In Genesis 3, God pronounces judgment against Adam, Eve, and the serpent for their sinful rebellion. To the serpent, God says, “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” (verse 15, KJV). This verse is known as the protoevangelium, or the “first gospel,” because it introduces the theme of a Savior who will redeem humanity from the curse of sin (Galatians 3:13). In Genesis 3, the Savior is called the “Seed” of the woman (NKJV and AMP).
The Hebrew word for “seed” here means “offspring,” which is how many translations render it (e.g., NIV, ESV, CSB). The figurative language in Genesis 3:14 (“dust you shall eat,” ESV) indicates that the subsequent verse speaks of a spiritual war between Satan (the serpent) and humanity (the seed of the woman).
The woman spoken of is Eve, the mother of humanity (Genesis 3:20). The prophecy is that her offspring would be continually harassed by Satan and his followers (the offspring of the serpent). Sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, and we all suffer because of it (Romans 5:12–14). The perpetual war Satan wages against humanity began in the Garden of Eden.
There is an indication of number in Genesis 3:15 that we cannot overlook. The woman’s offspring is referred to by the singular noun seed, and that seed is immediately antecedent to the singular pronouns he and his. So, the seed of the woman is individualized. There is one Seed in particular who is to come. The sole tempter will be countered by the sole Savior.
Also, Genesis 3:15 speaks of the seed of a woman rather than the seed of a man. This unusual wording could indicate that the woman’s offspring would not have an earthly father. In that case, the protoevangelium is certainly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin (Luke 1:34–35).
The enmity spoken of in Genesis 3:15 is ultimately between Satan and Christ. Satan “bruised the heel” of the Savior when Jesus was crucified—Jesus suffered in His flesh. But the story does not end there. On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. In so doing, He crushed the power of Satan, sin, and death—He crushed the serpent’s head. Jesus is the Seed of the woman who has won the victory over the tempter and enemy of mankind. And, to His eternal praise, He grants victory to everyone who believes in Him (John 16:33). “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).