Christ In The Old Testament: The Seed of The Woman

In the previous post, I started a series Christ in the Old Testament where we examined Jesus’ interaction with his disciples after his resurrection. In that encounter, Christ pointed to the Old Testament as speaking about him (Luke 24:27;44).

Today, we begin our series from Genesis for obvious reasons. It is the first book of the Bible and of the Old Testament. It opens with the story of the origins of life. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis. 1:1). This phrase, though brief, explains in detail the origins of life. Firstly, it tells us the world was created. Then it tells us there is a Creator behind creation who is God. From Chapter One onward, it further lays out in detail how the world was created. If we are paying attention to the creation narrative when reading, a particular phrase runs through the account: “And God saw that it was good” (vv. 4;10;12;21;25). Finally, after everything, God’s own verdict about his creation was that “it was very good.” And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (vv.31).

The Fall

How can a world fill with evil, pain, disease and sorrow be good? The answer lies in the fact that there was an aberration in God’s creation plunging the world into its current state. Sin entered the world. What is called in Christian theology as The Fall (Genesis 3). In The Fall, man disobeyed God’s command by obeying the lies of Satan thus plunging the whole human race into sin. The Fall explains our depravity. We are rebellious sinners separated from God, dead in sins and iniquity (Ephesians 2:1) A glance at Genesis 3 and what happened in Eden is common with us all: Covering up of sins (v.7); Alienation from God (vv.8-10); Physical and spiritual death; Refusing responsibility for our actions (vv. 12-13), Life sorrows (vv. 16-19), Tension between human (v.16); etc

Protoevangelium

Eventually, Adam and Eve were driven away from Eden which paints a picture of separation from God that passed on to their posterity (v.23; Romans 3:23). However, in Eden, in the pronouncement of God’s judgement; there was a ray of hope. Simultaneously, God’s justice and mercy were seen together:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15 ESV).

Theologians call the pronouncement of judgement above the protoevangelium– the first gospel. It is the first gospel because in these words God announced his plan of salvation after the fall.

Christ The Seed of The Woman

The offspring, that is, the seed of the woman as used by the King James Version will bruise the head of the serpent and the offspring (seed of the serpent) will bruise his heel. Popularly, this has been taken by many as an enmity between snakes and humans. But that is far from the truth. Rather, it is an enmity between Satan, the spiritual Serpent and Christ ultimately. It is enmity between sin and righteousness; evil and good. On the cross, Satan bruised the heel of Christ in his crucifixion and Christ crushed Satan’s head.

Many Bible scholars have indicated that the seed of the woman can be used in the singular to refer to an individual or collectively to the people of God (Gen12:7,22:17-18, Gal 3:16). ¹ In its collective usage for the people of God, we see a thread of struggle between –good and evil—sin and righteousness throughout Scripture. Cain killed Abel, tension between Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Israel and Egypt, and indeed throughout Scripture; God’s people have been oppressed by evil. Even up till now there is a struggle between the flesh and the Spirit (Galatians 5:17).

Now as an individual, the seed of the woman points to Christ for it is in Christ that Satan was defeated. When Paul addressed the seed promised Abraham (Genesis 22:18) he points out that this seed referred to Christ: “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16).

In his death, the bruising of his heel, Christ won the victory over Satan and sin. So in Genesis 3:15, we see the person and ministry of Christ revealed.

The curse on the serpent in Genesis 3:14–15 sets the stage for the subsequent course of redemptive history. Obvious New Testament allusions to this passage occur in places such as Luke 10:19; Romans 16:20; and Revelation 12:17. Yet from this point in the book of Genesis, the theme of “enmity between offspring/seed” characterizes the biblical narrative. This passage is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the consummate “seed of the woman” who crushes the head of the serpent.²

Notes

1. James Hamilton, “The Skull Crushing Seed of The Woman: Inner-Biblical Interpretation of Genesis 3:15”, accessed 3rd March 2020, https://equip.sbts.edu/publications/journals/journal-of-theology/sbjt-102-summer-2006/the-skull-crushing-seed-of-the-woman-inner-biblical-interpretation-of-genesis-315/,
2. R. Andrew Compton, “The Seed of The Woman”, https://tabletalkmagazine.com/article/2018/12/the-seed-of-the-woman/, accessed 6th March 2020.

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