Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

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The Earliest Christ Promise — Genesis 3:15

There is an easily missed promise in Genesis 3. You will run right over it and never think about it again because it is never specifically mentioned again in scripture. But it is incredibly important.

The scene of course is the garden “after the fall.” God has gathered the man, the woman, and Satan. All stand guilty before Him: Satan for blaspheming God (‘He lies’ Satan said), Eve for wilful disobedience, and Adam for knowing complicity. Creation is ruined. All guilty parties will be punished. Satan will be forced to a humiliating position before God, and the brightest days of humanity (male and female) will always be overshadowed by hard work.

And that’s when the promise occurs. Satan will remain estranged from mankind – a perpetual enemy. But Eve’s offspring will eventually deliver to Satan a mortal blow.

Which offspring? It surely wouldn’t be a “normal” offspring, and not just any offspring.

Eve may have thought it was to be Cain. Her response at Cain’s birth (in Hebrew) is “I have gotten a man, even the Lord.” Surely such a man would be able to be the end of Satan – but Cain was not to be that man.

And there the text lay – at least until about 200 B.C. when the Old Testament was translated into Greek. The translators did a strange thing. The passage reads: “And I [God] will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” “Seed” is a neuter collective noun. The text ought to read “it [or they] will crush your head.” But it doesn’t. It very pointedly and ungrammatically reads, “this seed, HE (singular masculine) will crush your head.”

My point is this: here may be the earliest promise of the Messiah in the Bible. Someone is coming, someone who will undo the mess made by Satan. From even the ruined Garden, God had a plan of restoration.