“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and Thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Gen. 3:15 is known as the mother promise. Many forget that it was declared to Satan by God in the hearing of Adam and Eve. It is God’s message spoken after the fall of man into sin and death. Man had been created good. He was created in the image of God in true knowledge of God, righteousness, and holiness. (Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:22-24) Man was created such that he should be and was the friend of God. As the friend of God, he was God’s servant in the world. Man was made king-servant under God, for all of creation was put under the dominion of God’s representative in the world. You agree, of course, when I say that Adam and we in him were given a high and blessed position of honor in the beginning of time. But Adam, who was both legally and organically our father, fell into sin. He died when he yielded to the temptation of the Devil. Man had despised his excellency and the good gifts of God his Sovereign Friend. Man chose the friendship of the devil as preferable to obedience to the will of God. He revealed that preference when he trampled under foot the Word of God and did instead the will of Satan.
But at that historical moment God reveals His sovereign will to save unto Himself a people in Christ.Gen. 3:15 as spoken by God to the devil constitutes a curse and judgment for Satan, the old serpent. But these same words, spoken in the hearing of Adam and Eve and in them to elect humanity in Christ, constitute a promise of salvation. It is the first declaration of the gospel.
In the consideration of this Promised Victory we shall treat, first of all, its content. Negatively, the promise to Eve and her seed is put in the form of a judgment upon Satan. Let us note various elements. First of all, God is speaking, “I will put. . .”
Secondly, God is speaking to the serpent, the “thee” of our text, and in it to Satan. That Satan is here the serpent can be proven by comparing our text with Rev. 12:9 where we read: “And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. . . .” What God says to Satan, the “thee” of our text, is said in the hearing of Adam and Eve. Therefore, we see that the words of the Promise are put negatively in a judgment addressed to Satan.
God says to Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman. . .” What is enmity? First of all, and negatively, one cannot equate enmity with anger or wrath. Wrath does not always proceed from enmity. It is true that enmity will reveal itself frequently in wrath, but all wrath is not out of enmity. Wrath can and does frequently proceed from love! Consider the father who loves his child with all his heart; don’t you see him frequently pouring out his wrath in punishment of his wayward son? Why does a father do that? So that, by letting his son feel the heat of his wrath, the father may correct the son whom he loves. God does the same with the elect sinner whom He loves eternally in Christ. There is a “wrath of love.” Secondly, and positively, we note that enmity is hatred. Hatred seeks the destruction of its object. Hatred is the desire to remove one from your presence. This explains why hatred reveals itself frequently in murder.
Now, God says in Gen. 3:15 that he would put enmity or hatred between Satan and Eve, and between Satan’s seed and Eve’s seed. Note, too, that this hatred is to culminate in the bruising of the serpent’s head. The woman’s seed would destroy Satan. That God would put enmity in Eve and her seed for Satan, implies that God would cause them to turn in love towards Him; serve Him and walk obediently before Him as His friends. Adam and Eve and her seed would turn to God and draw nigh to Him; which act necessitates that they turn from Satan and his seed. God assures Satan then, that Adam and Eve and her seed would learn to hate him and his evil works. Eve and her seed would desire the destruction of Satan and his seed and even pray for it. This text, then, is a promise of deliverance to Eve from the bondage of sin and slavery under the devil; and, on the other hand, a promise of freedom to will the will of God and the ability to love Him.
When did God speak these words of promise? First of all, when it appeared as if Satan was victorious. Satan’s temptation was successful! Man had chosen to do Satan’s will and had become his friend. It appeared as if God was defeated and his purpose frustrated! Into that apparent victory of Satan God stepped to declare His message. That sovereign message was, first of all, to Satan and fallen man that God’s Sovereign will would be realized. For we read “I will. . .” which is an emphatic assertion and declaration concerning the future. Secondly, God’s declaration shows that the victory is to be gained through the revelation of the grace of God in Christ. Christ is the Seed of the woman. Revelation 12 makes this fact plain. Christ is the man child that is born to the woman. Christ is He that is snatched up to God and to his throne. Christ shall rule with a rod of iron. And it is of Christ and His victory over Satan, of which victory all heaven sings to the praise of God in the revelation of His salvation. (Rev. 12:10) From the viewpoint of Gen 3:15, Christ is to be brought forth by the woman by the wonder of God’s grace.
Secondly, we can answer the question: When Spoken?, by saying that it was in the beginning. The words of Promise were spoken in the garden. These words were spoken just after the fall of man and the apparent victory of Satan; they were spoken before the development of the age, before the development of the human race and nations. The promised victory is given in the beginning. Here the End of all things, the final manifestation of the victory of the woman’s seed, is declared from the beginning. Do we not read in Scripture: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world?” (Acts 15:18) Not only does God know the end of all his works, but he declares that end in the beginning. Isaiah 46:9-10, “Remember . . . I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
Why does God declare the end of all things from the beginning? First, so that unbelieving man and Satan and his hosts may behold the sovereign, gracious and irresistible work of God in the elect in Christ and by it know that He is God. Secondly, so that the church may rest in His power, wisdom and goodness. And finally, so that God may be revealed as God-alone. Whose eternal purpose in Christ can never be thwarted, annulled, or frustrated by ungodly men and devils. We may conclude then, I believe, that even the fall of Satan and man through Satan’s temptation all serve, in spite of themselves, the holy and all wise purpose of our heavenly Father.
