And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel. (Genesis 3:15)
Here, God is speaking not to the snake but to Satan. He shifts from addressing the symbol to addressing the reality. He turns to the disgusting, wretched Satan, who may move around like a roaring lion, but who is really a lowly snake.
Now, this is a very important curse. And yet I can honestly say that I lived years and years of my Christian life without ever having somebody explain to me carefully the details of this curse. So I want to give you an understanding of this curse because of its wonderful importance.
Theologians through the centuries have seen here the first glimmer of the gospel. There’s so much grace in the heart of God, and forgiveness is so consistent with the nature of God, that the God who desires to save sinners puts in the very first curse a glimmer of gospel truth. Grace shines through the curse on Satan.
Now, what is that “enmity?” That is a promise that the woman, who has become the enemy of God and a friend of Satan, is going to turn and become the enemy of Satan and the friend of God. This is the first indication of salvation. The curse on Satan is that he will not succeed in his effort to control all of humanity for his evil purpose. God will bring conflict. God will bring deep animosity. God will bring hatred between Satan and the woman.
You know what I think that is saying? I think it is telling us that Eve was going to experience salvation. If Eve, who has become the enemy of God and the friend of Satan, is going to become the friend of God and the enemy of Satan, she’s going to have to be converted. You have a prophecy here of the salvation of Eve.
This is quite wonderful. This is not only the first glimmer of the gospel, but may I suggest this is the first indication of the great doctrine of election, because God is saying who He’s going to save. He’s going to save Eve. And I believe you can even gather Adam in as well, because their seed becomes the friend of God – not all of their seed, but a portion of their seed. God is going to enable this couple to reverse that enmity with Him and to become the enemies of Satan and be restored as friends of God again.
This is going to take a radical change. To change somebody from being the enemy of God and the friend of Satan to being the friend of God and the enemy of Satan is a total change. So you even have here the first indication of an altered nature. Something has to change down inside.
Maybe here you even have what the New Testament calls the new birth or regeneration. The old Adam and the old Eve are going to have to die, and a new Adam and a new Eve are going to have to come into existence.
If there is going to be enmity between the woman and Satan, it is going to come as a result of the change of their hearts. And God is demonstrating here that He has the grace and the power to do that. He’s 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.
When you go back into verses 8 to 13, you see the depravity of their hearts. There was nothing naturally in those people that sought to make things right with God. All they wanted to do was hide from God. God was an unwelcome intruder. They weren’t anywhere near nor were they capable of honestly repenting of their sin and recognizing their true condition. And that was their depravity. And yet it says here that they’re going to change. And that speaks of the wondrous work of God in changing their nature.
Satan was successful in capturing Adam and Eve. And at this point Satan may well have felt that he had made a massive dent in the divine purpose – that God had gone to all of this wondrous effort to create a universe and to place man and woman in His universe on the Earth, and Satan succeeded in wrecking paradise. He succeeded in gaining the devotion of Adam and Eve.
It’s very likely that Satan may well at this point have thought, “I have won the full devotion of humanity. I have won the mother of all living (as Eve is called down in verse 20). I have won Adam. He questions God and he believes me.”
Satan may well have thought that he had become the sovereign of man. You can see him beginning to lick his chops and rub his hands and think to himself, “I now have not only demons, but I have men to fight my battle against Almighty God.”
And that’s why God says what He says: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” Oops. Satan, you were absolutely wrong.
Enmity means conflict. Enmity means hostility. Enmity means hatred. And God says to him, “Don’t think too fast about your successes, because I curse you, Satan, by making you the enemy of the woman and the enemy of the seed of the woman. And One will come who will crush your head.”
Who was it that came to crush the serpent’s head? It was the Lord Jesus Christ. He did it on the cross. That was where He really rendered the blow. He pronounced His judgment in the garden, but the real death blow came at the cross.
Satan thought man was now going to be the enemy of God, but God says, “You’re wrong. Man’s going to be your enemy. I’m going to bring back man to be My friend, and I’m going to make you his enemy.”
That is the first glimmer of the gospel: We who were enemies of God can become His friend again.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 2000, titled “The Curse on the Serpent, Part 1.”