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.
15 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.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:14-24
This Mother of all Promises in Genesis 3:15 is the beginning of the implementation of the covenant of grace. It is stated in a seminal form here, and we will see it fleshed out more fully in Genesis 12-17 in the covenant with Abraham. It finds its full representation in the New Covenant. This covenant of grace, which flows the length of Biblical history, is the time-bound expression of the Covenant of Redemption, that pre-time covenant among the Trinity.
The covenant of grace is like the covenant of works in that they are both made between God and man. The huge difference is that the covenant of grace has a mediator between God and his covenant partner. Christ is that mediator and points out the great difference between the two covenants. In the covenant of grace, the obligation of obedience is fulfilled by Christ on our behalf. In the covenant of works, we stand naked and ashamed with no mediator.
The condition of the covenant of works is, “Do this and live” (Lev. 18:5, Gal. 2:12). The condition of the covenant of grace is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31)
So, what do we learn in Genesis 3?
God eliminated the sinful covenant between the serpent and the woman.
When the woman accepted the serpent’s word and disbelieved God’s word, she effectively entered into a covenant with him. God didn’t stand for that; he put enmity between the woman and the serpent. They were no longer in league.
God put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent
Not only did God put enmity between the woman and the serpent but also between the woman’s offspring and the offspring of the serpent. This speaks of the generations to come. A people of faith versus the people of the serpent.
The Lord promised a Messiah who would judge the serpent, doing the work the first Adam failed to accomplish: “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This is the Mother of all Promises. Flowing from this promise comes the seed of Abraham, the Son of David, the King of Kings, the Savior of the world, Jesus.
Adam’s response of faith in God’s promise, as well as God’s clothing Adam and Eve with the garments of a slain animal.
It is telling that until after this promise of Genesis 3:15, Eve is only referred to as “the woman.” Now, Adam names her Eve because she was the mother of all living. Adam and Eve believed God’s promise. They became people of faith, redeemed. And God gave the first illustrated sermon by removing their covering fig leaves and instead covered them with animal skins indicating a bloody sacrifice, a picture of the death of Christ to come, the last Adam.
This is the beginning of the great story of grace that unfolds from Genesis through Revelation, from the garden of Eden to the resurrected garden in the New Earth. Both gardens contain the tree of life; for access, one required the personal obedience of Adam, the other is made freely available through the personal obedience of the last Adam, Christ.
If you would like to do more indepth reading on the concept of covenant in Scripture, I recommend this book, Sacred Bond. Click on the book and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase a copy.