The Seed, Part 1
Genesis, Chapters 1-5


“I HAVE gotten a man from the Lord.” (Gen. 4:1) Thus did mother Eve announce the birth of her firstborn son, whom she named Cain. The name Cain means ‘Acquired’. It probably seemed to Eve that at long last she had acquired a token of favor from the Creator, a measure of compensation for the heartbreaks both she and Adam must have experienced since that all too brief period of joy they had shared together in Eden. That was a happiness which had been made rich and full because of the constant realization that the Creator was their friend, their Lifegiver, and the fountain of all the myriad blessings with which they were surrounded.

Eve was, no doubt, especially sensitive to the adverse circumstances which had come upon this first family, for she would remember that she was the one who had taken the first step which led away from their Creator, to the loss of his friendship, arid of the provisions of life which he had made for them. We can well imagine that she and Adam would discuss the sequence of events which followed each other in quick succession as a result of their yielding to the Tempter in disobeying the law of their Maker.

That Garden Home

Can we wonder that more than once Adam’s mind turned longingly back to those blessed seasons of fellowship he had enjoyed with his Maker, and with ever-increasing regret for his own wrong course which had led to the loss of divine favor. Adam had been created in the “image of God,” which, among other things, means that he had the ability to appreciate and enjoy the blessings with which his Creator had surrounded him. It also meant that he had been endowed with the ability to know right from wrong, and that he had the power of reflection and could look back upon his wrongdoing with a bitter sense of guilt.

The story of the provision God made for Adam is told in a few words: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”—Gen. 2:8,9

The poem reminds us, “Only God can make a tree,” but just think of all the variety of trees which he has made! In Eden there was every beautiful tree that bore delicious fruit for nourishment. We need not be too literal in our understanding of this sweeping statement. It is generally agreed that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in the general area which is now known as Iraq, and that it seems evident that the phrase, ‘every tree’, is a reference to the varieties that were native to that particular part of the earth.

However, what a panorama of beauty must have been on display in Eden, and all designed by the Creator for the enjoyment of the first creature on earth who had been created in his own image. There were also trees in Eden to provide food for our first parents. But it is significant that the trees which were designed for beauty are first mentioned. God desired that his creatures should not only live, but also that they should enjoy life through their appreciation of the Creator’s handiwork.

The continued enjoyment of life was properly made dependent upon obedience to the Creator. He chose a simple arrangement by which his creatures could demonstrate their obedience. That arrangement was to forbid eating the fruit which grew on a certain tree of Eden. God said to Adam: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”—vss. 16,17

Adam was given some time to acquaint himself with all the various lower animals over which he had been given dominion, and to give them names. Among all these, there was none suitable to be a companion for him. “The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmeet for him.” Then came the creation of Eve, brought about in such a manner that Adam observed, She is “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. … Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”—vss. 18-25

Adam was now no longer alone. We can imagine, in part at least, his ecstasy of joy in having this beautiful creature on his own plane of life to share the blessings of Eden with him. His own experiences up to this point had been limited, but they were rich with meaning, and blessed by the realization that he enjoyed the favor and love of his Creator.

Surely Adam escorted Eve to the many beauty spots of Eden, and together they would sample the delectable and life-giving food which the Lord God had caused to grow in this sublime home which he had provided for them. At the same time Adam would be sure to tell his beautiful companion of the one restriction with respect to the fruit of the garden which the Creator had placed upon them. And telling Eve about this, he also told her that the penalty for disobedience would be death.


