Let me start off by saying that when Reformed Protestants attempt to write apologetic pieces against the movement commonly referred to as “Christian Identity” in the United States or “Israel Vision” in South Africa, it is always very important to remember that this is an umbrella term, describing a group of people with diverse belief-systems, worldviews, and doctrines. Some Christian Identity adherents basically hold to Kinism but with a mistaken belief that Europeans descend from Shem instead of Japheth; these people are our Christian brothers whom we merely have disagreements with and a relatively minor one at that. However other members of Christian Identity are full fledged heretics who believe that spiritual salvation can be obtained through the whiteness of their skin. This piece, therefore, cannot possibly serve as a full-fledged apologetic essay, addressing the entire Christian Identity movement with all the heresies that might accompany it. Rather, I will focus on the dual seedline theory, a belief held by a many of people (though undoubtedly not all) within the movement. It is the belief that only white people are descendants of Adam–that only white people are truly human and are therefore the only ones who can receive salvation through Christ.
Most believers in the dual seedline doctrine base it on the belief that when the snake deceived Eve in paradise, the forbidden fruit that she “ate” (Gen. 3:13) was not a literal fruit, but allegorically refers to sexual intercourse. The snake and Eve’s offspring was Cain, while only Abel was the son of Adam. Cain’s offering was then refused by God on the grounds of his inferior lineage, after which he murdered Abel out of jealousy. Many others within the movement also believe that non-whites are descended from a pre-Adamic race. Some believe that negroes are pre-Adamic in origin, while Jews are the descendents of the snake and Eve. This belief is based on Jesus’s words to the Pharisees, when he called them a serpent race or “brood of vipers” (Matt.12:34 – NKJV). They take Jesus to have meant it literally and not figuratively. Furthermore, they do not believe in a global flood in Genesis 6; they understand “the earth” in verse 13 to refer to that part of the earth where Adamic peoples lived.1 According to this theory, God’s work at the Tower of Babel simply segregated the white peoples from each other and did not lead to the formation of different racial families. Unlike Kinism, Christian Identity views races as species, rather than families.2 All those who advocate the two-seedline theory are advocates of man-centered racial supremacy, imperialism and even socialism.3 There are also some within the CI movement who advocate a dual seedline theory starting from Jacob and Esau, but for me the fact that they were twins is enough to refute this belief. The Bible also explicitly states that they both had the same parents (Gen. 25:19-20; Rom. 9:10).
Before explaining the biblical doctrine of salvation, I will start by refuting the two-seedline theory from the Bible. First of all, the Bible never gives any indication whatsoever that Eve and the snake had sexual intercourse, and there are textual indicators that convey a literal meaning. By allegorizing the “fruit,” they would have a lot of trouble explaining what Adam did when Eve offered him the fruit. I suppose this would be described as a sexual orgy, yet the humans only realized that they were naked after they had eaten the fruit. If the fruit symbolized sex, what did God mean when He allowed them to eat of all the other fruits in the garden? Even beyond these details, the Bible explicitly says that Cain was Adam’s son (Gen 4:1), and it is also clear that the reason for God’s rejection of Cain was not his lineage, but his sin (Gen. 4:7).
Later in Genesis, we can see that the flood of Genesis 6 was undoubtedly a global flood. If the flood was local, God’s promise in Gen. 9:11 would be meaningless, for there have been many destructive local floods ever since. Secondly, the fact that the entire planet was flooded is confirmed by the apostle Peter in I Peter 3:20, where he says that in total only eight souls were saved.
From the context of Jesus’s words to the Pharisees , it is very clear to all who truly submit to the authority of Scripture, that He meant they were Satan’s spiritual children rather than his biological ones. The context makes it plain that He meant it figuratively, for later in this chapter (verses 49 and 50), He refers to those who believe in Him as his brothers and sisters, and this is clearly a spiritual bond established by faith. Likewise, verse 34 refers to the spiritual seed of the snake in paradise, a bond established by deception and unbelief (verse 35).
The Biblical view of nationhood and races is very much different from the Christian Identity’s dual seedline doctrine. The Bible teaches that God made all the different nations from one blood (Acts.17:26). The Bible teaches that all, regardless of ethnic origin, have fallen short of the glory of God, are equally damnable, and are in need of redemption (Romans 3:10-23). The Bible teaches that all the people of the earth were present at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1) and that God separated the peoples there according not only according to language, but also geographically and genetically – or racially (Gen 10:5). Interestingly enough, the prophet Jeremiah also hints that black people are descended from Ham’s son Cush (Jer. 13:23). The Bible accordingly teaches that all men’s only hope of salvation from our helpless estate in through the work of Christ (Rom. 5:6-21).
The Bible teaches the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation – Sola Gratia. All men are inherently evil (Jer. 17:9), but receive ill-deserved grace from God through Christ. It is undeserved because it is not on the grounds of anything that they have done, but simply on the grounds of His good pleasure and the glorification of His holy Name (Rom. 9:6-23; Eph. 2:1-10). God saves people not on the grounds of our lineage (as the dual seedline doctrine teaches) or our decisions (as the Arminians falsely teach), but despite our depraved and sinful lineage and decisions. The Westminster Confession beautifully states this in Chapter 7.III: “Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.”4
However, it is also all-important to note that God says unto Abraham that He establishes his covenant of grace with Him and his seedline (Gen. 17:7). However, this being primarily (though not solely) a spiritual promise, people from all ethnicities may be included in the covenant of grace, as it pleases God (Gen. 12:3; Psalm 67:3; Rom. 9:18; Gal. 3:28-29). This being said, God does use lineage and blood-ties to establish and keep his Covenant. God has established the social order in such a way that familial, tribal, and blood ties keep nations and peoples together within their bounds (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26). God also says that He established this social order for His glory (Acts 17:27). God uses blood ties within His covenant, and His covenantal blessings and curses are carried out through lineage (Ex. 20:5-6). The great Reformer, John Calvin, writes in his Institutes of the Christian Religion that God not only elects individuals to salvation, but there is also a “general election of a people,” where God purposefully uses a specific ethnic group to spread the gospel and, by serving as witnesses to the world, glorify his holy Name.5 Apart from Biblical Israel, some examples of this are the Waldensians prior to the Protestant Reformation, the Germans during the 16th century Reformation, the Puritans in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Confederates for a period during the 19th century, and the Boers during the 19th and 20th centuries. This divinely instituted variety of ethnicities and races, instituted and sustained by God, is providentially to be carried on until (and beyond) judgment day (Rev. 7:9). Therefore God’s divine purpose with this diversity is always to be carefully respected (this is why miscegenation is sinful).
Let us then always, every day of our lives, be thankful unto God, who, in Christ, redeemed us from our sinful, depraved, and helpless estate, and who has regenerated us by His Holy Spirit, so that we can become part of His covenant through faith. The grace proclaimed in the true gospel is indeed, as John Newton once wrote in the well-known hymn, “amazing.”