THE WARRING SEEDS
Let us now notice that as a result of the realization of this word of promise, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and her seed and thy seed. . . .”, these seeds will be warring seeds. There are only two seeds, two kinds of people in all of history. These two seeds, or peoples, are at war throughout all of history. The church of Christ over against the world of unbelievers and devils. The woman of Gen. 3:15, who brings forth the seed, whom we saw is Christ, is the church of the old dispensation. It is the church as the woman of Rev. 12, which brings forth the man child who shall rule with an iron rod. At war therefore are Abels and Cains of all ages, spiritual Israelites over against spiritual Edomites, the regenerated and called elect over against the reprobate in all ages and in all countries of the earth. After the declaration of this word of promise to Eve, the record of Scripture immediately turns to the realization of this promise .in the lives of Abel and Cain. Abel represents the church, the Sethites; in whom God has worked by His irresistible grace. Sethites are children of God in whom the victory of Christ is revealed in a broken and contrite heart. Sethites are those whom God unites to His Son through faith, and who by the same faith tight in the armies of the captain of our salvation.
Cainites are fallen and depraved men who hate God and His redeemed church. Cainites are the seed of the serpent, and as his spiritually they do his will. Cainites are the instruments of the old Dragon of Rev. 12through whom the Dragon attempted to destroy the man child. Cainites of all ages hate the church and the church’s Christ. The Cainites are the reprobate whom God is pleased to leave in the friendship of Satan.
These two seeds, who are spiritually radically different, relentlessly and continuously fight one another. We see, then, that there are really only two kinds of people in the world from the beginning to the end of time. The one is the seed of the woman, who have the testimony of Christ Jesus and who keep the commandments of God (Rev. 12:17); the other are the seed of Satan, who bear his image, and who despise God and His word, and who seek to destroy the church.
What motivates the woman’s seed in this war? Two things; one, the love of God and of His Son, which love is freely bestowed upon them; the other motivation is the hatred of all that is of sin and Satan in their own life and in the world. What motivates the seed of Satan in this relentless war? First, it is the love of sin, rebellion and, the lie. Secondly, that which motivates the seed of the serpent is the hatred of God and of the virtues of God as they are manifested in the lives of His people.
We should not overlook the fact that in the world it always appears to the faithless and often times to the child of God as if the cause of God is defeated, as if the woman’s seed is overcome and killed by sin and Satan. It always appears to mere sinful man as if Satan is victorious and the cause and purpose of God thwarted. It looked that way when Cain killed Abel. It looked that way when the Dragon through Herod destroyed Rachel’s children in Bethlehem. It looked certainly as if Satan and his seed had the victory at the cross. And it looks that way throughout the whole new dispensation, for even now the church is a besieged city, which appears about to be destroyed once and for all. Today, many in the church despise our Reformed Confessions. Today, many theologians deny the very core truths of the Reformed faith; they deny God’s absolute sovereignty, His immutability. They deny that grace is an attribute of God, they deny that the decree of God of election and reprobation is unconditional, they deny the doctrine of limited atonement; and much, much more of the truths of Scripture is denied by “Reformed” theologians. Not only do they deny, many truths which the church of Christ has held dear, but they are able to lead many via Arminianism into Modernism. The church is plagued with many masters of deception, who go under the honorable name of “theologians.” Is the victory theirs? Is the love of Him who is the Truth completely lost? Is the church of Christ swallowed up by this raging sea of denials of the truth? You and I would often times think so. But!
But God’s message was and is declared and is realized always in the midst of Satan’s and unbelieving man’s apparent victory. The victory of the woman’s seed, Christ and those that belong to Him by a true faith, is certain. First of all, the victory of the woman’s seed is eternally assured in the unchangeable counsel of God, who has chosen us unto salvation in the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8, Eph. 1:3-4) Secondly, the victory of the seed is realized and manifested in the cross and the resurrection. At the cross Satan’s head is bruised and principally crushed. Heb. 2:14, ” . . .that through death he (Christ) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. ”
The result is that the believer never really doubts that the victory is his by faith in Christ. He is more than conqueror through Christ. The woman’s seed, believers in Christ, have the victory over sin and death through the power of God’s grace in Christ. The ground of the believer’s confidence of the victory over sin and Satan and his seed is Christ, Who loved them unto death. The “in the beginning Promised Victory” is the eternal will of our ever faithful Father, Who declared the End in the Beginning and Who causes all things to be subservient to the realization of His sovereign good pleasure.