Two Humanities

All throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we see two distinct groups.[1] God has called particular people from all nations. As James Hamilton has said, “People are either seed of the serpent, on the side of the snake in the garden, or seed of the woman, on the side of God and trusting in his promises.”[2]

The careful reader of Scripture can see the enmity between the two seeds in Genesis[3] and in fact through the whole Old Testament. There are physical decedents of Eve that are spiritually seed of the serpent.[4] This is not just something we see in the Old Testament though. We see it through the whole of Scripture (cf. e.g. Matt. 13:38; Jn. 8:44; 1 Jn. 3:8). We see two distinct seeds with two distinct ends from the beginning of Genesis (cf. esp. Gen. 3:15) to the end of Revelation (cf. e.g. Rev. 21).

Notice that in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 there are two groups: 1) those who did not believe and thus receive judgment and 2) those who do believe and thus enjoy the presence of God and marvel at Him. And notice Jesus separates the goats from the sheep based on what they did in their earthly lives (Matt. 25:32ff). People are gravely either goat or sheep, wise or fool, darkness or light, faithful or faithless, in Christ or damned.

As I have said, the Bible shows to different humanities, one lost and the other saved, one in heaven and one in hell. This is what we see throughout the story of Scripture and this is what we see reflected in other places in the early church’s teaching. For instance, the Didache (50-120AD) says, “There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways” (1:1).[5]

Second Baruch 85:8-11 is fitting exhortation and warning to conclude with: 

“The Most High also is long-suffering towards us here,
And He hath shown to us that which is to be,
And hath not concealed from us what shall befall in the end.
[9] Before, therefore, judgment exact its own,
And truth that which is due,
Let us prepare our soul,
That we may enter into possession of, and be taken of,
And that we may hope and not be put to shame,
And that we may rest with our fathers, and not be tormented with our enemies.
[10] For the youth of the world is past,
And the strength of the creation is already exhausted,
And the advent of the times is very short,
Yea, they have passed by;
And the pitcher is near to the cistern,
And the ship to the port,
And the course of the journey to the city,
And life to (its) consummation
[11] And, again, prepare, your souls, so that when ye sail and ascend from the ship ye may have rest and not be condemned when ye depart. [12] For lo! When the Most High shall bring to pass all these things,
There shall not be there again a place of repentance.”[6]

So, today is the day of salvation (Is. 55:6; 2 Cor. 6:2). Chose today. Trust Jesus today. 

_________________________

[1] See e.g. Paul O’Brien, “Who is the Serpent Crushing Offspring?: The Expanding Understanding of Genesis 3:15 in the Epochs of Scripture” (http://media.wix.com/ugd/354f19_d2df6c4e2fa34477bdf0f9e2a99f0f32.pdf).

[2] Hamilton, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, 84.

[3] Ibid.

[4] In Table 2.9., Hamilton shows the “Seed Conflict in Genesis.” On the individual level we see Cain and Abel (4:1-16), Ishmael and Isaac (21:8-9), Esau and Jacob (27:41), lastly the Sons of Israel and Joseph. On the collective level we see Pharaoh and Egypt and Abraham and Sarah (12:10-20), Kings of the world (Sodom) and Abraham and his men, Lot, Melchizedek (14:13- 24), Abimelech and the Philistines and Abraham and his people (21:22-34), Abimelech and the Philistines and Isaac and his people (26:14-16), the men of Shechem and Simeon, Levi, and Israel (Dinah) (34:1-29), lastly the Sons of Israel and Joseph (37-44). See Ibid.

[5] 4 Ezra says, “The Most High has made not one world but two” (7:50). I share this because we see that the expectation of the time, not only from the Bible but also from other literature, was not that everyone would finally be redeemed and saved but that there would continue to be two distinct groups. This should help us hermeneutically. If Jesus or the NT writers wanted us to understand that everybody in the end would be saved then they would need to make it very explicit to their audience because that was not the recipients’ expectation. However, we do not have a single example in Scripture of an explicit statement like this (see also the Appendix in “Universalism and Historical Confessional Christianity“). 

[6] Notice this is not a wholesale endorsement of 2 Baruch. I do not know enough about 2 Baruch for that and from what I’ve read it doesn’t look like there is very conclusive information on the subject. So, I do not count or quote 2 Baruch here as Scripture. However, I do believe what is said in 2 Baruch 85:8-86:1 is very fitting (see also 4 Ezra 7:32-8:3). 

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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