It was after this, and quite unexpectedly, that seeds of doubt concerning the motives and the integrity of the Creator were planted in the mind of Eve. This was done by the great adversary of God and of men, Satan, the Devil, who communicated to Eve through the ‘serpent’. First he asked her a question, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” To this Eve replied, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”—Gen. 3:1-3

It is evident that Adam had instructed his helpmeet very thoroughly concerning the forbidden tree, cautioning her to be very careful not to even seem to disobey. But this did not prove sufficient to avail against the vicious attack of Satan, who replied, “Ye shall not surely die.” Thus Satan, in effect, charged God with being a liar when he told Adam that death would result from partaking of the forbidden fruit.—vs. 4

Eve yielded to this subtle influence, and “gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” (vs. 6) Suddenly their peace and joy, their blessedness of companionship with each other and their fellowship with the Creator was lost. Fear filled their hearts, and they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” When the Lord called to Adam, he frankly admitted that he was afraid and had hidden himself. Then followed God’s sentence of death upon Adam:

“Because thou hast harkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake.; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”—vss 7,17-19

Expulsion from Eden

All those trees of Eden which were pleasant to the sight, and good for food, were no longer to be enjoyed by this perfect pair who had been created in the image of God; for they were driven out of the garden, out into the unfinished earth to die. Had they been permitted to remain in Eden, as the Lord explained, they could have continued to eat of the life-giving fruit of its trees, and would not have grown old and died.

What a background upon which our first parents could reflect—first of delight; and then of tragedy! Many times their thoughts must have reverted to the lost Eden, and they would talk over the various details of their experiences. Surely they must have remembered and often remarked about the strange statement the Lord made to the ‘serpent’, who, more realistically, was none other than Satan, the Devil. Probably they could still hear the Lord saying to this deceptive and malicious enemy:

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”—vs. 15

While this statement was vague, it did speak of a ‘seed’, an offspring, which the Lord would use to bruise the head of that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan. (Rev. 20:2) This seed was referred to as masculine—the seed of the serpent was to bruise his ‘heel’.

The passing of years is seldom accounted for in the brief narratives furnished us in the Bible, and the birth of female children is almost never recorded except in a very general way. In Genesis 5:3-5 we are informed that all the days of Adam were 930 years, and that during this time he “begat sons and daughters.” It is quite possible that one or more of these daughters were born to Adam and Eve before they had any sons. If so, this might well account for the expression of joy on Eve’s part when her first son was born—“I have gotten a man from the Lord.” In reflecting upon the past, Adam and Eve might well have believed that the birth of Cain, their first son, was in some way related to the Lord’s statement concerning the seed. Soon after, Abel was born, and the joy of Adam and Eve must have been great!

While driven from Eden and its life-giving trees, this first human pair, having been created perfect, and in the image of God, still reverenced their Creator, and held in high esteem all that he had said. They had already learned that he was true to his word—that having forewarned them of the penalty of disobedience, the penalty was already in process of being inflicted upon them. Already the elements of death were working in their formerly perfect bodies.

Under these circumstances they would certainly be alert to see any possible ray of hope which might have been contained in the Creator’s statement to the serpent, and surely he had promised them a seed, one who would bruise the serpent’s head. They could not know exactly what this meant, but to their acute and almost perfect minds it evidently implied that God intended to do something which would, in a measure at least, offset the result of the great tragedy of their disobedience.

And now, as Eve observed, they had gotten a man from the Lord. Later another son was born, so they had both Cain and Abel. Thus they could have been doubly assured that their Creator had loving designs toward them, and that in some unknown way, great blessings were eventually to come to them to compensate for their loss of Eden; and their loss of life.

The Offering of Sacrifices

It seems clear, not only that Adam and Eve still had great respect for their Creator, but also that they had imparted to their offspring the limited knowledge they had gained concerning him through his instruction and by their experiences. The evidence of this is in the fact that both sons, in reaching manhood’s estate, presented offerings to the Lord to show their reverence for him, and the appreciation which their understanding afforded.

So far as the livelihood of the first two sons of Adam and Eve was concerned, the record states that Abel was a keeper of sheep, and that Cain was a tiller of the soil. Both were honorable occupations. It would seem natural that in expressing their devotion to the Creator, these two men should present to him a thank offering from that which he had given them. So Cain “brought of the fruit of the ground” for his offering, while Abel “brought of the firstlings of the flock and of the fat thereof.”—Gen. 4:1-4

The record states that the “Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” Turning to the New Testament we get a clue as to why this was so. The Apostle Paul wrote, “By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.”—Heb. 11:4

In order for Abel’s faith to enter into the offering of a more excellent sacrifice, it must be that, aside from the information concerning the Creator which had been imparted to him by his parents, the Lord himself must have revealed in some manner not indicated in the record that a flesh and blood offering would be more pleasing to him than any other. Of course, Abel could not have understood why this was, and this in itself afforded a greater opportunity to demonstrate his faith in his Creator.

