Monday, September 30, 2013

Genesis 3:16-19 Sin's Consequences Upon Adam and Eve

"To the woman he said,

'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain will you give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.'

To Adam he said,

'Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
"You must not eat of it,"
'Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust you will return.'

Genesis 3:16-19 (NIV)

Sin has consequences.  For Eve, some of these would show up in the area of childbearing.  She would have increased pains during childbirth.  Yet this would not diminish her desire for her husband, and her desire to have him as a central part of her life.   

In a world where sin had occurred, there would no longer be the same easy level of companionship which Adam and Eve had previously enjoyed.  As sinners, they would both have to strive to keep their own selfish desires under control.  When decisions had to be made, it was likely that at times the couple might arrive at a standstill, where each wanted something exactly opposite from what the other thought was the best course of action.

God gives Adam, in effect, a second vote.  God appoints him to have authority in the couple's relationship.  This does not mean that Eve is any less capable, or mentally less able to make such decisions.  I think of it in the same sense that in the military, one man might be in charge of another.  Both might have the same training, experience, etc, but one has the authority over another because of his appointed position.  The one under authority is no less important or capable, yet he is subject to the one in authority in order that their mission may be completed.

Adam is also going to suffer the consequences of his own sin.  It was not that he had never had to work before -- God had already given him the job of taking care of the garden in which he lived (Genesis 2:15).  However, in a few verses after our current passage, Adam and Eve are going to have to leave this pleasant garden and Adam will have to work the uncultivated ground outside, which would produce thorns and thistles.  In addition to the laborious nature of this work, it is a constant reminder of his own mortality, for Adam had been created from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and would eventually return to it.  (Genesis 3:19)

It may seem that sin had wrecked everything.  Instead of unhindered intimacy, there would be an ongoing tendency toward toward strife and misunderstanding.  Instead of satisfying work which abundantly provided for the couple's needs, there would be laborious work with its frustrating reminder of  their own mortality.  Where before they would have lived forever, death seems to have the final victory.

However, the story was not over yet.   Before the world was even created, God had already devised a plan to redeem His people.  Before Adam and Eve even existed, or fell into sin on that terrible day in the garden, a Redeemer had made His decision to come into the sin-burdened world to make things right and to triumph over sin and death.

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