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By the grace of God I am what I am: 
 1 Cor. 15:10a​
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Transition from Paradise - Part IV  
God's Instructions to Man

The first thing we see after God issues the promise of the coming Redeemer is information to Eve concerning childbirth. This is definitely information Eve needs to have. Up to this point she has not had any children. Can you imagine the chaos that would result in Eve’s mind if God does not share this information? She has never heard of childbirth before, she has never seen the growth of a woman’s body as the child grows within, she has never experienced the feeling of something moving around inside of her, she has never had to work through the delivery of a child. This information is of the utmost importance to Eve.

Genesis 3:16
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.

Too often this entire verse is viewed as the woman’s punishment for her part in the sin of mankind. However, once this verse is understood there is nothing in here about punishment. This is a verse that gives great information and teaching to Eve so that she can live her life to the fullest. 

The word for sorrow means labor and conception, when accurately translated, means pregnancy. God tells Eve that He is going to greatly multiple her having children. Many times men have translated this word sorrow as pain. And childbirth has long been viewed as simply a very painful experience that women just need to endure. It is their lot in life for having failed in the Garden. To steal a phrase from the women’s movement, “Sounds like the opinion of a male chauvinist”.

In 1983 I met Dr. Carolyn Rawlins, well known for her work in obstetrics and gynecology. Doing her medical practice she delivered about 16,000 babies. Dr. Rawlins taught me that men have promoted the idea of childbirth being nothing but pain. She has taught, that until the turn of the century, childbirth was not considered a painful thing to be endured but simply hard work. She said there should be pressure during delivery but if the body is in shape, and you deliver a baby correctly, there should be no pain. Pain should only be an issue if something has gone wrong.

For instance, giving birth while on your back is perhaps the worst position for a woman. It promotes back labor and that promotes pain. However, it was considered the easiest position to place a woman in for the doctor’s benefit. If a woman gave birth while laying down the Doctor would have a much easier time taking care of the things he needed to accomplish.

The point is, childbirth is not supposed to be an ordeal that was given to women to punish them. This verse is saying that God will greatly multiply a woman’s pregnancy and thus her labor, her work. For by labor or work she will have children. God never wants people to be ignorant. God gives knowledge and understanding in all areas of life so that people are prepared and equipped to handle every situation. 

Then Genesis 3:16 says, “that her desire will be to her husband and that he shall rule over her”. Now this causes no end of problems for both men and women.

Women see this as slavery and sexism, while too many men see this as an opportunity to become the new local dictator. Although, this is only a generalization, these opinions seem to be held as the standard in our world’s understanding. But this cannot be what God is talking about in this verse.

If women where designed as slaves for men then the rest of God’s Word is lying and lacks integrity! Therefore the problem is either in our understanding of this verse or someone has written down a wrong or inaccurate translation. A problem will never exist with the integrity of God’s Word. The problem will always be man or man’s understanding.

Judges 8:23
And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, 
neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you.

All three of these words for rule are the same as the word in Genesis 3:16. Does God rule as a dictator? If He did then we would all be robots, without any freedom of will. The word rule simply means to have authority.

The husband is considered the head of the house but by no means is that to indicate a dictatorship or a bully. It does not even imply that a man has all of the answers or even knows all of the questions. It simply goes to the point of order. In any decision you cannot have two heads. With two heads you have confusion and indecision and that is not of God. Having two heads in any situation is like having multiple centers of reference for truth. More than one center of reference for truth leads directly to confusion and frustration.

When playing a game of baseball the umpire made a call that one of the coaches believed was wrong. The ball had been pitched, after bouncing in the dirt in front of the plate, the ball hit the batter. The umpire awarded the batter first base for being hit by the pitch. The coach disagreed with this call saying the ball is dead once it hits the dirt and that the batter should not be awarded the base. As proof for his point the coach calls over a parent who also has umpired a few baseball games. What is the source of truth for the game of baseball? Is it the coach? Is it the parent the coach has called into the situation? Or is it the rule book? When we have more than one center of reference for truth then we will have confusion, likewise within the family unit. 