Nor is there any information in these opening chapters of the Book of Genesis which, taken by itself, indicates just why the lamb which Abel offered to the Lord was a more excellent sacrifice, and more pleasing to the Lord than the fruit of the ground which Cain offered. However, as God’s design toward his human creation unfolds from book to book of his precious Word, light is thrown upon this incident.

Actually, as the Bible reveals, God’s statement concerning the seed that was to bruise the serpent’s head was an assurance of a coming Redeemer and Deliverer of the human race from the results of that tragedy in Eden. The Bible reveals that God’s plan for the recovery of that which was lost is based upon the sacrificial work of his beloved Son, Christ Jesus, who is referred to by John the Baptist as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”—John 1:29,36

So it was, that soon after the fall into sin and death, not only did the Creator indicate that his love would yet rescue the condemned and dying race from death, but he also began to illustrate that this would be made possible through a flesh and blood sacrifice, even the offering of his own Son, who would give his flesh, his perfect humanity, for the life of the world.—John 6:51

The First Death

But so far as Adam and his immediate family were concerned, further tragedy soon followed Abel’s more excellent sacrifice. Cain, the firstborn son of Adam, resented the fact that the Lord had respect unto Abel and to: his offering, and that his own offering was not acceptable. In a fit of jealousy Cain rose up and slew his brother. Previous to this climax of his wrath, the Lord said unto Cain, “Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.”—Gen. 4:6,7

But when selfishness and jealousy take possession of the heart, the ability to reason rationally is lost. The all-important consideration to Cain at the moment was that he, the firstborn, the man whom his mother had gotten from the Lord, had been set aside, and that Abel, his younger brother, was now the favored one. Failing to realize that he, too, could enjoy the Creator’s favor through obedience and faith, the only thing he could think of was to get his brother out of the way. Murder followed—the first murder—and probably also the first death experienced by the Adamic race.

This was, of course, permitted by the Creator, and his wisdom in allowing it is understandable only in the light of his plan for the recovery from death of the entire human race, including Abel, and, as a matter of fact, Cain also. But, putting ourselves into those immediate circumstances, we can realize to some extent the shock Abel’s death must have been to his father and mother.

We can imagine that for a few years Adam and Eve had rejoiced in the evidence of the Creator’s favor which was theirs in the persons of these two sons, whom they had gotten from him. They knew that God had indicated his acceptance of Abel’s offering. They could not, of course, understand clearly just why Cain’s offering had not been pleasing to the Lord; but certainly they had no idea the effect this would have upon their firstborn son, so were quite unprepared for that tragic first murder.

The brief record presented in the Book of Genesis does not reveal how Adam and Eve first learned that Cain had murdered Abel. It seems quite unlikely that Cain informed them of it. Perhaps they simply found his body. This is not important, for, no matter how they found out about it, the bitterness of their sorrow must have been great—as great, perhaps, as when they became aware of the awful reality of what their disobedience of divine law had brought upon them.

How sweet must have been the companionship of that first family, and the more so in the case of their two sons, Cain and Abel, for they would see in them a reminder that all was not lost, that in some way, and at some time unknown to them, they would again see the smile of their Creator’s countenance, and might even be permitted to return to Eden. As the poet, Alexander Pope, wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” and this must have been very true of Adam and Eve.

Did they not have that statement by the Creator concerning the seed? And had they not gotten two men from the Lord? To us this might not seem to be much upon which to build a hope, but it was all our first parents had, and now even that had been swept away, and by the gruesome spectacle of murder. Abel no longer lived, and God had placed a curse upon Cain—a curse which, among other things, was understood by Cain to mean that henceforth the face of the Lord would be hidden from him, that the Creator would no longer in any way manifest his favor toward him.


