Genesis is the seed-plot of the Bible. We should always be returning there to re-assess where we are going. Without Genesis chapter 3 the world around us, and even we ourselves, remain a mystery. Let us take a fresh look at one verse in Genesis 3. God said to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.”
Note these words – I WILL PUT ENMITY. Has it been fully understood? This enmity is God’s DECREE! God has Himself said it, and it is His own responsibility. I will PUT enmity – -. He has planted enmity between two groups of beings. In this brief essay we shall look at this fact in more detail.
One thing is very sure. Satan has an avowed hatred for all mankind. He does all in his power to destroy man whom God has created. He never deviated from this position. He never relents or gives up. He is forever scheming the downfall and destruction of man. From this point of view Satan wholly reflects God’s decree. He maintains an age-lasting enmity.
But what about man? Does he maintain an enmity towards Satan? Sadly we admit to a negative answer , and say that man has not fulfilled this part of God’s decree. Furthermore we shall make the bold statement that not until mankind as a whole learns to have enmity to Satan will God’s work be completed. But more of that in a moment. At this present time, as throughout all history, man has not acted upon this decree. God has put the enmity there, but man has tried to eliminate it, water it down, or pretend that it does not matter very much. Whatever the reason, man has not maintained this enmity.
We are told to resist the Devil and he will flee from us. But instead we parlay with the Devil, we accommodate the Devil, and we try to placate the Devil. But I hear you say, “Certainly not! I do no such thing!” And in your heart you mean what you say, and God knows, but you could well be blind to the facts. You see, the Devil has the advantage of being invisible. If he were a man, and he came to your door wearing a T shirt bearing the words “I am Satan”, then you would immediately be on your guard, and not let him in. But it is not like that at all.
Very few people are paid a personal visit by the Devil in such a manner. In the wilderness Jesus met the Devil and resisted him using the Scriptures. After a while “the Devil left Him.” Adam and Eve met the Devil in the Garden of Eden. But they succumbed to his temptation and he overcame them. Ever since then Satan has been living inside mankind. But you say,“How dare you! I do not have the Devil living inside ME. I am a child of God! .” But the bald truth of the Scripture is nevertheless fact. The Devil lives inside us ALL.
What are we saying? How is it that the Devil lives inside us? Simply because of the way in which the Bible speaks about ourFLESH. Our flesh is contrary to God. In it there is no good thing. Our flesh is the incarnation of Satan within us. He sits enthroned within our flesh. See how the Lord recognised this in Peter when He said, “Get behind me Satan!”
Sometimes we recognise the ways of the Devil in the flesh of others, but seldom within ourselves. We have a persistent and maddening habit of defending our own flesh, of building walls round it, and justifying it. Not just to others, but in our own eyes as well. Herein is man’s great blindness. He may hate the Devil, but fails to recognise where he lives. Casting about to see where the Devil is at work, he fails to appreciate that he has carried him around all day!
Because of this blindness Satan allures people to their own downfall. He schemes and deceives perpetually. He pretends to be on our side when we defend our own flesh. He speaks well of us to make pride grow. He feeds every human appetite in order to keep the flesh alive. Jesus said to Satan, “You savour not the things of God but the things of MAN.” He is always elevating some human characteristic, not because he thinks highly of it, but because he is engineering man’ sdownfall.
Jesus said, “Except a man hate even his own soul he cannot be my disciple.” In these words our Lord was in essence repeating the words of His Father in Eden, His decree, “I will put enmity – -“ We need to recognise where the Devil lives and declare war on him, hating his ways, and resisting him continually.
If we recognise our flesh as the incarnation of Satan then we are in a prime position to resist him. But if we fail to recognise the lodger in our own house, we shall make little or no progress as believers. There has to be a continual warfare between the (newly-created) spirit within us and our own flesh. Those who overcome will reign with Christ. Those who fail to overcome will still be God’s children but will have forfeited the right to govern in His kingdom.
Satan is a cannibal. He feeds off man’s flesh. His strength is obtained from this. He does this to all mankind. In the days to come, when man learns more and more to hate the flesh and resist Satan, he will gradually lose his great energy and will not be able to do such mighty exploits. And as enlightenment grows apace, so he will find himself on iron rations until finally he becomes so weakened that his evil nature will find hardly any power to act. Like an over-blown toy balloon that gradually deflates, he will be left a shrivelled and withered relic. The great fiery flying dragon ends up a pathetic little lizard with hardly any strength to walk. Then and only then will Satan be in the position to reflect on his own intrinsic evil and learn to hatehimself.
George MacDonald put it like this, (Lilith p.153) “Annihilation itself is no death to evil. Only good where evil was is evil dead. An evil thing must live with its evil until it chooses to be good. That alone is the slaying of evil.”
When God made His decree of enmity He had in mind the ultimate end of his purposes as revealed in Revelation. “And God said, ‘Behold I have made all things new.” The decree of enmity is God’s instrument to bring this to pass. Only as man wakes up to the truth, and acts on it, can God’s end be achieved. And so we see that there is much yet to be accomplished in this world in days ahead.
Most Christians interpret Genesis 3 in terms of the ‘seed’ being Jesus. They say that when Jesus died and rose again, He sealed the fate of Satan – his final destruction. But destruction is not in the heart of God. He has higher purposes in mind. The ‘seed’ was not Jesus alone, it was ‘the Christ’ which includes you and me. We all have a mandate to enter into the Master’s sufferings so that we may become His instruments of re-creation. Here then is the paradox. We must actively pursue enmity towards Satan so that he may ultimately bow the knee to our Lord. Only by obeying the Lord in this respect can we be included in the Master’s great plan for the future.
“My flesh is my devil: I must overcome:
With the spirit victorious, God’s kingdom will come.