UNBORN WORD of the day

December 3, 2007, 12:12 am
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections


How appropriate that the first prophecy about the Messiah was spoken by God Himself while Adam and Eve stood dumbfounded in the Garden of Eden. But was it a spiritual slight to humanity that it wasn’t spoken to humans but rather to the serpent?

“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.” Gen 3:15

Four lines and four participants: “I” of course is God, “you” is the serpent (see Gen 3:14),”he” (also “his” and “her seed”) is the Messiah and “the woman” is the mother of the Messiah.

The point is that here we have God, right in the Garden of Eden, making a specific, definitive and hopeful promise to all of humanity using biological language “her seed”. Shall we understand this term as her ovum fertilized or as her male child delivered? Either way, it is a powerful promise. Notice that it is “her seed” and not “his seed”.

Yet throughout the Bible we read about male descendants, as in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Remember the King James Version? “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob” and on and on. But here God directs us to the woman’s descendant. This is a tender prophecy spoken at a sad time when God has just discovered the rebellion of the first two parents. Already He knows it is Mary who will be the faithful and loving mother to His only begotten Son and His reference to “her seed” is pointed. In fact, He will preserve her specially for this unique office as ‘Mother of (the) Lord’ (see Lk 1:43).

We learn here of God’s merciful ‘impatience’. As soon as our first parents rebel against His Beautiful and Holy Will, God immediately reveals this wonderful plan for humanity centered around one Person, a Savior, Who will be born of that special woman deep in human history, beneath the Christmas star, with witnesses ‘round about: beasts and peasants, angels and kings.

And the ‘sign’, as the angels put it (Lk 2:12): it’s how His mother wraps Him up in swaddling cloths to keep Him warm after nursing Him and then lays her baby down in a manger to sleep.


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