Sorrowing over the loss of Abel, and with no assurance that God’s promise concerning the seed would ever again have any vital meaning to them, Adam and Eve must truly have been dejected and hopeless. Yet even in this tragedy of murder there was that which could have given them good reason to continue trusting in the promises of God. Not only had God forecast the coming of a seed, but he had explained that there would be enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

Four thousand years later, Jesus said concerning those whose hearts are filled with jealousy and hate, that they are of their father the Devil. (John 8:44) This helps us to identify the seed of the serpent: that seed being any and all whose principal activities are motivated by selfishness, jealousy, and hate. Cain was in this class, and, in his murder of Abel we see the first evidence of the enmity of the seed of the serpent manifested toward the seed of the woman.

As we have already noted, the true seed of the woman is revealed by the Scriptures to be Christ Jesus. But Satan, not knowing the plan of God for human redemption and salvation, manifested his enmity through his servants—his seed—toward all those who in any way have been favored by the Lord. God manifested his favor toward Abel, and this was reason enough for Satan to stir up the heart of Cain to jealousy which led him to kill Abel.

This could have been seen by Adam and Eve as the enmity foretold. It may have given assurance to our first parents that God did foreknow coming events—reassuring them that this tragedy of Abel’s murder was in no way a defeat of the divine purpose. The murder of Abel was a prototype of all the injustices and persecutions which have been heaped upon the righteous servants of God in every age. Millions, not aware of the foretold ‘bruising’ of the seed by Satan, have wondered why such tragedies have been permitted, and how any possible good could come from them.

God’s holy prophets were persecuted, many of them to death. Jesus was crucified. Many of his faithful footstep followers were imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, thrown to the lions, and burned at the stake. We thank God that such cruelties are not generally permitted today. Although there are frequent evidences that, even as in the case of the first family, when the human heart is stirred to jealousy, the results are little different now than they were then.

The Bible reveals why the righteous have been permitted to suffer. It is in order that their fidelity to God, and their faith in the rightness of his ways, might be thoroughly tested and demonstrated. Those who are thus proved to be loyal to God regardless of what the cost might be, are to be honored with special responsibilities in connection with his loving plan for the recovery of the human race from sin and death. Even Abel will receive a special compensation.

“Another Seed”

Adam and Eve were not to be left comfortless and without hope, for in due course another son was born to them. They named him Seth, which means, ‘Appointed’. Concerning him, Eve remarked, “God … hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” (Gen. 4:25) Again Eve, and doubtless Adam also, demonstrated their belief that they recognized the hand of the Lord working on their behalf for the purpose of fulfilling his promise concerning the seed of the woman. Can we question that now their hope was revived!

After Seth was born Adam lived another eight hundred years, “and he begat sons and daughters.” (vs. 4) No special mention is made of any of these other sons. Evidently our first parents saw in Seth the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise concerning the seed, and yet, Seth was not actually the seed of promise, nor did God tell them that he was.

To whatever degree our first parents were comforted by their hope that Seth was the one appointed by the Lord to be the seed that would bruise the serpents head, it made the hardships of their condemned and dying life a little more bearable. If they conceived that idea from what God said concerning the seed—that one day they would be permitted to return to Eden, and that the sorrow, bitterness, and suffering which resulted from their disobedience would be erased—they were right!

Adam and Eve could not possibly have realized how far-reaching God’s plan of redemption and recovery would turn out to be—that the seed of promise would actually be God’s own beloved Son who would give his life to redeem them and all their progeny from death. But this, Adam and Eve will quickly comprehend when they are awakened from the sleep of death. It will be then that the joys of paradise will once again be available to them if, through faith and obedience, they desire to obey God’s righteous laws and thereby enjoy the provision of life which has been made for them, and for the entire human race.

Click here to go to Part 2
Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |