The Sinless Woman: Scripture’s Hint

ghent_altarpiece_c_-_mary-2010-25-12

Today, we know the Gospel of Jesus as God’s victorious conquest against evil, sin, death, and His preparation for human beings to return to Him as Sons & Brothers, sharing in the very same mysterious nature, in a royal Kingdom of eternal life. It comes as no surprise, then, that the very first audience of this Gospel is the Serpent of Genesis 3. The enemy is the first to hear of His destruction, which was sure to come. After the Man and the Woman transgress against the commandment of God through the deceptive trick of the Serpent, the Lord speaks to the Serpent of what he will have to look forward to. “..I will put enmity
Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Gn 3:15). Notice here that the first thing mentioned is the contention between the “Woman” and the Serpent. There is, in fact, a war between these two that merits its own statement. Following this, a contention is said to exist between the Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent. Not only, then, is there a contention between the two characters of the Woman and the Serpent, but it is a war to be engaged between their descendants. The Seed of the Serpent, we know, is all who follow the Devil in his rebellion against the one true & living God of creation  (1 John 3:10), and the Seed of the Woman, we know, is all those who follow God and keep His commandments (Rv 12:17). So the warfare is between those who love God versus those who hate God.

But what defines the “enmity” set between these combatants? We’ve already seen what the weapons of warfare are for the Serpent. He has enticed the Woman into misconceiving God and seeking to find pleasure and fulfillment in a creature’s wisdom, thus falling away from the blessedness of divine friendship with the Creator. This resulted in exile from the Creator, and, the death of the soul; which one day will find its symbol in the return of the human body to dust. The Serpent works on the mind, and helps the human being, the image-bearer of God, to turn itself away from life into the state of death. It is no surprise then that the Sacred author to the Hebrews call Satan he who “had the power of death” (Heb 2:14). By the same logic, the weapons of war on the side of the Woman and her children would have to be that of resistance, and ultimately, finding the escape of death in the life of God.

The “Seed” of the Woman is well-known to have both a singular and plural meaning. It refers to all followers of the true God [Christians], but it has a special significance for a single Child, the very One who would crush the head of the Serpent. Jesus Christ our Lord, son of Eve, wages the war against the Serpent in His life of resistance towards temptation, His love for God the Father and the human race, and ultimately in His death wherein he puts an end to sin, and His resurrection wherein he opens the gates unto life. The Child is sinless and perfectly holy, never having succumbed to the Devil.

But if this singular “Seed” has his singularity in that He perfectly wages war against the Serpent, then what significance can be had of the singular “Woman” who has the very same “enmity” between herself and the Serpent? Eve herself had already lost to the devil in her transgression. The “Woman” here who contends with the Serpent would have to be another. It would have to be (not out of absolute necessity, but relative to God’s plan) a Woman whose contention with the Serpent is likened unto the Child who crushes his head. A woman who stands in the face of the Serpent, like Jesus, and resists Him completely and always. That other Woman is the Virgin visited by the Angel, Mary of Nazareth. She it is who is chosen to have this contention against the Serpent alongside her Child to come. But since her Child had the unique characteristic of having never been subjected to the dominion of the Devil, the unique Woman must likewise have this unique characteristic in order to appropriately share in the enmity against the Serpent. Otherwise, the enmity put between the Woman with her Child and the Serpent would have been compromised by the sin of the Woman, which was the very cause of man’s fall. Just like the dreadful fall of mankind involved the transgression of both the Man and the woman, the glorious rise of mankind would have to involve the righteousness of a Man and a Woman. Just as the exile from life involved a capitulation to the Serpent by both the Woman and the Man, so also the restoration unto life would involve no such capitulation. Therefore, just as the Seed who crushes the head of the Serpent has a perfect victory against the him, so also, the Woman of that Seed must have a perfect victory, otherwise we diminish the plan of God for the restoration of mankind to have come about through a successful conquest against the Serpent. It stands well within reason that since God has structured the mystery of human history into two different Genesis’s, two different heaven’s and earth’s, two different Eden’s, two different Tree’s, two different Adam’s, that there would be two different Eve’s in a singular way. The new pair of Adam & Eve both never being compromised by the Serpent would only fit quite appropriately. Even if one were to decide to disbelieve its origin in the teaching of either Scripture, Christ, or the Apostles, one is almost tempted to admit that it is far from a heretical idea.

A brief word on a certain objection to be given by the thinking Protestant. There is nothing in Scripture that would necessitate the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary in her contention with the Devil, since the real import which is for her Child to crush the head of the Serpent. For this, all that is necessary is for Jesus to be sinless. I think this truly avoids the unique “I will put enmity between you and the Woman”. One will have to take care and define just what defines that enmity, and how it conforms to the enmity our Lord has to the Serpent. If Mary was truly a child and slave of the devil, than it would seem that her plight would parallel all of ours, and that does not put her unique share with Christ in proper light. It also avoids the fact that in Revelation 12, the Dragon continues to persecute the Woman even after her begetting of the male Child. There is something about *her* as well as her Child. Oh, yes, I know the “Woman” of Revelation 12 can be the corporate Mother Israel. But just as while the Seed of the Woman can be the corporate body of Saints and at the same time the singular Person of Christ, so also the Woman can be the corporate Mother and at the same time have significance as a singular person. And who else would be occupying that office?

More objections are anticipated, for sure, but for now I put a period.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s