There’s an idea afoot that God cursed Adam and Eve because they disobeyed him.
But that’s not what the Bible says.
The whole story unfolds in Genesis chapter 3.
God had said to Adam, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for on the day that you eat of it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16–17).
However, after God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, and the two of them became husband and wife, that crafty old serpent (really, just a glorified snake) got busy.
That’s where we pick up the story in Genesis 3.
Though Adam was in the garden with Eve, the serpent ignored him completely. Instead, he went to work on Eve: “Did God really say, ‘You may not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Notice the not-so-subtle twisting of God’s words. God had really said, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden” . . . except one. The serpent ignored that completely, and focused Eve’s attention on that one tree as if it were the only tree in the garden.
Now, some people have complained that God told Adam, not Eve, not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yes, that’s true. But clearly Adam had told his wife: Eve was well aware of God’s prohibition. She replied to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You may not eat of it, nor may you touch it, or you will die” (Genesis 3:2–3). (Ahem! There’s a little trick here about which tree is in the middle of the garden!)
“You will certainly not die,” the serpent said, “for God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
And in fact, that tree did look mighty tempting to Eve. She ate some of its fruit. (The Bible says nothing about an apple!) Then she gave some to her husband, and he ate it too.
Just as the serpent said, their eyes were opened . . . and they realized with horror that they were naked.
Hold on! That’s not quite what the serpent advertised!
The consequences of disobedience
You see, the serpent was lying to them. Adam and Eve did die a very real death on the day they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
It was the death of their innocence.
Being naked had never been a problem before. The very last verse of Genesis 2 says, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).
Does a baby feel ashamed when it is naked? No. In fact, as long as they’re in a warm and comfy place, babies and toddlers usually love to be naked! That’s because they are innocent.
The Bible speaks to us in metaphors. Adam and Eve represent humanity in its infancy. When God first created us, we were innocent of any disobedience or wrongdoing. That’s why Adam and Eve were originally naked as God created them, and were not ashamed.
However, as soon as they did something that they knew was wrong (the Biblical term for that is “sin”), they were no longer innocent, and the meaning of their nakedness changed. Now, conscious of their own wrongdoing, their nakedness became a matter of shame and embarrassment.
This was the first consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Their innocence died that day. Suddenly they knew, not just intellectually but through hard experience, the difference between good and evil.
Up to that point, they had innocently and sweetly trusted themselves to God’s care and direction, not questioning or resisting anything God said. They therefore lived a life of goodness and love, and God provided for all of their needs.
They already knew what good was. What the tree of the knowledge of good and evil added was the knowledge of evil. Now that they had eaten from it, they could no longer live the simple, innocent, and good life they had experienced up to that point. They would now experience sorrow, toil, and struggle.
Adam and Eve’s nakedness before they disobeyed God is akin to the innocent nakedness of babies, or of lovers with one another. After they disobeyed, it became more like the shameful, humiliating nakedness of being strip searched in jail or at airport security. They now had something to hide.
The guilty and embarrassed couple quickly sewed together some fig leaves and made loincloths for themselves (Genesis 3:7).
Adam and Eve’s “Come to Jesus” moment
Okay, Jesus hadn’t been born yet. But you know what I mean!
No sooner had they donned humanity’s very first clothes than they heard God walking along in the garden.
They found a tree to crouch behind, hoping God wouldn’t notice.
But God already knew what had happened. He called them out on it, using the classic ruse of asking questions whose answers he already knew.
Adam blamed Eve.
Eve blamed the serpent.
God wasn’t having any of it.
And this is where God gives the speech that is commonly, but erroneously, referred to as God cursing Adam and Eve.
Let’s take a closer look at what God actually did say. And let’s look at it from a deeper, more spiritual perspective. After all, these early poetic and mythical stories were never meant to be taken literally. They were composed by ancient sages who told tales that, like the parables of Jesus thousands of years later, contained deep spiritual and divine wisdom within the simple imagery of the stories they told and re-told to their eager, childlike audiences.
God’s message to the serpent
Here is what God said to the serpent:
Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all creatures and all animals of the field; upon your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:14–15)
Aha! God cursed the serpent!
Well . . . not exactly. He did say that the serpent was cursed. But the curse was self-inflicted. “Because you have done this, you are cursed.” God didn’t curse the serpent. The serpent cursed himself by his own evil and deceptive words and actions.
Even when it looks like God is cursing us and turning away from us, it is really we who are cursing ourselves and turning ourselves away from God. As the prophet Isaiah said:
Your offenses are causing a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you. (Isaiah 59:2).
These ancient spiritual stories are telling us about ourselves. All of the characters and events in them represent something about the human condition, and the spiritual changes we go through both as the human race and as individual human beings.
So what is the “serpent” in us?
