Genesis 3:17 | The Curse with a Promise

curse

Genesis chapter three is a pivotal entry into the history of creation. It is the event that changed the course of mankind and explains why the world is the way it is today. Without Genesis chapter three it would be impossible to understand the evil and hardships of this present world. What happened then that directly links to now is that the first man and woman living in a perfect habitat broke fellowship with their Creator. Two people without a care or want found the one thing that was off limits and started a rebellion that is still ongoing today.

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:2-5 ESV

Why is there evil in the world? Why is life hard? Why is there death? Why are so many relationships difficult or strained? Why is there war? Why would a loving God create such a world that we see today? The answers to these and many like them are found here in chapter three as the consequence of what happened on that day at the beginning of the created world.

As a result of what our grandparents Adam and Eve did on that fateful day God leveled out three curses one to each participant in this first transgression. I will cover the First curse to Satan and Third curse to Adam in this post and leave the second curse to Eve for another time. The Third curse that was leveled that day was on Adam and this curse impacts all of the created world.

17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 ESV

In this curse there are three parts that impact humankind in general and make up the order of the fallen world we live in. First is that Humans would live in pain and hard work all the days of our lives. The ground will not give to us without work and perseverance. Even then what we work for will be fraught with thorns and disease. Imagine the created world that God had looked at in the beginning and saw as good has now become a source of pain and toil for all that live in it.

20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. Ecclesiastes 2:20 ESV

Second Humankind will face death itself. We once were created to live forever with God in the perfect world, but now it is a guarantee that we will return to the dust from where we came. I can’t imagine the weight of such a concept on Adam since before this moment death would have only been an abstract idea and not a reality in the perfect world that God had created.

For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23a ESV

Third this curse impacts more than just Adam and Eve it impacts all of creation including the universe itself. The weight of sin and rebellion to the Creator is so serious and is so destructive that the entire universe has fallen. A sun that was created to live forever will one day fail. We see evidence of the failure when looking out into the universe and see stars that have exploded causing destruction in all directions. A current fear of mankind is that one day an asteroid could crash into this planet ending all life. What had once been created for perfection and eternity is now temporary.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Romans 8:20-22 ESV

However devastating this curse was to Adam and to everyone reading this post the First curse God made was to Satan and in this curse we find the present hope we have Christ.

14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 ESV

There are two curses in this section that we should take note of. First is the curse that all animals must endure along with everything else. Have you ever wondered why God made the mosquito? They are irritating and they carry disease. Why would God have looked at the mosquito and thought to himself this is good? The result here is that animals and insects are all under the curse. Whatever their original purpose they are now only twisted curse infused replicas of the original. Animals were not originally created to kill and hunt each other. There was no death before these curses.

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. Isaiah 65:25 ESV

Second and take note of this is the promise of God to undo the harm Satan intended. Through the offspring of Eve God will strike a crushing blow to Satan’s head and while the blow will be painful to the offspring of Eve it will not be fatal to this future person of promise.

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 ESV

This curse to Satan is a promise to us that God would restore what was broken. The curse that God laid out is actually a blessing because this present world must be destroyed in order to create a new heaven and new earth free from the broken relationship that was caused here in chapter three. Without the curse and the eventual destruction of what had once been perfect we would live on forever in pain and toil forever struggling without a relationship with our maker.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23 ESV

We live in a brief moment of grace that God has provided in this cursed and dying world. Turn from your rebellion against God and seek salvation in the promised savior. Our hope and our future lies only in Christ and the restoration he provides from what happened to creation so many years ago.

Genesis 2:24 | Marriage

genesis 2

Genesis means origin or source of a beginning and that is exactly what the first book of the Bible is about. Chapter one verse one of the Bible “In the beginning God…” it is clear, biblically speaking, that everything exists because of God. He is the creator. Chapter two while continuing the origin history takes a deeper look into the creation of man himself and it is most likely written not from God’s perspective like chapter one but from Adam’s perspective. Henry Morris the well-respected Creation scholar believes that starting in Chapter two we have the genesis account as written by Adam himself giving us his descendants the view of things as he understood them (Morris, 83). Reading Genesis two from this perspective brings much needed context to the text. That context is what Adam writes to tell us about is the first Marriage, the marriage of our eldest grandparents.

