Eve: The First Promise
"Adam and Eve Cast Out of Paradise," 1880
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed” (Genesis 3:15).
It’s a long way from Eden to Bethlehem.
Eve paid a heavy price for her part in the first sin. After the serpent had deceived her, she ate the fruit and gave some to Adam. It all happened so fast. She ate, he ate, they were naked and ashamed, and the Lord pronounced judgment. They were cast out of the Garden, forbidden to return by an angel with a flaming sword. Robert Frost wrote about this in one of his most famous poems:
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Did you catch the biblical allusion? “So Eden sank to grief.” In just five words he described what happened to the human race when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Sin entered. Death became our destiny. Sadness invaded the human DNA. Pain moved next door.
As part of the judgment, God promised continual strife that started in Eden and shows no signs of ending, thousands of years later.
Genesis 3:15 is the first promise given after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. It is also the first promise of redemption. Everything else in the Bible flows from Genesis 3:15. As the acorn contains the mighty oak, so these words contain the entire plan of salvation. The great English preacher Charles Simeon called this verse “the sum and summary of the whole Bible.”
Although you may not see it at first glance, Christ is in this verse. He is the ultimate Seed of the Woman who would one day come to crush the serpent’s ugly head. His “heel” would be bruised on the cross. This verse predicts Jesus would win the victory over Satan but would himself be wounded at the same time.
Beginning with Genesis 3:15, there is now a fundamental division in the human race. Francis Schaeffer speaks of “two humanities” that arise after the Fall:
From this time on in the flow of history there are two humanities. The one humanity says there is no God, or it makes God in its own imagination, or it tries to come to God in its own way. The other humanity comes to the true God in God’s way. There is no neutral ground (Genesis in Time and Space, p. 115).
The “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent” have opposed each other continuously across the centuries. The struggle continues to this present hour.
Jesus didn’t come in the usual way; he entered the world through a virgin birth. No one before or since ever entered the world as he did. He is the ultimate “seed of the woman” since no man was involved in his conception.
When God wanted to save the world, he didn’t send a committee; he sent his Son.
When God wanted to say, “I love you,” he wrapped his love note in swaddling clothes.
When God wanted to crush Satan, he started in a stable in Bethlehem.
Even in Eden, God was planning for Christmas. He was thinking of you before you were born because he knew one day you would need a Savior.
As we begin our Advent journey, let’s remember Christ came in fulfillment of a promise made amid the wreckage caused by Adam and Eve. They sinned, and we suffer the consequences. Our sin may be great, but God’s grace is greater than our sin.
Sin, sacrifice, salvation. Jesus came because of our sin. His sacrifice paid for our sin. Because of his sacrifice, we receive salvation.
Maybe it’s not as far from Eden to Bethlehem as we think.
Lord Jesus, with your blood you kept the promise God made. Glory to you, our Savior and King. Amen.
Musical bonus: Here’s a newer Christmas song called Noel, written by Chris Tomlin and featuring Lauren Daigle.