Genesis 3:14-15 - The First Judgment Upon Sin
Adam sinned, and when he sinned he immediately suffered terrible consequences. The consequences of sin are covered in our last study (Genesis 3:7-13). Now comes the judgment upon sin. Sin is to be judged; perfect justice is to be executed. It was true in the beginning with Adam; it will be true with us in the final judgment of all men. This passage covers the first judgment ever pronounced upon earth. It covers “The First Judgment Upon Sin (Part 1).
A. He was cursed above all creatures (v.14a).
1. “You are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field…” (v.14a).
a) Some things to be noted.
(1) The tempter is not asked why he deceived the woman:
(a) He cannot roll the blame on to someone else; self-tempted he fell, and it is natural for him to deceive and destroy all he can.
(b) His fault admits of no excuse, and therefore God begins to pronounce sentence on him first.
(2) Was the serpent a literal serpent or a reference to Satan himself?
(a) Some scholars say he is “literal”
(b) Some say he is “literal but did not walk uprightly”
(c) Scripture says this when referring to Satan in (v.14-15):
Paul, in Romans 16 says "And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." (Romans 16:20, NKJV)
John writes in Revelation 12 that the "Great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9, NKJV)
And the angel who had the key to the bottomless pit "Laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;" (Revelation 20:2)
(3) The present passage of (Gen.3:14-15) definitely refers to Satan. Therefore, if the serpent is to be understood in a literal sense, then the passage must have a double reference.
(a) It must refer to both the serpent as a creature and to Satan who is “that old serpent, called the Devil” (Rev. 12:9).
(i) For example, in the third judgment, the serpent is condemned to “eat dust” (Genesis 3:14c). Snakes do not eat dust. This is symbolic language meaning that the tempter is to eat the dust of defeat and humiliation.
(ii) Another example is the reference to the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). This curse of God is not talking about all the little snakes crawling all over the world. It is referring to the followers of that “old serpent, called the Devil” (Rev. 12:9). If a serpent creature is also involved, then the judgment has a double reference to both Satan and the serpent.
!!!! b) Judgment upon the tempter was the most sever.
(1) Man’s sin was most tragic, and the judgment he brought upon himself was terrible, but a way of salvation was to be offered to man.
(2) The earth also was to suffer a terrible corruption under the curse of God, but it, too, is to be delivered from the bondage of corruption and made incorruptible (Romans 8:19-21).
(3) But not the tempter. He is doomed forever. Scripture never says anywhere that the tempter will ever be saved and freed from the judgment pronounced upon him. The opposite is said:
(a) The tempter is to eat dust (be defeated) all the days of his life (Gen.3:14).
(b) The tempter will eat dust in the future world, during the millennial reign of Christ:
During the millennial reign "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord." (Isaiah 65:25, NKJV)
(c) The tempter, “that old serpent, called the Devil,” is doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire as said in the book of Revelation:
John writes saying "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Revelation 20:10, NKJV)
(4) The point is this: the tempter was cursed above all created creatures. There is no hope for him. He will never be freed from his judgment and condemnation.
B. He was to crawl upon his belly (v.14b).
1. “On your belly you shall go…” (v.14b).
a) Cursed to be detested, degraded, and miserable.
(1) A crawling creature (e.g., a serpent) is the picture of a being that is detested, degraded, repulsive, contemptible, and scorned—an abomination (Leviticus 11:42).
Leviticus 11:42 says "Whatever crawls on its belly, whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet among all creeping things that creep on the earth—these you shall not eat, for they are an abomination.” (Leviticus 11:42, NKJV)
(2) A body that bows low and clings to the ground is a picture of misery (Psalm 44:25).
In his prayer for deliverance, the Psalmist wrote that "For our soul is bowed down to the dust; Our body clings to the ground.” (Psalm 44:25, NKJV)
(3) Even if this judgment is directed at the snake as an earthly creature, its main thrust is aimed at the devil who is the prime tempter of man.
(4) It is the devil that God is primarily judging and condemning.
(5) One of the names given Satan is Beelzebub. The name means the god of flies, the god of filth, or the god of dung. Satan is known as the god of unclean spirits.
C. He was to eat dust (v.14c).
1. “You shall eat dust all the days of your life…” (v.14c).
a) To be defeated and humiliated—always.
(1) In the Scripture, to eat or lick dust means to be defeated, to be humiliated & judgment.
Speaking of enemies "Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dust.” (Psalm 72:9, NKJV)
Nations and leaders who oppressed Israel will humble themselves before the redeemed people of God’s covenant, “Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”" (Isaiah 49:23, NKJV)
Again, the nations that taunted Israel "Shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth. They shall be afraid of the Lord our God, And shall fear because of You." (Micah 7:17, NKJV)
!!!!! (2) Satan has been defeated and always will be. His final destiny is destruction in the lake of fire.
When Jesus sent out His disciples for service "Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." (Luke 10:17, NKJV)
The devils final destiny is destruction: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Revelation 20:10, NKJV)
D. He was to be the object of enmity between him and the woman and her seed (v.15a).
1. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed…” (v.15a).
a) There is always to be enmity between the tempter and the woman.
(1) The word enmity (ebhah) means hatred, antagonism, hostility. In the Bible it is always used to refer to the enmity between people, not animals. This fact alone, as well as the rest of this part of the judgment, points to the tempter being the devil and not just a serpent.
(2) It is God who puts enmity between the serpent and man. It is God who stirs man to oppose evil. Enmity is usually sinful, but enmity against evil is a virtue (Eph.4:26-27).
(3) This enmity actually began when woman was first created. James Montgomery Boice points out that Satan hated woman from the moment she was created. But now woman was to hate Satan. She might love her sin, but she would also hate it.
As Boice Montgomery says, “When we sin, we often find that we like the sin but want to escape sin’s consequences. We would like to destroy ourselves in comfort, like the addict destroying himself in the dreamlike stupor of debilitating drugs or booze. We would like to go to hell happy” (Genesis, An Expositional Commentary, Vol.1, p.162).
(4) Note another fact as well: Satan would never be able to dominate the woman entirely.
(a) He had attempted to conquer the human race by getting the woman and man to act selfishly—to do their own thing—against God.
(b) This they did—acted selfishly—sought to do what they wanted. But in this act of selfishness, Satan doomed himself, because man would forever act selfishly.
(c) Man would forever tend to selfishly put himself before anyone and everything, including Satan.
b) There is always to be enmity between the seed of the tempter and the seed of the woman.
(1) Who is the seed (offspring) of the tempter or serpent?
(a) The serpent’s seed could not be all the snakes of future generations which were yet to be born. Such an interpretation just makes no sense.
(b) In addition, as already noted, the word enmity always refers to hostility between persons, not creatures.
(c) It is also doubtful, very doubtful, that the serpent’s seed would be referring to the demons who serve under Satan. Satan does not bear demons as offspring: demons are not increasing in numbers.
(d) Who then is the seed or offspring of “that old serpent, called the Devil?” Who are the children and descendents of the devil? Scripture tells us: the seed or offspring of the devil are...
(i) persons who live after the lusts of the flesh.
Jesus said to the Pharisees "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do" (John 8:44)
(ii) Persons who are enemies of God, those who deny, curse God.
Before we had a personal relationship with God through Jesus, we were enemies of God, Paul said "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:10, NKJV)
Our minds, and thoughts were against God "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled" (Col.1:21)
(iii) Persons who are adulterers and adulteresses.
James makes a powerful point, he says "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4, NKJV)
(iv) Persons who commit sin, having a lifestyle of sin.
John makes this clear when he said "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8, NKJV)
(v) Persons who are unrighteous and do not love others.
