The “Curse of Eve”—Is Pain Our Punishment? Part I

I have been involved in several interesting discussions lately involving  friends asking me what I thought of the so-called “Curse of Eve.” This “curse,” which is generally used in reference to the pain of childbirth, is assumed from the text of Genesis 3:16a. On one side, I have had friends and colleagues argue that the pains of labor are a direct result of Eve’s sin, and thus all women who bear children will suffer them as a reminder of their inherent sinful nature. On the other hand, I have had friends question this interpretation: Why, they ask, would God use such an incredible event to punish us? And what about women who don’t experience any pain in childbirth at all? Or who do not have children? Is God’s punishment reserved for those who procreate? This doesn’t seem to make much sense in a larger spiritual framework.

Some additional questions have arisen from these discussions. I had a friend recently ask me, “If a woman is supposed to feel pain in childbirth, is she going against God’s will if she uses medication to ease her discomfort?” Another friend brought up the fact that God’s actions are seldom (if ever) random; therefore, what is the transformation that God is expecting from such a punishment?  What does Eve’s “punishment” have to say about how we interact with, communicate with, and love God (and likewise)?

I’d like to look closely at these questions in a series of posts on the so-called “Curse of Eve.” In these posts, I’d like to propose the following thoughts: 1) The modern translations of the verse greatly influence our interpretation that painful childbirth is a punishment from God; 2) The punishment (not curse) was rather that of relational damage than of literal, bodily pain; 3) The pain of labor is referenced many other times in Scripture without reference to sin, and in the NT that pain is referred to in a redemptive light.

Obviously, there is much to question for a seemingly simple verse. A close reading of the text indicates that not all is as it initially seems (a text like this is one of the reasons I fell in love with studying Scripture in the first place). One caveat here: I do not profess myself to be an exegetical expert, and my language proficiency is much higher in Greek than Hebrew. It is simply my intent to question the typically assumed meaning of the text and to offer possible alternatives to those assumptions.

As is often the case in textual interpretation, the translation used is important—and in this case is a very important place to start. Let’s look at several of the translations available for Gen 3:16a:

  • NRSV: “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.’”
  • NIV: “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.’”
  • KJV: “Unto the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.’”

Upon first glance, the meaning of the text seems pretty straightforward—especially if you are reading one of the more modern translations. Yet a word study of the word “pain,” which in the KJV is translated “sorrow,”  shows that the word can be translated (both in Hebrew and in the LXX Greek) as “pain, grief, or sorrow.” This is a very important point—after all, increasing grief or sorrow in childbirth would put this verse in a very different context. In fact, the same word is used in 3:17 when referring to Adam’s curse—although most translations use the word “toil” rather than “pain” in that verse.

What would be the effect on our interpretation if we considered the translation of “sorrow” instead of “pain”? First, it would put the context of the punishment (again, not a “curse”—the only thing literally cursed is the serpent and the ground [3:14, 17]) in a different light. Childbirth would bring about sorrow—perhaps, seen in the larger context, because none of Eve’s offspring would ever have the same experience of God and of the land that she and Adam experienced prior to their disobedience. Her children would suffer the same punishment as she would; in essence, all of her offspring would experience the same severance from God, even though they did not commit the sin. Could it be that the punishment was not a punishment of physical pain at all, but rather the spiritual and emotional anguish that we all experience as a result of being unable to directly experience God’s presence in our mortal lives? I think this is a distinct possibility.

Consider, too, that the “toil” that Adam must experience (“…cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life” [NRSV 3:17]) can also be translated as “sorrow” but would have difficulty with the translation of “pain.” Furthermore, it is noteworthy that painful childbirth has been given the title of the “Curse of Eve,” but rarely is farming, gardening, or any other physical labor seen as the “Curse of Adam.” It would make more sense to recognize that, again, the sorrow that comes from the loss of Eden’s paradise is the true punishment rather than physical suffering.

There is much more to examine in this verse; in the next segment, I hope to more deeply explore the implications of the punishment as impacting the God/human relationship rather than condemning womankind to painful childbirth.  I also want to introduce some interesting supportive notes from Augustine (certainly a surprise considering his typical attitude toward women).  Finally, we’ll consider this alternative interpretation in light of God’s command to Abraham and Sarah to “be fruitful and multiply” as well as the subsequent effects of the relational severance in the Pentateuch.

