And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Genesis 3:15
Theologians call it the “protoevangelium”– the first gospel sermon ever preached. After Adam and Eve sinned, when God heard the facts in the case, this was His immediate response. God made a glorious promise, and our Christmas celebrations mark the opening act in fulfilling that promise. As we rejoice in Christ over this Christmas celebration, we might find some bonus delights in this earliest gospel promise. Here are a handful of points to consider.
The gospel was first announced as a curse.
When God asked Adam what he had done, Adam pointed at his wife and his wife pointed at the serpent. Then, the Lord pronounced judgment on the serpent.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Genesis 3:14-15
The serpent’s curse brought Adam and Eve hope.
Imagine them standing before God, trembling and ashamed for their sin, waiting for God to announce His judgment against them. They knew God’s law:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.Genesis 2:16-17
The criminals stood in dread, waiting for God to pronounce the death sentence. God sentenced the serpent first, and the curse on the serpent brought hope to the other criminals. Because the judgment on the serpent gave the first hint of a Savior for mankind. How could there be enmity between the serpent and the woman if the death sentence was immediately executed? And how could there be a “seed” of the woman if the woman was put to death? And how could the woman’s seed bruise the serpent’s head if the law was carried out against her? This curse on the snake must have given Adam and Eve their first hint that God had prepared grace for them.
Here was the dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed.