Antithesis or Synthesis?
Do we still know what the antithesis is all about? In Genesis 3:15 the LORD God established the antithesis between His kingdom and Satan's empire. Do we still know what that is all about?
Eve had listened to the serpent. The devil, in the guise of a snake, had led Eve down the garden path. Adam had followed along. Adam and Eve had sinned. They had eaten of the forbidden fruit. When God had come into the garden in the cool of the day, Adam and Eve had hidden themselves. But God, in His boundless mercy, had called them from their hiding place. He made them admit what had happened. Then God placed a curse upon the serpent – a curse which, at the same time, was the promise of a Saviour to Adam and Eve. God said:
“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.” Genesis 3:15
The devil and mankind had become friends. Together they had conspired to bring sin into God's perfect creation. But God broke up the friendship. Instead of friendship, God placed hostility. This hostility would display itself in the stand that the seed, the children, of the woman and the seed of the serpent would take against one another. This enmity would show itself in the attitude which those who embraced the promise of God and those who rejected the promise and chose for the devil would have for each other.
There would be conflict between two camps, between those who chose for the devil and his lies and those who took hold of God and His promise. This conflict was played out in the very family of Adam and Eve. The enmity divided Cain and Abel. Cain hated the believer Abel so much that he murdered him. In the early chapters of Genesis we can read about Cain's godless clan and Seth's holy family.
The conflict, however, would not be resolved by Cain and Abel or any others we read about in the early chapters of Genesis. The strife would be fought out by the serpent, Satan, himself and an individual member of the seed of the woman. That individual is Jesus Christ. The conflict was settled on the cross.
Satan hounded Christ to the cross. The serpent sunk his fangs into the heel of the Man. The snake hurt Jesus, no doubt. But on the cross, the Messiah crushed the head of the devil. God made good on His promise. He promised Eve a Saviour who would destroy the enemy. The promised Saviour bludgeoned the head of the foe by His death on the cross. On the cross Christ proved Himself to be the triumphant victor over sin, death and the evil one.
We live in a great time. We live after the victory of Christ. Christ, the Seed of the woman, has crushed the head of the serpent. But the devil is still a snake in the grass. He is still dangerous. You, young people of the church, are of the seed of the woman. You belong to that community of people who, by the almighty grace of God, embrace God and His promises. Christ has won the victory, but the final revelation and consummation of that victory needs yet to come. Christ will once for all show Himself victor on the day of His return. In the meantime, the enmity between those who belong to Satan and those who belong to Christ is still there. The line is lying in the midst of the world. Often it runs right through families.
Young people of the church! Are you aware of the antithesis? Are you conscious of the God-ordained line separating you from those who would follow Satan? An antithesis is an absolute contrast. Black and white are each other's opposites. Light is antithetical to darkness. Good is the antithesis of bad. There is only one line marked out in the world. Every individual falls on one or the other side of the line. No one can straddle the line. There is no neutrality. This has implications for the choices you make in life. The big choices, such as, whom will you marry, who are your friends going to be, what kind of work are you going to do, where are you going to live. But also the small choices, like, what you are going to do this Friday evening, what video you are going to rent, what CD you are going to buy. No choice you make is neutral. Every decision you make, every action you take, every place you go puts you on one side or the other.
The trouble with us people is that we try to synthesize things. We want to have the best of both worlds. We want to be Christians, but we also want to get in on all the goodies the world has got to offer. We don't mind compromising obedience to God in order to have a bit of worldly fun now and again. I am no advocate of wet-blanket piety. There is nothing wrong with fun, but when we are having fun, let's remember that we are people of God. Enjoy life! Of course! But do so as a Christian. Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Adam and Eve attempted synthesis. God destroyed the synthesis and replaced it with antithesis.
In Romans 12:2 Paul said that we are not to be conformed to this world. By “world” he meant the world in its fallen, rebellious state. We are not to attempt synthesis with that which is hostile to God. The kingdom of God and the empire of Satan are opposites. They cannot be integrated. Let us not try. Remember that you have been baptized. You have been set apart, distinguished, from the children of unbelievers.
Let us hold to the promise of God spoken through the apostle Paul in Romans 16:20. After having spoken in verse 19 about the stark difference between good and evil, Paul said that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet. We will share in the final victory of Christ.