Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

Was Eve Cursed?

“To the woman He said, I will greatly

multiply your grief and your suffering in

pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing;

with spasms of distress you will bring

forth children. Yet your desire and craving

will be for your husband, and he will rule

over you.”

(Genesis 3:16 - Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

Did God Curse all Women?

God's Court in Session God begins His questioning by asking Adam if he had eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Note that though Adam points to Eve as having given it to him, he does not say that she deceived him. Adam merely states that Eve gave the fruit to him and he ate. However, in addition to blaming Eve, he also blames God by saying “The woman You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree… (Gen 3:12 - Emphasis Mine) Now God questions Eve: “What is this you have done?" He asks. Eve answers and states that she ate because the serpent had deceived her. Within the context of this scene, God is possibly not just asking Eve why she ate the fruit, but also why she gave the fruit to Adam and, in this way, leading him to fall as well. She may not have deceived Adam, but she did give fruit to him, knowing they were instructed not to eat it. Eve avoids that part of the question; Satan did not deceive her into giving the fruit to Adam, but the heat of her emotions and the corruption of her mind would have clouded her thinking at that time. Have you ever been in a place where your emotions are controlling your thoughts and you do what seems reasonable at that time, only to look back with a clearer mind later and have absolutely no sane explanation for doing what is now so obviously wrong? God does not pursue the question with Eve; it was enough to just ask the question. Eve is beginning to see the lie that was spoken and the devastating effect of knowledge of good and evil on their minds, as opposed to God's pure, crystal-clear wisdom. God’s Verdict God now turns His attention to the serpent. He does not question the serpent; He knows what happened. Here God pronounces the first curse; a dual curse on the serpent as well as on Satan himself. There is a lot of conjecture about the nature of the curse on the serpent, and I am not going to address that here as it is not within the scope of the focus of these blogs. The curse upon Satan is also a prophetic promise of the Messiah to come; the One, born of one of Eve's descendants, Who would deal a death-blow to Satan. This really shows the compassionate heart of God for mankind, as He promises vengeance on the one who caused their fall and ensuing suffering. Now God turns His attention back to Eve and then to Adam. As He addresses them, note that the Bible does not say that He curses them. The next mention of a curse is in verse 17, and it is in reference to the ground. So, in Genesis 3, God curses the serpent and Satan, and then the ground; He does not curse Adam and Eve. What Adam and Eve can now begin to expect, is not the effects of a curse from God, but the effects of putting themselves under a different master. Though Not Explicit, Does the Verse Not Describe a Curse? Though the Bible does not say that God cursed Eve, the wording of Genesis 3:16 certainly seems to describe a curse, does it not? As I pondered the story of Adam and Eve, I got a picture of them as a prophetic picture of Christ and the church. Eve was formed from the side of Adam. Was the church not formed from the pierced side of Jesus?. The church was birthed through Jesus’ shed blood and the outpouring of Holy Spirit. After Jesus died the Roman soldier pierced Jesus' side, bringing forth a flow of blood and water; while He was still alive, Jesus used water as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. So effectively could one not say that the church was formed from Jesus' side? As we look back over the ages, we can see that the journey of the church has not been one of a pure, untainted walk. There have been many and varied deceptions and false teachings that have come into the church, some of which have remained, e.g. Evolution, and the celebration of Easter (which is actually associated with the worship of a fertility goddess) as opposed to remembering Christ’s death and resurrection over the time of the Jewish Passover, with which His death is actually associated.  Other more serious deceptions would be the Crusades, Apartheid, and even replacement theology. What has been God's response to the church's deceptions? To curse her? Or to lovingly draw her back to Truth and repentance? Jesus took the punishment for her sin - which includes her deception despite having His written word. Having dealt with sin, He offers grace; grace includes a bringing back to truth and conviction of sin, which opens the way for repentance, forgiveness, and a fresh start. So, looking at Christ and the Church, how does Genesis 3:16 fit into that picture? Not very well, does it? Maybe my picture of Christ and the Church is “off”? Perhaps we should rather ask : how does Genesis 3:16 fit into the description of God’s character, as He expressed it to Moses? How does it demonstrate His compassion, mercy, lovingkindness? According to the American Standard Version, God says to Eve, "I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."  (Genesis 3:16 ) How does this fit into the picture of a God who is full of lovingkindness, mercy, and compassion; slow to anger, and forgiving? God did say to Moses that He will visit the sins of the fathers on the cildren and grandchildren to the third and fourth generations and we looked at this in detail last week. Even if the word for ‘visit’ means punish, God limits this punishment to the third or fourth generation, yet in Genesis 3:16 God seems to be cursing all generations from Eve - and only the women of those generations. How does this fit the description of God that He gives Himself? How does this fit in with the context of the preceding prophecy promising a Saviour, and the very next scene in which God covers their shame with garments of leather? Perhaps there is another way of understanding this verse? The Plot Thickens… Trying to get to the bottom of Genesis 3:16 has proved to be a deeply disturbing journey. With other Scripture passages one can find a depth of meaning as Hebrew scholars discuss and dissect the Hebrew words within the text, but this particular verse seems to be encased within invisible and impenetrable concrete walls. If there are any debates around this verse, they centre around the second half of the verse while the first half is mostly, seemingly just accepted. And where this verse is addressed, the Hebrew words are not interrogated as in other passages, the interpretation is just accepted at best, and at worst, Eve's 'curse' is intensified with completely