Friday, November 30, 2007


Honorary Thinkling Alan has a neat post on the first gospel message this week:
To whom was the first gospel message preached? The answer took me off guard a bit when I was reading through Genesis recently.

Of course students of the Bible are familiar with the seed of the woman that is promised in Genesis 3. The fancy word for this is the protoevangelium ("first gospel").

What I never really thought about was this "first gospel" message was not preached to Adam and Eve directly. It was preached to Satan. And it sure wasn't "good news" to him.

The Lord God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel."

It's fascinating to think about the implications here. Why would God arrange it this way? The Lord did not address Adam and Eve with the promise of redemption. They were given the task of taking dominion over the earth. But in redemption, they would be bystanders, benefiting from the labors of another. Paradise, and Paradise lost, were about them. Paradise regained was not.

The Lord did not hide his plan for redemption from the serpent. It was right out in the open. The usurper will be usurped, and a son of the woman will do it. You'll try to stop me, but you'll fail.

But it was no separate monologue, set apart from the punishments for emphasis. Though he didn't hide it from the serpent, it was almost an afterthought. Or perhaps he's a God of understatement. God is a loving God, one who takes joy in his creation. It should go without saying that he would redeem the world.

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