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The First Gospel in Genesis

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 4:47 PM Comments comments (2)
Text: Genesis 3:15

The Gospel is not only a New Testament phenomenon; it is rooted in the Old Testament.  The entire Bible contains the true account of God’s redemptive plan for mankind, which was culminated on the Cross of Cavalry in Christ.  God’s words to Satan (Gen 3:15) are called protevangelium, the first Gospel. The Lord’s judgment, in many situations, embeds His blessing(s). The Book of Genesis commenced with a beautiful creation account.  God pronounced that His creation was good (Gen 1:25, 31).  He gave to Adam all His creations to have dominion over them (Gen 1:28). But there was a dramatic turn in chapter 3 when the serpent deceived our first parents, and they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:6). This entire episode is referred to as the Fall of Man.

Knowing what had transpired, God came down “… in the garden in the cool of the day [to visit them as usual], and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” (Gen 3: 9)  This question does not imply that God did not know where they were, but He wanted them to know where they had placed themselves. When God asked Adam whether they had eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam did not repent; he blamed his wife, Eve; the woman also did not prostrate herself on the ground for mercy, but she also blamed it on the serpent. Does this sound familiar? Biblical history would have taken a different twist had they repented.

In the judgment of God between the serpent and Eve, stands the first missions’ statement:  “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and hers [that is, seed]; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:15).  This redemptive-historical thread can be traced from this text all the way to the Cross of Cavalry.  Adam also received his share of the judgment: “…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen 3:17).

“But, F. E. Roop warns Christians against using this text as the key for “Messianic interpretation.”  He argues that given the language of the text, it is not without problems. The word seed consistently refers to “descendants” (a collective), rather than an individual….”[1] In refutation of Roop’s position, I defended the Evangelical tradition, reflecting on many other Evangelical scholars, in my new book: Growing Missionaries Biblically that, “The "seed" of the woman was within her seeds.”[2] His scholarly lens missed the exegetical aspect of the word, seed, and the parallelism embedded in the text.  There were many descendants of Eve, but it was one Seed, Jesus Christ who crushed the head of Satan on the Cross of Cavalry.  The mission of God (missio Dei) the Father through God the Son is to restore man to his original sinless state – in the Garden of Eden to eat of the Tree of life. Warren A. Gage, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary, affirms, “Now the word “seed” is capable of an ambiguity of number in Hebrew just like it is in English. It is most commonly construed as a collective plural denoting many offspring (Gen 13:15–16; 15:5; 16:10; 22:17–18). But “seed” is properly a singular noun in Hebrew, denoting a particular seed (Gen 3:15; Gen 21:12; Gen 22:17).  … Paul makes the explicit point that Abraham’s promise was not to his “seeds” but to his “seed,” that is Christ (Gal 3:16-17).”[3]

What really amazes me in the Satan, Eve, and Adam rebellion is God did not forbid Adam to eat of the Tree of Life (Gen 2: 16).   Our first parents were only forbidden not to eat the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil(Gen 2:17). However, providing a future solution to the Fall of Man, God decreed that the woman who caused man to sin will bring forth a deliverer.  I believe victory stands in the midst of any fall or chaos.  Moreover, since man was deceived through the fruit of the forbidden tree, God also predestined that, equally so, a “seed or fruit” from the very woman deceived will restore man to the lost Paradise in the presence of God.

Mission is the locus of God.  It is the main theme of the entire Bible: God’s creation, Man’s Fall, and God’s redemptive plan to restore man was launched in Genesis 3:15; it was fulfilled on the Cross of Calvary through God the Son, Jesus Christ. And Christ has commissioned us with the ministry of reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21, the apostle Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Are you allowing God to reconcile the world through you? You can reconcile unbelievers to God through your personal testimony (that is, your spiritual autobiography) everywhere, and by committing to your church with your tithes and offerings for the Gospel; or, by partnering with other Christian organization that focuses on the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

Special appeal:  

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[1] R. Zarwulugbo Liberty. Growing Missionary Biblically: A Fresh Look at Missions in an African Context (iUniverse: Bloomington, IN, 2012), 21.
[2] Ibid, 21.
[3]Warren A. Gage. Theological Poetics: Typology, Symbol and the Christ (Fort Lauderdale, FL: Warren A. Gage, 2010) 160.