The Antidote

Genesis 3:16b “Your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you.”

Observation: Eve comes now before her Creator to receive sentence for her sin. He has already told her that pain in childbearing would be greatly increased; now He addresses the pride and independence from Adam that gave rise to her sin in the first place: “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”

Application: Upon surface reading, does the thought of a woman desiring her husband seem an odd thing to think of as punishment? Doesn’t marital intimacy improve when wife desires husband, and improve further still when he acts as a nurturing, tender covering? Yet God clearly intends to bring Eve to a degree of subjection she was never designed for. How am I to understand this?

My first error is to buy into the cultural idea that these (pain in childbirth and desire for husband) are curses laid upon Eve. Curses are universally intended to bring ruin whether administered by God (think of the withered fig tree), or by a tribal witch doctor. God’s disciplines, though, always have as their purpose repentance and restoration of things to their original condition.

So what was the original condition? Adam and Eve were originally created to have equal standing before God. They were made to be interdependent with one another (1 Cor. 11:11–12), yet each was to receive their richest nourishment from their heavenly Father. God greatly increased Eve’s desire for her husband as a discipline designed to produce an ever-heightened longing for the Father; after all, the man she so desires was never designed to meet all her needs. Her problem is further magnified by Adam’s failure (and mine) to be freed from the fleshly tendency to dominate and control.

So both an imperious husband, and a wife whether domineering or slavishly dependent, each in their own way thwarts disciplines designed by God. The result is, disciplines are turned into curses by my own choice to continue in exaggerated independence from God first manifest in the garden.

This sickness seems to naturally infect all my relationships. Where shall I go for an antidote? Is immunity available? Am I wrong to be hopeful through God’s disciplines, or must I be forever ruined as though under a curse? Peter’s first chapter provides this assurance: “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope; though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, these have come so your faith may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Prayer: Tenderize my heart, Lord, first toward you, then toward those I love. Restore your order to my relationships, in Jesus’ name.

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