There is no gray area in this subject, again, John says "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother." (1 John 3:10, NKJV)
(2) So, as we have seen, the seed (offspring) of the devil refers to the ungodly men and women upon earth, and the seed of the woman refers to the godly men and women of earth.
E. He was to be crushed by one particular seed or descendent of the woman (v.15b).
1. “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heal…” (v.15b).
a) The New Testament clearly tells us who the promised seed is.
(1) The seed may sometimes refer to the descendents of humanity or Israel, but the primary meaning of the promised seed is singular: it is Christ Jesus Himself (Gal.3:16).
(2) This is the first promise of the Savior in the Bible, and the promise is unconditional:
(a) the Savior would come and He would destroy the serpent (tempter) in order to reconcile man with God.
(b) this is what is known as the Adamic covenant, God’s unconditional promise to Adam and man, the unconditional promise to send the Savior to deliver man.
(c) verse fifteen is also known as the Protevangelium, which means the very first declaration of the gospel.
b) The promised seed is said to be the seed of the woman, not of the man.
(1) This points toward the virgin birth—the incarnation—of Christ.
!!!! c) The devil, from this point, on would try to destroy the seed of the woman.
(1) God never said which woman would bear the seed. Satan was always left guessing. In fact, Satan has tried from the very beginning to destroy the seed of the woman.
(a) the line of Abel, Adam’s Son: Satan led Cain to kill Abel, but God gave Adam another son, Seth (Genesis 4:1)
(b) the early line of the godly seed: Satan led the godly line to mix with the ungodly and led them into such vile wickedness that God had to destroy the earth. But God raised up Noah
(c) the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: Satan led Esau to threaten to kill his brother, Jacob. But God protected Jacob
(d) the line of the children of Israel: Satan led Pharoah to attempt to kill all the male babies of Israel. But God saved Moses
(e) the line of the Promised Seed, Jesus Himself, at His birth: Satan led King Herod to slay all the babies in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the promised child. But God warned Joseph and told Joseph to flee with the child.
(f) the line of the Promised Seed, Jesus Himself:
(i) At His temptation: Satan tempted Jesus to cast Himself down off the pinnacle of the temple, but Jesus chose God’s way.
(ii) At His hometown, Nazareth: Satan led citizens to try and cast Jesus off the cliff of a hill.
(iii) On the cross: Satan thought he had victory at the cross when Jesus died, but that was our victory and God raised Him from the Dead!
d) The promised seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus, was to crush the head of the serpent.
(1) Christ crushed Satan’s head by His Incarnation.
John said "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8, NKJV)
Jesus spoke about light and darkness by saying "this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”" (John 3:18-21, NKJV)
(2) Christ crushed Satan’s head by never giving in to the devil’s temptations & by never sinning
(a) Christ lived a perfect life; he was perfectly righteous. Therefore, He became the Perfect Man, the Ideal Man.
(b) Satan was defeated in that an Ideal Righteousness was now provided for man. Man could now become acceptable to God by putting on the righteousness of Christ through faith.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV)
(3) Christ crushed Satan’s head by dying for man, by bearing all of man’s guilt and punishment.
The writer of Hebrews says "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15, NKJV)
(4) Christ crushed Satan’s head by being raised from the dead.
Christ’s resurrection is the ideal resurrection because we were "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12, NKJV)
When Christ rose from the dead He triumphed over Satan "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:15, NKJV)
!!!!! (5) Satan’s power to cause men to be separated from God is now cast out (Matt.27:46-49).
We know that "Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit," (1 Peter 3:18, NKJV)
(6) Satan’s power to enslave men with the habits of sin and shame is now “cast out.
(a) By His death, Christ made it possible for man to be freed from sin. The believer, cleansed by the blood of Christ, becomes a holy temple unto God.
(b) Man can now conquer the enslaving habits of sin by the power of God’s Spirit (1Cor.6:9-11 such were some of you, Christ set them free!).
We no longer have to go on living a lifestyle of sin, Paul said "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NKJV)
We are overcomers "Because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4, NKJV)