As one grows older, and health and mobility decline, opportunities to be a part of a church where truth can be discussed freely, openly and honestly decline as well. In this time of life for me, a “little child” who is just beginning first grade in God’s learning process, this blog is invaluable. I share with you what I am learning and ask you to respond with questions, criticisms, disagreements, etc.
Everything is on the table. I never have the final word, but only my best idea about what the Bible says on the topic being discussed. I am an 85 year-old pilgrim, 65 as a believer, who has jumped in multiple dry swimming pools during my journey (off the high-board, no less!). I am a learner, the “chief of sinners.”
I share that, as I begin the blog posting this week, because the ideas for today are in some aspects, a different and deeper understanding of what I arrogantly had assumed I “already knew.” Surprise, surprise!
“To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you’” (Genesis 3:16).
After Adam and Eve caused the Fall, as they ate of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God pronounced a judgment on each of the Fall’s three participants. First, there is Satan who instigated the Fall, then Adam and Eve who fell for his deception, and thus all of us as well, Adam’s descendants who were “in him” when he sinned.
The above verse tells us God’s judgment on Eve. Notice it is two-fold; first, she will now inherently “desire” her husband, and, second, he will “rule over” her. I want to look at each of those aspects of what has been called God’s “curse,” or judgment, on Eve..
1. “Your desire shall be for your husband.” In our introductory verse, Genesis 3:16, the word used to describe God’s judgment on Eve is the word “desire.” One would think that for a woman to “desire” a relationship with her husband, in all its aspects, would be a wonderful blessing for them both and certainly not a judgment on the woman!
However, knowing the meaning of the Hebrew word used clears up the mystery. It is the word, teshuqah, and It is used only two other times in the Bible, one in the very next chapter in Genesis. In the story of Cain and Abel, God had just accepted Abel’s sacrificial offering of a slain lamb, while He rejected Cain’s offering of the fruit of his own labors—fruit from his orchard. The Bible says that “Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:5). Cain was angry with God.
Here is God’s response to Cain’s anger: “If you do well (what I have taught you), will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well (insist on your own “better idea”), sin lies at the door. And its DESIRE (teshuqah) is for you, but you should rule over it.” Sin lay in wait to capture and control Cain, the very thing Satan had done to Cain’s mother, Eve
This understanding gives us insight into God’s judgment pronounced on Eve. God had told Eve in Genesis 3:16,that His judgment on her would be two-fold. First, It was obvious that Eve’s attitude was no longer to be Adam’s “helper,” as she was created to be. Instead, because of Satan’s deceit, her attitude had suddenly become to be the “leader,” the decision-maker, as she led Adam into the sin of eating the forbidden fruit at the Fall.
God told her that the first aspect of His judgment on her, from this day forward, would be that her attitude of contesting Adam for leadership would become her “baked in” mind-set—unconsciously “desiring” (teshuqah) to control her husband. She would no longer have an inner drive, put there by God, to “help” her husband, as she was created to do, but now her desire would be to compete with him for leadership in their relationship.
Do we not see this attitude sweeping through our culture? Women reflect the outworking of this drive to promote feminine leadership at every turn, and they are competing with men in every aspect of life, from the home to political leadership.
I had planned to cover the second half of God’s judgment on Eve (“He shall rule over you”) as well, but I don’t want to make this post too long, so I will save that for next week. Can’t wait to share it with you, as it is my new insight that I am working on!