A Meditation on Genesis 3:14-15
The second part of the curse fell on the devil himself, who was behind the animal. God said, “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” (Gen. 3:15). We know that Satan was behind the serpent, because of Revelation 12:9, which says, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan.” It’s common for Satan to be addressed through animals or people. For instance, Ezekiel raises a lamentation over the king of Tyre, but it’s clear that Satan is in view in this lamentation: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God… You were an anointed guardian cherub” (Eze. 28:12-13, 14; see also Isa. 14:12-15). We could break this curse down into three parts.
First, we have the introduction of enmity. God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring” (Gen. 3:15a). Now there already was enmity in the world, but the enmity was between man and God. Adam and Eve were at odds with God; Satan had recently become their new ally.
When Satan fell he took a third of the angels with him (Rev. 12:4). Now he has captured man, and all of his offspring will belong to him as well. So he thought…until God in His sovereignty steps in and puts enmity between Satan and Eve. Satan, I’m sure, had not anticipated this. God didn’t step in when the angels sided with him, so why is He intruding this time? Because He will redeem mankind, something He doesn’t do for angels.
God says to the devil, “You are not going to have the woman.” So he curses him and makes the woman his enemy. John MacArthur notes, “You have here the first indication of an altered nature…So if there is going to be enmity between the woman and the serpent, the woman and Satan, it is going to come as a result of the change of their hearts… [God] is going to provide the forgiveness necessary and the transformation that changes them from lovers of Satan, as it were, and enemies of God, to lovers of God and haters of Satan.”
MacArthur goes on to say that here we have the “great doctrine of regeneration, new birth, transformation, conversion; doctrines of forgiveness, expressions of grace, the wonderful truth of election is even found here in this statement. Amazingly, the gospel, with all of its saving purposes, finds its entrance into the Bible in a curse on Satan. The gospel is first given not in a promise to man, but in a judgment on Satan” (http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/90-242.htm). This is why Genesis 3:15 is called the Proto-Evangel, the first gospel.
The second part of the curse on Satan is the perpetual enmity between the offspring of Satan and the offspring of Eve. No, Satan doesn’t procreate. His offspring are humans who follow him instead of God; Eve’s offspring are those who follow God and not Satan. This enmity between the offspring of each will be seen in the very next chapter, where Cain hates Abel and kills him. 1 John 3:12 provides us with a commentary on Genesis 4: “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” So God places enmity between Eve and Satan, as well as between her offspring and his offspring. And this enmity continues down to our day, and it will continue until Christ subdues all His enemies.
Finally, in this curse we have the blessed promise of Satan’s ultimate demise. “[H]e shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15b). God doesn’t say, “I shall bruise your head.” Nor does He say, “We shall bruise your head.” He says, “He shall bruise your head.” “He” is one of the Eve’s offspring; one of her descendants. Martin Luther pointed out “that God never told the devil who ‘He’ would be. And so, the devil had lived in dread of every woman’s son who was a believer, especially those in the covenant line, because he never knew who ‘He’ would be” (Ibid). Obviously, we know, and now Satan does too, that “He” is Jesus Christ, who bruised Satan’s head at the cross, while Jesus only suffered a bruise on the heel. And we should note that “He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5, KJV). As the hymn says, “Twas I that shed the sacred blood; I nailed him to the tree; I crucified the Christ of God; I joined the mockery.” Satan was involved in the death of Christ, and we were involved, but so was God. “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” (vs. 10, KJV). Putting this mysterious sovereignty altogether: Satan unwittingly fulfilled God’s plan to crucify Christ for our salvation, and his own defeat.
~Pastor Wayne Christensen