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

It all started because God recognized that Adam needed a companion and a peer of his own. The Triune God is relational and having created Adam in his image he knew that companionship would be required.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. Genesis 2:18-20 ESV

God knew having created Man אִישׁ (ish) that the creation would need one more introduction before being complete on that sixth day (Genesis 1:27). Adam saw her and called her Woman אִשָּׁה (isha).

Man and Woman have been created and this relationship between Adam and Eve is established in the order and natural laws as God intended. Our own family histories are full of examples of two becoming one and our family histories are full of examples where this relationship has not worked out as one might have hoped going in.

Marriage is no easy relationship. It is amazing that two people man and woman would choose to come together and promise to continue the relationship until death separates them. There is something special and sacred about marriage and our forefather chose to write about marriage first. His being married to the most perfect woman ever created.

The example that God set for Adam is that marriage is between one man and one woman. As a society we have come to accept that many people want more than this singular ideal. However becoming one flesh with three or four people was not the model God created. Giving half of oneself to one person and then giving another half to someone else was not the model God created. Giving oneself to someone of the same gender was not the model God created. So why do we see so many people seeking after relationships and companionships outside of what God originally intended? Time does not permit an exploration of each of these detours from the original but I would like to address polygamy because it occurred, seemingly, with God’s blessing in the Bible and a time is coming in contemporary America where a push may be made to make that acceptable once again. I think by addressing this model through the context of Biblical history that we can see where God’s perfect plan of one man and one woman remains the ideal and it is an ideal that ultimately points to Christ.

We know that several men of the Bible had multiple wives. We know that that God did not forbid the act and it seems that it held a place in society out of necessity. I say necessity because the context and the time when it was practiced is not the same context we live in today. The rule of law was based on a more feudal system where power rested with those that could care and protect others. Women having a more difficult time securing a wage or daily necessities depended on an intact household for survival. Isaiah’s prophecy about the future doom of the nation of Israel and Judah because of their rebellion against God notes a relevant reality that took place because of the hardship and exposure that women would face.

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” Isaiah 4:1 ESV

In essence because of how few men would be left due to war and how desperate the social structure would be women would want to attach themselves to household name for protection so they would not be sold into slavery or worse. Another example is in giving ground rules for the king where God warns the king not to take many wives just because he has the power and the means to do so.

17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:17 ESV

God’s reason for telling the king to avoid this lifestyle is that it would turn his heart away from the true reality of life. God’s perfect plan was one man and one woman and a move to any other life that was born out of anything other than necessity would corrupt the heart of everyone involved.

What was permitted and what was born out of necessity is not needed in contemporary culture. Most, dare I say all, people living today would find that polygamy as permitted in the context of Old Testament is no longer needed. Women no longer need the protection of a household because they can make money on their own and they can call upon the resources of Governments and communities for their protection if needed. Even by the time of Christ this was becoming mostly true. Paul in his letter to Timothy that lays out much of the rules for the contemporary church organization and sets firm qualifications for leaders in the church.

12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 1 Timothy 3:12 ESV

Each household of one man and one woman fulfills God’s original perfect plan from the very beginning. Husband and Wife is the order just as Adam and Eve wrote in their letter to us in Genesis Chapter two. This beginning like many events recorded in the Bible also points to a more perfect relationship. That is the marriage relationship between Jesus and his Church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV

It is most amazing to me that Adam’s letter written to us points to the future of Jesus being united to the Church making them one. Being part of the body of believers give you access to the Creator as the daughter-in-law of the Father. Being united with Christ the son of God with all the inheritance and protection that one could ever need through marriage. Now is the time of grace and mercy to be accepted and be part of that family of God. Will you reject or yield to that perfect marriage in Christ?