PMT 2016-083 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The biblical faith is inherently eschatological. God creates the world and has a plan for it. The goal of that plan is necessarily eschatological, for eschatology deals with “the last things.” Consequently, the very beginning of creation has within it the seeds of eschatology. Protology entails eschatology.
In this study I will focus on the sin of Adam in failing God’s test (Gen 2:15-17) which was established on the sixth day of creation (Gen 2 expands on the activities of the sixth day, which is recorded more succinctly in Gen 1:26-30). It is actually in Genesis 3:15 that we have the first genuinely eschatological statement in Scripture (though the creation account involves principles impacting eschatology).
To be sure, in keeping with the progressively unfolding nature of revelation, this prophetic statement lacks the specificity of later, fuller revelation. At this stage in God’s unfolding plan for history the coming Redeemer is not sharply exhibited. Later revelation will gradually fill out the picture, a picture not perfectly full until Christ actually comes at his first advent (Gal 4:4). Yet the broad outlines drawn by this original statement are clear enough, particularly in light of the fuller New Testament revelation.
Adam in the New Testament
by J. P. Versteeg
Carefully examining key passages of Scripture, Versteeg proves that all human beings descended from Adam, the first man. He argues that if this is not true, the entire history of redemption documented in Scripture unravels and we have no gospel in any meaningful sense.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Orthodox Christians recognize that “the seed of the woman” in Genesis 3:15 refers to Christ. Here Scripture promises that he will crush his great enemy. This enemy is undoubtedly Satan, for later Scripture informs us that he is “the serpent of old [i.e., the ancient serpent], who is the devil and Satan” (Rev 12:9; 20:2). He heads up his evil kingdom (Matt 25:40, 45; Luke 10:18; John 8:44; 15:1–7; Acts 13:10; Rom 16:20; 1 Cor 12:12–27; 1 John 3:10; Rev 12:7–9) which opposes Christ and his righteous kingdom.
This verse portrays in one dramatic sentence a mighty struggle between the woman’s seed (Christ and his kingdom) and the serpent’s seed (Satan and his kingdom). Although this text specifically refers to Christ as the Seed (the Hebrew suffix on “heel” is masculine singular), it also involves a collective seed, as well. After all, Eve is called the “mother of all living” (Gen 3:20), not solely the mother of one individual seed.
In his book Interpreting Prophecy (p. 11), Philip Hughes comments: “This first gospel promise, therefore, despite the terse and figurative language in which it is expressed, provides a true perspective of the whole sweep of human history.” He is correct.
In this verse we witness God establishing the covenant of grace in history. Later New Testament revelation records this prophecy’s victorious fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Christ in conquering Satan. It is not still awaiting some distant fulfillment, as we can see in 1 John 3:8; Heb 2:14; Col 2:14,15. Certainly the consummate order following the Lord’s second advents will bring it to its fullest expression, but Christ’s victory has already occurred; Satan is already a defeated foe.
He Shall Have Dominion
(paperback by Kenneth Gentry)
A classic, thorough explanation and defense of postmillennialism (600+ pages). Complete with several chapters answering specific objections.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
In this verse we see history’s underlying struggle as Satan resists God’s creational and redemptive purposes. Anthony Hoekema cites Genesis 3:15 as evidence against postmillennialism, asserting that “the expectation of a future golden age before Christ’s return does not do justice to the continuing tension in the history of the world between the kingdom of God and the forces of evil” (Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 180).
He is mistaken in that he only considers one aspect of this biblical statement. For despite the clearly-stated fact of historical struggle, this poetic datum points to more: a victorious issue by the woman’s seed. After all, later revelation develops the nature of the struggle and its outcome in history. In addition, the verse seems clearly to relate Satan’s death blow to Christ’s heel-wound, which is his crucifixion that occurs at his first coming. Why then may we not refer this victory to Christ’s first coming and his kingdom’s establishment. After all we read in Colossians 2:15 that “He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
Thus, here in Genesis 3:15 we have at prophecy’s very inception, at human history’s very beginning the certain hope of victory. Just as Adam’s fall has a world-wide negative effect, so does God’s salvation: because of the work of the Last Adam in arising from the dead (Ro 5:15ff; 1Co 15:22, 45). Satan’s crushing does not await Christ’s consummational victory over Satan. The superior strength and glory of Almighty God the Creator through Jesus Christ will progressively overwhelm Satan the Destroyer, his nefarious kingdom, and its evil effects.
This passage underscores postmillennialism rather than scores against it.