Cursed by Pain

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.”
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)

Two special trees stood in the Garden of Eden. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Sadly, Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They believed the serpent’s lie: God was holding out on them, keeping back something good. Ever since, human beings have doubted God’s intentions.

God pronounced a series of judgments against Adam and Eve, but wrapped around the judgments, there was mercy. Though childbirth would be painful, the woman would still want to become pregnant. Though work would be hard, they would still be able to grow food. And though they would die, their deaths would make their ultimate redemption possible.

God barred them from the Tree of Life, insuring that they would die. Otherwise, they could have eaten and become immortal. With such immortality would have come irredeemable. It is only in becoming a human being and then dying that Jesus could save humanity. If human beings had become immortal, then Jesus becoming one of them would likewise have been immortal. If he couldn’t die, then he couldn’t have redeemed us. Even in the terrible judgment of death, there was mercy and blessing.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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