Where is the First Promise of the Savior?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Consistency of Scripture's Message, Part 2

by Steve Ham on July 29, 2010

The first promise of the Savior is found in Genesis.

So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:14–15)

Today’s big question: where is the first promise of the Savior?

The entire original creation and the Garden of Eden would have been absolutely spectacular. Imagine living in a world where the lion truly could lay with the lamb and where human beings could have walked unconcerned next to a T. rex. Living in God’s perfect creation with no carnivorous activity, no death, no suffering, and no natural disasters is something we can now only read about and imagine how it might have been. 

When the fateful day of disaster came, everything changed—and rightly so. God warned us that if we were to disobey Him then we would surely die. After sin, God fulfilled His warning in just manner. The serpent was cursed (more than all the other creatures) and mankind was to return to dust (i.e., die). Yet we should never overlook the first great working of God’s unlimited grace in the midst of His righteous judgment. God said to the serpent (Satan), “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). This coming Seed that will crush the head of Satan was promised by God. From this point on, we see in Scripture and understand our true need for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

In theological terms, this is called the proto-evangelium (the first Gospel). God promised that through the Seed (i.e., descendant) of a woman (Eve) would come one who would crush the head of Satan. This is the first promise of a Savior and the first great act of God’s grace after our tragic act of rebellion.

When we read the account of Genesis, and particularly the first eleven chapters, we get a full historical foundation for understanding of the significance of this promise of a Savior, and the depth of our desperate need for salvation. Not only do we see that we are rebellious, and under the wrath of God, but Genesis also tells us that since that rebellion, sin is constantly and aggressively crouching at our door (Genesis 4:7), and that we are totally consumed by sin (Genesis 8:21). The promise of a Savior from man’s rebellious nature is something we see consistently throughout Scripture—from its origin in Genesis, all the way through to Christ’s ultimate victory in Revelation.

There is one last important fact that we should never overlook in this first wonderful display of God’s grace. After the first act of sin and the promise of a savior, God also provided a foreshadowing of the great act that must occur on our behalf. God provided animal skins for clothes, which required the shedding of blood to cover sin, and pointed to the substitutionary atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Today’s big idea: the Bible has a consistent message of sin, sacrifice, and salvation in Jesus Christ—all beginning in Genesis.

What to pray: thank Jesus for His sacrifice determined from before the world began.


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