While in the past I’ve written a couple of posts about this verse’s application to certain beliefs, I wanted to give you a broader view of what is known as the protoevangelium (first Gospel). The reason why this verse is called the first Gospel is because it is literally the first good news from God following the Fall of Adam and Eve. At this point God had condemned the two but gives both hope when He says this to the Devil:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head while you strike his heal.”
Why is this so good? Because God is prophesying about the coming of the messiah who will be born of “the woman” and redeem mankind from the Fall. Now, we tend to forget this, but ancient Jews did not. They were constantly looking for the woman whose child would restore them. This is one reason why those genealogies are so important - they are messianic credentials!
You can sit down and read the Old Testament as a story of God’s people looking and waiting for the offspring of the woman. Time after time, good men arose. In each case, however, they each came up short. Noah was a drunk, Moses struck the rock, and David had his affair…
We as Christians know, however, that it would be to Mary and Jesus to which this prophesy refers. This is the big reason why the Bible refers to Mary as “woman” or “the woman” so often. She is the one who is in a state of total enmity with the Devil – or in other words, is sinless by the grace of God.
What’s more, Jesus defeats the Devil and his offspring (sin and death) through allowing his heal to be struck through his passion and death. Though one might say this is more than a simple bruised heal, they seem to forget that the passion and death of Jesus led to the victory over death through the Resurrection on Easter Sunday!
There’s much more to be said on the protoevangelium – so if you’d like to read more, check out my other posts on the subject:
Why God Had to Protect Mary from Sin
Are We Making Some Assumptions About the Assumption?