Summary: In the very act of judgment against Adam and Eve God delivers the first prophetic promise of the Redeemer.
Genesis 3:15 The First Prophecy
5/3/15 D. Marion Clark
On the road to Emmaus Jesus taught two of his disciples how the Moses and the Prophets foretold his person and work. He later took all of his disciples through a course on the Messiah in the Scriptures. They had not recognized him because they had not understood the Scriptures. We will take time for five Sundays to examine a portion of what he would have taken them through.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun, the moon, and the stars; he created the ground, the mountains, the seas, and all the creatures inhabiting the earth, the sky, and the waters. Finally, he created man:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them (1:27).
God placed the man and the woman in the garden. His intention for them was eventually to multiply and fill the earth, so that all of the earth would be a holy place of blessing where God is glorified through obedience, service, and worship.
But God had an enemy, a creature created before the world, a creature who was one of the angels. He had rebelled against God. God struck him down, along with a host of angels who had gone to his side. Though defeated, he remained dangerous, and when God created the world, he slipped in. The result was the Fall. Satan (which means Adversary) successfully tempted Eve and led both her and Adam to sin against God. God pronounced punishment upon all three parties. He turned first to Satan who was in the form of a serpent.
The LORD God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
Verse 15 is both a pronouncement of war and a prophecy of victory. The temptation in the Garden was Satan’s Pearl Harbor. He sneaked in and came unsuspected on his enemy before war had been declared. God’s curse was his declaration of war between man and Satan. There would now be an ongoing battle between Satan and his forces against the offspring of Eve. Satan would claim the world as his dominion and would take many of Eve’s offspring under his power. Indeed, all of Eve’s offspring would bear the death-mark of sin, though there would always remain a remnant, a line throughout the generations who would be faithful to God. Thus, through the ages there would be two competing humanities, as Francis Schaeffer termed them – those of the world’s kingdom under the sway of Satan and those of God’s kingdom. St. Augustine spoke of them as the two cities, meaning the two societies.
In the following two chapters of Genesis we see these two societies expressed in genealogies. There is the genealogy of Cain, who, as the Apostle John claimed, belonged to “the evil one.” He produces Lamech, who also kills a man, even glorying in his deed. Eve gives birth to Seth, whom she celebrates as a replacement of Abel. From Seth comes a godly line that includes Enoch, who “walked with God” (5:22). After Seth is introduced, it is said that people began to “call on the name of the Lord” (4:26). This godly line eventually becomes nationalized as Israel, the covenant people of God.
What characterizes the relationship between the two humanities is the enmity that Genesis 3:15 speaks of and that Satan, in the form of the serpent, has already demonstrated. Satan hates God and any who worship him, and he will use his legions and his kingdom to harm God’s kingdom and people. Thus, the people of Israel are continuously oppressed – from their time in Egypt, then their time in Canaan under the judges, and throughout their period under kings, so that eventually the northern kingdom of Israel is conquered and scattered, and the southern kingdom of Judah is conquered and sent into captivity. Even so, there always remains a remnant faithful to God and preserved by God.
But there is something more going on than simply Satan’s kingdom being spiteful. Besides battle being declared in Genesis 3:15, there is also prophecy of victory. Somewhere, sometime, a champion will arise from the descendants of Eve. That offspring will bruise the head of Satan; he will produce a decisive blow. And so, Satan will attack the godly line in an effort to prevent that champion from being conceived.