Stacia Guzzo is a homesteading theologian/stay-at-home mother who received her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Loyola Marymount University and is currently working toward a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. Stacia has been a teacher and speaker in the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese and has served as managing editor for Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality. Her areas of interest include embodiment theology, ecological justice, food ethics, and the spirituality of birth. Stacia’s perspective offers unique insight into the raw, fresh theological undertones of every day life; coming from a Jesuit background, she embraces the Ignatian attitude of “finding God in all things.” In addition to her theological studies, Stacia currently works part-time as a doula, childbirth educator, and apiarist.

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Categories: Childbirth, Children, Scripture, Spirituality, Women's Suffering

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27 replies

  1. This is the third time I’ve tried to post, so as you can see, I’m pretty determined to get my comment through!
    The reason for my determination is, quite simply, my disbelief that anyone, let alone a woman, is still prepared to even discuss that horrible idea about women having to ‘suffer’ in childbirth for the ‘sin of Eve’ in this day and age.
    The only purpose I could see at all for raising this violent, cruel tradition, is to show just how deep certain attitudes went (still go ?) in trying to justify profound discrimination against women.
    Apart from anything else, one might want to ask how much suffering ? And for how long ? Must it be very painful, or only a little bit? If it kills you, were you somehow more sinful than the woman who got off more lightly?
    For what it’s worth, my first labour was long, dangerous, and traumatic. The second time round I popped baby out in twenty joyous minutes which included a small orgasm as she crowned. But neither event had anything whatsoever to do with the ‘sin’ of Eve.
    The idea that women are sinful, very sinful, and occasions of sin for men, is as old as patriachal religion itself, and is one of the reasons I fled Christianity many years ago. Why should a bunch of ignorant (after all, what can they possibly know about childbirth ?), sanctimonious old men terrify and humiliate little girls with the teaching that they must and will suffer in childbirth? It is just this kind of attitude which results in violence toward women among all the ‘Peoples of the Book’, and Christianity, for one, is going to have to purge itself of precisely this kind of deep hostility toward women if it is going to survive at all.
    The real question is not about the particular translation of a given word which my or may not render this teaching more or less palatable, but about the degree of masochism which is required for a woman to internalise such an idea in the first place.
    I leave you with one question: if you have a daughter, will you teach her about the need for her to expect and accept pain if she has a child? How much pain will you tell her she must endure? And will you let her know of all the suffering she has in store while she is still a little girl -playing with her dolls, perhaps – or wait until she is on the threshold of the delivery room ?
    Millions of women suffer and die in childbirth every year, not for the ‘sin of Eve’, but because they don’t have access to clean water and basic medication. In their name, shame on anyone who makes out it is somehow their own, female, fault.

    • June, thank you for your response and for your perseverance in posting!
      I think I will probably address some of the points in your comment in later posts in the series, but I wanted to address a couple of things here.
      First–it’s interesting that you say that I am simply trying to make this verse “more palatable.” I don’t see that as my intent at all; because a different translation of key words actually changes the entire message one can glean from the passage. Thus, if the passage is changed to reflect a severance of relationship with our Creator rather than a surface interpretation of the “punishment,” I think that’s a pretty important point. In my own perception, it has been this very severance that is the core struggle of humankind. We can no longer access the immediate, infinite love of the Lover, and thus we often forget what it means to be Beloved.
      I am not a Biblical literalist, and because of that, I don’t believe that Genesis depicts the “sin” of one person (male, female, or both). Rather, it’s a book that, when seen in the proper context (the work of peoples in the Ancient Near East, struggling to establish their belief system within a huge network of alternative belief systems), I perceive as a symbolic explanation for this sense of distance from God (as Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Beloved, Lover).
      In my own journey as I have studies Scripture, I have had to personally confront some of the gender issues that arise in the Bible. How do I feel about them, as a woman (OT and NT, each in different ways)? I have prayed much over this topic, and have ultimately found peace in recognizing that the passages I struggle with are, in many ways, products of their own time. If everyone who found grounding in Scripture took the time to study it and recognize it in its own context, perhaps some of the sexist (and other problematic) messages wouldn’t be transferred into the modern understanding of the message. This doesn’t excuse some of those problematic passages, but understanding WHY they are what they are is very important, in my opinion. In any case, I hope that sheds a little light on my own perspective.
      Finally, to your question about if I have a daughter, will I teach her to accept pain in childbirth: so far I only have a son, but hope to have a daughter someday. I will tell her the stories of my own births and the births of other women. Some have been painful, some have been orgasmic. Some are easy, and some are difficult. My labor with my son was difficult. There were certainly moments of pain. However–and this is very important to me–pain does not equate suffering. I did not suffer. I will discuss this in later posts, but I hope to prepare my daughter as realistically as possible for what it might feel like. Each woman labors differently. It also depends on the position of the baby, the pattern of the labor, and whether it is her first child or not. For myself, I made no connection to the pain of labor and anything having to do with sin or sinfulness. I was never taught that, myself. So it was a non-issue. Labor was very spiritual for me. I felt very connected to the co-creative power within my womb and that of my own Creator. But not once did I ever connect sin to the pain–and thus there would be no reason for it to arise in conversation with my own daughters.
      Hope that helps.

