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GEN. 3:14-20 -TRUST IN GOD’S CARE AS YOU FACE THE CONSEQUENCES – Part 3
Now in 3:16, God turns His attention toward the woman. He says to the woman, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” God speaks to Eve about her role as mother (3:16a) and as wife (3:16b). Biblically speaking, these are the two points where a woman experiences her highest fulfillment. And at these two points there will be pain and servitude.
The “pain in childbirth” refers to the whole process from conception to birth. This includes anxiety about whether she will be able to conceive a child, anxiety that comes with all the physical discomfort of the pregnancy, anxiety concerning the health of the child in the womb, and anxiety about whether she and the baby will survive the birth process.
God also speaks of the woman’s “desire” for her husband. Desire is a source of conflict between husbands and wives, just as sin desires to dominate and control (4:7). This is the first battle of the sexes. Each strives for control and neither lives in the best interest of the other (Phil 2:3-4 - “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
The woman’s role and the man’s role both become perverted. The woman tends to want to control the man. The man tends to dominate and tyrannize. Partners become competitors. It’s been this way ever since the fall.
In 3:17-19, God directs His final words to Adam. The judgment on Adam is given last because, as the one who sinned without being deceived, having all the facts, he bears the greater responsibility. The Lord says, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
God’s punishment or discipline fits the crime. A form of the word “eating” is used no less than five times in response to Adam’s sin of eating. It is also worth noting that, in each of these three verses, God says to Adam, “You will eat.” The food produced by the man would sustain the lives produced by the woman, and it would sustain their lives as well. Again, Even in His discipline, God manifests grace.
God speaks to Adam about his role as a worker. Here is where the male experiences his highest fulfillment. And for him, too, there will be pain. Romans 8:20 explains that creation is subject to vanity. Romans 8:20 - “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it,”
This is the law of entropy. The second law of thermodynamics demonstrates that there is an innate tendency towards decay and disorder in the universe. We are currently experiencing this consequence of the curse. In these three verses, man’s natural or original relationship to the ground—to rule over it—is reversed; instead of submitting to him, it resists and eventually swallows him. Rom 8:20- 22 - “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
In the Old Testament, in particular, the ecology of the earth is partly dependent on human morality. Sin always puts a wedge between things or people in Genesis 3. It puts a wedge between God and humans, between man and woman, between man and himself, and now between man and the soil. These are the consequences we must face.
Yet, once again in the gloom, a ray of light shines, for “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” This suggests that Adam had heard what the Lord had said and understood its implications of the offer of hope in the promise about the seed of the woman.
The loving care of the Lord for His erring children will be seen in the next verses which we will cover in a few weeks. Next week we will dive into the subject of “SIN” and all that really took place at this point in the garden.