The Living Word
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
The Word In Motion
Good news! God did NOT curse man in the Garden of Eden.
How often have you heard someone (or yourself) say, “I’m living under the curse.”? News flash, God did not curse man after Adam and Eve sinned. He cursed the serpent: “So the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’” (Genesis 4:14-15) And He cursed the ground: “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you…’” (Genesis 4:17, emphasis added) In both cases He made it clear that it was a curse. What DID He say to man (and woman)? “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’” (Genesis 4:16) and “to Adam he said, ‘…through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’” (Genesis 4:17-19)
I can hear you. “Well, if that’s not a curse, what is?” I’m glad you asked. The Law. The New Testament talks about it quite a bit. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10) More good news: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (Galatians 3:13 quoting Deuteronomy 21:23) And even more good news, it’s not going to follow us: “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
“But you still didn’t say what that was in Genesis.” I know. It seems like a curse because it involves pain. But really it is just consequences. You know what I mean. When our children do something wrong and they get hurt, we don’t love them any less or want to see them continue to hurt. We have to let them suffer the consequences so that 1. They will not do it again. 2. So that they can see the power of our love – that it will continue even through the tough times. In Genesis we see God graciously giving Adam and Eve a heads-up on the consequences. I really don’t think there was anger in His voice as He spoke to them. Anger is typically a response that God reserves for His enemies. Notice, too, that there was already pain involved in childbirth. It was increased as a consequence to the sin. Man also had already been given the task of tending the crops, but now there is the added consequence of pain involved. We still live with the consequences. We all have sinned. But we are not all cursed.
About that Curse of the Law, it is written: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.” (Deuteronomy 11:36-28) It boils down to a choice. “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Of course then we must mention “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36) and “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Will you continue to confess that you are living under the curse, or will you learn to accept the consequences of sin and walk in newness of life? “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4, and please don’t stop there, keep reading.) That, my friend, is freedom from the curse.