      • If the message here is that women endure pain during childbirth because the sin Eve supposedly committed, maybe we should consider not taking this message so literal. Why I say this is because we really have no evidence of that and we as a society were not there to witness any sin it has been said, Eve may have done. Regardless a woman has the power and strength to give birth to another life, unfortunately its become our responsibility when pregnancy takes place. Stacia just because you have a son doesn’t mean you should not talk to him about child birth and the pain a woman goes through, the pain you went through for him. I think its important for males to understand this from a woman’s point of view especially if your his mother. Children can handle more than parents realize and age should not be a factor. I don’t agree with the connection of sin and pain. I dont see how its relevant. Sin is out “free will”, pain can be drawn from many areas, emotionally, psychologically and physically. I’m not a religious person but spiritual and I have had 3 children. I consider myself a strong woman and did experience pain and discomfort but the body can heel from this.

        Yes women do die all the time from childbirth, I would think more in countries that lack health care and proper nutrition, you dont hear about it as much in the western culture. Men have the tendency in the church to think they are privileged telling women what they should and should not do, or what our roles are in society, we as women have been brain washed by man for centuries. Ladies I prefer not to listen to a man words especially when it comes to the way I live my life or with my body, especially if it comes from a man out of the church. As I agree with June when she stated, “It is just this kind of attitude which results in violence toward women among all the ‘Peoples of the Book’, and Christianity, for one, is going to have to purge itself of precisely this kind of deep hostility toward women if it is going to survive at all”.

        As a woman when my life is over and if I have my creator to answer to for any sin I have done, so be it, but until then, for me to follow the words of man in any religion is something I refuse to believe or do. No man physical knows how it feels to be a woman and what we go through. No man has the right to advise or distinction the child birth pain is a reference from the sin women have done or that Eve may have once committed and this is our reason for having pain during childbirth.

  2. Brava! It’s not women’s fault for being curious and talking to so-called snakes that are the Goddess in disguise. It’s a MYTH and men have taught women to believe it. I deal with this topic in my novel, Secret Lives, in Chapter 6, where young Janie has her first period. Her friends at school tease her about “the curse,” and she finally gets some information from her mother. The chapter ends with a menarche ritual. Here’s a little bit of the chapter:

    Milly sighed. “So many people think menstruation is dirty, like sex is supposed to be dirty and evil. Sinful. In their bible—you’ve read the story? Adam and Eve? How their god punishes them for disobeying him when all Eve was doing was obeying the Goddess? Well, She was manifesting in the serpent, and the serpent is one of Her sacred animals. She speaks to them on Her behalf.”
    “Oh. Yeah. I read about that.”
    “The serpent encourages Eve to be curious about life. Curiosity is good. Well, except for those nights you spied on your brothers. Yes, Daddy and I know about that. Anyway, their god gets angry and tells them that from now on, women will have babies in pain. Some people think that story is true, that women are doomed to suffer. That’s what the curse is.”
    Finally! “Oh, gross. Why?”
    “It’s a control issue.”
    “Oh. But it’s not—it’s a myth? The curse isn’t for real?”
    “Of course not. Would have been in the Garden of Eden to report it? Somebody from Channel 4? Of course it’s a myth. But the people who take the bible literally read it as the literal words of their god and, well, I guess maybe they don’t understand the true facts of life, either.”
    Janie wasn’t quite sure what her mother was talking about, but it sounded like Aunt Brooke and Aunt Cairo. She just listened.
    “Bleeding because you’re a woman,” Milly concluded, “is a cause to celebrate. There’s no reason on earth to feel ashamed or sick.” She gave Janie a little hug. “Tell you what. We’ll go out for supper, just you and me. Wherever you want to go. I’ll call Daddy and tell him he can cook supper tonight for Richard and Steven. We’ll have a girls’—a women’s—night out. How about that?”

