IN THE BEGINNING GOD (9) GOD’S CURSE UPON THE WOMAN
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.
THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death. God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!
THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).
THE DIVINE CURSE UPON THE WOMAN
After the curse placed on the serpent and Satan, God addresses Eve next, saying: “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16). This curse is not as severe as the one placed on the devil. Initially, God has blessed Adam and Eve (Gen 1:28). Therefore, He does not curse them directly. But God punishes them for their sin. The curse on Adam and Eve affects their lives in this world, their descendants and their labor. This curse is milder than the one placed on the serpent. God’s curse on the devil is eternal but the curse on mankind is temporal. It is a curse that can be broken thru Christ! “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28)
In the history of mankind, most women have been exploited, abused and neglected. The Jews treated the women as secondhand citizens. A woman was seen as inferior to men. A woman belongs to her father, and after marriage, to her husband. The men rule over the women. Jewish men, at the beginning of the daily morning prayers, say: “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me to be a slave, a pagan or a woman.” Over the centuries, women were denied their rights. For example, a woman could not get an education, could not buy property, could not vote, and could not do business with a man (even if he was her father, brother, husband or son). Married women could not exercise control over their children without the approval of their husbands. A woman’s work was seen to be at home, to take care of her husbands and children. Most universities and professions did not allow women to participate. All over the world, the women endured discrimination. The first time a woman raised her voice in public against this discrimination was in the 14th century. A French woman called Christine de Pisan wrote books challenging the system and asked that women should be allowed to get an education. Men tried to quench her voice saying that women are born foolish and superficial. The men became afraid that if women get an education, they will fight back. This is how the phenomenon called ‘feminism’ was born. This is not a Biblical movement. It is born as a natural reaction against oppression.
These are few examples of women who fought for their rights and opened the way for others:
*Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) became the first woman in the United States to be granted an MD degree and to become a medical doctor. She was rejected from all the medical schools. The only school who accepted her was the medical school of New York where the men students voted that she should come. She was the only female student in the class to the end of her course. She never married and had no children.
* Edith Clarke (1883 – 1959) was the first woman to be professionally employed as an electrical engineer in the United States, and the first female professor of electrical engineering in the country.
*Arabella Babb Mansfield (1846 – 1911), was the first female lawyer in the United States.
*Valentina Tereshkova (1937- ) is the first and youngest woman to have flown in space with a solo mission in 1963. She orbited the Earth 48 times, spent almost three days in space, and remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.
* Amelia Mary Earhart (1897 – 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records and wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences.
* Chinyere Kalu, MFR (née Onyenucheya) is the first Nigerian female commercial pilot and the first woman to fly an aircraft in Nigeria. She served as the rector and chief instructor of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (2011 – 2014)
*Dr. Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi (née Akerele, 1910 – 1971) graduated from Dublin, Ireland, medical school in 1951 with first class honors. She became a specialist in gynecology and obstetrics. She was the first woman to practice as a physician in Nigeria.
* Joana Maduka (1941- ) is the first female Nigerian engineer. She became the first female fellow of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria in 1974.
*Mrs Stella Marke Thomas was the first lawyer in West Africa and Nigeria. She was called to the bar in 1933. She was the first female magistrate to sit on the bench in Nigeria. Stella was born in Lagos in 1906. Her father, Peter J. Thomas was a wealthy businessman of Sierra Leonean descent, he was the first African to be president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce (1923-1930). He supported his daughter’s desire to further her education. He said: “if you educate a man you are educating an individual, if you educate a woman it means you are educating a family”
Because Eve disobeyed God’s command and sinned, God placed this particular curse upon her. It affects all her natural daughters. One thing is sure: The lives of women all over the world is generally hard. Men rule over women and misuse women as servants. Most women work outside the home and also work in the kitchen, in the homes, taking care of the children, and satisfying their husbands sexually. Most men are harsh and ungrateful towards women. They do not try to understand their wives, to help them or pity them when they work hard. Most men take their wives for granted. This is the general pattern all over the world, in the homes of unbelievers. It is only in Christ, in the homes of believers, because the curse is lifted, the hearts and attitude of the people change.
