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The Seed of the Woman

12 November 2013
Ancient history

Arthur Custance, 'The Seed of the Woman', Joshua Press, Ontario:2001 (reprint of a 1980 book) (see also www.custance.org and www.joshuapress.com)

This book comes recommended by SIS member William Thompson and after reading it I can see that it will appeal to some members – but not to others. Biblical chronology is one feature of the book which may appeal to chronologists and revisionists – and in partiicular the geneologies that appear in Matthew and Luke. He doesn't however mention the propensity of 7 to figure in these genealogies, and its multiples. I noted one at generation 35 for example that I had not noticed previously.

Custance was born in the UK and emigrated to Canada in 1928. At the University of Toronto he graduated in Hebrew, Greek, and Cuneiform studies and these skills were useful in looking at the various Biblical texts and translations as well as Sumerian and Akkadian texts from ancient Iraq. Later, he gained a PhD at Ottawa Universioty and worked as a scientist for the Canadian Defence Research Board. His education, and the fact he was converted while at Toronto University mean that he is able to combine science with faith in a remarkable fashion that will appeal to any Christian with a scientific bent themselves. He even recommends stem cell research – which reflects his interest in genetics. The book was originally published in 1980, ten years after his retirement, so the science is not up to date (on genetics for example which would have interested him greatly).

However, it is a book aimed at fellow Christians and he focusses on attempting to explain, scientifically, some of the features of that faith that non-believers find difficult to digest. This includes the Incarnation, and the notion of the Messiah (a genuine descendant of David) and various other themes including John the Baptist, death and resurrection and so on. Most of the bits other people will find more interesting are in the various appendix. This includes Saros cycles and Babylonian astronomy, tabulation of supercentenarians, Genesis 5 and those ancestral names that could represent dynasties (or descendants via family groups) and so on. He has various tables which includes the King List of Berossus, and a Table of Gaps in Biblical genealogy. He has a section on longevity prior to the Flood and a sharp reduction in longevity after the Flood. There is no geology so he doesn't try and justify the Flood in any way – or anything in particular from the Old Testament. It is mainly the application of science to try and understand the basics of Christianity. For example, his treatment of Mary is quite extraordinary.

The seed in the title is all to do with inherited traits and genealogy. It has the potential for unending self replication – so he is into genetics before the genome was decyphered. However, if you are not a Christian this book is probably not for you as you may well find it irritating in places. However, if you can get your hands on a loan copy from a public library then it is worthwhile to take a closer look. Amazon may have second hand copies available which is another option. If you are a Christian and then buying a new copy is supportive and presumably a worth while endeavour. Incidentally, he published a lot of other books – too long a list to repeat.

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