From ancient times, serpents, or snakes, have been taken as symbols of pragmatic, even cunning shrewdness and watchfulness. That is why Jesus said to his disciples:
Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes, and as innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
He meant that they should keep their wits about them and be careful and canny about the wiles and sharp dealings of the wolf-like people out there in the world, but they should not be guilty of deception and sharp dealing themselves.
So in a positive sense, we are engaging the “serpent” within us when we carefully pay attention to the people and events around us, and gain a realistic and pragmatic sense of what is really going on. We pay attention to see if someone is cheating us, or if the product is really as good as the ad says it is, or if the person who makes a big show of being “Christian” and “spiritual” is just covering for a sordid secret life of prostitutes and adultery.
It is good to have a clear and sharp eye for the realities of the world around us.
However, if we focus only on the world around us, and ignore the deeper, more spiritual messages coming from God and from the spiritual depths within us, then we are bringing the serpent’s curse upon ourselves.
For many people—and for almost all of us at least some of the time—the primary focus of life is to seek out and enjoy the pleasures this world has to offer. A huge-screen TV. A big honkin’ SUV. A bottle of wine that costs a week’s paycheck. A summer house on the waterfront. This world does offer many pleasures. And as far as they go, they’re not bad.
But if enjoying these outward, earthly pleasures becomes the primary focus of our lives, we have become like the self-cursed serpent:
- We are “among the animals and wild creatures,” meaning that our life is not all that different from an animal’s life.
- We “crawl on our bellies,” meaning that our life is all wrapped up in the lowest level of physical and earthly pleasures.
- We “eat dust” in the sense that our pleasures are purely physical, and we are missing the higher joys and beauties of human love, understanding, inspiration, and spiritual connection.
Another way of saying this is that the serpent is an image of our physical senses and how we use them. Our physical senses are meant to serve our higher self as a tool for accomplishing greater purposes in this world—and yes, for relaxation and pleasure when we have finished with our daily labors.
But if our whole life revolves around seeking and enjoying the pleasures of our physical senses, then we have brought the curse of the serpent upon ourselves. We have become little more than brute animals who have the ability to see and understand higher things, but have chosen not to use that ability.
God’s message to Eve
Here is what God said to Eve:
I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; in pain you will bear children, yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. (Genesis 3:16)
God does not even use the word “curse” in talking to Eve. God does speak as if he is the one bringing this pain and sorrow upon her. Yet the same principle applies as with the serpent. Though it appears in the literal story as if God is giving pain to Eve, it is really Eve’s own actions in doing what she knew she should not have done that brings the pain and sorrow upon her.
Her ultimately self-inflicted punishment is traditionally and biologically female in its application. Whereas before her childbirth would have been easy and painless, it will now be difficult and painful.
What, spiritually, is childbirth?
Spiritual childbirth is when we bring forth into the world new ideas, new thoughts, new loves, new ways of showing compassion. Every time we “conceive” a new and higher idea of what life is all about, it leads to the “birth” of new and better ways of living. As a result, we ourselves become more loving, thoughtful, and spiritual people.
But when we insist upon doing things our own way rather than God’s way, it becomes much more difficult for these new births—or spiritual rebirths—to take place in our lives.
Spiritual rebirth and growth is easy when we do it God’s way. That’s why Jesus said:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29–30)
But when we think we know better than God—as Eve and Adam did when they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil contrary to God’s direct instructions—then it becomes difficult and painful to grow emotionally and spiritually. We stubbornly resist new, more thoughtful, more loving ways of doing things. We think we’re just fine the way we are. But we have to learn the hard way that there are serious flaws in the way we are.
These are the difficult spiritual births that we must now experience because we have chosen to do things our own way rather than God’s way. (For more on this, see my article, “Which Tree is in the Middle of Your Garden?”)
And then there is the clincher. Even though childbirth will be so difficult, God says to Eve, “your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” This is precisely where the original equality between man and woman embodied in the first creation story (see Genesis 1:26–27) fully gives way to the inequality of man ruling over woman that has been the reality throughout nearly all of human history. It is a curse that we have still not put behind us right up to the present day.
But I’ll talk more about man, woman, and the first three chapters of the Bible in my next article.
Spiritually the pain and sorrow that Eve brought upon herself is the pain and sorrow we experience in the struggle to reform ourselves from the self-centered, thoughtless, pleasure-seeking creatures we tend to be on our own, into loving and thoughtful people who gain our greatest joy in giving joy to others. Further, all the inequality and dominance of one human being over another traces back to our faulty decision to do things our own way rather than God’s way.
God’s message to Adam
Here is what God said to Adam:
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You may not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it will bring forth for you; and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you will return. (Genesis 3:17–19)
Notice that God does not curse Adam! Instead, he says that the ground is cursed because of what Adam has done. And it is cursed in a way very similar to what is said of Eve’s childbirth. In fact, in the original Hebrew the word here translated “toil” is the same as the word translated “pain” in God’s words to Eve.
