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Sermon 3: Blessings of “The Curse”

For the month of September I’ll be the guest speaker/preacher on Sunday mornings at Cypress Bible Church. The five-week series is titled “A Faith That Can Change the World.” Here’s a brief summary of the third sermon:

Blessings of “The Curse”

The second half of Genesis 3 is often referred to as “The Curse” or “The Curse of Man” where God punishes all of humankind for the sin of Adam and Eve. But I don’t see it that way. I have a different perspective. I see “The Curse” as a blessing.

The word “curse” is used only twice in Genesis 3. In verse 14 God curses the serpent above all other livestock and wild animals, and in verse 17 God curses the ground, making it difficult to cultivate. Nowhere in the garden of Eden drama does it say that God cursed humankind. Making this observation may sound like semantics, but I don’t think it is. By cursing the animals and the ground, I believe God is seeking to draw each of us to himself by exposing our frail humanity and our desperate need for him.  The primary intention of “The Curse” wasn’t to punish us, but to draw humankind back into a trust relationship with God.

As for God increasing the pain for women in childbirth, Genesis 3 does not refer to it as a curse. In fact, the pain of childbirth is shown to serve an important purpose. After Adam and Eve refused to take responsibility for eating the forbidden fruit, we don’t hear another peep, not a single word from Adam or Eve in the rest of the Bible, except for one place—the first verse of the very next chapter. Genesis 4:1 says:

Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”

Through the pain of childbirth, Eve realized that God is the Giver of life. The pain of childbirth is supposed to help us understand that, ultimately, we are not the creators of our children. When we see ourselves as the authors of our children’s lives, we run the risk of hijacking their lives, using them to achieve our unmet dreams and expectations; and instead of encouraging them to be who God created them to be, we push and manipulate them to be what we want them to be—beauty pageant winners, all-star athletes, and spelling bee champions. The pain of childbirth serves the vital role of exposing the truth that God alone is the Giver of life and that we need to encourage our children to be who God created them to be.

God cursing the ground and the animals and greatly increasing the pain of childbirth may sound sadistic, but it serves a vital purpose—it draws us back into a right relationship with God. Who turns to God when life is going great? Not me, that’s for sure. Success does not breed humility and gratitude. It’s the tough times—the trials and struggles of life—that give us perspective. It’s the pain of living in a cursed world that makes us stop and take inventory of what really matters in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t revel in “The Curse,” but I do see it as blessing because it’s through “The Curse” that we discover God as the sole Giver and Sustainer of life.

 

 

 

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