I was reviewing Genesis 1-4 over the past few weeks (starting with my read through of the Bible again), and some more interesting topics came up in relation to the temptations and sin of Adam and Eve. I covered some of these in not curses but punishments one and two..
God presents 4 different commands to Adam (and Eve) in the garden.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
- Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth
- Take dominion/subdue the earth and everything in it
- Cultivate and keep the garden
- Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or you will die
The temptation of Eve by deception and Adam’s disobedience show us a couple things too.
Genesis 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
It’s the half truths that really shine through, IMO.
- You won’t die (sorta true. They didn’t “immediately die,” but they ended up with spiritual death and eventually a physical death)
- You will be like God, (the true temptation here)
- knowing good and evil (true, it is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil after all)
Thus, it is interesting to see the punishments.
Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
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 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 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.”
What you see in the punishments are a typical pattern of increase and see how they correlate directly to God’s commands:
- Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth — Eve has increased pain in childbirthing (she already had some pain, but it is “greatly increased”)
- Take dominion/subdue the earth and everything in it — This command is originally fulfilled by Adam in Genesis 2 as he is naming the animals and does not need Eve (though God needs a suitable helper). By being tempted to be like God, Eve is tempted to subvert the natural order which Paul expounds on this in 1 Cor 11 with God > Jesus > man > woman. Eve’s temptation is thus: Woman = God > man. This is feminism 101. Women are “god.”
- Cultivate and keep the garden — The ground is cursed so that it bears thistles and thorns which make this command harder.
- Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or you will die — An increase in death, Adam and Eve died a spiritual and physical death.
There is also the correlation to “desire” in Genesis 4 where God says to Cain:
Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
A wife that knows good (submission) versus a wife that knows evil and tries to usurp or disobey headship from her husband.
In other words, all of the punishments (including Eve’s) are increased temptation to sin which result in an increase in disruption of God’s natural order.
Greatly multiplied childbirthing pain tempts many women away from wanting to have children (which can easily be seen with contraception thereby decoupling sex from procreation — the descent into a hedonist society). Eve is tempted to be like God, and one of those consequences is to be tempted to usurp or disobey her husband’s headship. Adam’s work is made harder, which is why he is tempted to be lazy (big temptation for many men). And obviously death is another natural disorder from God’s creation.