Genesis 3:15 Questions

“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

I have 3 questions about this verse.

  1. How do people know that this refers to Our Lady, and not Eve?

  2. Would “her seed” mean Christ, or the faithful in general?

  3. To what does “thy seed” (as opposed to "her seed) refer to?

Since Mary is the “new Eve” and Christ the “new Adam”, numbers 1 and 2 can apply to both.

  1. As Eve is the mother of all mankind, God is stating that humanity will forever be in a struggle with sin and evil. Mary, being the mother of Christ, also fits this role because Christ defeats sin by His Death and Resurrection.

  2. Both, as well as all mankind. All mankind descends from Eve, and all children of God (including Christ) call Mary our mother.

  3. The seed of the Devil is sin, and as a result of sin, death. It could also apply to the Devil himself and the other fallen angels.

Well if we assume that the verse, from a Christian perspective, is talking about Eve,
Mother of All Humanity, then ALL would be against the Serpent. With Jesus being the
New Adam, our New Covenantal Head, Mary is in many ways then the New Eve, and is
the Mother of all who place their hope and salvation on Jesus. It is those people who are
at strife against the Serpent, not the whole world (sadly).

The Bible can deal on multiple levels, so let me revisit the first question: The “Woman”
can refer to both Eve and Mary, in a sense. Similarly, “Her Seed” can mean both Christ
and all who believe in Christ.

“Thy Seed” I guess is referring to the Serpent, yes? Ever hear of Godzilla? JUST KIDDING! :smiley:
Those who are not faithful could be the seed of the Serpent. That’s quite a statement to make,
so don’t go take it ONLY because I said, but I recommend checking with others. I am NOT sure!

D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 15. She shall crush. Ipsa, the woman: so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latin: others read it ipsum, viz. the seed. The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head. (Challoner) — The Hebrew text, as Bellarmine observes, is ambiguous: He mentions one copy which had ipsa instead of ipsum; and so it is even printed in the Hebrew interlineary edition, 1572, by Plantin, under the inspection of Boderianus. Whether the Jewish editions ought to have more weight with Christians, or whether all the other manuscripts conspire against this reading, let others inquire. The fathers who have cited the old Italic version, taken from the Septuagint agree with the Vulgate, which is followed by almost all the Latins; and hence we may argue with probability, that the Septuagint and the Hebrew formerly acknowledged ipsa, which now moves the indignation of Protestants so much, as if we intended by it to give any divine honour to the blessed Virgin Mary. We believe, however, with St. Epiphanius, that “it is no less criminal to vilify the holy Virgin, than to glorify her above measure.” We know that all the power of the mother of God is derived from the merits of her Son. We are no otherwise concerned about the retaining of ipsa, she, in this place, than in as much as we have yet no certain reason to suspect its being genuine. As some words have been corrected in the Vulgate since the Council of Trent by Pope Sixtus V. and others, by Pope Clement VIII. so, if, upon stricter search, it be found that it, and not she, is the true reading, we shall not hesitate to admit the correction: but we must wait in the mean time respectfully, till our superiors determine. (Haydock) Kemnitzius certainly advanced a step too far, when he said that all the ancient fathers read ipsum. Victor, Avitus, St. Augustine, St. Gregory, &c. mentioned in the Douay Bible, will convict him of falsehood. Christ crushed the serpent’s head by his death, suffering himself to be wounded in the heel. His blessed mother crushed him likewise, by her co-operation in the mystery of the Incarnation; and by rejecting, with horror, the very first suggestions of the enemy, to commit even the smallest sin. (St. Bernard, ser. 2, on Missus est.) “We crush,” says St. Gregory, Mor. 1. 38, “the serpent’s head, when we extirpate from our heart the beginnings of temptation, and then he lays snares for our heel, because he opposes the end of a good action with greater craft and power.” The serpent may hiss and threaten; he cannot hurt, if we resist him. (Haydock)

One of the intentions of the book of Genesis is explain the origins of things, why things in the world are the way they are. In this and the preceding verse, I think the intention is to explain why serpents are unusually legless and must crawl on their bellies and why there is enmity between human beings and serpents. Because Satan is essentially a spirit with no physical body, when these verses are apply to him, they must be understood in a less literal and more metaphorical sense when it comes to his belly, his offspring, and his heel. I think, his offspring include all who follow his sinful example, demons and wicked humans. The woman’s offspring refers to all humans, especially the righteous, such as the Virgin Mary, and most especially Jesus Christ.

May I recommend: How can Mary crush the serpent’s head? A look at Genesis 3:15

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