When you examine Genesis 3, it’s interesting because of the nature of the curses placed on both the serpent, Eve, and Adam.
The curse is one of pain and suffering, but at the end there is always joy or fulfillment.
Genesis 3 (NASB)
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall [d]bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
There is only death for the serpent, or Satan, but the enmity between the woman and the serpent results in the promise of a messiah: Jesus Christ.
16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain [e]in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”
To the woman, there are two curses.
The first of pain during childbirth. But, as we know at the end of childbirth is great joy for the new life that has come.
The second is the desire for her husband and for him to rule over her. Since the default state of humans is rebellion to God, it takes much effort for a woman to submit to the rule of her husband, but when she does she knows the peace of God in her life.
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In [f]toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the [g]plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
There are likewise two curses to Adam.
The first being of toil. To work the ground, but we know that at the end of the sowing is reaping. The harvest. A time of great joy and feasts in tradition.
The second of death. But we know the fulfillment of the messiah that death is not a curse because through the messiah our Spirit lives on with the One who created it.
I find these passages interesting for two reasons.
- One is that the promises to the humans were already there — childbirthing was already without pain, the husband already ruled over his wife, the ground already bore fruit, and there was no death but eternal life. In fact, the curse is a contrast of the perfection of creation before the fall — that which is good — and the consequences of disobeying God which result in suffering in our mortal bodies.
- The second, I believe, is the curses seem to be placed in such a way to help us better understand the goodness of God. If there was no pain in childbirth would there be such joy after it is finished? If we did not have to sow, would we be as grateful for the harvest? This is the interesting nature of how a curse actually draws out the expression of a fullness of joy, gratefulness, or peace.
As I explained in the Fundamental Nature of Christianity, what we know of as “free will” is the ability for us to be tempted and having the choice to overcome those temptations. We know that in the ability to be tempted that God is very good in His creation, not just good as the animals, light and darkness, and firmament and water were created. Our choice in temptation is good in that by our “free will” — our choice — when we are in God we are able to choose to do good.
The contrast of the curse allows us to more fully understand his creation in a way that we could not before the fall. This is an amazing revelation to us — God is good even in the curses. God is good in his righteous judgment of sin.
Therefore, we know that in the blessings and the curses that God is good. We know that in the joy and the sorrow that God is good. We know that in life and in death that God is good. In everything and all things, God is good.
Mark 10 (NASB) — Parable of the Rich Young Ruler
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
God is good.