For the man, this began the days of wearisome daily struggle for food.
Previously, Adam and Eve’s wants had been freely supplied. All they had to do was tend to the garden, and it would provide for them abundantly.
Now, the soil would resist the man’s efforts, producing inedible and painful thorns and thistles. Its edible yield would come about only through the hard labor of tilling, digging, weeding, harvesting, threshing, milling, and cooking the hard grains it produced.
The message for Adam is simply a different version of the message to Eve. Put in broad terms, because we humans have chosen to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, good and bad, rather than listening to God and accepting what God has already told us is right and wrong, good and bad, we will have to struggle and learn things the hard way.
Did God curse Adam and Eve?
Even in the plain, literal words of the Bible, it does not say that God cursed Adam and Eve.
And though it is commonly said that God did curse the serpent and the ground, a careful reading of the text of Genesis 3 shows that even this is not the case.
Rather, the serpent brought a curse upon itself because of its lies and deception. And Adam and Eve brought pain, sorrow, struggle, and toil upon themselves, and a curse upon the ground, because instead of listening to God, they chose to learn what is good and evil their own way—through harsh experience in the school of hard knocks.
God did not curse Adam and Eve, nor did he curse the serpent or the ground. God simply provided an accurate description of the painful consequences of Adam and Eve’s wrongful actions.
And what God described is the same sorry state that we humans have been in ever since. A quick look at the latest headlines shows that there is an awful lot of pain and suffering in the world. And the saddest thing is that, like the early people symbolized by Adam and Eve, we bring almost all of that pain and suffering upon ourselves.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
God is still calling us to set aside our own short-sighted focus on gaining the pleasures and possessions of this world, and turn our lives toward higher, more humanitarian and more spiritual goals.
If we do this, we can still enjoy all of the pleasures this world has to offer. It’s just that they will no longer be our primary goals in life. As Jesus said to those who were busily worrying about what they would eat and drink and what they would wear:
Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
This is one in a series of articles on the theme “The Bible Re-Viewed.” Each article takes a new look at a particular selection or story in the Bible, and explores how it relates to our lives today. For more on this spiritual way of interpreting the Bible, see “Can We Really Believe the Bible? Some Thoughts for Those who Wish they Could.”
- Which Tree is in the Middle of Your Garden?
- What are the Roles of Men and Women toward Each Other and in Society?
- Man, Woman, and the Two Creation Stories of Genesis
- “Wives, submit to your husbands.”
- The Cain and Abel Story: Does God Play Favorites?
- What is the Source of Human Fragility, Sickness, and Disease?
Amen to this post, this needs to be preached from out pulpits. We can be blessed, not the curse. if we give our life to God, our choice ;that’s what we have to do ;”choose”. chose His righteousness…..
if Adam and Eve we’re the one who sinned…. why should we inherit their sins and die because of them..
.i just need any answer…. I started thinking about death at an early stage(7 years) and I don’t know why!
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question.
We don’t actually inherit Adam and Eve’s sin, nor do we die because of their sin. That is an error of traditional Christianity. See: “The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 2: Original Sin?” Adam and Eve merely put humanity on a downward track spiritually by disobeying God. And that story is not meant to be taken literally anyway.
What we do inherit from our parents and grandparents is tendencies toward sin. We don’t inherit any guilt, or any actual sin. We die only if we ourselves sin and do not repent. For more on this, please see: “Ezekiel 18: God’s Message of Hope . . . If You Think there’s No Hope for You.”
I hope the linked articles will be helpful to you. If you have any more questions as you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Reblogged this on My Blog steady as we go.
Wow, Lee, this is interesting and well thought out. Thanks for sharing all the truths you’re uncovering!
You are most welcome! Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind words.
Thanks for posting great read I feel good
Glad to hear it! Thanks for stopping by.
I think it’s the same as 99.85% of the worlds Scientists .. That man evolved and the bible is a book of absolute nonsense, written by anonymous bronze age Nomads, who thought the Earth was a ” circle ” at the centre of the Universe and the Moon was a ” Lamp ” ..
Christians are delusional and deceive themselves into believing things that simply cannot be true ..
Thanks for your comment. I’ve posted a response to it in this article:
Is the Bible a Book of Absolute Nonsense?
I enjoyed your comments. Thanks. Ellen
Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the article!
These “curse” issue and also the essence of Adam and Eve’s sin, used to be a deep puzzle to me but when I read a teaching letter from Derek Prince entitled Delusion of Independence, I began to grasp many things. According to him, what made Adam and Eve disobey God was the delusion that they can run their life on their own apart from God, because they “will be like God knowing what’s good and evil.” This make sense to me because up to now we can still sense the essence of that fall; “no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside;” – Ro 3:11-12. Man since then wants to play God defining on his own what is right and wrong.
