Does Genesis 3:15 refer to the Messiah?

Genesis 3:15 has generally been understood to be a prophecy of the Messiah.  Hislop in The Two Babylons suggests that distorted views of the virgin birth in other religions find their origin in a memory of this promise.  The ESV of the text reads:

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

Other, such are Messianic Jewish apologist Dr. Michael Brown (an under-rated scholar in my view, despite his peculiarities regarding his status as a prophet) suggest that this verse not be used to refer to a Messianic promise.  Mainstream Judaism views it as a promise of Israel fighting it out with Satan and translates it "they shall bruise your head and you shall bruise their heel"). 

How do you understand this verse.  How does the Hebrew affect possible interpretations?

If you cannot find an exact poll answer, please choose one that fits best and then feel free to hone in by posting an explanantion, if you wish.


Yes, this passage CLEARLY refers to the Messiah.
68% (21 votes)
Yes, it likely refers to the Messiah but other views are viable.
6% (2 votes)
It probably refers to the Messiah, but it is too cloudy to make a case for the virgin birth of the Messiah from it.
23% (7 votes)
Undecided or rethinking the issue.
3% (1 vote)
No, it probably does not directly refer to the Messiah, but it does so indirectly or secondarily.
0% (0 votes)
No, it definitely does not refer to the Messiah.
0% (0 votes)
Other (please approximate to avoid the category if you can).
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 31
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There are 4 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture


I don't think I've ever heard anyone read the virgin birth into Gen 3.15... if I have, it's long forgotten. There is clear messianic prophecy there, but no case for VB. That comes from elsewhere.

Ed Vasicek's picture

The idea of the virgin birth here is thought to be implied by the unusual tracing of a line (person; the seed) through the woman, when in the OT the seed is generally traced through a man or the combination of a man or woman, but not a woman alone.

"The Midrash Detective"

Nord Zootman's picture

I struggled answering this because I think it clearly refers to the Messiah (#1), but would agree that you can't make a case for the virgin birth from it (#3). I voted for 1.

Aaron Blumer's picture


The Gen 3.15 prophecy is certainly consistent with a virgin birth. Looking back at it through the lens of what is revealed later, it's also easy to see why the focus is on the woman rather than on Adam when speaking of the descendent. And Paul's "born of a woman" (Gal. 4.4) underscores that.

Taken on it's own... it would be hard to call it evidence of virgin birth of the Messiah though.