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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Genesis > Gen. 3:15

Gen. 3:15

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.

Textual Considerations

    “I . . . you . . . the woman”

“I” is God; He is speaking, and in this passage (vs. 14-19) He addresses three beings: Serpent, Eve, and Adam; He is addressing them with the pronouncement of a curse upon each of them for their complicity in the act of rebellion in the Garden (see: Activity in Eden and Adam’s Rebellion).

“you” is the serpent; whether it is Satan in the form of a serpent, or Satan possessing a serpent, the one addressed is Satan; Revelation confirms the identification: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (12:9); note that Satan has to listen to God; he does not speak, for he is a creature and the creature must submit to God; as has been said the Devil is God’s Devil (see: God is Sovereign).

“the woman” is Eve.

    “your seed . . . her Seed”

“your seed” is the Serpent’s seed; it seems to be used in a collective sense; it speaks of the spiritual seed of Satan, meaning it is a reference to sinful mankind; man in his natural state follows evil and the source of evil, who is Satan; to the Jews Jesus said: “You are of your father the devil” (Jo. 8:44).

“her Seed” is generally understood in an individual sense and to refer to One who would be uniquely of the woman, meaning Jesus and His Virgin Conception and Birth; Isaiah said that a virgin would conceive (7:14); the angel informed Mary that the One born of her would be of the Holy Spirit (Lu. 1:31, 35-38); and the angel told Joseph not to fear because what was happening to Mary was of God (Matt. 1:18-20); in this sense, Paul speaks of God sending forth His Son, “made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4; not made of a man who has the seed, but made of a woman; see: The Virgin Birth and Significance of the Incarnation).

    “your head” and “His heel

“His heel” is a reference to Christ, and the fact that He would receive a wound and suffer; obviously a reference to the Crucifixion of Christ; but the wound would not be defeating, hence it is spoken of as a wound in the heel; Christ died on the Cross but He was raised in victory; the Seed of the woman suffered but was victorious.

“your head” is a reference to Satan, and the fact that he would receive a wound that would be crushing and final; in the death of Christ Satan was defeated; in the wound that Christ suffered in the heel, the head of Satan was bruised and conquered; of this event we read:   Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb. 2:14).


Enmity is hostility, ill will, animosity, even hatred; it is alienation that cannot be overcome by man.   Enmity is between Satan’s seed and the woman’s Seed, meaning between fallen mankind and Christ; the hostility has existed throughout history and it exists at every level; in the words of Augustine there is the City of Man and the City of God, between the two compromise is improper and harmony is impossible; the world is no friend of Grace; science and rationalism does not accept Revelation and its Truth.

The enmity is the doing of God; He said: “I will put enmity between”; this enmity has been called a “divinely created animosity”; the evil of the enmity is seen in man’s crucifixion of Christ, man’s rejection of his Creator (see: Hatred of God and No Fear of God).

Enmity is only overcome by the individual receiving Grace, so that the mind is changed from being against Christ to a mind which is submitted to Christ; Grace causes the individual to think differently.

Theological Thoughts

* V. 15 has been called the Protoevangelium, the first Gospel proclamation; so the Gospel is not limited to the New Testament, but is found throughout the Bible; it is found in all of Scripture because all people are saved the same way—by the Gospel, which is the Person and Work of Christ.

* This proclamation is about the Lord Jesus, His birth, His death, and His victory in death; wherever the Gospel is found it is about Jesus; in fact, that which is about Jesus is the Gospel.

* If this is the first Gospel proclamation, then the first preacher of the Gospel is God Himself.

* In the chapter known for the Fall, there is hope; in the midst of sin, there is salvation; in the midst of depravity, there is deliverance; in the midst of ruin, there is redemption; where sin abounds, Grace does much more abound.

* Enmity, or hatred, is an appropriate word to describe the alienation between good and evil; this fact describes why the world constantly desires to be rid of the believer; “Can two walk together unless they are agreed”; and the world and the believer do not agree on Christ.

* Ultimately the predicament of man is spiritual; it is not essentially a cultural, political, economic, educational, or psychological problem; all of these things are merely symptoms; the real issue is spiritual; man has turned and is turning from the Biblical God and His Christ.

* The declaration reveals the inability of man to change his condition; the ability is not within, but is without, meaning the answer is above; man is dependent on God to act (see: Sovereignty in Salvation).

See: Gen. 3:7, 21 - The Nakedness of Adam and Eve

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