Because of Adam’ sin, all humanity is affected by sickness and problems. Both men and women suffer in many ways. But for the women, life is particularly hard. Because of the curse, there are two areas that women are suffering in particular: Their relationship with their husbands and their children. Life at home for women is harder. Women dream of romance and love, in their marriages and their families. But they are soon disappointed by the reality. They discover that both husbands and children are sinners. They are selfish and demand much of their energy and time. It is not that the women find no joy at all in their homes. But physically and emotionally, it is harder for the women. Because they have higher expectations of happiness in their relationships, they get frustrated easier. They are more disappointed than the men when the marriage fails, or the children suffer. This is all part of the curse of God upon the women.
One of the highest joys for a woman is to be pregnant and have a child! Every woman desire to be a mother. But pregnancy is a difficult time for every woman. There are many problems associated with pregnancy. Men do not understand the physical and emotional stress that each pregnancy demands. Pregnancy changes the body of a woman. The mind thinks differently. This is an added stress. Doctors know that each time a woman gets pregnant, there is a high chance that she can die, during the pregnancy, labor or postpartum. The rate of death is higher in the third world countries where the medical care is not always available.
(According to WHO, in 2015, Nigeria’s estimated maternal mortality ratio was over 800 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births. In fact, a Nigerian woman has a 1 in 22 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum/post-abortion, whereas in the most developed countries, the lifetime risk is 1 in 4900).
Women shed tears more than men. A woman carries her baby (or babies) in her womb for nine months. Then she delivers the baby who is born a sinner: selfish, stubborn and lazy. Even if she is a believer, her children are born unbelievers! Much work is expected from the mother to nurture and train a child in the way of the Lord! Her heart never rests because of her children. She wants to protect the child from sickness, accidents and problems. She wants them to be successful in life. She has her own dreams for their future. In the past, the women could not space their children. They had many children, and many died. A woman wept many times for her lost children. That includes miscarriages too. The mothers need to look for food for her small children. This desire to nurture and protect and provide for their small children is stronger in women than in men. Some men are angry if their wives have only baby girls. That is an added stress to the mothers. Women have been raped and conceived children. That is extreme mental anguish men do not understand. Some children are born with congenital malformations who are not expected to live long. Again, women weep. Then there is postpartum depression. The woman fears for her baby, protected in her womb for nine months, is now exposed to the outside hostile environment! Fear, anxiety and depression can come. Women’ bond with their children is stronger than the men’s! They are lonely in this their bond. Remember that Simeon told Mary: ‘a sword will pierce your heart’ (Lk 2:35)
The original design was that women should be happy and safe to be wives and mothers. Paradise was in their homes too. After the curse, the woman feels the danger, the fear and the pain especially in her home, the place she loves the most. The hardest is for a woman who is saved, married to a sinner and giving birth to little sinners! She needs the grace of God more than others. That is why we are commanded not to marry unbelievers! Unequal yoking in marriage is a source of great pains, especially for the women married to unbelievers. Let us remember the original deign before Adam’s fall. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that [h]moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So, the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen 1:26-31). God created mankind in His own image. Men and women were to be like Jesus. They will have babies who will grow like Baby Jesus, ‘in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man’ (Lk 2:52). Try to imagine God’s original design for families! Marriages were designed by God to be happy. Families were created to be joyful. There was no sin, sickness, sorrow or death. God provided food and care for them. They had fellowship with God individually and as families. For men, women and children, life was a paradise. See how sin destroyed all that beauty and happiness in the homes!
WHAT CAN BE DONE? BREAK THE CURSE! HOW? IN CHRIST ALONE!