That fall, the delusion of independence, produced various effects because God, the “Life and source of life” departed from man because of man’s choosing. That is why God expelled them from Paradise which we know is a symbol of total provision. When God departed, the whole creation suffered. It seems to me that sicknesses and death came because every living things from amoeba to bacteria to viruses, plants animals and man broke loose and beyond control because God withheld His absolute authority to let man know what it means to live apart from God. that is why God said, “cursed is the ground because of you”,
I would appreciate your honest comment with this. God bless you.
I think it is a lot simpler than that. Before they ate fruit from the forbidden tree, they were like “innocent” children. God spoke to Adam to stay away from that one specific tree. Eventhough, Adam told Eve, she didn’t take it so seriously. Then, the serpent comes around and persuades Eve to eat from that tree. It is like when we are children, we are innocent and at the same time our parents guide us to avoid something bad or wrong. Soon after, one of our older siblings comes along to pursuade us to do otherwise. We become confused and give in. Then we have to deal with the consequences from our parents.
Hi Ptr Roger,
Thanks for stopping by, and for your thoughtful comment.
The idea that Adam and Eve’s sin, and the resulting “Fall of Man,” was the result of the delusion that we humans are independent of God and can define for ourselves what is right and wrong is, I think, a good insight into that story in the Bible and into the source of the corruption of the human spirit.
I would add that when we humans think we are independent of God, and that we can determine for ourselves what is good and evil without reference to God, our decisions and determinations are made on the basis of superficial, external sensory inputs and evidence–which are often deceptive–rather than on internal, spiritual and divine influences. This superficial, external view of life is the symbolic meaning of the serpent in the story of the tempting of Eve, and particularly of the serpent “crawling on its belly.”
Where I believe Prince erred was in the idea that God departed from man because of man’s choice to live in the delusion of independence. The reality is that God never departs from us; rather, we depart from God. This is symbolized in the story by Adam and Eve being driven from the Garden of Eden. God was still present in the garden. But Adam and Eve left the garden, where God’s presence was.
Though the Bible does sometimes speak as if God recedes and departs from evil humans, that is only how it appears to us humans when we are in opposition to God, or are simply unenlightened about God’s ways. The Bible often speaks to us according to our own view and understanding of things. Otherwise we would not understand one word of it, and it could not have any good effect on us.
The reality is that God loves the good and the evil alike (see Matthew 5:43-45). God never leaves us. God continues to love us and reach out to us whether we make our bed in heaven or in hell. We are the ones who depart from God whenever we set our heart and mind against God’s love and God’s ways.
thank for the message
You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!
“God did not curse Adam and Eve, nor did he curse the serpent or the ground. God simply provided an accurate description of the painful consequences of Adam and Eve’s wrongful actions.”
After I read the above statement then I got to ask myself what is a curse then? I am sorry to sound stupid or something else but this is not sitting well with me. It looks like you saying that curses do not exist but God will let you know of the consequences of your bad actions?
Thanks for your comment. It’s a very good question–not stupid at all!
In fact, the whole picture is more complicated than I could reasonably present in this article. (Isn’t it always?!?).
For example, as I said in the article, Genesis 3 doesn’t actually say that God cursed the serpent and the ground, but that they are cursed because of what the serpent and Adam had done. However, in Genesis 5:29 Lamech says that the Lord has cursed the ground, and in Genesis 8:21 the Lord (Jehovah) says he will never again curse the ground, implying that he had cursed it earlier. So it’s understandable that people would say that God cursed the ground, and by extension, the serpent also.
It would be too long and complex to deal with all of this in detail here. But it helps to understand that the Bible often presents things the way they appear to us rather than the way they are in reality. If that weren’t so, we would hardly understand anything that God wants to tell us. Also, as I said in the article, these early stories in Genesis were never meant to be taken literally. They are symbolic stories about the spiritual life of humanity.
But to answer your question more directly, yes, curses do exist. A curse is anything that separates us from loving relationship with God and with our fellow human beings.
For example, wealth is a blessing if we acquire it honestly and use it not only for our own good but for the good of our fellow human beings; but it is a curse if we acquire it dishonestly or use it only for our own pleasure and benefit. (See the article, Is Wealth a Blessing or a Curse?)
In the case of Adam and Eve, the curses brought about by their disobedience to God’s command caused them to be driven out of the Garden of Eden and from their previous close relationship with God.
In short, the consequences of our disobedience to God’s commandments are the curse that we suffer–a curse that involves being cut off from God’s love and wisdom, not because God is angry at us, but because we have rejected God.
Does this help?
