In the beginning God created the heavens and earth and all was very good (Genesis 1:1, 31). There is an inherent goodness about all things God makes. A beautiful scenic overlook, the graceful flight of a bald eagle, the wonders of the human brain, a charitable act, these are all glimpses of the goodness of God’s creation.
Yet, despite these glimpses of the goodness of God’s creation, it appears that what was made good has been marred. In our time, nuclear and biological weapons threaten our existence, an opioid epidemic is impacting life expectancy rates, computer screens are infringing on our God-instilled longing for genuine relationship. What went wrong in God’s good creation?
The Book of Genesis gives us the answer. The shrewd Serpent tempted our first parents and our parents gave in. Desiring to be like God, they did the one thing God commanded them not to. Sin entered the world, and those who were to rule God’s creation with God’s goodness began to rule it wickedly. (Genesis 3:1-7)
Some of the oldest Jewish commentaries we have in our possession recognize that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden is Satan. The New Testament explicitly identifies Satan with the serpent (Revelation 20:2). The story of the fall of humankind in the Garden is not a story about snakes; it’s a story about how evil entered the world.
Is there hope? And, if there is hope, where is it to be found? Some people are surprised to find out that the good news first appeared when God cursed the Serpent. God’s first action after our parent’s tragic disobedience was an act of grace. To the Serpent God said, “I will set enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head and you will strike his heal.” (Genesis 3:15) By giving into the temptation of the Serpent, our first parents had made an alliance with Satan. God graciously breaks that alliance by placing enmity between humankind and Satan. God also promises ultimate victory to humankind. While Satan and his workers will nip at the heal of the woman’s offspring, ultimately, the Serpent’s head will be given a final crushing blow. This final blow was secured by Jesus’ death on the cross (Hebrews 2:14). The good news first came when the curse came. Evil will not prevail. There was never a time when there was not hope!