In Christ, the curse upon the women is broken. There is no other religion, philosophy or science that can free women from God’s curse in Genesis 3. This freedom is found in Christ alone! Our Lord became a curse so that the women can be free from the guilt and power of sin. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:13, 14). Salvation is free because Christ paid it all. But deliverance from the curse is not automatic. You need to apply the Word of God to your life and marriage. There is work to do. God has done His part. By faith and patience, the women need to do theirs. For any woman to have a testimony of freedom from the curse placed in Genesis 3, that is a great achievement giving glory to God!
In Proverbs 31 we find the picture of a godly woman and her redeemed family. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates” (PV 31:28-31).
Here you see a godly woman, wife, and mother. She is spiritually mature. She is a champion and an inspiration to her husband and children. Her husband ‘praises her’. In Hebrew, the word ‘praise’ means to shine a light. This man knows his wife better than others. He is not intimidated by her strength and success. He encourages her to shine by adding his own ‘shine’ to hers. ‘Many daughters have done well’. In Hebrew the word ‘done well’ means to bring home wealth and strength. She is seen as the captain of a victorious army who defeats the enemy and brings home the spoils of war. She is excelling as a helpmeet to her husband. Thru faith in the Redeemer, this woman has destroyed the curse of God upon her. This godly woman knows that there is a curse upon the work men do. She helps her husband thru her business not just to make money but to help him break the curse upon him as a man. She desires that her whole household should be saved!
One woman of God in a home is a light in the darkness. God uses her to spread the knowledge of God in the home. Apostle Paul’ advice to the married woman is to be faithful and dedicated to God. In this way, God may extend His mercy and grace to the rest members of her household. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” (1 Cor 7:14). This is a great responsibility given to the one who is saved in a family of unbelievers. One child of God can do much good, to the glory of God! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Ac 16:31).
God uses older spiritual women to be teachers and mentors to the younger women, in redeeming their marriages and homes. “The older women, likewise, (should) be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Tit 2:3-5). This is God’s Word and command: Older believing women should teach and train the younger women how to be good wives and mothers. They will teach them how to love their husbands and their children. This is the truth: It is hard to love. It is a sacrifice offered to God! As sinners, we only love ourselves. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of women, to become godly wives and mothers. The older women, who have suffered and learned to depend on the grace of God alone, are the best teachers to train the younger women. They do this work better than any man can do. Blessed are you, young woman, if there are older godly women who speak into your life! Your marriage and family will benefit much from this spiritual covering!
Trusting in outward gifts (good manners and physical beauty) are deceptive and often dangerous because they are transitory. A beautiful woman with nice manners but with an ungodly heart is seducing and dangerous. True beauty that lasts and is appreciated by God and man is always spiritual. It is hidden. It is not seen by carnal eyes. This is a spiritual principle: “God looks at the heart”. “The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7). When a man marries a woman just for her nice manners and physical beauty, he has been deceived by the same devil who deceived Eve long ago. This is a warning for all single men who desire to marry. A woman who desires the praises of God coming thru her husband’s lips, that is a wise woman. Our Lord said that the Pharisees “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (Jn 12:43). Religious ungodly people love to be seen, flattered, admired, recommended, and rewarded by men. This is their reward. They do not care much about pleasing God. When you see a godly husband appreciating and honoring his wife in public, when you see children praising their mother among their friends, that home has been redeemed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! Glory!
Many women became ‘career women’ because they saw only pain and disappointment in the homes. The demons teach many women that the best way in life is not to marry. Many women are single mothers by choice. This is a snare. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry…” (1 Tim 4:1-3). What shall women do? They should desire marriage and children. They need to trust God and reverse the curse in our homes! No outside career can replace the joy of having a testimony in the homes! The pain of the women in their homes is a reminder of the sin of Eve, the ugliness of sin that spoiled the paradise. Eve wanted to be wise without God. She wanted to become independent of God, to be happy by herself. The godly woman must find joy in her relationship with God and other people. That is a great testimony for every woman of God!
