“I will put contempt between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. They will strike your head, but you will strike at their heels.”” (Genesis 3:15, CEB).
Evil in the Old Testament is not personified as it is in the New Testament. Depending on your interpretation of the Hebrew word for Satan, meaning adversary, the term is more often a designation than a proper name in the Old Testament.
The Apostle Paul associates the serpent in Genesis 3 with a personified devil: “But I’m afraid that your minds might be seduced in the same way as the snake deceived Eve with his devious tricks. You might be unable to focus completely on a genuine and innocent commitment to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3, CEB).
The Apostle John clearly delineates the Tempter in the Garden of Eden as Satan or the devil: “So the great dragon was thrown down. The old snake, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was thrown down to the earth; and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:9, CEB). The word “old” here refers to the fact that Satan’s appearance on Earth was at an early stage of the world’s history and has long been occupied with the task of deceiving and opposing God’s elect.
The prediction of contempt between the offspring of the woman and the serpent in Genesis 3:15 can have multiple meanings. Like most prophecies, it has both literal and figurative interpretations. The contempt between the offspring of the woman and the serpent is a deadly conflict but the offspring of the woman will strike a mortal blow to the offspring of the serpent.
In a literal sense the serpent can strike and bite the heel of a human and possibly inflict a mortal wound upon the human. The human can step on the head of a serpent and crush it and inflict a mortal wound upon the serpent.
In a figurative (prophetic) sense the seed of the woman is a future male child. Christians have long understood this verse to be the first prophecy of the Messiah, who would be the Savior of the world.
Satan “struck” Christ on the heel by moving men to crucify Him. But, it was only a temporary wound for He rose from the dead.
The same act by which Satan wounded the Messiah was the very act by which the Messiah destroyed the power of Satan. Christ’s resurrection was the declaration of His victory and Satan’s defeat.
There is a dark power lurking in the universe–resident evil. His name is Satan or the devil. Satan is an imposter who posed as a serpent in the Garden of Eden. Satan continually attempts to usurp humanity’s property rights to this world by trying to convince us that he is the legal owner of this world and Almighty God is not.
Left unopposed, Satan will lay claim to everything in this world and will try to build his own kingdom in opposition to the Kingdom of God.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ushered in the coming of the Kingdom of God on Earth, displaced Satan’s authority over the earth and restored the relationship between God and humanity. Now, redeemed humanity comprises a new social order of beings who stand in opposition to the evil influence Satan exerts over the affairs of this world.
God created a whole world for human beings. When His Creation seemed to come under the control of an evil interloper, God always had something else in mind–a plan for redeeming his beloved human race from the power of evil and death.
God didn’t take long to reveal His redemptive plan in the Bible. Genesis 3:15 is the first iteration in the Bible of God’s plan to liberate human beings from the influence and control of this resident evil.
You are from God, little children, and you have defeated these people because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4, CEB)