Why Genesis 3:15 Matters So Much

As we move out of Genesis 2’s scene with Adam and the garden and move into Genesis 3 there is a verse that is the most famous verse of Genesis, 3:15. Now, every individual text of Scripture gains it’s meaning from its immediate context, and the immediate context of Genesis 3:15 is Genesis 1-3.

Recall that in Genesis 1-2 we see the entire creation taking place. Some liberal theologians believe chapter 1 and chapter 2 are contradictory creation accounts and discredit the Bible. What they miss is that Genesis 2 is not another creation account, it’s a commentary on the creation that took place in Genesis 1. Up until the beginning of chapter 3 all is well in God’s created order. Much grace had been shown up to this point. God being fully self-sufficient on His own, needing nothing, creates a people for His own purposes and glory. The man and woman have life and breath through no ability of their own, they have provision and sustenance and purpose through no power of their own, they have intimacy with God through direct contact and conversation through no ability of their own, and because God loved them deeply He gave them a warning of the consequences of disobeying His commands.

The whole creation account shows two clear things: we see who God is, and we see who man is not. What would man have on his own effort? NOTHING. Adam and Eve wouldn’t even exist, but now because of sheer grace and undeserved favor, mankind has all it ever needs for life from God and in God. After seeing such grace displayed, the horrors of Genesis 3 make it the saddest and darkest chapters in the entire Bible. But though the darkness is thick, despair and death abound, hope is not aloof, light and life are not hidden from sight. We’ll see this soon.

The serpent, one of God’s created creatures, it says in 3:1, was craftier than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. Tragically the first words in the Bible spoken about God from someone other than God in all of history come from the serpent’s mouth. This, the first sermon, was filled with lies, and sadly many sermons follow suit still today. “Did God actually say?” the serpent said to the woman. The woman believed lie, took the offer of fruit from the only forbidden tree in the garden, gave some to the man, and they ate together. Their eyes were opened, sin filled them, and when God came to walk in the garden they did something they’d never done before – they hid from their creator.

God then asks a series of questions to point out their guilt and folly, and in response to such blatant defiance He addresses the serpent first, the woman second, and the man last. In 3:14 God curses the serpent saying, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life…” God could have stopped here, but chose to continue His condemnation of the serpent, and in 3:15 God deals a decisively deadly blow.

Genesis 3:15 says, “…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.”

more on this verse tomorrow…

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