Well he has certainly Cursed many of us good single men and women that are Not married today which many of us are Not single by choice.
It sounds like you are struggling. I’m sorry to hear that.
What I can suggest is that even though you are lonely, focus your life on loving and serving the people around you in your own unique way. Don’t spend too much time focusing on your own struggles and sorrows. Instead, think about the struggles and sorrows of other people, and how you can give them help and comfort.
As you engage in the kind of work and the types of activities that you love, and that connect you with other people in positive ways, you will find like-minded people who share your loves and joys in life. And that may very well lead you to the one special person with whom you can share your life.
I have a question when god said the childbirth would be easy now it’s difficult was he refering to child birth in only spiritual terms or literal childbearing or both cos it’s easy to look at it from a literal point of view?
Thanks for your good question.
The statement in Genesis 3:16 that childbirth would be difficult and painful uses the common human experience of difficult childbirth as a metaphor for the difficult and painful spiritual childbirth that results from our rejecting God’s commandments and living contrary to God’s will.
Spiritual childbirth means new births of understanding, love, wisdom, compassion, and so on in our hearts, minds, lives, and relationships. These are easy when we accept God and live according to the order and pattern that God has created for us. But they are difficult when we resist and reject God, and insist on living according to our own (usually materialistic and selfish) ideas of how we think things are supposed to go.
The difficulty and pain comes from having to try it our own wrongheaded way first, and learn the hard way that our way causes pain, suffering, broken relationships, and so on. Only by this difficult and painful process do we finally arrive at the new spiritual births of love and understanding that are part and parcel of our being reborn as spiritual rather than materialistic people.
That, in a nutshell, is the spiritual meaning of childbirth becoming difficult after Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Is been a wonderful one
Thanks for stopping by.
I still have some studying to do on this but this has cleared up a bunch of loose ends for me thus far. Thank you for all that you do! God Speed!
You’re welcome. Glad the article helped!
Thanku sir for the power revalation God gave your to God be the glory.
You are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by and for your good words. Godspeed on your spiritual journey!
So Adam was supposed to be the archtype of jesus later down the road does that mean that adam on his own was perfect and didn’t really need eve?
First, you have to keep in mind that the creation of Adam, and then of Eve from Adam, takes place in the second creation story in Genesis 2. In Genesis 1, man and woman are created together, both in the image of God.
Second, these stories are not meant to be taken literally, but symbolically and metaphorically.
So your question is a complex one. But if you’re thinking that men came first, and are better off without women, that’s not how it works! 😉
These early stories in Genesis are about the early development of humankind from a materialistic state in which we were not much different from animals (when “the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep” – Genesis 1:2), to a time when we had a full awareness of God and spirit, and were thus both spiritual and material beings, and therefore on a level above the other animals, who have no spiritual awareness. The figures of Adam and Eve represent various stages and elements of that process, and in the continuing story after God breathed the “life” of spiritual awareness into us.
For more on man and woman in these early chapters of Genesis, please see:
But if you’re thinking that men came first, and are better off without women, that’s not how it works!
Well unless your a hermit living in the wilderness or a desert island your gonna see woman everywhere whether it’s on the streets, at work and at home. But even jesus himself managed to live life without tying himself to a relationship with a woman or even married so really in a way a man can be better off without a woman 😛
Christians believe that Jesus Christ was God here on earth. There wouldn’t be a woman who could be a true partner for him. We ordinary mortal men, however, are not gods on earth—no matter how much some of us might like to think we are. 😛
Anyway, if you prefer not to be in a relationship with a woman, that is certainly your choice.
well I never said we are gods just we as men can go our own way, relationships aren’t necessary to have a happy life and of course women can go their own way too through life. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that relationships can’t bring happiness to our lives they can but in today’s society it’s risky for men to be in relationships especially when you read all those stories that have happened to other men that make people want to be on edge such as divorce settlements, false rape allegations and many more.
If that’s how you feel about men, women, and relationships, then it probably is best for you to stay single.
Most of my comment I actually got from watching videos youtube and reading comments so it’s mostly all from other peoples experience with relationships/marriages this isn’t necessarily how I feel about relationships
I just don’t get it! The wording that is. God said that if you eat the fruit you will surely die. Then, somehow they live, but their innocence dies! God did not say your innocence will die! He said you will die! Dead, cease to exist death. And, you can say that God did not curse man and that he didn’t even use the word curse. But God did curse us with the old sin nature. This has to be one of the worst curses ever invented. Death would have been better. So I wonder now what else has God said that means something totally different then what was originally said? And because God knows all things He knew that he made Adam and Eve not as intelligent as the serpent. He knew they would eat the fruit. So back up a little. There is another curse. God put satan in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve had up to that point done nothing wrong. And you can say in order to have free will… Blah blah blah! That they needed something to have free will. That God does not want robots. I have been told that so much but it’s a lie! They had free will with just that tree and its fruit to give them free will. So if Adam and Eve don’t good and evil, then how could they know that this snake was trying to trick them? And this whole time God knows that this will all happen. He did nothing to stop it. He knew that when he was creating lucifer that He was creating satan. Where is the good shepherd? God and Jesus are one. God could have done things differently. And you can say that this whole plan was for Jesus to come and die for man. Once again something that does not make any sense is that Jesus defeats satan on the cross but, satan is still alive and well going around deceiving as many people as he can? What’s going on? And then the Bible has to say things because even though it says certain things some don’t seem true. God says the he is not the author of confusion. But I’m severely confused! God says that he loves us. I don’t feel loved at all. I feel cursed! I feel like God wants me to love him one way and I want God to love me one way and neither one of us is getting what we want. And my last thing I want to say before I go. Free will. Another extremely poorly worded statement in the bible. You can worship God with all you have and give and serve him completely or you can burn in hell for eternity. It’s your choice and the bible calls that free will. So God loves you while you are alive but the moment you die if you are not saved then the love stops and you go to hell. Or maybe the love continues but you are in hell so it really won’t matter at that point. Some key things to consider are the curse of men being logical and women being emotional so it makes it extremely difficult to understand the other one. And I know you and your wife… Just look at marriage statistics. Being married is NOT EASY! Another is the different languages because of the Tower of Babel. Last would be the decendents of Ishmael being a thorn in the side to man. Is God for us? No I mean really, is God for us? There is evidence that he is not for us. If you look at life and you say that’s just the way it is then you are a fool. That is the way God created it. Knowing that things would be like this. There needs to be something that WORKS with God. People say prayer works. Does God answer all prayers? No. Then you cannot just openly declare that prayer works. I wish I was never born. My life shows more signs of being cursed then being blessed. And that’s why I stopped going to church. Now I stuck with a bunch of knowledge about what the bible says only to believe that answered prayers are like a carrot on a stick. I have found nothing that works and I have just thrown up my hands and said whatever. God can do what he wants. I’m sick of playing spiritual ping pong with the scriptures, one says one thing anther one says something else.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your long and searching comment.
There are good answers for all of your questions and confusions. To get them, though, you’re going to have to put in the time and effort to unlearn a lot of wrong stuff you’ve been taught, and learn a whole new perspective on God, the Bible, and all of the other topics you have raised. I can address some of your concerns in this reply. But mostly I’ll refer you to several articles that will get you started if you truly want to bring clarity to your confusion.
And then it’s up to you.
First, it is necessary to understand that the first few chapters of Genesis, especially, were never meant to be taken literally. There was no individual man named Adam, and no individual woman named Eve. Rather, these early stories in Genesis are speaking metaphorically of the earliest human beings on this earth, and the spiritual changes they went through.
This means there was also no literal serpent tempting Eve. Rather, the entire Garden of Eden and everything in it is a picture of the mind or spirit of those early human beings represented by Adam and Eve. The serpent is not Satan in the usual sense. “Satan” in the Bible simply means “an adversary” (see: “Is there Really a Devil? Why??”). And the “adversary” represented by the serpent is Eve’s, and Adam’s, lower, sensory, earth-oriented nature, which came into conflict with their higher spiritual nature. The temptation was to trust what came to them from their senses, and what looked pleasurable, more than what came to them from the inner spiritual knowledge given to them by God. And they chose to go with external appearances rather that with inner realities.
God did not create Satan. We did. Satan is not a literal figure. Rather, Satan is a metaphorical image of the “adversary” that our lower nature becomes when instead of serving our higher nature, it seeks to take control of us. We all can recognize this when we realize that our various desires for quick pleasure, money, power, and so on commonly cause us to do things that are damaging and destructive in the long run, contrary to our better nature, which tells us that putting these superficial things first, and indulging in them as our primary pleasures in life, will lead us to no good end.
God created everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31). We humans were the ones who introduced evil by using the free will with which God created us to choose lower things over higher things, and external illusions over inner realities. That is what the story of Adam and Eve is really all about.
Once again, to understand these things you will need to unlearn a lot of false teachings that have been inculcated into you by traditional Christianity—which has long since abandoned the Bible and its teachings in favor of human-invented doctrines. See: “Today’s Christianity: Vastly Void of Truth.”
I could go on responding to your questions and confusions. Instead, I’ll refer you to several more articles here that will get you started on understanding what God, Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity are really all about. If you have further questions as you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.
I know that’s a lot of reading. And there are plenty more articles where these came from! Whether you take the plunge and put in the time and effort necessary to answer your good questions and clarify your confusion is up to you.
Did God do anything to fix the relationship between them?