God gave one person the authority for the final decision. If both have the authority of the final decision then there will be multiple centers of reference for truth in every situation where the couple does not fully agree. This would lead to confusion and a lack of harmony.

Genesis 2:20
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, 
and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

The words help meet are one word in the Hebrew, and it means an aid or an assistant. God designed the man and the woman to work together when they are husband and wife. They are to stand side by side, not front to back. God did not design the wife as a disciple to the husband but rather as his equal. 

God rules over us to the degree that His Word dwells in us. To the degree that we hold God’s Word in our minds and then act accordingly, that Word of God will have the final decision in our daily lives. This is how the husband is to have rule over the woman. He is to have the final decision, although the direction that is taken could be the direction the woman has declared. It should never be an issue of who has had the final say or word, but rather, who has brought the issue back to the words of God.

Thus we can see that this word rule does not carry with it any negative implications. It is not punishment for the woman nor is it a reward for the man. It is simply keeping order in a marriage as the couple confronts a multitude of situations in life.  

Next, the word desire in Genesis 3:16 is defined as affection to a superior. This definition only adds more thoughts about the woman being less than the man. Remember I said earlier that the Word of God cannot contradict itself. If the Word of God has integrity then it cannot contradict itself. Yet saying Eve is to have affection for Adam as to a superior contradicts and negates Eve being Adam’s help meet of Genesis 2:20. 

This would be a good place to point out that not all definitions in concordances or lexicons are accurate. A commentary about the Bible, a book teaching about the Bible, a study aid, like a concordance or a lexicon, are all wonderful when it comes to helping a person understand the Word of God. However, they are all manmade and with man the door is always open for error. For a Christian the only center of reference for truth is the Word of God. It is not teachers of the Bible, it is not denominations, and it is not in man-made doctrines and interpretations. 

Besides looking at how a concordance defines a word in the Bible all Christians need to look at how that word is used in the Bible, allowing the Bible to define the words it uses on its own. Let’s look at this word desire and see how it is used in the Bible to determine if the definition, “affection to a superior,” is biblically accurate.

Song of Solomon 7:10
I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me.

This is speaking about the love of the Promised Seed for his bride, Israel. Interesting how this is used here again concerning a marriage, howbeit figuratively.

In the Song of Solomon Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and Israel is the Bride. This book is about the marriage of Christ and Israel. His desire is to his bride. Desire is the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 3:16.

Now a question must come up in our minds, affection to a superior? Is Israel superior to Christ? The answer is an obvious no. 

Does Christ have affection for Israel? Yes. Is the wife to have affection for her husband? Yes. Where then does this “to a superior” come into play? In this case, I think the word rule in the verse led the writers of the concordances to add the words “to a superior” to the definition of the word desire.

 I believe concordances and Lexicons are a great aid to study but they are not always accurate since they are written by men and women like you and I. People can always make a mistake. It is the Word of God that is mistake free. What God has inspired to be written will be true and accurate. Not necessarily will everything a man or a woman writes be inspired by God. We need to allow the Word of God to define its own terms whenever possible. As for this word desire, in two of the three places this word is used, it cannot mean to a superior.

Therefore, God is telling Eve, I will greatly multiply your pregnancies and you shall have children with work, with labor. And your affection will be to your husband and he will be the head, the one responsible to make the final decision. This last part is no more than a reiteration of the standard that was set, by God, in the Garden for Adam and Eve.

It is at this point that I need to go back and pick up a point. The point, that God only gave the condition about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to Adam. These were instructions God never gave to Eve. Eve had to take Adam at his word. Eve had to trust Adam’s final decision not to eat from this one tree. This is where the Devil was able to trick Eve. The Devil could never get Eve to question God but he did get her to question Adam.

1 Timothy 2:13-15a
For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived 
was in the transgression. 
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing...

The word “first” here is in reference to authority. Adam was formed and given authority. In Genesis 1:26 when God gives man dominion over the earth the texts read “Adam” rather than “them” as it is translated. If we go back and look at the trap the Devil laid for Eve in Genesis 3 we will see how the Devil got her to consider doubting the words of Adam.

