Garden Principles I: The Curses of Adam and Eve Explained

It is truly amazing just how much we can learn from the first 3 chapters of the Bible. It’s jam-packed with so much information and explanation, if we only open our hearts and pay attention! 🙂

There is just TOO much to talk about in one post, so I will be doing a series of posts on this topic. This first one will focus on qualities of men and women, and specifically the dynamics between husbands and wives.

So, a few weeks ago, I attended a Christian Conference on the East Coast. Since it was over Valentine’s Day, the focus was on Gospel-Centered Relationships.

On the first day of the conference, the pastor focused on the importance of the marriage vows and how it mirrors Christ’s covenant with His bride, the church. (Beautiful, right?) But… I will talk about this in a future post 🙂

On the second day, he discussed the Garden, Adam, and Eve. Let’s begin…

So, looking at Genesis 1:27-28, we know that men and women were created as equals and, more importantly, without distinction beyond their physical capacities (i.e. childbirth = female specific). It tells us:

(27) So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

So, with that passage, we see that in the Garden, God did not make a distinction between men and women when he commanded “replenish the earth, and subdue it… and have dominion over…” He did not specify that only Adam or only Eve would have dominion, but rather, that they will both have dominion.

Now, let’s fast forward to the fall in Genesis 3. The pastor brought up an extremely convicting question that I had never before thought to ask. When discussing Eve’s temptation by the serpent in Genesis 3:6, he asked, “Where was Adam when all of this was happening?” We are always so quick to see Eve’s action and blame her for the fall, but where was Adam when she was being tempted? This is a point that stuck with me, and it will come up again shortly.

Next, we discussed the curses that God imparted on Adam and Eve, which was the beginning of non-physical distinctions between the sexes. To Adam, in Genesis 3:17-19:

(17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Thus, the pastor explained that Adam’s curse is job-oriented:  he will struggle to work the land (have a job) and will be concerned about providing for his family (being successful). This can be seen in men today. Men are more task-oriented than women. And not to say that women are not ambitious or do not value their jobs, but research has supported that men are more systematizing. The pastor mentioned research by Carol Gilligan (In a Different Voice), which I have read and definitely agreed with most of it. There has been some controversy over her work, fueled by the fact that she for a long time refused other researchers’ requests to view her data. But, if you want a more modern source, check out Autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD. Absolutely amazing theories (and evidence) on differences between the “male” and “female” brain.

To Eve, in Genesis 3:16:

(16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Now, when he talked about this verse, he brought up an extremely important observation. If we fast forward to Genesis 4:6-7, we see that the same phraseology is used to describe the relationship between sin and Cain. God says:

(6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

The same language! Just as sin desired Cain, God cursed Eve to desire her husband. Now, our fleshly reaction as women (and men too) is to be upset that we would be compared to sin or said to have the same action as sin, but I would encourage you to stay open and stay with me here!

The pastor broke down what exactly is implied by desire. When we think about sin, what does it aim to do? It tries to manipulate us, control us, have authority over is. This is it’s desire for us. Thus, in the same way, women are cursed to try to manipulate, control, and exert authority over their husbands, but again mirroring Genesis 4:7, her husband will rule over her:

Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he (Christ) is the Saviour of the body.

Thereby, the pastor explained that women would hence be focused on her relationship with her husband and their family dynamics. She would be more invested in the emotional sector of their relationship. I think that most of us can see this in our lives today. For evidence, just look to your friendships and the other social networks that women form with each other to vent about what? Their relationships. Their family-life. How they are feeling.

This is a good point to break on (and plus I have to run out for a meeting!). But this was the primer. In the next post, I’m going to talk about what God revealed to me  from this pastor’s teaching and how understanding the Adam and Eve’s relationship in the Garden is 1) crucial for understanding a husband and wife’s relationship today and 2) crucial for viewing and accepting Ephesians 5 within a Christian context. Actually, in my opinion, Ephesians 5 shouldn’t ever be taught outside of Genesis 3. But we’ll discuss that more later.

1 John 2:17 – And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:  but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

    • Ivette
    • March 3rd, 2009

    First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    Mind Blowing!

    • charis
    • April 16th, 2009

    I don’t think we can assume that the “DESIRE” is negative.

    “Unto the woman HE [God]said,
    I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
    in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
    and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband,
    and he shall rule over thee.”
    Gen 3:16

    Childbirth is mentioned twice in the verse and is not a negative. God said HE would “multiply thy… conception”, and she will bring forth children

    This “DESIRE” of Gen 3:16 is mentioned in the context of two references to pregnancy (in just this one verse!). I think its got to have a component of sexual passion. And the very same Hebrew word for desire is used in Song of Solomon 7:10 “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.” (not a case of negative desire).

    What changed with the Fall? what does God mean when HE says HE will multiply her conception. Looking at mammalian biology, other mammals are only interested in mating when they are fertile and their “season” of fertility is generally much more rare than that for human females (who are interested in “mating” even when infertile. Could that be the “DESIRE”?

    Pre-Fall, they did not conceive nor give birth. We know God intended them to “be fruitful and multiply” so I am not suggesting that the woman’s possible increased sexual desire is negative (although it can be extremely negative awakened before its time as Song of Solomon says in a repeating refrain)

    The fruit of sexual desire, frequent childbirth, and the toil/labor/pain/ sorrow of childbirth will render a woman quite dependent upon her husband for provision and could enable her husband’s fallen propensity to “rule over her”. Nevertheless, there is sweetness amid the pain(likewise for male toil, I suppose).

    Nowhere in this account does GOD ever CURSE the woman or the man. The only CURSES God pronounced were upon the serpent and the ground. This may seem trivial, but after a lifetime longer than yours of assuming God CURSED his children, it made a HUGE impact upon me to realize that God is not like an abusive earthly father, that these predictions, or consequences are totally bathed in divine love that we may someday be drawn back to walk with God in the cool of the day in intensely intimate garden of Eden intimacy.

    • Don Johnson
    • April 16th, 2009

    I am egal and if you wish for me to discuss an egal perspective, I am available.
    If not, that is OK and I will leave you in peace.

    • believer3
    • April 16th, 2009

    Hello Alchemist. 🙂

    Your professor was in error on a few things.

    1. neither the man nor the woman were cursed. Read carefully and you will find that only the serpent and the ground were cursed.

    2. The Hebrew word teshuqua only means desire, crave and similar. It has nothing to do with desiring to dominate.

    3. Sin is evil and therefore sin’s desires are also evil. And we know that sin does indeed desire to control and dominate us to do his will. Whereas God desires to free us to become full mature human beings.

    4. Woman/Eve is not evil , does not ‘crouch at the door’ waiting to pounce, and therefore does not have evil desires. Scripture only says that the woman would desire (not desire to dominate). God was not commanding the woman to desire, but only explaining to her what would now happen to their relationship since they have both sinned.

    5. In Gen. 3 God is speaking and warning the woman of what is to come, God is not speaking to the man. In Gen. 4 God is speaking to the man and not to the “sin” that is crouching at the door, warning the man of sin’s intentions (crouching at the door waiting to pounce).

    Hopefully, this will help you in your Studies.

  1. Hi Charis, Don, and Believer3!

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I appreciate your comments! I have a busy weekend ahead of me, but when I have the time, I will read them with greater depth and reply to them. I appreciate your sharing!

    God bless you! 🙂

  2. so did you ever respond to our posts elsewhere??

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