Posted by: Ety W. | August 1, 2008

Genesis 3 – The Consequences, Part 1

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Disobedience changes things. In Genesis chapters one and two, we saw that the Creator had a plan for His creation. When Adam and Eve stepped out side of this plan all of creation was set on a different course.

We’ve already seen that one major consequence of their disobedience was the experiential knowledge of evil. But there were other consequences as well, individual consequences for the serpent, man, and woman. We’re going to focus on the consequences for the woman.

To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Yet your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
Gen. 3:16

The first consequence was pain in childbirth. The King James Version uses the word “sorrow.” Interestingly, two different Hebrew words were originally used in this verse, though they come from the same root.

Pain – Strong’s 6087 – עצב – atsab = worry, pain, anger. According to TWOT1 , it refers to both physical pain as well as emotional sorrow.

What does that mean? The obvious thing is the physical pain of childbirth itself. It can be horrific. However, this pain usually does not overshadow the joy of the new baby itself. If it didn’t, women would probably stop having children!

But what of the emotional sorrow? I think that comes later, when children begin to experience for themselves the consequences of living in a fallen world. Most mothers would do anything to protect their children from pain, fear, rejection, failure, humiliation, prejudice, unfair treatment, etc. Of course, this is something we cannot do, which is why parents are instructed to train their children in godliness. We cannot insulate them from the consequences of living in a fallen world, but we can teach them how to live in that fallen world.

A second type of sorrow occurs as our children begin to make their own choices, often unwise, and often with disastrous results. This is why we have such verses in Proverbs as:

A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother. Prov. 10:1

A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him. Prov. 17:25

It is also why we get controversial verses such as:

He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently. Prov. 13:24

Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death. Prov. 19:18

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him. Prov. 22:15

Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also delight your soul. Prov. 29:17

Having a sin nature means being naturally self-centered. It means wanting our own way. Children do not have to be taught to be selfish, this is a natural part of the fallen human nature. If left unchecked, selfishness will grow into self-indulgence without regard for the consequences to either self or others. Such people make very foolish choices regarding their lives, based on short term self gratification rather than the long term results of such decisions, or long term goals for something better. It is cruel to allow a child to grow up this way.

These verses in Proverbs recognize that human nature does not change without motivation. We may change our behavior to obtain something favorable, or we may change it to escape something unfavorable. Knowledge does not change human behavior; consequences change behavior. For example, it isn’t the knowledge of cancer which usually motivates people to stop smoking and eat their green, leafy vegetables. It is having cancer which more likely brings about these changes.

If we recognize that babies are born with a sin nature, then we understand the need to equip them to minimize it’s consequences. It would be wonderful if we could impart our experience another way, but in the end, what is needed is training in self-discipline and self-control. Proverbs simply states that the brief sting of the rod is small when compared to the greater injury that an undisciplined, reckless life can bring. We may or may not choose to use the rod, but the seriousness of the consequences of a child’s foolish choices is no less severe.

As parents we are always relieved when our children make wise choices. To see them make wrong or foolish choices is painful indeed. Yet according to Gen. 3:16, it is a consequence of our fallen nature.Content copyright 2008 by https://encouragetheyoungwomen.wordpress.com/. If you find it anywhere else, it’s been stolen
Click here for Genesis 3 – The Consequences, Part 2
1 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Laird, Archer, & Waltke, (Moody Press, Chicago, 1980) Vol I, p. 687


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