Which relationship do you mean?
We inherit genetics from our parents.. and a baby can be born with a gene that makes them have cancer, which makes them die. So , we do in some cases actually inherit death.. this world is broken, that is a fact… there is no getting around that. We can only hope to become “unbroken” on a spiritual level through Jesus and put our hope in the eternal life to come. But everything physical in this world is indeed broken.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
I would say, rather, that babies can be born with genes that predispose them to cancer. Whether they actually develop cancer depends on many other factors as well, including lifestyle and environmental factors.
But yes, when it comes to human beings, this world is broken, and we do need to be redeemed.
“Spiritual childbirth is when we bring forth into the world new ideas, new thoughts, new loves, new ways of showing compassion. Every time we “conceive” a new and higher idea of what life is all about, it leads to the “birth” of new and better ways of living. As a result, we ourselves become more loving, thoughtful, and spiritual people.”
Does this mean that Elizabeth and Zechariah’s inability to have children symbolizes that although they were devoted to the Lord and followed his commandments, they had ceased to develop spiritually at that point in their lives, or does it symbolize something else?
Barrenness generally symbolizes a lack of what is good and true, or in a more positive sense, a longing for what is good and true among those who don’t have it. However, its meaning does vary according to the story and the context it appears in.
Still, this most likely does not mean that Elizabeth and Zechariah were spiritually barren.
As long as we are living in our physical bodies here on earth, there are many reasons for our physical condition of health, disease, fertility, and lack thereof that are purely physical or environmental, and have nothing to do with our spiritual state. Yes, some physical conditions are psychosomatic, and our spiritual state does affect our physical health. But for the most part, it’s a mistake to think that if someone has a particular physical condition (such as barrenness), that means they have the corresponding spiritual condition. For an article that goes into some of these points, please see:
What is the Source of Human Fragility, Sickness, and Disease?
I didn’t mean to suggest that fertility problems are a result of spiritual barrenness, but I do find it interesting to consider the spiritual meaning of scripture in cases like these.
Right. It’s just good to keep in mind that when it comes to the Bible’s spiritual meaning, the people in the Bible story are representative figures, meaning that they symbolize certain things even if they themselves personally might not have embodied that meaning in their own character. For example, a king represents divine truth by virtue of his role of kingship even if the king himself was personally an evil man. In modern days, a president represents the nation even if the president him- or herself may not actually embody the characteristics of the nation in his or her own character. So Zechariah and Elizabeth represent a barrenness that ends in fruitfulness whether or not that represents their own personal character and spiritual state.
Unfortunately, Swedenborg never quotes or comments on Luke 1:7, “But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.” However, based on Swedenborg’s commentary on the meaning of “barrenness” in other passages in the Bible, here’s a thumbnail sketch of the likely meaning of the barrenness of Zechariah and Elizabeth, followed by their giving birth to John the Baptist:
As we know both from the description of Zechariah and Elizabeth as “righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord” (Luke 1:6) and from Zechariah’s prophecy, after John’s birth, in Luke 1:67–79, they were both devout Jews who looked forward to and longed for God’s salvation. So they can be seen as representing the best aspects of Judaism at that time. Unfortunately, Judaism was “barren,” and was not able to provide the salvation and peace that its followers longed for. And so Zechariah and Elizabeth, representing ancient Judaism in the best sense, were said to be “barren.” (Technically it was Elizabeth who was said to be barren.)
However, something new was about to happen that would bring both hope and salvation to Jews (and eventually Gentiles, too) who had a heartfelt longing for the presence and salvation of God. The conception of John the Baptist to the elderly Zechariah and Elizabeth represents that newness coming out of a religion (ancient Judaism) that had become old and barren. John the Baptist was to be the prophet who would clear the path for the coming of the Lord. This ultimately resulted in an entirely new religion, Christianity, which flourished largely among Gentiles. But its seed, and its initial converts, came from Judaism. So the barrenness, then fruitfulness, of Zechariah and Elizabeth represent those who long for good, truth, salvation, hope, and peace, which is then fulfilled in the Incarnation of God as Jesus Christ. What was being born (John the Baptist) was the precursor to a new presence of God and a new spirit and power of salvation in the world.
That interpretation makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
So true! Amen. Unfortunately, I had to “experience” the taste of the bad fruit before I really understood all this. Now my eyes are opened, and it isn’t pretty. I had heard with my ears, now my eyes see. I can repent and renew. This is what God has been showing me.
Eve’s “curse” has been on my heart so much these past 3 years. The spiritual childbearing has meant alot to me. But also the “curse” is how her desire will be for her husband. She either wants to cling to her husband out of neediness and dependency, finding her identity in him. Or she wants to throw off the yoke of male headship altogether. It truly is the root of all inequality. I observe this in my own life, and in the lives of many other women. It is the root of abuse and codependency. I see it in my work (RN) and in society, the way we deal with women’s rights and women’s health. The family, healthcare, schooling of children, etc.
