Anonymous asks the following:
Who is the one who would have crushed the head of satan? According to Roman Catholicism it is Mary :
(Gen 3:15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
According to an interpretation:
1)the enmity is between the serpent (=satan) and the woman (Mary)
2)another enmity exists btw the seed of the serpent (=Pharisses,matt 23:33) and the seed of the woman (=Jesus)
3)since in the original language,the pronoum used here is impersonal “it” (it shall bruise thy head) we cannot automatically translate it to “He (Jesus) shall bruise thy head, neither can be translated “thou shalt bruise ‘his’ heel”,but “thou shall bruise ‘its’ heal”(catholic translation)
4) “it shall bruise thy head” :the phrase is addressed to the serpent. And since the enemy of the serpent is the woman, It is the woman that will crush the head of satan.(we cannot infer that the serpent will be crushed by the seed of the woman, since the direct enemy of satan is the woman,not her seed).
How can we answer this interpreatation, knowing that there are no other biblical paragraphs stating that Mary is the one who crushed the head of satan.On the contrary there are other verses stating Jesus came to destroy satan (Heb 2:14) ?
In other words, Anonymous wants to know who bruised the serpent on the head according to the Bible.
Let’s read Genesis 3:15 together.
Genesis 3:15 (KJV)
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
According to the KJV, the pronoun referring to “the one who shall bruise the head of the serpent” is the impersonal pronoun “it” (as pointed out by Anonymous). But is it the right word to use?
As you know, the Book of Genesis was first penned down in Hebrew. So let’s examine this verse closely in its original Hebrew language. For an analysis of the text in Hebrew, please go here.
In the original Hebrew language, we can see that the pronoun referring to “the one who shall bruise the serpent’s head” is the pronoun hu, and hu can either mean: “he”, “she” or “it”.
It’s no wonder, then, that there is a difference of beliefs concerning the identity of the one who would bruise the serpent’s head. The vagueness of the pronoun hu does not help at all.
Fortunately, this verse (just like every verse in the Bible) has a context. And from the context, we can know who hu is referring to. So let’s see how the Bible explains this verse.
How does the Bible explain this verse?
First, let us find out what/who this serpent is/represents.
The serpent is mentioned in Genesis 3, trying to manipulate the first woman, Eve, into eating from the forbidden tree. It is said of him that he was more crafty than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. And with his craftiness, and his ability to talk, he succeeded in making Eve (and the man, Adam) do what he wanted, i.e. sin against God by disobeying His command not to eat from the forbidden tree.
Note: For an interesting and detailed comment on Genesis 3 concerning how the serpent manipulated Eve into eating from the tree and how this has affected man’s relationship with God, go here and check the third comment (you need to do a lot of scrolling down to see it).
But who was this serpent? How could he have talked despite being a serpent? And how was this serpent smart enough to influence Eve to go against God’s will? Was he really just an animal that was gifted by God?
Well, since God says that He created man in His image (and not also animals in His image), it wouldn’t be right to believe that animals were given the ability to talk. And even if animals had the ability to talk when they were created, why don’t they still talk now? Have you even seen a serpent that talks?
The fact is that the serpent in Genesis 3 was not really an animal. The serpent was an intelligent being in disguise. The serpent was … Satan.
How do I know this? The Word of God, the Bible, makes this clear.
In Revelation, Satan is called “the serpent of old”, indicating that Satan was the serpent that was told and written about from a long time ago, the same serpent in Genesis 3 that deceived mankind into falling into his trap. One verse that mentions this truth is Revelation 12:9.
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Not only is Satan called “the serpent of old” in the above verse, he is also considered as the one who deceives the whole world. It is because of him that the whole world is deceived and in sin.
Other verses in Revelation that state that Satan is “the serpent” or “the serpent of old” are Revelation 12:15 and Revelation 20:2.
And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.
And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
Therefore, the name given to Satan by God is “the serpent” after the form Satan was disguised in when he appeared to Eve and tried to manipulate her.
And Paul, inspired by the Spirit, makes a connection between “the serpent” and Satan in 2 Corinthians 11.
First, Paul mentions the serpent in 2 Corinthians 11:3.
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Then, in 2 Corinthians 11:14, he mentions Satan and his ability to disguise as almost any being he wants.
