by Kristen C. Strocchia
“To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
Eve was the second to act disobediently [the first being the serpent] and the second to receive the consequences for her sinful actions. Right from their creation, God gave Adam and Eve the command to be fruitful and increase in number [Genesis 1:28]. However, God didn’t originally create childbirth to be painful for women. This is a direct result of the Fall.
However, beyond childbearing, the original Hebrew and earlier translations of this scripture indicate that the pain and sorrow would also extend into childrearing, that is raising children.
Again, God originally intended for human families to have perfect, sinless relationships with each other. In this sense, God’s pronouncement of Eve’s consequence is more of a statement of–you dropped it and it broke.
You disobeyed, despising my warning that death would come. The first death is your relationship to Me, your Holy Creator [for where sin is, God cannot be also; 1 John 3:9]. The second death–as a mother–is having sacrificed a right relationship with your children. For all earthly time after, sinful natures have brought mothers sorrow in raising their children.
That is not to say that there is no good. It is just to say that evil was never intended to be present in human relationships.
Beyond the mother-child relationship damage, Eve’s relationship with Adam would now also be strained. There would be tensions over authority. Since God was no longer the Sovereign in Eve and Adam’s hearts [because they’d traded their Godly citizenship], Adam would now rule as Eve’s earthly authority.
Now, the feminists out there might be thinking, “This is so sexist. That’s exactly why I don’t believe in God.”
Well, fast-forward to Galatians 3:28. Here we see that Christ’s redemption–of our Godly citizenship–on the cross restored relational equality. Again, it wasn’t God’s intention for any human to be subservient to another, but the sinful nature is selfish. People sinful-naturally needed an authority hierarchy, because sin dethroned God from their hearts. But Jesus died to set it to right.
Secondly, we have to be very careful not to decide there is no God just because we don’t like what He might have to say. That is Satan’s lie rearing its ugly head in our lives all over again. “You can be like God, knowing…”[Genesis 3:5]. You can decide for yourself. If you don’t like what He says, then whatevs! Just pretend He doesn’t exist, and do your own thing.
As Christians, though, we should be living as one redeemed. Our marriage relationships [whether present or future] should be characterized by mutual love and respect, with Christ ever at the center. And, yes. When we can’t come to an agreement over a decision that can’t be done two ways, Christian wives need to submit to their husband’s final say as the authority. [But hopefully you married him because you love and trust him!]
Is there any part of God’s Word that doesn’t sit well with you? Pray and ask God to soften your heart to Him, to help you to surrender to His omniscient wisdom. Pray and ask God to help you to understand the matter from His perspective.