Is the gospel in Genesis?
The other day my wife called me from the store and asked if I wanted any seeds for our garden. Even though I’d already purchased some last fall, I realized there were some seeds I still needed if I wanted to have a fruit-filled garden. This time of year has a lot of folks thinking about planting seeds which, biblically speaking, could remind us as believers of Christ and the first time the gospel was ever alluded too.
As I mentioned in the last devo, I want to take us back to Genesis to rediscover the foundations for what we believe. And since we talked a lot about the gospel from 1 Corinthians 15, I thought we’d go back to the gospel in Genesis. Since the Bible is one giant story about God’s plan to create, redeem and restore man via the gospel of Christ, we should not be surprised to find it prophesied as early as Genesis 3.
Remember that in the first 2 chapters of Genesis God created a world that was good and perfect and sinless. It was paradise! Adam and Eve were happily married, and they were cultivating fruit in the garden God had put in their care, meanwhile enjoying fellowship with God. They only had one command: to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had all the freedom in the world and the ability to eat from all other trees except this one, maybe to express their love of God by obeying Him.
As we know, paradise is lost. Satan came along in the form of a serpent and deceived them into eating the forbidden fruit. Because of this disobedience God was forced, by His holy and just nature, to bring the curse and this is referred to as the Fall. Now, in Genesis 3:14-24, the criminals, Satan, Adam, and Eve are all standing before God. God curses the serpent and tells Satan,
“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.”
This is sometimes referred to as the Proto Evangelium, or first gospel. They didn’t understand the gospel as we do with such clarity, but they did understand a redeemer was coming in their line of descendants.
What you find throughout the course of history and described in the Bible is just what God has said – a battle between two different seed lines. Satan is always trying to squash the godly seed line through which Christ the “Seed” would come, just as he wars against the Church today in various ways (Matt. 3:7; John 8:44; Rom. 16:20).
At times it appears as though Satan has won! One such occasion was when Israel was taken into captivity for 70 years in Babylon. But even though the “tree of David” is felled, left as a stump (Is. 6:13), God said the “holy seed is its stump” and a “shoot” would spring forth from the “stem of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1). This “Shoot” is none other than Christ, who came from the family of David, son of Jesse (1 Sam. 17:12).
The “Seed” is not a small or insignificant type of Christ in Scripture. Paul even argues over the singular use of the word “seed” in Genesis 22:17-18, that the nations would be blessed through the “seed of Abraham” that is Christ (Gal. 3:1). Jesus also describes Himself as a seed that must die in order to bear much fruit (John 12:24). To bear much fruit, the “seed of the woman” who is Christ must have His “heel” bruised by His real but temporary death but in so doing, He delivers Satan a fatal blow to the “head”. A bruise to the heel is much less a wound than a blow to the head. Christ triumphed over Satan through the cross and rendered him judged (John 16:11). We rejoice in this!
The seed element is not the only gospel expression in Genesis 3 either. I think it’s also seen in the way that God removes the self-made fig leaf clothes of Adam and Eve (self-righteous coverings) and provides garments of skin (animal hide) as a superior covering of His choosing, which meant an animal had to be slain for them. The point is, we cannot cover our sins by our own works but by the work of God, the Lamb slain. Covering for sin requires a death because death is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23) and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22).
Another act of gospel-centered grace was for God to drive man out of the garden and appoint an angelic-cherubim to keep man from eating of the tree of life in his fallen state (3:24). It’s a sign that God doesn’t desire us to live in sin forever, but to be restored and redeemed from it. For everyone who trusts the “Seed” of Christ who was slain as the Lamb of God to provide covering for sin, they will be born again and allowed access the fruit of the tree of life forever in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2)!
It’s no wonder Satan has tried so hard to discredit the Genesis record of the history of the world. Even atheists know that without it, all Christian doctrine crumbles and become meaningless. The good news that Jesus came and died and rose again is pointless without paradise and the Fall of Genesis 1-3. In a world of evolutionary theory, let’s rebuild these Genesis foundations for our children because as Psalm 11:3 says,
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Working to rebuild the Genesis foundations,
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