Monday, August 7, 2017

Who Bruises The Head Of The Serpent In Genesis 3:15?

  • Discussion:
          -There are many Roman Catholic images of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, standing with her foot on the head of a serpent. These portraits exist because throughout church history Roman Catholics have traditionally interpreted Genesis 3:15 to mean that she has enmity with the devil. They believe that since Mary was supposedly immaculately conceived (and therefore sinless), that she must be the figure who stands in direct contradiction to the traits of the devil.
          -Many Catholics reason that Mary must be the paragon of holiness, whereas the devil is the ultimate source of evil. Genesis 3:15 has oftentimes been connected with the immaculate conception of Mary. Thus, the purpose of this article is to explain how the mainstream Roman Catholic interpretation of this passage is in error and has in fact been rejected by Roman Catholic biblical scholarship.
  • Consider The Words Of The New Catholic Encyclopedia In Regards To Genesis 3:15:
          -"Much confusion has resulted from the fact that the second half of this verse was inaccurately translated in the Vulgate to read, “She shall crush your head.” This translation, which has strongly affected the traditional representations of the Blessed Virgin, is today generally recognized to be a mistake for “it [or “he,” i.e., the seed of the woman] shall crush...”, and consequently can no longer be cited in favor of the Immaculate Conception." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, page 378)
  • The New American Bible Revised Edition Has This Footnote On Genesis 3:15:
          -"[3:15] They will strike…at their heel: the antecedent for “they” and “their” is the collective noun “offspring,” i.e., all the descendants of the woman. Christian tradition has seen in this passage, however, more than unending hostility between snakes and human beings. The snake was identified with the devil (Wis 2:24; Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9; 20:2), whose eventual defeat seemed implied in the verse. Because “the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8), the passage was understood as the first promise of a redeemer for fallen humankind, the protoevangelium. Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. A.D. 130–200), in his Against Heresies 5.21.1, followed by several other Fathers of the Church, interpreted the verse as referring to Christ, and cited Gal 3:19 and 4:4 to support the reference. Another interpretive translation is ipsa, “she,” and is reflected in Jerome’s Vulgate. “She” was thought to refer to Mary, the mother of the messiah. In Christian art Mary is sometimes depicted with her foot on the head of the serpent."
  • Exegetical Problems For The Roman Catholic Interpretation Of Genesis 3:15:
          -To have "enmity" means to be hostile, filled with hatred, or to stand in a position of opposition. Not only would the devil possess enmity towards the "seed of the woman" that is mentioned in Genesis 3:15, but he also hates all of God's people (Romans 16:20; James 4:4). So, if we accept the Genesis text as being a reference to Mary, and the mere existence of enmity proves that Mary is sinless, then would this not mean that all Christians are free from sin in the same sense, as well?
  • Who Bruises The Head Of The Serpent?:
          -It is the Lord Jesus Christ who crushes the head of the serpent. It is He who stands in direct opposition to the devil. It is Jesus Christ who is infinitely more powerful than the devil himself. Jesus Christ was born of a woman. Christ is the Savior of those who believe on Him, whereas Satan is the father of all lies. Both figures are opposed to each other in every way. But it is Christ who has overcome the power of Satan. This is the meaning of the woman's seed crushing the head of the serpent. However, giving Mary or anybody else a position of sinlessness harms the uniqueness of Christ in relation to mankind.

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