Apostle Paul says: “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Tim 2:8-15). In Greek, the word ‘saved’ also means to heal, preserve, protect, rescue, and to deliver. The word ‘childbearing’ means raising a family, fruitfulness. Natural motherhood cannot save a woman’s soul. Every man or woman on earth is saved by grace thru faith in Christ Crucified. This sentence may mean that a woman is saved from the curse placed on her in Genesis 3 by showing proof of her salvation and holiness in wining many souls. These are her children, male and female, natural and spiritual. Because Eve’s sin, women were under the curse of silence. They could not speak in public because they had nothing to say. They had to learn submission to their husbands and to God. Thru Christ, the daughter of Eve has been delivered from the demons of deception, foolishness, and rebellion.
God created Eve as a wife and helper to Adam. In the marriage, the wife is a helpmeet to her own husbands (not to all men, but to her own husband). Because of Eve’s sin, and the curse on her, she now will find pain in her relationship with her husband and her children.
Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control!!! This is an open door or revelation to the women. This salvation is not from sin to become born again. But a believing woman can reverse the curse and it is manifested at the very point of the curse. She will become a godly mother and mentor, to her children, physical and spiritual. That woman, who has a testimony of overcoming the curse, she can speak! She is delivered from the punishment of silence. She has something to say! She is a godly woman and will raise a godly generation! Oh, the freedom and fulfillment found in Christ alone! In the quietness of her home, she has studied the Word of God, both the warnings and the promises. She has a testimony of applying the Word of God daily! She teaches her children, natural and spiritual, to do the same. She has defeated the devil who has deceived her! She has become a mother in Zion! Spiritual maturity and godly leadership in a woman are rare gifts. Be like Deborah! “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel… villagers couldn’t work in their fields. Then Deborah took command, protecting Israel as a mother protects her children” (Judg 5:7; NKJ; CEV). To the glory of God!
HOW DID JESUS RELATED TO WOMEN?
During the time our Lord lived on earth, women were treated as second class citizens. Our Lord treated women with love and respect. He reminded the people that God created men and women in His image.
Jesus came to earth not just as a Man. He came as a Person. He saw the women not in relationship with men but as creatures of God.
*First, Jesus regularly addressed women directly while in public. This was unusual for men to do. This shows respect and love!
The disciples were amazed to see Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar (John 4:7-26). He also spoke freely and publicly with the woman taken in adultery (John 8:10–11), with the widow of Nain (Luke 7:12–13), with the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:48; cf. Matt. 9:22; Mark 5:34), and a woman who called to him from a crowd (Luke 11:27–28). Similarly, Jesus addressed a woman bent over for eighteen years (Luke 13:12) and a group of women on the route to the cross (Luke 23:27-31).
*A second aspect of Jesus’s regard for the value of women is seen in how He spoke to the women he addressed. He spoke in a thoughtful, caring manner. He called them ‘daughter’ or ‘daughter of Abraham’ (Lk 13:16). By doing that, He made them spiritually equal to men!
*Third, Jesus did cover up the sin in the lives of the women He met. He held women personally responsible for their own sin as seen in his dealings with the woman at the well (John 4:16–18), the woman taken in adultery (John 8:10–11), and the sinful woman who anointed his feet (Luke 7:44–50). Their sin was not ignored but confronted. He did not treat them as foolish childish people. He expected them to think about His warnings, to repent, receive forgiveness and change!
It is true that the first twelve apostles were all men. But let us remember that the disciples of Jesus were both men and women. He helped the women see themselves as God created them. He gave them the same salvation. In the Kingdom of God there are no secondhand citizens. In Christ we are all one! Christ appreciated the women in a way that was revolutionary. He appreciated their worship, testimonies, ministry, and financial contribution. In Christ, the curse placed on Eve and her daughters is broken! Jesus is the hope of glory for all!!! What a Savior! Worship the Lord!!!