|Eve and Mary by Sr. Grace Remington, O.C.S.O (From Dolce Domum)|
"And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this thing, you are cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon your breast shall you go, and earth shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmities between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed: (s)he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for (her)his heel. To the woman also he said: I will multiply your sorrows, and your conceptions: in sorrow shall you bring forth children, and you shall be under your husband's power, and he shall have dominion over you. And to Adam he said: Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you, that you should not eat, cursed is the earth in your work: with labor and toil shall you eat thereof all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread till you return to the earth out of which you were taken: for dust you are, and into dust you shall return." (Genesis 3)
Who is “the woman” in Gen 3:15?
Many Protestant scholars claim that "the woman" is Eve because she is the only woman present. The woman, however, is indeed Mary, the Mother of Jesus:
- A permanent “enmity” between the serpent and Eve is impossible: In the story of the fall, Eve becomes the serpent’s ally, the enemy of God. The enmity, therefore, cannot be between Eve and the devil; the enmity is between Eve and God. This is the fundamental moment in human history where mankind became estranged from God and servants of evil. Even after this prophecy, Eve did not become the devil’s enemy, but his slave, and is incapable of being placed as his opposite.
- Eve and the woman have opposite tasks: In the garden, Eve became the associate of the devil in unleashing sin upon the world. In the Protoevangelium, God promises a woman who will do the exact opposite. It is impossible to think of Eve as “the woman” through whom victory will come; her contribution is primarily the world’s loss of original justice. Scheeben points out that Eve is eternally the instrument of the devil’s victory; Mary is eternally the instrument of his defeat. Their tasks could not be more opposite and incompatible.
- Eve is never seen as someone through whom victory could come: Eve is never portrayed as one through whom any glory might come. As Da Fonseca notes, “one would hardly understand from what follows, why, when speaking to Eve, God had nothing but words of reproof and chastisement; and that throughout the entire history of redemption there is found not even a minimal allusion to a fact so important. For every time Eve is mentioned, she is described as the cause of our ruin, never as the beginning of our restoration.”
- Eve’s descendants have not crushed the serpent’s head: In general, Eve’s descendants are plagued by her sin, not the destroyers of it. One seed, the seed of Mary, has crushed the serpent’s head: Jesus Christ.
- The serpent has to be punished: In this passage, God is punishing the serpent. To set Eve at enmity with the devil will hardly be a punishment for him at all—very often she will remain his slave. Scheeben notes that the enmity must be “a victorious pursuit” and an “invincible enmity” for “the woman” and “her seed” or the serpent will not be punished at all—enmity with Eve would be essentially a reward.
- The passages addressing the serpent and addressing Eve are so different in tone: it is impossible to believe that the woman who is spoken to with such bitterness and disdain in Gen 3:16 can be the same as the one mentioned as the Mother of the Redeemer, the one through whom victory is achieved, in Gen 3:15.
- “Her seed,” namely, the seed of a woman refers to the Virgin Birth of Christ through Mary: In all Old Testament literature, any mention of “a seed” refers to the descendant of a man, for example Abraham. Any stress at all on the seed of a woman should appear peculiar and can only make sense in light of the future Virgin Birth, where Mary gives birth without the seed of a man. In addition, the “seed of the woman” refers to something that can only be fulfilled supernaturally, without the seed of a man; there has been just one of these births. With this in mind, then, we know that “the woman” is Mary and that “her seed” is Jesus.
- The woman appears closely tied to the Son: The seed of the woman is closely tied to the seed itself; they appear in fact to be inseparable. Eve, however, is never presented in a way that might suggest a link between her and any of her offspring; Cain is her firstborn. Mary, on the other hand, is linked inseparably from the saving work of her Son through her divine motherhood, co-redemption, mediation, and, most apparently in this passage, her immaculate conception.
 P.L. Da Fonseca; In Mariology: A Guide for Priest, Deacons, Seminaries, and Consecrated Persons; Page 7
 M.J. Scheeben; Mariology; Page 242
 Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar; Google Books; Page 427-428
 Catholic Encyclopedia; Entry on The Blessed Virgin Mary by Anthony Maas
 M.J. Scheeben; Mariology
 Ignatius Catholic Study Bible; Page 506