God’s Curse Upon Man
by David Neal
God would not allow man to disobey and rebel without due consequences (besides death). Genesis 3:17-19, “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; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 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.” God had provided for all of man’s needs in the Garden of Eden, but now man sought his independence from his creator (In reality, man could never truly live/survive independent of God). Therefore, God gave man a degree of personal responsibility for his supposed new found freedom. Man would now be required to strenuously labor to provide for some of his own physical needs. Man would toil (work laboriously and continuously) under this curse throughout his life and through all generations to provide for his basic necessities (Gen 5:29). Because of this hard toil, Man will always be mindful of his transgression against God due to his sweat, labor and tribulations (trials, troubles). Even so, God has not punished man as his iniquities deserve (Ps 103:10). God is truly loving, plenteous in merciful and forgiving and has even provided a measure of relief in this curse (Ex 34:6-7, 2 Sam 22:26, Ps 86:5, 15, 103:8, 116:5, Neh 9:17, Heb 8:12). God provides man a way (His Way) for man to come back under His authority through Christ. God’s mercy is for those who acknowledge their wrong and seek God’s provision for reconciliation. God therefore says: Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When we seek God first, we are putting self aside and therefore gain a measure of putting things back into right perspective and order by submitting to God. So, what things will be added unto us? Those needful things that we toil so hard after now (Luke 12:22-31). Matthew 6:31-32, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” When we seek God foremost, we gain the necessary things as His provision (as in Eden ). We still work, but God lessens the burden (no lack or scarceness of things needed). We place ourselves back into due order as it should be. Thus, the creation submits to and worships the Creator. When our focus becomes God-centered rather than self-centered, God responds with a measure of relief. An enduring loving obedient submissive heart to God, through Christ, is where our earthly life and ultimate eternal salvation is gained (Is 55:7, Matthew 10:22).
In the lead-in verse we are told that Adam hearkened unto the voice (counsel) of his wife and thereby disobeyed God. Eve made a very unwise decision that resulted in grievous and untold consequences for all generations, and convinced Adam into following her (this does not excuse Adam). Therefore, consider Eve’s punishment: Genesis 3:16, “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.” Woman would no longer make the decisions, but would be submissive to man (1Tim 2:11-12). Woman was not originally formed to lead man, but rather to be a help meet for man (Genesis 2:20-23). Woman would also bring forth children in sorrow or travail (to suffer the pangs/pain/cramps of childbirth, to be in labor). When women become submitted to God and man (God’s order), the Lord offers a measure of relief (acceptance, purpose, peace of mind). 1 Timothy 2:15 , “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety (entire relevant text – 1 Tim 2:11-15).” God has not forgotten woman since imposing His curse upon her. The travail and birthpangs would remind the woman of the consequence of the transgression (resulting curse) and reveal her dependence upon God and His sustaining of her (where her salvation is found). Woman has not been abandoned and left in melancholy (gloomy state of continuance induced by grief, dejection and rejection), but will be saved if she continues in the Lord. Woman (applies to man also) is saved when she accepts her place or position (and its consequences) and then continues forward in true faith (loving submission and obedience to God), love and holiness. Aside from the effects of the curse, women have been given a great honor and responsibility in bringing forth children and rearing them. Never forget that a woman brought forth Jesus Christ (God with us, who became flesh and dwelt among us) and greatly contributed to God’s plan/purposes for the restoration of mankind. We all have “acceptance” and “purpose” in God when we submit to His Way.
Now consider the curse upon the serpent. Genesis 3:14-15, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The serpent was the subtil (sly, artful, cunning, crafty, deceitful, devious, shrewd) beast that convinced Eve to transgress the will of God to seek her own will and join the serpent’s (devil’s) rebellion against God (Gen 3:1-5). The serpent proposed that man could transgress God’s will and not die (ye shall not surely die) – and be as gods (determine his own way). All of creation suffered as a result of this lie. The animals who ate the herb (Gen 1:29-30), became eaters (consumed) of one another. Man and the serpent are not united in their rebellion against God. There has always been enmity (hostility, hate) between man and the serpent (physical and spiritual). The devil is man’s adversary, as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour (bruising, 1 Pt 5:8). Satan appeals to man based upon the basis of the rebellion (the trap he set); he lures man to seek his own lusts (his way or path, 2 Cor 4:4) which lead to bondage and death. Woman brought forth the Christ. Jesus bruised the serpent’s head (authority). Satan had the authority of dead by causing men to sin. Death results from sin (ye shall not surely die?, Rm 5:12, 6:23, 1 Cor 15:56 ). Jesus triumphed over Satan (Rm 6:9): Revelation 1:18 , “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” All things will be restored. God will create a new heavens and a new earth (Is 65:17). God’s people will be joyful (Is 65:18-24). Isaiah 65:25, “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” Notice the animals are restored to peace and they eat the herb again. But what of the serpent? The serpent is still cursed – it is not restored (Gen 3:14 ). The serpent will never interfere between God and man again! Praise God.