Bible Reading: Genesis 3:14-15

Genesis 3:15 is the first Messianic promise in the Bible. It is also the first shot fired in the Battle of the Ages. From this point forward the Bible tells the tale of conflict between the serpent and the seed of the woman.

The serpent is obviously Satan, as Scripture makes abundantly clear (Revelation 12:9; 20:2). The seed of the woman, however, is a curious distinction that demands explanation.

Everyone with a rudimentary understanding of basic biology knows that the man provides the seed in human reproduction. The woman provides the egg. Yet, the promised seed of Genesis 3:15 is designated as the seed of the woman rather than the seed of the man. What possible explanation can there be for such an inexplicable and seemingly impossible biological anomaly?

Here, in this incredible verse of Scripture, is the initial prophecy of the world’s coming virgin-born Savior. He is called the seed of the woman, because He is without male parentage. He is the Spirit-conceived Son of God. As such, He is the human Son of a human mother and the divine Son of a Holy God.

In the words of the famous Westminster Confession, Jesus Christ “is very God, and very man.” He is both the Son of God and the “Son of man,” a title of empathy with humanity that Christ most often used when referring to Himself.

According to Genesis 3:15, the heel of the coming God-man would be bruised by the serpent. This bruising took place when the bloodied and battered body of Christ hung on the Cross of Calvary. Following His execution for the sins of humanity, the body of the sinless Savior was entombed in the stead of all sinners. The serpent, along with his godless imps, must have giggled with glee over the sight of the lifeless body of their promised nemesis lying on a cold slab behind the heavy stone of an enclosed sepulcher.

Hell’s glee turned out to be short-lived. On the third day, the heel-bruised God-man arose from the dead to deliver the promised fatal blow to the serpent’s head. As promised in Eden, the serpent’s head was crushed when stomped on by the resurrected Christ. Herein lies an explanation for the necessity of the Incarnation.

According to the divinely inspired author of Hebrews, Christ had to don a mortal body in order to be able to die (Hebrews 2:14-15). Furthermore, He had to die in order to destroy the devil, who held the power of death up until Christ’s resurrection. When Christ rose from the dead, He kicked the backdoor out of death and emerged from the tomb with the devil’s keys—the keys of death and the grave—swinging on His hip (Revelation 1:18).

Since Christians know Christ, the Man with the keys, no Christian should fear death. Death should no longer provide the devil with fetters that enslave us to fear. Instead, we should rest assured that the grave can no more hold us than it did the God-man. The instant we die, Christ will let us right back out, turning the grave into nothing more than a passageway into the presence of God (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Christ donned a mortal robe

to wear into the tomb,

and thus transformed the grave,

for all that He would save,

into an open door

that leads to joys for evermore.