2 Corinthians 11:14
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
The point that Paul was making in the verse above is that Satan can deceive humans by disguising himself as an angel of light that doesn’t do the works of darkness, just as he deceived Eve (the mother of all humans after Adam) by disguising himself as a serpent that could not sin by deceiving (as a serpent is just an animal that knows nothing about good and evil).
Note: Ezekiel 28:13 states that Satan was in Eden, giving us one more reason to know that the serpent that appeared to Eve in Eden was Satan. However, since it is written in prophetic language that requires spiritual discernment, only the spiritual can understand what it spiritually refers to. The unspiritual skeptics will have a very hard time understanding how the king of Tyre spiritually represents Satan, the king of the world. I will not go into details on this here, as this requires a long explanation, and I prefer to stay within the confines of the topic of this post. Maybe, if it’s God’s will, either I or one of my brothers will post something concerning Ezekiel 28:13 in a future post. For now, we already have other verses that obviously state that Satan is the serpent that appeared in Eden.
So deception is something that Satan is a top expert at. Through deception, he has the whole world trapped in sin after influencing the world to fall into his trap of sin.
This explains why the Bible calls Satan “the god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4, and this also explains why sinners are in “the snare of the devil” and “are held captive by him to do his will” in 2 Timothy 2:26.
Every human in Adam is a sinner (just like their ancestor, Adam), and every sinner is a slave of Satan, the devil. And through the sinner’s fear of death, Satan keeps him in slavery.
Thank God, though, that our Lord Jesus Christ came to save sinners from the power of Satan!
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
How did Jesus render powerless the one who had the power of death (i.e. the devil)? Through death on the cross!
“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.
Through death on the cross (the kind of death that comes by being “lifted up from the earth”), He triumphed over all (including the god of this world, Satan)!
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Thanks to God, “who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light”!
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The reason we can say that Jesus defeated Satan through His death on the cross is because it is through His death that He has freed many from the power of Satan and given them the forgiveness of their sins. Through Him, we can enter the kingdom of God.
And although Satan is still at work in this world, there will come a time when he will be gone for sure and will no longer be able to do what he’s been doing all this time ever since the days of Eden. In this sense, Satan will also be defeated by Jesus.
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
In this way, the serpent’s head will really be crushed just as it was crushed at the time of the cross!
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
And when you crush the head of a serpent, what happens to the serpent? It dies (and is, thus, defeated)!
So who is the one who bruises the serpent on the head? Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus Christ in Genesis 3:15? The Seed of the woman.
Biblically, it’s not usual to describe any man as a seed of a woman. Man is normally referred to as a seed of a man. This is because the Hebrew word for “seed”, zera, can also mean “semen”, which man (and not woman) generates. Go here for more information about the word zera.
Jesus, however, is called the Seed of the woman, since He was not born of a man, but only of a woman.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
In other words, Jesus had a virgin birth. Otherwise, Paul would’ve said “born of a man” instead.
And, in fact, the truth of the virgin birth of Jesus is clearly revealed in the Bible.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
This was fulfilled when Mary, as a virgin, gave birth to our Lord, whose name is “Immanuel” (i.e. “God With Us”). The fulfillment of this prophecy is declared in Matthew 1:22-23, and further confirmation of this fulfillment is found in Matthew 1:25.
Why was Jesus born of a virgin? It’s because, if He were born of both man and woman, He would’ve inherited the corrupted nature of both His parents. It was necessary that He be sinless so that He may be worthy to die for us on the cross, resurrect from the dead, and be our Lord and Savior. A sinful man can’t do such a thing. For a deep explanation concerning why the sinless Jesus is the only way for our salvation, please read the article: HOW TO BE JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD?
So how did He become a man without having the corrupted nature that all humans inherit from their parents?
The answer is in the fact that He, being holy, was conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb.
In fact, the power of God overshadowed her in all her sinfulness when it was time for the conception of our Lord in her womb, that her sinful nature could have no effect whatsoever on the holiness of the Child in her womb.
The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
Thus, Jesus was born as a sinless man, something that was accomplished by Him being holy and having a virgin birth. Therefore, Genesis 3:15 reveals the truth of the virgin birth of the Messiah that would come to defeat Satan, and it does so by mentioning the woman with her Seed, instead of the man with his Seed.
