Satan has two main strategies ever since the garden of Eden. He hates the seed of the Woman, and he desires to do one of two things: if He can turn them aside from the Word of God, he does that. Thus, the original temptation revolved around “Has God really said?” And Satan would go on to suggest things like the seduction of Midianite women leading to idolatry; the worship of Baal, etc. But when that fails, Satan’s other strategy is to remove the seed of the woman from the world. Satan hates childbirth. Paul says to Timothy that “she — i.e. woman — will be saved through childbirth if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” (1 Timothy 2:15 NKJV) this theme is most clearly laid bare in the book of Revelation, where “the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.” (Revelation 12:4, 5 NKJV) The devil has always hated babies because He has always been afraid of that prophecy, that a woman would have a child who would someday destroy him.
Students of mythology will recognize this theme from Greek literature, which is written from the perspective of a culture in bondage to demons: according to Hesiod, the origin of all the evils in the world is woman: man was doing just fine without women, thank you, and then Prometheus stole fire from Olympus. Lest men become too happy, Zeus retaliated by making a woman. In one version, she has a jar — not a box, a pithos is a huge round grain storage jar — and out of it fly all the evils in the world. In the other version, the woman doesn’t have a jar, but women are hollow and have the uncanny habit of giving birth, so the evils come out of her instead. And this fear and loathing of birth and babies is found throughout pagan literature. The earth gives birth to monsters: hundred-handed giants, cyclopes, titans. You never know what’s going to come out of there if you’re living in an age before ultrasound!
(Photo by ErinT on Flickr.)
Most of the Greek and Roman heroes are survivors of infanticide: Oedipus, Heracles, Perseus, Romulus & Remus, and Zeus himself — all were victims if an attempt on their life in infancy. In the Bible, we find the same thing: when Israel was in Egypt, Pharaoh wanted to kill every male child because he was afraid that the Hebrews — the seed of the woman — would rise up against him and overthrow him. When the magi come from the East following the star to come worship Jesus, Herod orders a massacre of every male baby in the region of Bethlehem. In ancient Sparta, Plutarch tells us that babies that looked weak or sickly — babies that wouldn’t be useful to the Spartan government — were taken to the apothetae, or place of rejection, and left to die. Every tyrant fears babies, because every baby comes from God.
We hope that between the two of us, we will be able to do a little bit to counter Satan’s two main strategies: Sora will help the babies be born safely, and I will help teach the Word. Our children will get to see their parents actively engaged in following Jesus in new and exciting ways; they will have their eyes opened to the world beyond North America, and they will gain a better understanding of how to be a neighbor to the poor and proclaim the glory of Christ to all nations. We want to keep before our eyes the struggle in the heavenly places — the victory of the Seed of the woman against the seed of the Serpent — and to see our daily work, both here and in the Philippines, as part of that larger war.