Genesis 3 ends with Adam and Eve being driven out of the garden by God. Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - then God proclaimed the consequence of sin. As we looked earlier this week, we saw that Genesis 3:15 shows God providing a glimmer of hope in a seed of woman that will strike the serpents head and will have his heel struck by the serpent.
Immediately after the garden narrative is completed, the very first verse explains that Adam and Eve got started right away at trying to fulfill this prophecy by creating the awaited seed.
Adam was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, "I have had a male child with the LORD's help." - Genesis 4:1
Is This the Seed from Genesis 3:15?
Will this child be the seed we are looking for? Eve certainly thinks so. In fact, in her words quoted by the author of the Pentateuch, she informs that she made a male child, oh and I guess it was with the help of the LORD.
In addition to creating one potential seed, Genesis 4:2 informs the reader that Eve also gave birth to another son, Abel. Another potential seed to fulfill Genesis 3:15.
Chapter 4 shows the reader that Abel became a shepherd of flocks and Cain worked the ground. Both of these professions were considered noble from the expectations of man that were outlined in the garden. Could either of these men still qualify as the seed referenced in Genesis 3:15? So far, yes!
Genesis 4:3-4 show each presented an offering to the LORD. "Cain presented some of the land's produce as an offering to the LORD. And Abel also presented an offering - some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions."
The LORD's Response
How did the LORD respond to these offerings? Verse 4 reveals the LORD having regard for Abel and his offering - the firstborn of his flock PLUS their fat portions. The term firstborn here can also be understood to represent - firstborn, first male offspring (human or animal), the oldest son, with associative meanings of honor, status, prominence, and privileges of inheritance to the firstborn; by extension: one in a special relationship with God" (BDB). However, verse 5 reveals "He did not have regard for Cain and his offering."
Early in Scripture, God sets the standard for what he expects from His creation. Cain struggled to accept this expectation and in verse 8 Cain killed his brother Abel.
Therefore, the reader can now answer the question: Could Abel be the promised seed referenced in Genesis 3:15? No!
Genesis 4:11 shows the LORD's response to Cain murdering Abel by proclaiming, "So now you are cursed, alienated, from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood you have shed." So, could Cain be the promised seed referenced in Genesis 3:15? No!
Now we are stuck in a literary dilemma. We are now halfway through the fourth chapter of Genesis, waiting to learn of a seed from the woman that will allow mankind to overcome the serpent and every child referenced as having been born to Eve has now been eliminated from contention. We must wait for another.
After a brief look at the line of Cain, where we learn ultimately that there was a season of people walking away from calling on the name of the LORD - in verse 26 the author makes reference to when Seth had a son named Enosh and "at that time people began to call on the name of the LORD."
The LORD Gives
We see in Genesis 4:25 that Adam and Eve gave birth to another son. A potential answer to the awaited seed. However, we see that Eve's approach to announcing the birth of a son has changed over the years. Rather than boasting of her own accomplishments, she simply states, "God has given me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him." She is giving credit to God that he has granted her another child! In fact, she even names her child Seth - which means "given" in Hebrew. My what a transformation and maturation that has occurred in Eve between Genesis 4:1 and Genesis 4:25!!
The Bible moves directly in to a genealogy in Genesis 5. We learn in Genesis 5:6-8 that, "Seth was 105 years old when he fathered Enosh. Seth lived to 807 years after the birth of Enosh, and he fathered other sons and daughters. So Seth's life lasted 912 years; then he died."
Was Seth the promised seed we were looking for from Genesis 3:15? No, but we do see that his genealogy is given prominence in Genesis 5. It is possible that someone from his line could be born to fulfill the promise from Genesis 3:15. Fast forward to the New Testament and we learn in Luke 3:38 that Jesus's genealogy goes all the way back to the "son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God." This child given to Eve produces the lineage that will one day produce Jesus - the eventual fulfillment of Genesis 3:15!