Did You Know … That The Serpent Is Cursed Above All Beasts?
Then the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.
Genesis 3:14 (HCSB)
God’s love for sinners in no way eliminates His holy hatred for sin, for while it’s true that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), it’s also true that “God is light” (1 John 1:5). A holy God must deal with sin, for the good of the sinner and for the glory of His name.
This was a curse upon the serpent for the part he played in Adam and Eve’s sin. God passes sentence; and he begins where the sin began, with the serpent. God pronounced sentence first on the serpent and then on the devil that had used the serpent. The devil’s instruments must share in the devil’s punishments. It seems that the creature Satan used was originally upright, because God humiliated it by putting it into the dust.
However, the meaning here goes far beyond this snake that Satan used to speak forth his lies. It applies directly to the devil himself. Satan is cursed, and there is enmity between Satan and man. Even those who partake of the devil’s wares hate him.
I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
Genesis 3:15 (HCSB)
God’s words to Satan are called the protevangelium, “the first Gospel,” because this is the first announcement of the coming Redeemer found in the Bible.
- To God’s Old Covenant people, this verse was a beacon of hope (Gal. 4:1-4);
- To Satan, it was God’s declaration of war, climaxing in his condemnation (Rom. 16:20);
- To Eve, it was the assurance that she was forgiven and that God would use a woman to bring the Redeemer into the world (1 Tim. 2:13-15).
This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your seed” (Satan and unbelievers, who are called the devil’s children in John 8:44) and her seed (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in Him), which began in the garden. The offspring (“seed”) of the serpent and of the woman represent Satan’s family and God’s family.
In the Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43), Jesus states clearly that Satan has “children,” people who profess to be true believers but who are actually counterfeits. The parable reveals that wherever God “plants” a true child of the kingdom, Satan comes along and plants a counterfeit. The two grow together and won’t be separated until the harvest at the end of the age.
These are people who reject Jesus Christ and confidently depend on their own religious self-righteousness to get them into heaven. The Pharisees were “children of the devil” according to John the Baptist (Matt. 3:7-10) and Jesus (Matthew 12:34; 23:15, Matthew 23:28, Matthew 23:33). There’s no record that Jesus ever called the publicans and sinners “children of the devil”; He reserved that title for the self-righteous Pharisees who crucified Him.
So, throughout history, there has been a conflict between Satan and God, Satan’s children and God’s children. During Jewish history, the enemies of the true prophets were the false prophets who spoke in the name of Jehovah.
Both Jesus and Paul pictured false teachers as pretenders, “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:13-15; Acts 20:28-31). Satan the counterfeiter has always had his children ready to oppose the people of God. At the end of the age, it will culminate in Christ vs Antichrist, Satan’s counterfeit masterpiece. At the cross, Satan “bruised” Christ’s heel; but because of His death and resurrection, Christ crushed Satan’s head and won a complete victory over him (Eph. 1:17-23).
(To the woman) As a consequence of your actions,
I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth
And the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation.
You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion,
He will be the dominant partner.
The Voice (VOICE)
Part of the curse on the woman wasn’t only pain in childbirth but the multiplication of the woman’s conception. This is speaking of the number of times she would bear children. God reinforced His word of hope to Eve by assuring her that she would bear children and therefore not immediately die. But the special privilege of woman as the child bearer (and ultimately the one who brings the Redeemer into the world) would involve multiplied pain in pregnancy as well as submission to her husband. This submission isn’t identified as part of a curse or as a mandate for husbands to have sovereign power over their wives. The New Testament makes it clear those husbands and wives who love each other and are filled with the Spirit will be mutually submissive. We are to submit one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21).
(To the man) Because you followed your wife’s advice
instead of My command and ate of the tree
From which I had forbidden you to eat, cursed is the ground.
For the rest of your life,
You will fight for every crumb of food
from the crusty clump of clay I made you from.
As you labor, the ground will produce thorns and thistles,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
Your brow will sweat for your mouth to taste
even a morsel of bread until the day you return
To the very ground I made you from.
From dust you have come,
And to dust you shall return.
The Voice (VOICE)
Eve would have pain in the labor of childbirth, but Adam would have pain in his daily labor in the field. As he worked to get his food, Adam would encounter obstacles and have to toil and sweat to get a harvest; and this would remind him that his disobedience had affected creation (Rom. 8:18-23). Even more, as he tilled the soil, he would remember that one-day he would die and return to the soil from which he had come. Adam the gardener became Adam the toiler.