The Messianic Expectation of Gen. 4:1 (Part 7)


Gen. 3:15 has been verified as a highly probable candidate for the protoevangelium. Not only does the text of Gen. 3:15 suggest a messianic interpretation, but also the contextual progression of Genesis reveals that characters within the narrative believed the prophecy to be a promise for a deliverer. Gen. 4:1, in its correct and literal translation of ʾeth as an objective marker in the accusative sense, reveals that Eve anticipated one who would remedy the curse spoken of in Gen. 3:15. The first woman was horribly mistaken regarding the timing of such a deliverer; nonetheless, Gen. 3:15 is irresistibly attested in its messianic interpretation by Eve’s declarative expectation. This expectation is consistent with the narrative of Genesis, which contains similar hopeful declarations of deliverance – men calling upon the name of Yahweh (Gen. 4:26; cf. 5:21-25; 6:1-4).

Though the typical theological implications of Gen. 4:1 tend to include a certain expectation by Eve that the messiah would be divine, this is not a necessary correlation considering God’s progressive revelation of divine titles. Eve thus illustrated the messianic interpretation of Gen. 3:15, but does not necessarily attribute a divine essence to such a deliverer. The analysis herein reveals that Eve had not yet been blessed with the future truth that the Messiah would indeed be a God-man. Although the progression of the rest of the OT makes it a point to insinuate the divinity of the promised Messiah, Eve’s historical placement did not allow for her to express that truth in Gen. 4:1.

Concerning the introductory questions of the examination, the first messianic promise found in Gen. 3:15 illustrates no reason to assume that the messianic figure would be both God and man. The immediate understanding of Gen. 3:15 found in Gen. 4:1 may appear to insinuate a divinity to such a figure, but given the historical development of God’s titles and character, the text presents no reason for Eve to have expected a divine attribution to the Messiah. The divine expectation of the Messiah may be affirmed in future OT texts (cf. Psalm 2:7-12; 80:17; 110:1-7; Proverbs 30:4; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 12:10; 13:7), but not in Gen 3:15 or Gen. 4:1.


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