Monday, 29 April 2013

The Fall and the Curse

 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 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 3:14-19 (N.I.V.)

When God confronted the Man and the Woman after the Fall (and one can see that the serpent was also present there), he cursed them for their disobedience. But his curse for each of the three involved in the act was very different. Being a woman myself, I want particularly to understand the part that primarily concerns me, i.e., the curse on Eve. But first, it is necessary to look for the principle behind the curse, so that will be the focus of this blog post. Eve and her predicament will have to be the subject of a subsequent write-up.

First of all, what is a curse?  Especially where God is concerned, I'm inclined to believe that a curse is not so much a punishment as an outworking of cause and effect. Because elsewhere in the bible it is written: “Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight.” (Proverbs 26:2, New King James Version). God respects the laws he himself has put in place.

In the physical world, things must happen according to the laws of nature – whether we know them and believe them or not. Knowledge of the laws makes the outcome predictable, such as: if you drop a stone it will hit the ground; if you drop it in water, it will sink; if you touch a burning coal, it will burn your fingers; and so on. All scientific discoveries and inventions are based on known laws, which do not change and can be relied on to bring forth a predictable outcome if the calculations based on the principles are correct. 

In the same way, God has set in place certain spiritual laws, which also follow the principle of cause and effect. When God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, he was warning them of the consequences of breaking the spiritual law that he had put in place: that evil is harmless if you don't know it, come in contact with it or practice it. But as soon as you know evil by experience, it exerts such power that it takes over your life and progresses until it destroys you. Adam and Eve only had God's word on this. They had no experience of evil, because so far, everything around them and about them was good and they did not know any different.

But the moment they yielded to the suggestions of the serpent, doubted the goodness of God and took matters into their own hands, they experienced the evil of disobedience. This broke their spiritual connection to God and removed them from his preserving and sustaining presence. In one instant, they stepped over from the camp of God into the camp of the devil, who then quickly introduced them to guilt, cover-up, humiliation, anger and blame that further tightened his grasp and mastery over them. Bereft of the Spirit of God, Adam and Eve were helplessly drawn by the devil in a downward spiral of one sin after another, that progressively corrupted their souls and bodies until their ultimate physical death.

This was Cause and Effect in action in the spiritual plane. Adam and Eve painfully discovered that God was right and the devil was a Liar and had tricked them into sinning. But they were responsible for their own actions and had to bear the consequences. And the consequences were unfortunately not limited to mankind alone; the earth itself was cursed and suffered the effects of the introduction of evil in its atmosphere.

But embedded in the curse against the serpent, who started it all, God mercifully wove in a ray of hope. One day, the devil, the initiator of evil, would be crushed by the offspring of the very woman he had used to begin the whole story. The last word would not be his, but God’s.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14


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