unbiblical extras. The Talmud (which is not the Bible, but effectively Rabbinical commentaries) states that not only was Eve cursed with intensified birth pains and conceptions, but they go so far as to provide a list of no less than ten curses pronounced against her! None of the additional 'curses' are found in this text or anywhere else in Scripture. As I continued my search, I found some references to the writings of a woman who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; the writings of this woman Katharine Bushnell, raise some very disturbing questions. To know some background to this woman and the validity of her studies click here. Enter Katharine Bushnell At the time of Katharine doing her research and writing her book, Darwinism was beginning creep into the church. The church had already accepted the concept of an "old earth" (millions of years old as opposed to the Biblical model of thousands of years), and Darwin had recently published his book, "On the Origin of the Species." (1859) I find it deeply disturbing that though Katharine is highly praised for her work, it seems to have been swept under the carpet and her once high- profile name has slipped into obscurity. Despite her book being described as “ scholarly and erudite, but devout, and loyal to the Bible,” her work has been passively rejected while the "old earth" teachings of a man named Asa Gray and the teachings of Charles Darwin, which run counter to the Bible, were and still are, largely embraced. Though Katharine addresses the full range of Scriptures dealing with women, I am only addressing Genesis 3:16 at this time. It is important to note that when looking at the Hebrew words for this verse, they do not specify God as saying "I will greatly increase your pain..." In addition to this, the key to understanding this verse is to know that there are no vowels in the old Hebrew manuscripts or scrolls. The Hebrew Alphabet does have the letter called Aleph, which is like the letter ‘A’, but it is not used as a vowel (knowing this is important in understanding the writing below). Vowels are indicated by small symbols, but these were only added much later in history. When Rabbis study a text, one of the methodologies they ustilize is looking at the meaning of the words formed by all possible vowel-sets. Katharine Bushnell‘s study incorporates this process and Skip Moen explains her findings very succinctly: Hebrew has no vowels, so any translation will have to add vowels to the consonants in order to decide what the words mean. There are two biblical possibilities for vowel construction in the critical consonants that make up the phrase translated ‘greatly increase.’ The consonants are H-R-B-H and A-R-B-H. You can see that the two words look the same; the only difference being the initial consonant. Translators usually assume the H-R-B-H root is R-B-H, a verb meaning “to be many.’ If this root is repeated here, we get the translation ‘to be many, many,’ resulting in ‘greatly multiply.’ But a small shift in the vowels – from rabah to ‘arab – in the second word, changes the meaning entirely. Now it is not a repetition of R-B-H but rather a new word, A-R-B. This word, ‘arab, occurs more than thirty times in the Tanakh. It means ‘to lie in wait, to ambush.’ If this second word is ‘arab and not a repetition of rabah, then the meaning would be ‘has caused to increase the lying-in-wait your sorrow.’ Rearranged in English, God says, ‘The one who ambushed you has multiplied your sorrow.’” ("Vowel Problems | Hebrew Word Study | Skip Moen") Katharine translates this as "A snare hath multiplied thy sorrow..." As far as the word "conception" goes, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 3:16 is two consonants short of the normal Hebrew word for "conception" as used in Ruth 4:13. This becomes obscured to the person not versed in Hebrew and using a lexicon to establish understanding, for the lexicons refer you to the meaning of the Hebrew word used in Ruth... Brown-Driver- Briggs claims that the Hebrew word in Genesis 3:16 is "contracted or erroneous". However, Katharine refused to accept that this particular spelling was an error, and found that the Septuagint (written around the third century BC) translates this Word into "thy sighing", as in, "A snare hath multiplied thy sorrow and thy sighing..." The second part of this verse is a curious statement which seems to make little sense. What is this 'desire' of the women? Why would this 'desire' cause her husband to rule over her?  Some people speak of women desiring to rule over men, but is this what the verse is saying? At the end of the day, the interpretation is really just guesswork on text that honestly does not make any sense. Is it possible that it does not make sense because the translation is twisted to fit the frame of the translators rather than to fit the character of God? It all centres around one Hebrew word, 'teshuqa'... Only three occurrences of "teshuqa” are found in the Old Testament; it is found twice in Genesis and once in Song of Songs. Up until 382 AD all translations translated this Hebrew word as "turning"; the two Genesis occurrences were translated as "turning away", and the occurrence in Song of Songs was translated as "turning to." It was not until 382 AD that this word began to take on a new meaning, and in 800 AD it was translated as lust. However, looking at the early translations, Katharine states  : “The teaching is, that Eve is turning away from God to her husband, and, as a consequence of that deflection, Adam will rule over her.” (“God's Word to Women (Annotated)” by Katharine Bushnell) So, according to Katharine's research, Genesis 3:16 should actually be translated as 'A snare has multiplied your sorrow and sighing; turning away to your husband, he will rule over you.' Sin in a woman will lead her to look to her husband for that which she can only find in God. Man cannot provide that which can only be found in God and that inadequacy within the man, will lead to friction the relationship. The resulting stress arouses a self-protective aggression in the husband, causing him to want to want to take control of the situation, and he does this by dominating his wife to achieve that control. This is not God cursing Eve and her female offspring with multiplied pain and suffering, but rather a loving, compassionate God preparing her for the consequences of her eating the fruit He had warned them not to eat. In addition, He warns her of the consequences of allowing her heart to turn away from Him towards her husband, and seeking from him the things she can only obtain from God. Because of sin, it would become the natural inclination of her heart to turn away from God and towards her husband. Meditate on this and ask Holy Spirit for Truth.
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Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

