The Serpent's Curse
The devil achieved a great victory for himself in Genesis 3. Although he would ultimately be defeated (cf. 3:15), he was successful in spoiling the zenith of God's creation on Earth--mankind. That which was "very good" has now been marred by sin. Sin entered the world and death came along with it. Consider Genesis 3:8-15:
"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' So he said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.' And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?' Then the man said, 'The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.' And the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.' So the LORD God said to the serpent: 'Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And 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.'"

Sin robbed Adam and his wife of their courage and turned them into cowards. They were afraid of their loving Maker because of their disobedience (not because they were "naked"). Interestingly, even though they were wearing coverings of fig leaves, Adam still affirmed that he was "naked." There is surely a lesson here to be gleaned regarding many modern swimsuits that cover the body even less than fig leaves would! God questions them, not to gain information, but to drive home the seriousness of their sin. It is a teaching moment for mankind, which is further indicated by the fact that He did not question the serpent. They initially confess their nakedness and then acknowledge their sin indirectly, while making excuses. Man blames the woman and she blames the serpent; essentially they are blaming God! Excuses do not justify sin. As is true for us today, the principle found in I Corinthians 10:13 would have been true for them also. God will not allow anyone to be tempted beyond what they are able to endure. Adam and his wife were not forced to sin; they chose to sin. They could have resisted.

God then launches into a severe curse against the serpent for his wickedness. He would be cursed more than any animal by having to travel on his belly with his face in the dust his entire life. This would be very humbling. It is my understanding that Satan used or possessed a real serpent to deliver the temptations. Satan, as a spiritual being (fallen angel), does not have an inherent physical form, per se. The first aspect of the curse is against the physical form, and it would be against all physical serpents. From our modern perspective, snakes and serpents slither on the ground. But, if one reads between the lines here, apparently they were created to travel with their heads off the ground (presumably because they initially had legs)! Furthermore, God promised that He would put enmity between the serpent and the woman. Although the hatred and fear of snakes in women (and many men, too) is nearly universal today, such was not the case from the creation. I believe the second aspect of the curse is against Satan, the spiritual being, himself. In fact, here we will find the first Messianic prophecy in the Scriptures, though it is shrouded in mystery at this point in the text. God stated that He would put enmity between the devil's offspring and the woman's Seed. Who is the Seed of woman? Well, there is only one Person born into this world without any seed from a man--the virgin born Jesus! Who else but Jesus could be the Seed of woman? More evidence for this conclusion can be found elsewhere (cf. Gal. 3:16ff). Others will contend that the conflict between the devil's seed and her seed should be understood more generally (i.e., those who are wicked--the devil's seed--will continually be at odds with those who are righteous--the woman's seed; cf. Rom. 16:20). Regardless of which interpretation is preferred, the last part of Genesis 3:15 must have reference to the specific conflict between Christ and Satan. Jesus would bruise the head of the serpent while the serpent would bruise His heel. In other words, although the devil would hurt Jesus, the Christ would deliver a crushing blow to the devil. How and when would this take place? This would ultimately be fulfilled at Calvary where Satan orchestrated Jesus' crucifixion. But, on the third day, Jesus arose victorious over the devil's domain--sin and death--which effectively rendered a death-blow to his power (the crushing blow to his head alluded to in 3:15).