  3. To pagan, the idea of being punished for giving life and more ancient giving your life in giving birth is frankly, revolting. Sometimes labour of any kind is painful. Harvesting after planting is hard work and you are blessed for your labour by the outcome. Harvest is never a punishment it’s a reward and blessing. Pain is just as much a part of life as feeling joy and the birthing process has both, hopefully.
    Since animals feel pain in the birthing process too, it is illogical to think that God would punish them for non-exitant sin.

  4. Stacia, I’m so looking forward to your series! I’m familiar with the two sides of the debate you identify and confess I haven’t been able to reconcile them so I’m hear more of your perspective.

  5. *excited to hear more of your perspective.

  6. Stacia, I hope you will put this discussion in a larger context and clarify the assumptions leading you to think Christian women should consider this particular text when thining about their own birthing processes. Are you arguing that everything the Bible says should be listened to and followed, including statements that men can have more than one wife and own slaves and concubines? Or is this passage to be listened to but not the others? I think many Christian and Jewish women would simply say that this text is sexist and the traditions must move on.

    • Carol raises what is, perhaps, the central point here: the Christian response to the Old Testament.
      I have not been a Christian for too many years to count, but as a child and adolescent I thought a good deal about these things. It seemed to me then, as it does now, that the historical reality of Christ’s Incarnation (for a Christian) overides everything else. Christ really lived, really died, and really rose again, in real time: after Christ, time is both literally and mystically different from before: everything changes, not simply the present and the future, but the past as well.
      Christ said: I come with a New Law. While deeply versed in traditional Jewish teaching, he made it clear that, where there was a conflict between tradition (the teaching we find in the Old Testament) and the message he preached, then the old lessons should be rejected in favour of the new. He makes this explicitly clear when talking about the brutal tradition of ‘an eye for an eye’.
      Remember, if Christ’s teaching had changed nothing, there would be no Christians; that’s the point. People would have remained pagan or Jewish. But they became Christians, they embraced the New Law.
      It must follow from this, that, for Christians, where there is any kind of discrepency between the ‘old’ law and Christ’s Law, Christians must unhesitatingly follow the Law which Christ gave them. What, otherwise, would have been the point of the Incarnation in the first place?
      It’s a long time since I read any New Testament, but I cannot recall a single instance of Jesus saying that women must suffer in childbirth for someone else’s sin. The Great Sin of the New Testament is, of course, the betrayal of Jesus, which is the historical form of the betrayal of God’s trust is the original Garden of Eden. Not a single woman is involved in this. Arguably, the greatest betrayal (sin) of all is Peter’s. But the women remain loyal throughout the whole terrible business. Perhaps for this reason, Christ entrusts his message to three women at the resurection: ‘Go, spread the Good News’. But this takes us into the argument for women priests which must keep for another time.
      Back to women, Jesus, and gynaecology. We might want to remember the story of the woman with the issue of blood. This event is profoundly important for Chrisistian women. In traditional Jewish society, menstruation made a woman unclean.(It still does). She was polluted and polluting. She was dirty. She had to keep apart while bleeding. Her menses were a source of shame and humiliation for herself and disgust to others. This poor woman had been bleeding a long time. Can you imagine the shame, the despair ? The sheer inconvenience (she would not, for example, have been permitted to cook for her husband, or share his bed). She touches the hem of Jesus’ robe in hope and trust. Now, had Jesus been a strict follower of the old law he would have turned on the woman and exercrated her for daring to come anywhere near him. But this is the New Law. He commends her faith, and sends her away healed. There are many other stories in the New Testament which reveal Christ’s teaching about women, but this will have to do for now.
      Now, would anyone care to quote me where Jesus says that women should suffer pain simply because the Goddess has conferrred upon them and upon them alone the sacred right to bring new life in to the world?
      Blessings, June.
      ps, sorry this is a long post, but I just feel so angry about all those little Christian/Jewish/Muslim girls being indoctrinated to despise themselves.

