The Christian sees deep significance in the words: “her seed” referring to Eve. The argument of the missionary is that since we only have reference to the “seed of the woman” and no mention is made of the seed of a man so we have a prophetic announcement of a “virgin birth”.
This argument fails for several reasons. According to this line of reasoning; every time that the Scriptures address an individual concerning their progeny using the term: “your seed” we ought to conclude that we are talking of a virgin birth (in those situations where a female is being addressed such as Genesis 16:10) or of a birth that is achieved through a male without a female (where a male is being addressed such as in Genesis 3:15 – the serpent). If this were true then we would have many virgin births announced in the Bible.
Furthermore; how could anyone know if this prophecy was ever fulfilled?
Missionaries see another “significant prophecy” in this verse. They understand the serpent to be the devil and they read this passage as a prediction that the one who will strike the devil’s head will be born of a woman without a man.
The simple reading of the text tells us that the snake will bite the heel of Eve’s progeny while Eve’s progeny will smite snakes on the head. This is simple and straightforward. Just as the previous verse (Genesis 3:14) speaks of snakes crawling on their bellies with no reference to a specific future event so it is with this passage. It simply describes the state of enmity between snakes and humans that will endure until the Messianic era (Isaiah 11:8; 65:25).
Furthermore, even if the missionary interpretation would have a smidgen of truth to it (which it does not) – a cursory glance at history will tell us that the “devil” was not “smitten on the head” with the advent of Christianity…
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal