Private conversations between individuals have often turned the tide of history. Think of just one example: the secret meetings between Roosevelt and Churchill, settling the Allies’ war aims before the United States’ entry into World War II. We’d all be surprised if we knew how much our everyday lives are affected by conversations among powerful individuals at the highest levels of government and society. Yet the combination of all those conversations pales in comparison to a brief, tragic conversation that took place in a beautiful garden six thousand years ago. The conversation is recorded for us in Genesis 3. It was a dark episode in human history—involving a serpent, a woman, a man, and God. Yet from this scene shines forth the greatest beacon of hope the lost world has ever known.
That beacon is found in fifteen simple but profound Hebrew words of verse 15. Theologians have called them the protoevangelium, that is, the first (proto-) announcement of the good news of the gospel (evangelium). God addressed these sober words to the satanic power behind the serpent: “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.”
For centuries, Christians have argued that this verse proves God established His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ from the very beginning (Ephesians 1:4). Because these words were written thousands of years before His death on the Cross, they prove the Lord oversaw every word of Scripture—and every incident of history—to unfold His sovereign, eternal plan. In recent days, however, this interpretation has come under attack by skeptics, Jews, and even some evangelicals. Let’s take a closer look at the account to see if this verse really is prophetic.