    • Hi Carol,
      You bring up an interesting point. I’m not trying to make a claim about what a person should “do” based on Scripture (what they should follow v. not); rather, I’m simply trying to introduce an alternative interpretation to what I have heard many people assume is the meaning of this passage. When I teach my childbirth education (or anything else I teach, in fact), I say up front that there are things that I believe make the birth experience best for ME (naturally, at home, with a midwife). However, that’s not going to work for everyone. So I see my job as simply being a provider of additional information and let each couple decide what they want to do based on this new acquisition of knowledge. If they are aware of the existing risks and benefits of a certain medication and decide that they want to take it anyway, then I respect that decision as long as it is well-informed. It’s following what “everybody else does” or “everybody else says” simply because it is the accepted way that really bothers me.
      I see this post in a similar light. Religion, faith, and the interpretation of Scripture are all very personal things. Each person must decide what is right for them, what speaks to them, and how their Creator moves in and through their lives. But when I had a number of people come to me and question me on this particular passage (probably because I have studied Scripture and work with birthing women, so it seemed like a natural question to ask…?), I felt it important to add an alternative interpretation to the more common, surface interpretation. What women (and men) decide to do with this addition information remains, to me, a personal decision, and I leave each person to do with it what they will. Personally, I think the argument for pain as punishment is bunk, but again–that is my own belief. Each person must make their own journey.
      Hope that helps put my effort in context.

  7. I just have to say that I am uncomfortable with positive comparisons of Christianity to Judaism and even with positive comparisons of the New Testament to the Hebrew Bible. Christianity is just as responsible for teaching women to despise their bodies as Judaism, and possibly moreso, because it invented the “sin” of Eve. The story is in the Hebrew Bible but it is not nearly as central in Judaism as it is in Christianity. I should also mention that the notion of female blood as polluting is found in the Christian Orthodox tradition that women not touch icons when menstruating nor are they allowed to go behind the icon screen to approach the holy altar, with the exception that post-menopausal women are allowed back to clean because after all, cleaning is women’s work. Boys are taken behind the screen to be presented at baptism to God, girls are not. And please let’s not make negative comparisions between Western and Eastern Christianity now.

  8. Hi, Carol, and thank you for your response. It was certainly not my intention to compare Christianity positively to Judaism (or Islam). For me, at a personal level, they are all simply religions ‘of the Book’, and as such are structurally monotheistic, patriachal a fundamentalist. I simply don’t believe that women can articulate their spirituality within these constraints.
    My point was to try and show ways in which it might be possible for women to accept Christ without necessarily taking on all that jehovah stuff – as I believe it is. .
    From my own perspective, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all one as bad as the other in their treatment of women, and I want no truck with any of them. But I respect the fact that many women do long to find some kind of place within some sort of Christian communion, and I believe this is made easier by going directly to Jesus’ teaching rather that to the Old Testament or the Church Fathers.
    Jesus never showed any contempt or loathing toward women, but, on the contrary, encouraged their faith, learning and ministry.
    In my own spirituality, I prefer a relationship with a deity who comes to me as a woman, like myself. And while I suspect that the attempt to rescue Christianity (or Judaism or Islam) from its brutal woman-hating past (and present) is doomed, it may just be that Christianity will yet survive in a new, radically feminised form.

  9. Not to leave out Hinduism – there are hundreds of Hindu goddesses worshipped and celebrated in temples all over India today. Yet menstruating women are not allowed to enter a Hindu temple. Women are not allowed to chant and recite one of the most important Hindu mantras – the Gayatri mantra, named after the Goddess Gayatri.

