Skimming the surface, Genesis 3:15 seems straightforward, but once we dig deeper, we find a Seed of Promise hidden in its depths. Not only is Genesis 3 a picture of the sacrifice Jesus would make 2,000 years later on the cross, but it is the promise of a future Savior: the first Gospel.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15).
The First Gospel
Adam’s one act of disobedience plunged the whole creation abruptly into an ice-cold curse, first Satan, then Eve, and then Adam (Genesis 3:14-19). But in the same breath that God pronounced His curse on Satan, He also promised us a way out. Theologians refer to Genesis 3:15 as the protoevangelium: “proto,” meaning “the first” and evangelism, the Gospel. According to Got Questions.org, “[t]he protoevangelium shows us that God always had the plan of salvation in mind, and informed us of His plan as soon as sin entered the world.”
So what’s really going on in Genesis 3:15? What is God really saying to Satan? Satan, the “father of lies,” believed he had finally defeated God; he thought he had turned Adam and Eve against Him. After all, they had believed Satan’s lies and doubted God’s truth.
But God immediately denied Satan this victory by letting him know that he may have won the battle, but he wasn’t going to win the war. God was going to turn the whole human race against him. Right there in Genesis 3:15, God promised humanity the ultimate victory over Satan.
Behind Enemy Lines
Satan understood God. He never doubted His words. Satan knew that a “Messiah” was coming and would do everything in his power to stop this prophecy from becoming a reality.
Satan constantly schemed to destroy the line of the Messiah. He started with Cain, who killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8). When that did not work, he tried again with Moses (Exodus 1:22), and yet again with Jesus (Matthew 2:16). All his evil plots failed; he could not prevent the birth of the Seed of the woman.
Seed of a Woman
The victory over Satan that Genesis 3:15 promises will be through the woman’s “offspring” or as translated in the New King James, the “seed of the woman.” To refer to a man as a “seed of the woman” is odd because the seed is typically in the man, not the woman.
Galatians 4:4 says that the Messiah was “born of a woman.” Isaiah 7:14 prophecies that the Savior would be “born of a virgin.” God’s veiled reference to the “seed of the woman” can only describe one man and that man is the virgin-born Christ. Only one man was born without a human father. Jesus is the only ONE. Jesus is the seed. He is the victor.
Bruised, Not Crushed
Not only does Genesis 3:15 tell us who will obtain the victory, but it also describes how the victory will be won. We are told that God will cause the woman’s offspring to “strike Satan’s head,” and Satan will strike the offspring’s heel. The Amplified makes clear the implications of this verse: “And I will put enmity (open hostility) between you and the woman, and between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, and you shall [only] bruise His heel.”
Jesus was bruised by Satan’s strike on the cross, but He was not crushed. He died bearing the weight of our sin, but three days later, He rose again. Jesus won the victory over Satan and over death!
A Seed of Promise
Although Adam’s one act of disobedience resulted in a curse on all creation, in the middle of this tragedy, we are given hope. This hope we are given is for a Redeemer; a Redeemer who will break the curse and crush Satan under his feet.
God offered this hope before He banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and even before they were punished for their disobedience. God offers us this same hope today: in the middle of our mess-ups, even before we see the full consequences of our mistakes, He offers us a hope that is none other than the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ!