The promise in Eden

The foundation promise

Most people are fairly familiar with the early chapters of Genesis. How that the serpent’s reasoning ignited a temptation within Eve which led to her sinning by taking of the forbidden fruit. What most people do not realize is that contained within the condemnation of both the woman and the serpent, lies a promise, or covenant, from God. This promise is the foundation promise of the Gospel, and is expanded upon in God’s later promises to Abraham and David. We read of it here:

“And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

Genesis 3:15 explained

Here we have depicted two “seeds”, or descendants. The seed of The Serpent versus the seed of The Woman. There is to be enmity between these two classes, enmity meaning strife, contention, hostility and war. It is clear then that they represent opposites in conflict.

The results of this conflict are also revealed here – the serpent’s seed would be bruised in the head – this is a fatal wound. The woman’s seed would be bruised in the heal, a temporary wound.

To understand what this promise meant we need to consider the context. Adam and Eve had just sinned. They were now dying creatures, knowing what it was to disobey God they were no longer innocent knowing both good and evil. There seemed to be little way out of the situation – EXCEPT God had given them this promise. That one would come who would destroy the results of the serpent’s lie. One, who was to be bitten by the result of the serpent’s lie (i.e. he was to be mortal), but only temporarily in the heal, but he would rise above this to crush and destroy the serpent forever. This was a promise from Almighty God which they could hope and trust in.

The seed of the serpent

The seed of the serpent is figurative of all those who are motivated by the animal thinking of the serpent, or what is termed in scripture “the flesh”. Consider these verses:

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers (serpents), who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matthew 3:7

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (or the grave)?” Matthew 23:33

“Ye are of your father the devil (or as it should be translated “slanderer”), and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:44-47

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

The above verses show that to think, speak and act after natural fleshly lusts, in opposition to and in ignorance of God’s ways equates to being the seed of the serpent. This class of people and their philosophy has always been in conflict with the seed of the woman.

The seed of the woman

The seed of the woman is the opposite to the seed of the serpent. This, in the wider sense, denotes a class of people who are trying to walk in God’s ways. This promise in Eden shows that this class of people will eventually destroy the seed of the woman.

In its ultimate sense the seed of the woman was the Lord Jesus Christ, although bitten by having a sin cursed nature (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15), triumphed over sin and death, triumphed over the results of the serpent’s lie.

Through this victory of Jesus Christ and the hope that it brings to all who put their faith in it, the whole world will be cleansed form sin and death:

“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:26

This promise was the basis of hope for Adam and Eve and their descendants, as they looked forward for this promised seed – it is relevant for today as we too look forward to the time when God’s ways will overcome man’s ways and the seed of the woman triumphs completely over the seed of the serpent. God later expanded this covenant in his promises to Abraham and David, it is advised that these covenants are also studied.

Author: M. Davies, Nottingham, March 2009