  10. Stacia, I’m really looking forward to reading more…. I also believe that there is a continuing need to explore and explain the real original, intended and literal meaning in the Scriptures. A seemingly minor misinterpretation can give a totally different understanding. For example, according to Christian interpretation, the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden is an apple, despite the fact that there is no scriptural evidence to suggest this.

    Jewish Rabbinical scholars still debate, if the tree of knowledge was a pomegranate or fig tree. This is pretty remarkable, considering, that both pomegranates and figs are the symbols of ancient Goddesses and also menstruation.

    June – even the story of Jesus and the “women with the issue of blood” can be interpreted very differently (Luke 8:44-47 NIV)

    “She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.”

    “But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” – The only occasion in the NT, when Jesus cries out “power has gone out from me”, is the touch of a menstruating woman. This suggests to the reader that contact with menstruating women is dangerous. If Jesus, felt power going out of him, what chances would ordinary mortal men have after contact with a menstruating woman?

    “Peter said, Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” – Jesus is in a crowd, everybody is trying to get close to him, touch him to be healed. This may include anyone from someone with in-growing toenail, to a person to terminal illness. Yet Jesus singles out a menstruating woman and “in the presence of all the people, she told (Jesus) why she had touched him.” – Not exactly a confidential consultation. Most women with menstrual problems would find it rather humiliating to go into details in a crowd. Little wonder she “came trembling…”

  11. A mistake that a lot of people (including religious) make is to take literal the bible’s words.I believe that it’s an ignorance to think that God wants us to suffer when we are giving birth to a child because we are sinners. I personally don’t relate the pain of labor with the sin.

  12. Growing up I believed in the religious doctrine my family present to me, and I embraced all that I could understand. As my spiritual growth deepened, I learned that my religious up bring was male dominated, and I was expected to assist in the alienation of myself as a women, and accept being the sub-class. I find it my responsibility as a women to debunk as many man made myths as humanly possible, by countering with truth. I will tell you the most painful part of the delivery of my three children, Was the intrusive detached manner in which I was treated and expected to participate in. I was not allowed to listen to what my baby or my body as it was trying to tell me what to do. I know my story is not uncommon.We need to collectively agree to share as much of the truth about the female human as possible. Let’s stop being “cash cows” for an antiquated male driven believe system. Stacia what if we re-frame the Gaze’ that is to say instead of looking at Eve’s eating of the apple/pear as a curse, we see it as Eve having a stronger intellectual curiosity than Adam. We can all see the positive changes for women that have come about by simple implementing the truth.
    Peace
    Gina Manichia

  13. I am a 74-year old man and I have become a feminist. Grown up and educated in catholic Bavaria (even the same town as the pope) and experiencing/observing the horrible things men with beliefs and with power perpetrated – and still perpetrate all over the world – I have to conclude that the denigration and exclusion of women – from Genesis down, via the church fathers, exclusion from church- and all government – has been an unmitigated tragedy for the world. Unless women and mothers can mitigate the frequent male insanity, there is no future for mankind – because today the finger of unstable males hovers over the nuclear launch button.
    So, dear women on this site, press forward, demand power sharing. You have more friends and supporters among sane men than you might realize. God bless. Sigurd

    • A blessing for Sigurd : may the Goddess keep you in grace and love, and bless and watch over you and all those dear to you.

      • “God so loved the world….” you know the rest. …and I look out my window and see God’s mind-boggling ingenuity of nature and the whole universe….This is the God I know. And then Genesis tries to tell us that this same God punishes Eve and billions of future women because she was seeking the knowledge of good and evil….??? When we know as A FACT that Jesus, the christian churches and theologians have for 2000 years struggled to define exactly in detail all aspects of good and evil??? There is something seriously wrong here and I have to wonder who is this purported God of genesis? It is almost an insult to the christian God we know, almost a blasphemy. Is it about time to retire that story to where it belongs , namely to 5000 years before Christ and re-write it in the light of what we know today about God, the universe and the salvation story?

      • Sonia, for the Children of the Book, and especially for Christians, this is the problem in a nutshell.
        Christian babies are born sinful, fallen,and (thanks to all that nonsense about the ‘Sin of Eve’) inherently wicked. Only a Savior can redeem these wretched, miserable little creatures. Jesus suffers the most terrible death imaginable and so ‘conquers’ the ‘curse’ through His death.(Except that women have to go on suffering anyway because it was all their fault in the first place.)

