Why is the Bible so Mysterious?

This topic of the use of parables or cryptic revelation in the text has been on my mind for a long time. It seems to me redemptive revelation needs to be cryptic for several reasons, not all of them apparent. Much of the O.T. is parabolic as was much of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus explained to His disciples why He spoke in parables but His answer may have been partial since it only dealt with “why He spoke to people.”

Immediately after the fall the language turns metaphorical in the curse on the serpent: the Seed of the woman will have his heel crushed (substitutionary atonement at the cross) while the serpent and his seed will be crushed in a future setting.

During the temptation of Jesus, the devil quoted scripture of this promised Seed and angelic protection. The devil understood the Genesis curse since in that section the next thing is about trampling on the (false) lion and serpent (Ps.91.12). The devil is quite interested to know about his demise and how he can thwart individual’s and humanity’s redemption, I believe.

Eph. 3.9-10: and to enlighten everyone about God’s secret plan—a secret that has been hidden for ages in God who has created all things. The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms.


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.

This verse is a curse on the serpent for deceiving the woman into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thereby causing her to become a sinner. Many theologians think that when Adam took the fruit from Eve and also ate it that they died spiritually. Initially the first pair were innocent but without eternal life which presumably would have been theirs had they passed this test. Now however, their sin nature was evident since they hid from God when He visited them in the evening.

All Adam’s and Eve’s offspring also subsequently share their progenitors’ fallen nature: 

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Eph. 2.1-3 TNIV)

God in His grace clothed Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness and cursed the serpent (not snakes per se but the entity behind this particular serpent: the devil). The curse formula is given in somewhat cryptic terms but Satan was aware that his head would someday be crushed by a human supernaturally born of a woman. Satan, it is thought, searched out aspects of this divine human in the scriptures so to thwart the Messiah in some way. during Christ’s temptation, the devil quoted from Psalm 91:  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Mt.4.6 NIV)
This quotation is from Psalm 91.12. The very next verse is the promised Seed’s retribution on the devil: “You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” (vs.13)
The promise of this divine man is all of mankind’s hope and is reflected clearly, I believe, in some cylinder seals from Mesopotamia in the Fertile Crescent just north of the Promised Land. Abraham was called from Mesopotamia and given the promise that: “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen.12.3b NIV).