Dark Sayings and Riddles in the Bible

Our aim here is to see the connections between key promises in the Old Testament that prompted prophets to recognize patterns. If a promise is a gold coin, then the presence of these promises in the Bible means that the biblical authors saw them as coming from God and relating to God’s plan. This makes the promises like gold coins minted at the same place.

The earliest prophetic impress comes in the word of judgment God spoke to the snake in Genesis 3:15. The man and woman had every right to expect that they would die that day they ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). But as God cursed the snake, Adam and his wife heard that there would be ongoing enmity between the snake and the woman, and between his seed and hers. Moreover, while the seed of the woman would be bruised on the heel, the serpent would receive a much more serious bruise on the head (Gen. 3:15). The ongoing enmity and the reference to the woman’s seed both indicate that Adam and his wife would not die immediately but continue to live, though they had experienced spiritual death (Gen. 3:7–8). When Adam named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all the living (Gen. 3:20), he responded in faith to the word of judgment God spoke over the snake. Apparently faith came at the hearing of the word of the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15; cf. Rom. 10:17). They believed they would not immediately experience physical death: they would live in conflict with the serpent, and their offspring would bruise his head.

Eve’s responses to the birth of Cain (Gen. 4:1) and Seth (4:25) indicate that she was looking for her seed who would accomplish this victory over the tempter. The line of descent from the woman is carefully traced in Genesis 5, and in Genesis 5:29 Lamech expresses a hope that his son Noah will be the one to bring relief from the curse stated in Genesis 3:17–19. When we read Genesis 5:29 in light of Genesis 3:14–19, it seems that those who are calling on the name of the Lord (Gen. 4:26) are looking for the seed of the woman whose bruising of the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15) will reverse the curse on the land (Gen. 5:29; cf. 3:17–19).

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