Reverend and Professor Bryan Estelle explains:
“And I will put enmity between you and between the woman, between your offspring and between hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” Romans 5:18 (NIV)
The gospel is in Genesis. In fact, the gospel is throughout the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. Since the willful and high-handed first sin of Adam, the mission of Christ became necessary. In Genesis 3:14-15 and following, many Christians have seen the first shadowy intimations of the Gospel. Indeed, John Calvin himself clearly recognized the gospel glowing there “like a feeble spark.” (1)
Therefore, what the Reformed church calls the covenant of grace (2) followed immediately after the fall of mankind, which occurred in the context of the covenant of works. Specifically, what lay behind the covenant of grace is the covenant of works, a doctrine that teaches that man was obligated to obey God by not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (3) The covenant of works is a doctrine that is somewhat controversial today. Even so, in order to see Christ in the Pentateuch and in the rest of Scripture, we need to apply the biblical categories of the covenant of grace and the covenant of works.