Was Eve Cursed?

“To the woman He said, I will greatly

multiply your grief and your

suffering in pregnancy and the pangs

of childbearing; with spasms of

distress you will bring forth children.

Yet your desire and craving will be

for your husband, and he will rule

over you.”

(Genesis 3:16 - Amplified Bible, Classic

Edition)

Did God Curse all Women?

God's Court in Session God begins His questioning by asking Adam if he had eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Note that though Adam points to Eve as having given it to him, he does not say that she deceived him. Adam merely states that Eve gave the fruit to him and he ate. However, in addition to blaming Eve, he also blames God by saying “The woman You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree… (Gen 3:12 - Emphasis Mine) Now God questions Eve: “What is this you have done?" He asks. Eve answers and states that she ate because the serpent had deceived her. Within the context of this scene, God is possibly not just asking Eve why she ate the fruit, but also why she gave the fruit to Adam and, in this way, leading him to fall as well. She may not have deceived Adam, but she did give fruit to him, knowing they were instructed not to eat it. Eve avoids that part of the question; Satan did not deceive her into giving the fruit to Adam, but the heat of her emotions and the corruption of her mind would have clouded her thinking at that time. Have you ever been in a place where your emotions are controlling your thoughts and you do what seems reasonable at that time, only to look back with a clearer mind later and have absolutely no sane explanation for doing what is now so obviously wrong? God does not pursue the question with Eve; it was enough to just ask the question. Eve is beginning to see the lie that was spoken and the devastating effect of knowledge of good and evil on their minds, as opposed to God's pure, crystal-clear wisdom. God’s Verdict God now turns His attention to the serpent. He does not question the serpent; He knows what happened. Here God pronounces the first curse; a dual curse on the serpent as well as on Satan himself. There is a lot of conjecture about the nature of the curse on the serpent, and I am not going to address that here as it is not within the scope of the focus of these blogs. The curse upon Satan is also a prophetic promise of the Messiah to come; the One, born of one of Eve's descendants, Who would deal a death-blow to Satan. This really shows the compassionate heart of God for mankind, as He promises vengeance on the one who caused their fall and ensuing suffering. Now God turns His attention back to Eve and then to Adam. As He addresses them, note that the Bible does not say that He curses them. The next mention of a curse is in verse 17, and it is in reference to the ground. So, in Genesis 3, God curses the serpent and Satan, and then the ground; He does not curse Adam and Eve. What Adam and Eve can now begin to expect, is not the effects of a curse from God, but the effects of putting themselves under a different master. Though Not Explicit, Does the Verse Not Describe a Curse? Though the Bible does not say that God cursed Eve, the wording of Genesis 3:16 certainly seems to describe a curse, does it not? As I pondered the story of Adam and Eve, I got a picture of them as a prophetic picture of Christ and the church. Eve was formed from the side of Adam. Was the church not formed from the pierced side of Jesus?. The church was birthed through Jesus’ shed blood and the outpouring of Holy Spirit. After Jesus died the Roman soldier pierced Jesus' side, bringing forth a flow of blood and water; while He was still alive, Jesus used water as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. So effectively could one not say that the church was formed from Jesus' side? As we look back over the ages, we can see that the journey of the church has not been one of a pure, untainted walk. There have been many and varied deceptions and false teachings that have come into the church, some of which have remained, e.g. Evolution, and the celebration of Easter (which is actually associated with the worship of a fertility goddess) as opposed to remembering Christ’s death and resurrection over the time of the Jewish Passover, with which His death is actually associated.  