Harry Potter has taken the world by storm. The author, J.K. Rowling is worth $1 Billion. The movie series, the highest grossing movie of all time, has pulled in $7.7 billion. The story revolves around Harry, a young and budding wizard in training at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. Everything revolves around the power inherent in the word of the caster’s desire. There are spells for everything, even curse spells. The curse spells cause untold suffering and agony upon the target, and are the expressed wish of the castor.
What is a curse? A curse (also called a jinx, hex or execration) is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object. In particular, "curse" may refer to a wish that harm or hurt will be inflicted by any supernatural powers, such as a spell, a prayer, an imprecation, an execration, magic, witchcraft, God, a natural force, or a spirit. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse)
There is an age old belief, that God cursed woman to be submissive in Genesis 3:16, as part of her punishment for sin. The belief is that God either reinstated man back to the mythological hierarchical position of headship/rulership, or instituted it at that time. I find this problematic, given the definition of “curse”. The implication is that God wished woman to suffer in childbirth, and desired for her to be ruled by sinful man, with all attached abuses as well. It implies that God, in order to fulfill this desire, had to speak, thus calling upon the Word to fulfill his wish. This means that Jesus was called to ensure that woman was submissive, and man was the ruler. Thus she is in direct rebellion against Jesus if she desires to not be ruled by abusive patriarchy. It says that Jesus (the entire Godhead) desired adversity, misfortune, suffering to befall humanity, especially woman. It makes God sound more like a pagan god Er, or the evil Lord Voldemort, and, since curses are words spoken to fulfill a desire, it makes Jesus himself the curse!
Additionally the punishment is unfair. 1 Timothy 2:14 says that woman was deceived. This means man was not. So why is man to allowed rule, if he willingly, knowing rebelled? Thus if woman is cursed to follow, man would be cursed to lead! This makes no sense to me.
Gen 3:14-20 "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Notice the structure: God addresses nature (the serpent more than the animals) God addresses woman, God addresses human relationship, God addresses nature, God addresses man.
To begin with, God curses the snake more than any other living creature: all creatures are cursed, the snake is just cursed more. God promises the snake the Seed will crush his head.
Then God comes to woman. The word “curse” is not used in this conversation with woman. God promises to multiply her sorrow and conception. In Genesis 1, Humanity was to be fruitful and multiply, and in Genesis 3, God has just told the serpent that the Seed is coming. However, to ensure this happens, God must now assist woman in bearing children needed to fulfill the Genesis 1 command, and the Promise of the Seed. There is no curse here. Only grace. The multiplying of sorrow is seen in the reality that 1) her children will be born in sin, and 2) her children may die before her (Abel, Gen 4)
The next phrase is not prescriptive, but descriptive. God is telling humanity of the tension that will now exist in their relationship as a result of sin. God is not telling humanity of His so structuring their relationship that man is now the boss, in order to fulfill the punitive desire of God. This phrase is descriptive, not prescriptive.
Next, God addresses nature through man. The ground is cursed. Man is not cursed. Man is told that since the ground is cursed he will have to fight with nature for his food. Man is then given the herb of the field and bread to supplement his diet. Why? Because:
Gen 3:22 "And the LORD God said, ....lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:..."
Rev_22:2 "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Since Man no longer had access to the healing leaves from the Tree of life, God gave man leaves (herb) from the ground to eat to add to his health. This is grace.
There is nothing in the passage that says God ordained hierarchy of male over female. There is no curse on humanity in this passage. There is a description of the relationship consequences for humanity, there is the curse on nature, but humanity received nothing but grace from the mouth of God.
Friends, after humanity rebelled, God did not become Lord Voldermort! God does not have an evil side, and we are not living in a Harry Potter movie. God didn’t come to us with wrath. God didn’t come to institute some patriarchal hierarchy, or some “sub”, assistant feminine role. God came to humanity with a grace-filled solution. God promised the coming of Jesus, assistance in child-bearing, and a substitute diet to support a healthy life.