Genesis 2:16-17
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.

This is the command given to Adam alone. This command is never repeated by God to Eve. Then the Devil comes alone and starts her thinking and considering what Adam has communicated to her.

Genesis 3:1b
...hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Is this really what God said Eve? He never gave you this information. You walk and talk with God just like Adam, did Adam make a mistake in what he thinks God said?

Genesis 3:4b
...Ye shall not surely die:

The Hebrew here has the word “ye” in the singular. You, Eve, shall not surely die if you eat this fruit!

Genesis 3:5
For God doth know that in the day ye [Eve] eat thereof, 
then your [Eve’s] eyes shall be opened, 
and ye [Eve] shall be as gods {again singular in the text}, 
knowing good and evil.

The trick used against Eve was to doubt the authority of her husband Adam. She questioned his authority in the Garden and God is simply reminding Eve that the same standard exists once you leave the Garden. Adam will still have the final decision.

Too often people assume Eve was tricked into questioning God. But why would a woman who is walking in fellowship with God, someone who is walking and talking with God on a daily basis not turn right around and ask God if she had a question? Eve’s problem is with Adam, not God. Therefore, she turns with the fruit and goes to Adam.

Thus, in Genesis 3:16, God is telling Eve, you are going to have children. It is going to be work, hard work. And Eve, your affection should be to your husband and Eve; Adam still has the authority, the final decision. Yet God also has instructions for Adam, for Adam also needs to know and understand some of the things that are about to change in his life.

Genesis 3:17
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 [again singular pointing to the one who received God’s instructions in the Garden about the fruit of the tree], saying,
 Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [in the area of effects ]
 is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow [labor], 
shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

God does not say, because you listened to your wife she will be your slave forever. Yet, many times, that appears to be what is heard when this verse is read. It does say, because you sinned, the ground is now cursed. It will not produce like it did when you worked the ground in the Garden. And in sorrow, again work or labor, shall you eat of it. You are going to have to put forth a lot of work and the ground will produce less.

This is a thought that would come up in Adam’s mind as time goes on. What am I doing wrong? I am working my heart out in this field every day and the results just aren’t the same as I saw in the Garden. Again, it is very understandable why God handles this with Adam. And then God says to Adam, there will also be some new things coming up out of the ground that you didn’t see in the Garden.

Genesis 3:18
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; 
[everything that grows in your field will not be something you have cultivated] and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Now there will be thorns and thistles growing. You may have planted corn or wheat Adam, but you need to understand some other things are also going to grow in your field. 

You need to understand Adam and Eve are about to go through culture shock unlike any culture shock anyone has ever experienced. They are moving from the Garden of God to the kingdom or reign of the Devil. Life for Adam and Eve is about to change drastically for the worst.

God also tells Adam that he is now to eat herbs of the field. That was not God’s instructions to Adam when he was in the Garden. In Genesis 1:29 man’s meat is fruit. Now after the fall of man God says that the herb shall be for meat. So what is the difference and the point in this change?

Psalm 104:14
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, 
and herb for the service of man:
 that he may bring forth food out of the earth.

What service do herbs provide for man? The Word of God does not specifically say. So in going outside of the Word, for some understanding, we learn that one purpose of herbs is medicinal, that is, they are good for healing the body. While fruits are considered good for sustaining the body.

In the Garden they ate fruits for their meat. Now that man has sinned, and there is corruption in his body and soul life, man is instructed to eat herbs for meat. Once man will require healing from sickness and disease, God shows man how to help care for his physical wholeness, and that is with herbs.

With these words, God has concluded His instructions to Adam and Eve to prepare them for the things they are about to encounter as they leave His Garden. But there is still more God needs to handle with Adam and Eve, the area of a covering for sin until the Promised Seed will come is of major importance. What are they to do to atone for sin until God can send the one who will defeat the Devil and pay the penalty for all of mankind’s sins?