What’s interesting about Genesis 3:15 is that it reveals several truths in one verse. In fact, it’s the first verse in the Bible that preaches the Gospel message of salvation for all sinners. And it’s within the context of God pronouncing His judgment of death and suffering on man, leading us to understand why the condemned is in need of salvation from the Seed of the woman. This is why many call it the Protoevangelium (the First Gospel).
So Satan wounded Jesus (i.e. “bruised Jesus on the heel”) by influencing man to fall into his trap, causing Jesus (out of His great love for us) to die for us on the cross and take the punishment for the sins of every sinner who puts his faith in Him as Lord and Savior. However, the Good News (the Gospel) is that Jesus has defeated Satan (i.e. “bruised Satan on the head”) because He is able to defeat him and free us from his bondage of sin and death. I have already explained this above.
So if the serpent is Satan, the woman is the one of whom Jesus was born, and the seed of the woman is Jesus, who is/are the seed of the serpent?
According to the verse, Jesus and the seed of the serpent are enemies. So let’s find out what the Bible means by “the seed of the serpent”.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Contrary to popular belief, the children of Satan do not necessarily have to be demons by nature. Humans, also, can be Satan’s children. The ones whom Jesus addressed in John 8:44 were the Jews who were opposing Him. They were, in this sense, enemies of Jesus and God.
In fact, every human who is in bondage to sin and, thus, is under the influence of Satan is a child of Satan and an enemy of God. If you are not with God, you are against Him, which makes you an object of wrath (a sign of being in enmity against God).
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Sinners, by nature, are sons of disobedience and children of wrath and walk according to Satan. And a sinner who walks according to Satan is an enemy of Satan’s enemy, God.
Thank God, though, that God sent Jesus Christ to die for His enemies!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while 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.
And by receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become children of God by right.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
This is how one becomes a child of God by right.
So as long as you are an enemy of God, you are of the seed of Satan, who is the main enemy of God.
Now that we know what the explanation of the Scriptures is concerning Genesis 3:15, we should know that it is Jesus Himself who has defeated Satan and crushed his head (and without any help from the mother of the Lord, Mary).
But even though the Bible is clear on this, let’s see how history confirms the Bible’s explanation of Genesis 3:15.
What does history have to say?
As noted at the beginning of this study, in the original language, the pronoun referring to “the one who shall bruse the serpent’s head” is hu, which means “he”, “she” or “it”.
One might wonder why such a vague and ambiguous pronoun was put in that verse instead of a clear masculine pronoun. This is actually due to the fact that the people who had the Scriptures back then were under the Old Covenant with God and were, through God’s prophets, quite aware that the Messiah would come and defeat Satan, the deceiver of the world. They had no issue with such a pronoun as many today do.
For confirmation that God told the Old Covenant people about what the Messiah would do, go here.
In fact, the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament), which was translated before Jesus came into this world, has the word autos as the Greek translation of hu.
Guess what autos means? It means “He”!
For confirmation, go here. Make sure you scroll down until you see the 15th verse of Genesis 3.
Why is it translated as “He”? For the reason that the translators of the Septuagint knew that Genesis 3:15 is a Messianic prophecy. They were aware that the Messiah would come and defeat Satan. And this is all before Jesus came into this world!
Also, keep in mind that the noun that autos refers to is sperma, which is a feminine noun. What does this show? It shows that the Septuagint translators deliberately violated the rules of grammar by forcing the pronoun referring to sperma to be masculine. This is so that it could be read and understood by the Greeks as a Messianic prophecy!
So it’s not only the Scriptures confirm that it is the Seed of the woman that has crushed the serpent’s head. History itself also confirms it. Those who believe that the one who has crushed the serpent’s head is the woman are going against what both the Scriptures and history confirm.
In fact, the early Church Fathers, in general, agreed that Genesis 3:15 is about the Messiah crushing the serpent’s head. Read what Irenaeus had to say about this.