Other more serious deceptions would be the Crusades, Apartheid, and even replacement theology. What has been God's response to the church's deceptions? To curse her? Or to lovingly draw her back to Truth and repentance? Jesus took the punishment for her sin - which includes her deception despite having His written word. Having dealt with sin, He offers grace; grace includes a bringing back to truth and conviction of sin, which opens the way for repentance, forgiveness, and a fresh start. So, looking at Christ and the Church, how does Genesis 3:16 fit into that picture? Not very well, does it? Maybe my picture of Christ and the Church is “off”? Perhaps we should rather ask : how does Genesis 3:16 fit into the description of God’s character, as He expressed it to Moses? How does it demonstrate His compassion, mercy, lovingkindness? According to the American Standard Version, God says to Eve, "I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."  (Genesis 3:16 ) How does this fit into the picture of a God who is full of lovingkindness, mercy, and compassion; slow to anger, and forgiving? God did say to Moses that He will visit the sins of the fathers on the cildren and grandchildren to the third and fourth generations and we looked at this in detail last week. Even if the word for ‘visit’ means punish, God limits this punishment to the third or fourth generation, yet in Genesis 3:16 God seems to be cursing all generations from Eve - and only the women of those generations. How does this fit the description of God that He gives Himself? How does this fit in with the context of the preceding prophecy promising a Saviour, and the very next scene in which God covers their shame with garments of leather? Perhaps there is another way of understanding this verse? The Plot Thickens… Trying to get to the bottom of Genesis 3:16 has proved to be a deeply disturbing journey. With other Scripture passages one can find a depth of meaning as Hebrew scholars discuss and dissect the Hebrew words within the text, but this particular verse seems to be encased within invisible and impenetrable concrete walls. If there are any debates around this verse, they centre around the second half of the verse while the first half is mostly, seemingly just accepted. And where this verse is addressed, the Hebrew words are not interrogated as in other passages, the interpretation is just accepted at best, and at worst, Eve's 'curse' is intensified with completely unbiblical extras. The Talmud (which is not the Bible, but effectively Rabbinical commentaries) states that not only was Eve cursed with intensified birth pains and conceptions, but they go so far as to provide a list of no less than ten curses pronounced against her! None of the additional 'curses' are found in this text or anywhere else in Scripture. As I continued my search, I found some references to the writings of a woman who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; the writings of this woman Katharine Bushnell, raise some very disturbing questions. To know some background to this woman and the validity of her studies click here. Enter Katharine Bushnell At the time of Katharine doing her research and writing her book, Darwinism was beginning creep into the church. The church had already accepted the concept of an "old earth" (millions of years old as opposed to the Biblical model of thousands of years), and Darwin had recently published his book, "On the Origin of the Species." (1859) I find it deeply disturbing that though Katharine is highly praised for her work, it seems to have been swept under the carpet and her once high-profile name has slipped into obscurity. Despite her book being described as “ scholarly and erudite, but devout, and loyal to the Bible,” her work has been passively rejected while the "old earth" teachings of a man named Asa Gray and the teachings of Charles Darwin, which run counter to the Bible, were and still are, largely embraced. Though Katharine addresses the full range of Scriptures dealing with women, I am only addressing Genesis 3:16 at this time. It is important to note that when looking at the Hebrew words for this verse, they do not specify God as saying "I will greatly increase your pain..." In addition to this, the key to understanding this verse is to know that there are no vowels in the old Hebrew manuscripts or scrolls. The Hebrew Alphabet does have the letter called Aleph, which is like the letter ‘A’, but it is not used as a vowel (knowing this is important in understanding the writing below). Vowels are indicated by small symbols, but these were only added much later in history. When Rabbis study a text, one of the methodologies they ustilize is looking at the meaning of the words formed by all possible vowel-sets. Katharine Bushnell‘s study incorporates this process and Skip Moen explains her findings very succinctly: Hebrew has no vowels, so any translation will have to add vowels to the consonants in order to decide what the words mean. There are two biblical possibilities for vowel construction in the critical consonants that make up the phrase translated ‘greatly increase.’ The consonants are H-R-B-H and A-R-B-H. You can see that the two words look the same; the only difference being the initial consonant. Translators usually assume the H-R-B-H root is R- B-H, a verb meaning “to be many.’ If this root is repeated here, we get the translation ‘to be many, many,’ resulting in ‘greatly multiply.’ But a small shift in the vowels – from rabah to ‘arab – in the second word, changes the meaning entirely. Now it is not a repetition of R-B-H but rather a new word, A-R-B. This word, ‘arab, occurs more than thirty times in the Tanakh. It means ‘to lie in wait, to ambush.’ If this second word is ‘arab and not a repetition of rabah, then the meaning would be ‘has caused to increase the lying-in-wait your sorrow.’ Rearranged in English, God says, ‘The one who ambushed you has multiplied your sorrow.’” ("Vowel Problems | Hebrew Word Study | Skip Moen") Katharine translates this as "A snare hath multiplied thy sorrow..." As far as the word "conception" goes, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 3:16 is two consonants short of the normal Hebrew word for "conception" as used in Ruth 4:13. This becomes obscured to the person not versed in Hebrew and using a lexicon to establish understanding, for the lexicons refer you to the meaning of the Hebrew word used in Ruth... Brown-Driver- Briggs claims that the Hebrew word in Genesis 3:16 is "contracted or erroneous". However, Katharine refused to accept that this particular spelling was an error, and found that the Septuagint (written around the third century BC) translates this Word into "thy sighing", as in, "A snare hath multiplied thy sorrow and thy sighing..." The second part of this verse is a curious statement which seems to make little sense. What is this 'desire' of the women? Why would this 'desire' cause her husband to rule over her?  Some people speak of women desiring to rule over men, but is this what the verse is saying? At the end of the day, the interpretation is really just guesswork on text that honestly does not make any sense. Is it possible that it does not make sense because the translation is twisted to fit the frame of the translators rather than to fit the character of God? It all centres around one Hebrew word, 'teshuqa'... Only three occurrences of "teshuqa” are found in the Old Testament; it is found twice in Genesis and once in Song of Songs. Up until 382 AD all translations translated this Hebrew word as "turning"; the two Genesis occurrences were translated as "turning away", and the occurrence in Song of Songs was translated as "turning to." It was not until 382 AD that this word began to take on a new meaning, and in 800 AD it was translated as lust. However, looking at the early translations, Katharine states  : “The teaching is, that Eve is turning away from God to her husband, and, as a consequence of that deflection, Adam will rule over her.” (“God's Word to Women (Annotated)” by Katharine Bushnell) So, according to Katharine's research, Genesis 3:16 should actually be translated as 'A snare has multiplied your sorrow and sighing; turning away to your husband, he will rule over you.' Sin in a woman will lead her to look to her husband for that which she can only find in God. Man cannot provide that which can only be found in God and that inadequacy within the man, will lead to friction the relationship. The resulting stress arouses a self- protective aggression in the husband, causing him to want to want to take control of the situation, and he does this by dominating his wife to achieve that control. This is not God cursing Eve and her female offspring with multiplied pain and suffering, but rather a loving, compassionate God preparing her for the consequences of her eating the fruit He had warned them not to eat. In addition, He warns her of the consequences of allowing her heart to turn away from Him towards her husband, and seeking from him the things she can only obtain from God. Because of sin, it would become the natural inclination of her heart to turn away from God and towards her husband. Meditate on this and ask Holy Spirit for Truth.
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Prev Next