        Now, even as a child, I thought this objectionable. Growing up in post-WW2 Europe we heard plenty of stories of terrible deaths worse than those inflicted by the Roman state; apart from which, it always seemed to me that Mary, forced to watch the public torture of her son, must have suffered even more than He did.
        As I grew older, all this emphasis on violence and death became more and more repulsive to me. The Cross is an instrument of torture, why should anyone want to put it on an altar ?
        Of course, Christians will immediately respond that the cross is a symbol of the triumph OVER death, bought by Christ’s blood. But suppose, just suppose, all those little babies aren’t sinful in the first place ? Suppose they didn’t need redeeming ? Suppose the central tenant of Christian theology is just a horrible story about a man who is tortured to death in front of his mother ? We would be left simply with what Jesus actually taught, and no sinful babies.
        Now, I don’t believe I am inherently sinful at all. Mean, sometimes; not as kind or as truthful as I might always be; but not innately wicked. And I don’t believe I have ever, in my whole life, met a wicked baby.
        The point being, that if we do away with the nonsense about the ‘Sin of Eve’ we can stop thinking babies are evil.No sin, no fall, no need for redemption. But then the whole edifice of 2,000 years of Christian doctrine turns out to be built on a nasty misogynistic fairy tale, so no-one is about to go there. (Jesus might have done so,but that’s another story).
        The Children of the Book (all of them) live in fear and terror of a thundering Jehovah who loathes his children so much that he condemns them to eternal damnation if they show the merest flicker of rebellion against his writ. In a moment of enraged guilt, he blames the whole thing on his first-born daughter, and women have been taking the blame ever since.

        Once more from the top: the idea that women must suffer and bleed because they caused the damnation of every human being ever born is SO horrible, SO nonsensical, and SO cruel, that no amount of exegesis, interpretation, or explanation can EVER defend it.

      • pps !!! just reread my last ps, I meant, of course, no disrespect to the moderators who do a fabulous and largely unrecognised job !

  14. This is such a great topic and a very important one for women to know and understand but most of all i would like to know your understanding and scriptures back up regarding how jesus conquered this curse for both adam and eve through his death at the cross.

  15. ps, Sigurd, I’ve only just read your second post (sometimes things take a while to get moderated, its a pretty busy site !) but yes, as you will see from my response to Sonia, we are in agreement.

  16. Who said Eve sinned? Not GOD. The Lord God said that. A lot of people has it backwards. The women is the one who got both her and Adam out of the garden.
    Here I show you please don’t get confused. I have not read all your writing. I just read a couple of paragraphs and I thought I would make a comment. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (Genesis 1:27-29 KJV). So see GOD put no restriction on his people.

    On the other hand: after GOD finished his work (that’s past tents) all the heavens and Earth were Finished. That means done.

    Now look what The Lord God did: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-18, 21-23, 25 KJV)

    Now keep in mind. The Lord God told Adam and Adam told Eve to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil because Adam and Eve would die right? At the time Adam took the fruit from Eve and eat it. Did anyone die? The answer is no. They both lived for a long time. If I say if you eat this you will die. Then you should die. Adam and Eve lived a long time. Over 100 years. Other words The Lord God didn’t say Adam if you eat from this tree your going to die over a 100 years from now.

    Look at this. But first when you read this what the serpent is saying to Eve. The serpent is referred as a snake. Remember we have good snakes and bad snakes. Further a snake has a fork tongue. That means two kind of truths lets find out. Remember GOD and The Lord God could be different. Are they?

    Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (Genesis 3:1-13 KJV)

    Why would The Lord God get upset. Here’s the answer:And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22, 24 KJV)

    You see our GOD knew the women was smarter then the man. LOL I am a man with a wife and 5 wonderful kids. I just call it the way I see it.

    Yeah a lot of good people think GOD and The Lord God, The Lord is all the same. Maybe they are. I don’t read it that way for many reasons. I barely made it through high school and I never went to college. I’m not a very good reader. If I misspelled words please forgive me.

    God Bless

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  1. Curse – 2: Woman are Oppressed! Yay? | a god in love

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