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Summary: The effects of the curse on Eve

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Genesis 3:16

December 12, 2012

The serpent came into the garden and tricked the woman into eating fruit from the forbidden tree. As a result they both realize they were naked, and when they heard God calling out to them they hid because they were ashamed. When God questions them they confess to eating, and they blame the snake. God turns to him and curses him: “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” (3:15). The angel who only wanted to be higher than God is now humiliated and lower than everything on earth.

Now we’re going to see what happens to the woman and her husband.

Before we start in verse 16 I’d like to remind you of the approach we’re taking in our interpretation. We believe that the entire Bible is a revelation of Jesus Christ and that He is the revelation of God. It should go without saying, then, that the Bible is primarily a theological book. What I mean is some people read this and find a lot of philosophical or sociological application. And, I suppose those things can have a place, but they certainly are not the main focus. Genesis 3 isn’t a commentary on the plight of women in the world today or on the reason men hate their jobs. Sure, both those things can be tied back to this one instance, but they aren’t the spiritual truth being communicated through this story.

You have to remember that all these stories serve a purpose in pointing us to Christ. This is why they call them types and shadows, and types and shadows are similar to the New Testament parables. We have these little stories that point us to some much bigger truth. Adam and Eve’s story is literally and historically true, but it serves a greater purpose. If you’re wondering whether I might be reaching too far, look at Galatians 4:24-26 where Paul talks about Sarah and Hagar: Sarah was a free woman and Abraham’s wife, but Hagar was a slave and Abraham’s concubine. Paul says, these “things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar, […] but Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” The story of those two women serve a spiritual purpose in revealing God and His covenant to us, and Adam and Eve do the same.

So God comes into the garden and curses the serpent, and then:

16Unto 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 the first thing I want you to notice is that Adam and his wife are not cursed though they feel its effects. The serpent is cursed, and the ground is cursed (:17), but they are not. Why is this important? Look at Galatians 3:10-14: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

When Moses gave the law to all the people it came with a curse to those who disobeyed. The serpent is cursed, the ground is cursed, and everyone who breaks the Law of Moses is cursed. But Christ was made a curse for us. This is why the just shall live by faith: that the blessing of Abraham might come on us through Christ! Adam and Eve, by faith, had to believe the promise that was given in verse fifteen and which would be given again to Abraham (12:1-3).

And to me, this speaks of the work finished before the foundation of the world. Adam and Eve couldn’t be cursed because the Lamb was slain (Rev. 13:8). Being elect they were predestined to the blessings of obedience through Christ: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:3-11).

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