It is proper, in accordance with the divine Word, that the descendants of Adam should be divided into two separate and opposing lines of descent, namely, into that of the irreligious and iniquitous line of the Serpent and that of the devout and righteous children of God. Between these two lines of descent it was fitting that there should have been irreconcilable enmity and implacable war, according as it is written: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” Cain, the firstborn son of Adam, became the leader of the irreligious and evil line of descent, having wickedly slain his brother, the devout and righteous Abel. In the place of the slain Abel, Adam begat Seth, who became the leader of the religious and just line of descent.
The first son of Seth, Enos, derived hope from calling upon the name of the Lord God. Enoch, the son of Jared and fifth in descent from Seth, pleased God insomuch that he was translated out of the world, without tasting of death. The leading and essential characteristic of this religious generation was faith in the promise of God that there should come the Redeemer and Saviour of the race of men, even Christ, and a righteous life in harmony with the will and justice of God. But the wicked generation did not believe in, not only the promise of salvation, but also the very existence of God, living a life of wickedness and corruption in the midst of wrong desires and pleasures of the flesh. God, indeed, through the religious generation wrought for the realization of His good counsel in behalf of man; but the Devil through the impiety of the evil generation labored to bring that counsel to no effect.
After about two thousand years from the time of our forefather Adam, the descendents of Seth, called also the sons of God, seeing the beautiful daughters of the evil generation, took of them wives and fell from their own nobility and moral worth. Since through this illegal intermarrying the whole race of men became depraved, God by means of a world-wide deluge destroyed them from off the earth; saving, however, from this total destruction righteous Noah, his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives, by commanding them to prepare an ark in which they were saved from the overwhelming flood.
After the deluge the human race was reckoned in genealogy from these three sons of the Sethite Noah, of whom Ham, after dishonoring his own father, received from him a curse instead of a blessing and became the leader of a new evil generation. But even the descendents of Shem and Japheth, with the descendents of Ham 531 years after the deluge, in the year 2715 B.C., through impiety and disobedience to God, were scattered over the face of all the earth, and became the founders of the many nations of the earth speaking different languages. These forgot God, lived in impiety, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator, corrupting themselves with every evil thing and wickedness.
In the year 2100 B.C. the Semite Abram, whom God afterwards named Abraham, became the leader of a religious race, who inherited the promises of God and were saved by faith in the expected Saviour. With this faithful and righteous man God made a covenant and promised to him, through his race, the coming of Christ into the world and the salvation of the nations through faith in Christ. For the fulfilling of this promise God treated well the descendants of Abraham, liberating them from bondage to the Egyptians, giving to them His Law, reestablishing them in the land of promise, and preserving them until the coming of Christ and the building up of the new Christian community.
The descendants, therefore, of Adam from the beginning and, after the deluge, the descendants of Noah were distinguished into two opposing classes, into the generation of God and into the generation of the Devil. These two classes fought one another in enmity, which God put between them until the Son of the woman came to watch and crush the head of the Serpent and to save all men wishing to be saved from the danger of eternal punishment and torment.
So ought we to think and believe concerning the descendants of Adam, and to distinguish the generation of God, through whom God is working His own work, from the generation of the Devil, through whom the Devil antagonizes and opposes the counsel of God; unwillingly, indeed, working for the completion of it. This manner of thinking is necessary not only for salvation but also to explain many occurrences which take place among men. Therefore is this belief displeasing to the evil generation of the Devil, because it brings to light the infamous origin and disgraceful nature of that generation.
Since we have now exhibited what ought to be thought and believed concerning the first man and his descendants, we proceed to show what we ought to think and believe concerning the New Man whom the Scripture names the Seed of the Woman, who watches and inflicts a deadly wound upon the intriguing head of the Serpent.