He has therefore, in His work of recapitulation, summed up all things, both waging war against our enemy, and crushing him who had at the beginning led us away captives in Adam, and trampled upon his head, as you can perceive in Genesis that God said to the serpent,And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall be on the watch for (observabit ) your head, and you on the watch for His heel.Genesis 3:15 For from that time, He who should be born of a woman, [namely] from the Virgin, after the likeness of Adam, was preached as keeping watch for the head of the serpent. This is the seed of which the apostle says in the Epistle to the Galatians,that the law of works was established until the seed should come to whom the promise was made.Galatians 3:19 This fact is exhibited in a still clearer light in the same Epistle, where he thus speaks:But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.Galatians 4:4 For indeed the enemy would not have been fairly vanquished, unless it had been a man [born] of a woman who conquered him. For it was by means of a woman that he got the advantage over man at first, setting himself up as man’s opponent. And therefore does the Lord profess Himself to be the Son of man, comprising in Himself that original man out of whom the woman was fashioned (ex quo ea quæ; secundum mulierem est plasmatio facta est), in order that, as our species went down to death through a vanquished man, so we may ascend to life again through a victorious one; and as through a man death received the palm [of victory] against us, so again by a man we may receive the palm against death.
Irenaeus was the first to call Genesis 3:15 the Protoevangelium, by the way. Irenaeus was one of many who realized the truth of this prophecy in Genesis 3:15.
If the Scriptures confirm that Genesis 3:15 is about the Messiah crushing Satan’s head, if history confirms that Genesis 3:15 is about the Messiah crushing Satan’s head, and if the early Church Fathers agreed that Genesis 3:15 is about the Messiah crushing Satan’s head, then why not agree with them?
Why agree with a compromising Church Father who appeared centuries later to interpret the passage as saying that it is Mary who crushes Satan’s head? This Church Father, called Jerome, was just a human who could do mistakes like any other humans. If he failed to see what Genesis 3:15 points to, this doesn’t mean we should believe what he says and, thus, reject what God Himself says.
Besides, why strip away all the glory from our Lord for the sake of a mere human being (even if it’s the blessed Virgin Mary)? If only the Romans Catholics could see the danger in doing so …
I’m in full agreement with what the Scriptures say and with what history points to, so I have full confidence that the Lord Jesus is the One who has crushed Satan’s head, no matter how many people oppose this truth.
If Genesis 3:15 suggests that the direct enmity is between the woman and the serpent, it’s because of the fact that this passage also refers to the enmity between Eve (the one the serpent directly deceived) and the serpent. And this leads us to one question that we should answer before we end this study.
Doesn’t the context suggest that God is talking about Eve and her offspring and literal serpents?
Yes, indeed! In no way, during all this study, did I deny that the context of Genesis 3:15 applies to Eve, her offspring, and literal serpents.
We must understand that, in God’s Word, there are such passages that point us towards more than one direction.
Just as God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He also brought Jesus Christ (as a child) and His parents out of Egypt, thus making Hosea 11:1 apply to both the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt and Jesus Christ, His Son.
So we see that there is an enmity between Eve and Satan just as there is an enmity between Mary and Satan. The direct enmity is between the woman and the serpent because the woman initially refers to Eve and not because it refers to Mary. So while Mary is referred to, in one sense, in the passage as the mother of the Seed, Eve is the one who is directly the enemy of Satan, as it is Eve whom Satan directly deceived and not her offspring. This means it’s natural that the direct enmity should be between Eve and the serpent (and not between her offspring and the serpent).
When it comes to the Messianic interpretation, Mary simply replaces Eve as the woman with her own seed, and not as the main enemy of Satan. As the Bible shows us, the direct enmity is actually between the Messiah and between Satan and his offspring.
Mary is simply the one who brings forth the Messiah as a human so He could crush Satan and show him and his offspring who’s boss, just as Eve’s offspring are able to show every serpent out there who’s boss by crushing them on their heads with their feet.
You might be amazed and wonder how God could make such passages have more than one literal meaning. This is because the Bible is not a dead book. It really is God’s own Word penned down by inspired men.
Anonymous, I pray that this answers the questions you stated in your comment above.
For all the Roman Catholics out there who are reading this (and for everyone else), please read the posts made on this site as they all contain truths that are extracted from the Word of God. It’s important that we all understand and comprehend these truths so that we all may have the knowledge of the truth manifested in our Lord Jesus Christ.
God bless you all through Jesus.