "serpent seed" doctrine, nor can I address the issues of the Assemblies of God.

I do have some familiarity with the beliefs of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and am a practicing Episcopalian, and I can say that these groups most emphatically reject this doctrine. Particularly as it directly contradicts Genesis 4:1, which specifically states

"Adam knew Eve and she conceived and bore Cain."

And given this verse, the serpent seed doctrine is going to be rejected by the Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches, too.


On the surface, the teaching that 'the original sin' was Eve having sex with the serpent/Satan and that this resulted in Cain could seem to most Protestants to be bizarre, nonsensical and offensive. They may think that someone promoting such a line would be mocking the scriptures and Christianity and not be in any way serious.

On further investigation, finding that such a doctrine is promoted by teachers of 'Christian Identity' (otherwise known as White Supremacism) such as Ben Heath and Arnold Murray, it becomes clear (to this Protestant at least) that this novel interpretation of Genesis 3 is a prima facie case of Eisegesis: The way to arrive at such a bizarre conclusion is to start with the premise that some 'races' of man are sub-human and soul-less and fully deserving of our hatred and then to build a theology to justify that inner hatred. This is done, not by the normal hermeneutical method of interpreting scripture by scripture, but by interpreting scripture according to the one over-riding premise and twisting interpretation to suit that agenda - hence why this all would seem completely foreign and bizarre to someone who doesn't possess the hermeneutical key.

Although Murray publically disavows racism, he along with Heath teaches that the descendants of Cain - the Kenites - intermingled with the Jews and are existent to this day; His son Dennis Murray has taught that they are the ones responsible for killing Christ - it appears they regard that the decendants of Cain have co-opted Jewish identity and are the chief proponents of Zionism and all manner of global conspiracies a la The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (source)

A complete Biblical critique of this doctrine from a sola scriptura Protestant perspective is beyond the scope of this site, Bye's answer is an excellent beginning, but in reality it is only just scratching the surface of a vast hairball of error that arises from adopting the hermeneutic used by proponents of the Serpent-Seed doctrine. Some sense of the scale of this problem is achieved by wading through the material collected on Paul Strangini's site critiquing the Shepherd's Chapel movement that he came out of.

Given the nature of Protestantism, it is not uncommon for issues of doctrinal purity and the testing of false teachers to be at the forefront of consideration. Articles such as 7 traits of false teachers are a fairly typical expression of this emphasis. Applying one of the core Biblical principles at the heart of this kind of teaching -

A Tree and Its Fruit

15 Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16 You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thornbushes. 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. 20 You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds. - Matthew 7:15-20 CEV

-we see that the main fruit of the Serpent-Seed doctrine is hostility towards the 'descendants of Cain' aka 'the Kenites' aka 'the synagogue of Satan' aka those who identify as Jews in the world today (and sundry others) ie rank anti-semitism. This is entirely anti-thetical to the teachings of Jesus, Paul and indeed the whole tenor of scripture:

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith - 1 Timothy 1:5 NKJV

Summary: In view of it's origins in the Christian Identity movement, the vast majority of Protestants would reject this doctrine as being an eisegetical justification for antisemitism and not consistent with the law of love (cf. Romans 13:8-10) as the hidden source of the doctrine is actually hatred.

  • +1 The doctrine did not come out of Bible verses. Rather, twisted Bible verses came out as a by-product of a twisted premise.
    – Zoe
    Sep 15, 2014 at 3:17
  • I think that your emphasis on the Identity movement is unique among the answers and important. Can you add some doctrinal arguments, perhaps supported by Scripture, from the points of view of the denominations mentioned? Then I'll accept this answer.
    – Andrew
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:08
  • One of the lines of reasoning I've heard used when discussing this doctrine with a believer in Christian Identity was that Genesis calls Eve "the Mother of All Living," but doesn't refer to Adam as "the Father of All Living" (Gen. 3:20). He was positive that this meant that there are some people living whose genealogy traces back to Eve, but not to Adam. Talking to this guy was mostly like talking to a wall. He said the teaching was the key to understanding the rest of the Bible and all of history. He danced around what that understanding was (White Supremacism) when I asked him specifically.
    – Justin
    Jun 7, 2016 at 19:12
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    Well, if we are all Noah's seed, isn't this nonsensical? I suppose one of the son's wife could be Cain's, but lineage is counted from the father's side.
    – Beestocks
    Apr 15, 2017 at 3:34
  • @Beestocks I had heard that Jewish lineage, or Jewishness(?) was matrilineal, but I may have understood that incorrectly. There's much misinformation going around. Good point on Noah. May 12, 2017 at 15:02

At your suggestion lets take a longer look at 2nd Corinthians chapter 11.

As with most Scriptures, it is extremely difficult to extract the true meaning from a verse or a couple of verses without considering other verses not only around that verse, but in other verses in the Bible which lend explanation to the verses in question.

All Scripture is taken from the King James translation, unless otherwise noted.

2nd Corinthians 11:1 through 4 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

When we also consider verses 1 and 4 along with 2 and 3 we immediately find that Paul is actually only using the temptation of Eve as an example of being deceived and fettered away from the true Christ.

  1. Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly Paul is asking them to listen to what he is fearing even though they may feel it is foolishness.

  2. godly jealousy Paul is actually telling them that it is not his worry that they will be lost to him, but that they will be lost to Christ.

  3. your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Paul is here indicating that understanding salvation is not difficult and anyone who tries to tell them that they must do certain things; such as be circumcised; are wrong.

Acts 15:5 through 11 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

As we see from the excerpt from Acts there were some of the Pharisees from the Sanhedrin, who were trying to convince these Gentile converts that they had to conform to the law of Moses, and Paul is saying that they are perverting the message of Christ.

While it is true that the original word here (ἐξαπατάω ) according to Strong can be translated as seduced:

ἐξαπατάω exapataō


From G1537 and G538; to seduce wholly: - beguile, deceive.

If we delve deeper into it we find that the two words that is derived from; (ἐκ, ἐξ and ἀπατάω ) appear to confine the word more to a deception than a physical encounter.

ἐκ, ἐξ ek ex

ek, ex

A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote): - after, among, X are, at betwixt (-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+ abundantly above), for (-th), from (among, forth, up), + grudgingly, + heartily, X heavenly, X hereby, + very highly, in, . . . ly, (because, by reason) of, off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since, X thenceforth, through, X unto, X vehemently, with (-out). Often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion.



Of uncertain derivation; to cheat, that is, delude: - deceive.

And if we consult Webster's dictionary we find that sexual seduction is only the secondary meaning of seduce.

SEDU'CE, v. t. [L. seduco; se, from, and duco, to lead.]

  1. To draw aside or entice from the path of rectitude and duty in any manner, by flattery, promises, bribes or otherwise; to tempt and lead to iniquity; to corrupt; to deprave.

Me the gold of France did not seduce. Shak.

In the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. 1st. Timothy 4:1

  1. To entice to a surrender of chastity. He that can seduce a female is base enough to betray her.

and if we examine another instance where Paul used the same word (Timothy chapter 4) it does in no way entail the sexual connotation alleged by Ben Heath.

1st Timothy 4:1 through 3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

With these other Scriptures in mind it becomes a stretch of the imagination, to believe that:

Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

is untrue and that Cain was the illegitimate child of any other than Adam.

Hope this helps

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