The Protoevanglion and Christus Victor?

Is it of any significance that in the Protoevangelion(Genesis 3:15) the promise was not of man’s deliverance but of the defeat of the evil one through the offspring of the woman? I suppose the latter involves the former, but no such promise is made directly to the man and woman in the same narrative…that is, unless you somehow count the making of garments of skins for their covering as a foreshadowing of that.


9 responses to “The Protoevanglion and Christus Victor?

  1. I’m not sure. One of the OT profs here doesn’t think so. He makes a good case in his commentary.

    Is ther a NT text that quotes it or alludes to it as a prophesy of Christ?

  2. Well, a couple of things. Is an Old Testament prophesy only valid if there is a corresponding New Testament passage or verse? The other question I have is, Is the serpent in Genesis 3 Satan? If so, how else can the passage be interpreted?

  3. Calvin had some interesting observations:
    There is, indeed no ambiguity in the words here used by Moses; but I do not agree with others respecting their meaning; for other interpreters take the seed for Christ, without controversy; as if it were said, that some one would arise from the seed of the woman who should wound the serpent’s head. Gladly would I give my suffrage in support of their opinion, but that I regard the word seed as too violently distorted by them; for who will concede that a collective noun is to be understood of one man only? Further, as the perpetuity of the contest is noted, so victory is promised to the human race through a continual succession of ages. I explain, therefore, the seed to mean the posterity of the woman generally. But since experience teaches that not all the sons of Adam by far, arise as conquerors of the devil, we must necessarily come to one head, that we may find to whom the victory belongs. So Paul, from the seed of Abraham, leads us to Christ; because many were degenerate sons, and a considerable part adulterous, through infidelity; whence it follows that the unity of the body flows from the head. Wherefore, the sense will be (in my judgment) that the human race, which Satan was endeavoring to oppress, would at length be victorious. In the meantime, we must keep in mind that method of conquering which the Scripture describes. Satan has, in all ages, led the sons of men “captive at his will”, and, to this day, retains his lamentable triumph over them, and for that reason is called the prince of the world, (John 12:31.) But because one stronger than he has descended from heaven, who will subdue him, hence it comes to pass that, in the same manner, the whole Church of God, under its Head, will gloriously exult over him. To this the declaration of Paul refers,
    “The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly,”
    (Romans 16:20.)
    By which words he signifies that the power of bruising Satan is imparted to faithful men, and thus the blessing is the common property of the whole Church; but he, at the same time, admonishes us, that it only has its commencement in this world; because God crowns none but well-tried wrestlers.

  4. Calvin’s point makes good sense to me, but I don’t know Hebrew. It seems to me that this could mean the church, Christ, and both. So who the heck are the offspring of satan?(Bama fans) So does this also mean God’s people will overcome evil people in the end?

    Assuming of course that God’s people are also good (which is a bit of a leap, I know) Love wins? And what do you make of Paul’s use of plural or non-plural in Gal. 3:16?

  5. If Christ, then not also all who are in Christ? So the victory is not won by an overcoming mankind (that is, of his own strength), but by a mankind which is newly made in the overcoming Christ?

  6. … and therefore it is Christ who overcomes. The central, unifying principle of salvation for Calvin (and I would say for Scripture) is union with Christ. So, yes, Gen 3:15 speaks of a victorious people and a victorious Messiah. Colossians 2:15 on a grand scale. Rex Victor!

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