6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: When we consider pain, there are three particularly painful areas of life: our relationships, our work and finances, and our health. The pain that we experience in each of these areas of life can be traced to the judgments that God delivered after the fa

Sermon Notes July 31, 2011 FBCam

Why it Hurts

Genesis 3:16-19

CS Lewis, in “The Problem of Pain,” writes:

“When I was an atheist, if anyone had asked me “why do you NOT believe in God, my reply would have been.... PAIN.. [People] cause pain by being born, and live by pain and in pain they mostly die..... If you ask me to believe that this is the work of a benevolent and omnipotent spirit, I reply that all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Either there is no spirit behind the universe, or else a spirit indifferent to good and evil, or else an evil spirit.” (C.S. Lewis, “The Problem of Pain,” 1-3).

We see pain all around us. In peaceful NORWAY, where Anders Behring Breivik massacred over 70 people. At the Holocaust museum and the rooms filled with the shoes of thousands of victims gassed to death. On a mssion trip to Newark. NJ. There, in the park at the projects, I listened to the sad story of an 8 year old boy who told me “my brother was shot here 2 weeks ago.”

Every funeral, every bee sting, every broken bone, every bout with a stomach virus is a reminder that our world is decaying, broken and often filled with pain.

Our modern society has SOFTENED the BLOW of PAIN in many ways. We expect that the doctor or hospital will be able to fix our problems, regardless of their severity. Advances in medicine cause us to assume that there must be a pill that can fix our problem. But the marvels of modern medicine are not common throughout the world, nor have they been the norm for most of human history. Imagine how much more our predecessors considered the problem of a pain filled world when there were no vaccines or antibiotics, or anesthesia.

For many, suffering and sorrow are an excuse to REJECT GOD.

TODAY, I would like to examine the SOURCE of PAIN, the REASON for PAIN

the PROMISE that our PAIN will END. This is not a theodicy. The world theodicy comes from 2 Greek words. Theos, meaning God, and Dikaios, meaning righteous. A theodicy is an argument to defend the righteousness of God in the light of pain and suffering. That is an important task but beyond our text today.

When we consider pain, there are three particularly painful areas of life: our relationships, our work and finances, and our health. The pain that we experience in each of these areas of life can be traced to the judgments that God delivered after the fall. This sermon will examine each of these judgments and the pain that lingers today because of them.

The first is The Judgment on the WOMAN. Genesis 3:16 "To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

This judgment is part of the reason why there is so much pain in our relationships. Previous in this chapter, two additional Judgments were delivered by God, the judgment on the SERPENT and the judgment on SATAN.

Now in Genesis 3:16 the Lord delivers His JUDGMENT on the Woman. The first part of this is physical. There will now be pain in childbearing. DELIVERANCE from the CURSE would come through birth, BUT there would be PAIN in birth.

The second part of the judgment on the woman is relational. “Your desire will be for your husband.” I believe that this is a prediction that after the fall, there will be a constant struggle between the sexes for leadership and authority. Eve violated the authority of her husband in independently eating of the forbidden fruit. Now the submission husband’s leadership will become a difficult task for the woman.

The reason that I take this line of interpretation is twofold. The first is exegetical. The word desire means that the woman will want what the man possesses. This text includes the same word structure as Genesis 4:7. Speaking to Cain, the Lord says, “it (sin) desires to have you, but you must master it.” Sin was appealing to Cain in a way that would dominate him. Eve would and her descendants will suffer from the DOMINION DESIRE. There would be a struggle for authority in human relationships. This would effect the relationship between men and women. In the New American Commentary, Kent Matthews follows the same interpretation when he writes, “The “desire” of the woman is her attempt to control her husband, but she will fail because God has ordained that the man exercise his leadership function.” K. A. Mathews, NAC).

My second reason for following this interpretation is practical. We can see the struggle to dominate as a common human experience. Paul writes ib 1 Tim 2:15 “women will be saved through childbearing...” I believe that this text reflects that the best way to diminish the “dominion desire” is through the structure of a Christ Centered home.

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