Finding the Gospel in the Fall
Finding the Gospel in the Fall
“‘And I will put enmity (open hostility) between you and the woman, and between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, and you shall [only] bruise His heel.’” (Genesis 3:15, AMP)
A few years ago, my childhood pastor gave a sermon on the controversial Old Testament vs. New Testament debate. You know, the one where one side of the fence thinks we can just throw away the Old Testament and only study the New Testament, because it’s the new
covenant that replaces the old. The other side of the fence thinks that the inclusion of the New Testament in the Bible is a contradiction to God’s original word. One side believes that God is lawful judgement, and to focus too much on His love is to water down His sovereign word. The other believes that God is love, and to dwell too much in the Old Testament covenant is a decision to not see God in the fullness of His character.
But I’ll never forget what my pastor said: the importance of the Old Testament is to point towards the work that God would do to save the world in the New Testament. You need the New Testament because yes, it draws the gentile in and allows them to be a part of God’s chosen people. You need the Old Testament because there are numerous signs and prophecies and scriptures that point to the cross, generations and generations before it even happened. You need to have the context of the Old Testament to understand the depth of Jesus’ work in the New Testament. You need to know the old covenant and the lengths man needed to go in order to cleanse sin in order to realize the power of Jesus’ new covenant– one easy as believing with your heart, confessing with your mouth, and following with your life.
And ever since he said that, one of my favorite things to do when I read the Old Testament is to find the hidden easter eggs– for lack of a better term– where God alludes to the coming gospel. It’s literally everywhere, waiting for you to read deeper and see it. And the first mention that I know of in the Bible of God’s greater plan for redemption?
That’s right; the moment that humanity made its worst mistake and disobeyed God was the first moment that God started making a way for us to come back. The moment we left intimacy with Him was the moment He started laying the groundwork to reconcile us again.
Like I said last week, I’ve always previously read Genesis 3 with this idea that God was angry in these moments. I always imagined Him furious and formidable; handing out punishments to the devious serpent, deceived Eve, and disobedient Adam. I never looked beyond the consequences of the fall to see the ever-present love of God. And in truth, these passages are overwhelming with God’s love for Adam and Eve. They are abounding with God’s meticulous plan to purchase us back with His grace.
Take our key verse for example. In this moment, God is cursing the serpent by making it lower than all the animals of the earth. He is consigning this beast to crawl on its belly for all of time, eating dust and living underfoot to the man. But where man deserves to be treated just as lowly for his disobedience, God still shows the devil that he didn’t win– that despite his best efforts to kill and destroy man, God’s greatest creation, God still loves humanity and isn’t going to turn His back on them.
Even in this moment, God shows His hand, His intention to send His son to die a sinless death to defeat the devil. God promises to put enmity, or a deep and open hostility, between man and Satan. But not only that, between Satan’s seed and the woman’s seed– because even at the fall, God was telling Satan that His son would be born of a virgin. And through the woman, Satan’s downfall would come, because even though Satan may bruise Jesus’ heel, Jesus would crush his head.
Why? Because yes, perhaps for a moment, while Jesus was deep in His pain and bearing the full weight of the sin of the world, Satan believed he won. But through the finished work of the cross, through the resurrection of the Messiah, and His blood that was shed for us, Satan was dealt a crushing defeat. Something he thought he stole in the garden was redeemed hundreds of years later, just and God said at the fall.
And to me, in a moment where God should have been furious– should have wanted to turn His back on us and leave us to our misery– He instead makes a way for intimacy to be restored. It’s like Hosea, who chose to pursue his wife, even as she led a life of open and unrepentant prostitution. It’s like Boaz, who redeemed the widow Ruth and paid a high price to marry her.
Yes, humanity came away from the fall with a lot more than we bargained for: pain during childbirth, the laborious work needed to yield a harvest, and the knowledge that we will toil until we die and return to dust. We came away with shame, jealousy, fury, and a whole plethora of emotions we were never intended to know.
But we also came away with a promise: that God would continue to fight for us. That He had a plan that would crush the devil and allow us to one day have that precious relationship with Him that we once had. Even in the moment of our worst mistake, God was talking about the coming gospel.
And there are so many more moments like this, peaking out of Old Testament stories, showing us that yes, there was an old covenant in which we had to atone through sacrifice and rituals, but that there is a promise for better. There was a promise for a complete closeness to God. There was a promise that we’d be invited to a better garden to meet with Him, by way of a sacrifice to end all sacrifices.
That’s why we can’t throw out the Old Testament and call it an outdated, inapplicable covenant. Yes, the blood of Jesus gave us a new contract with God, but the Old Testament gives us an important context into the redemption that God has invited us into. The Old Testament shows just how far we fell and just how far God went to save us. We were so precious and so important to God that He didn’t even imagine for a second that He could give up on us. Instead, He pointed towards a better eternity, where He would give it all to have us, because redeemed man was better than created man.