We as women can be so perfectionistic and critical of ourselves. No wonder we are so prone to anxiety, perfectionism, self-hate. We easily turn in on ourselves. Perhaps this is why we are so prone to autoimmune and anxiety disorders.
I am a very broken lay-person doing a lot of healing. I hope someday I can teach on this. I pray the God restores women from the curse of Eve, that we can return to true Biblical Womanhood. That we can live our lives from a place of emotional wholeness and freedom, especially in these last days. That our young women can grow up whole and holy.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your good—if painful—thoughts. Yes, humanity in general, and male-female relations in particular, have been out of whack ever since Eve, and Adam, took those fateful (and metaphorical) bites from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
However, I do think that in recent centuries and decades, we’ve been moving back toward the ideal of equality, mutual respect, and partnership between men and women for which God originally created us. It isn’t an easy transition, but we’re on the path. And that’s something to celebrate.
On that subject, here are some articles that you might find helpful in sorting these things out in your mind:
That last one is aimed especially at men. But you’re welcome to read in. 😉
is it to late for God to forgive me of my sins, and how to i give my life to him?
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question.
In response, as long as you are living and breathing on this earth, it is not too late. You can still make the choice to repent from your sins and give your life to God.
The way we give our life to God is to listen to God’s commandments and teachings in the Bible, especially the Lord’s teachings in the Gospel, and live by them in our everyday lives. This means working hard to no longer say and do things that are wrong and hurtful to other people and to ourselves, and instead to devote our working life to serving other people in our various jobs and roles. Jesus said that the most important commandments in the Bible are to love God with everything we have, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. And he said that we must repent from our sins and follow him. This means following his teachings.
Here are some more articles that you might find helpful:
Godspeed on your spiritual journey!
Hi. So, what was the original story of creation then. Did God just populate the Earth with a bunch of humans at one time with Adam and Eve being the metaphorical representation of all of humanity falling away from God? Was a literal fruit of knowledge taken and eaten from the tree?
First, it’s important to understand that the Creation stories in Genesis are not about the physical creation of the earth at all, and they are not about the physical creation of human beings at all. The Bible doesn’t say anything about how humans came to be on this earth physically. These stories were never intended to be taken literally.
If a present-day evangelical Christian were to talk to one of the original story-tellers in ancient times who passed down the stories that became the first few books of the Bible, that ancient story-teller would be completely mystified by the unfathomable idea that the story is about the physical creation of the earth and of plants, animals, and humans on it. They would be dumbfounded by the lack of spiritual vision and understanding, and would consider these “Christians” to be blind.
Second, it’s important to understand that there are two creation stories, which are quite different, and not literally compatible with one another.
(Some would say that Genesis 2:4 is the last line of the first Creation story, but I think it is the opening line of the second Creation story. It doesn’t matter very much either way.)
These two stories heavily conflict with one another if we take them literally. But if we read them symbolically, they tell of two stages of the early awakening of humans on earth from being mere animals to being spiritually aware.
Third, it’s important to understand that in the second Creation story, humanity reaches its peak in verse 15, in which God puts adam, or humankind (which includes both male and female—see Genesis 5:1–2) in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. Then in verses 16–17 humanity’s state of spiritual freedom is highlighted by the commandment that humans may freely eat from every tree of the garden, but not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Verse 18 is the first verse in the Bible in which God declares something to be “not good.” This, not Genesis 3:1, is the real beginning of the Fall. It would take too long to explain this in detail. It’s all covered in Swedenborg’s very first published theological work, Secrets of Heaven, volume 1. I highly recommend getting a copy and reading it for yourself. It’s brain-bending material, but it’s the original source of understanding about the meaning of these early stories of Genesis.
The short version is that humanity was already male and female before God formed (not created) Eve out of Adam’s rib. What was happening here metaphorically is that the early humans, both male and female, were already falling away from their initial close relationship with God, and were therefore “alone” in the sense of no longer having the close companionship with God that they had before. Now, instead of looking toward God together as couples who were one in marriage, they felt a sense of separation from God, and therefore men and women began relying upon each other instead, but not in the close and equal way they had before. This was when woman first became secondary to man, which was not the case from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:17. For a related article, please see:
Man, Woman, and the Two Creation Stories of Genesis
Fourth, notice that no fruit of the trees is mentioned until the opening verses of Genesis 3.
This may seem like a trivial detail, but it is actually significant that God did not say that they may or may not eat the fruit of the trees of the garden. Eve said that. God simply said that they may not eat from the trees of the garden. Compare Genesis 2:15–17 with Genesis 3:1–4. (It was also Eve, not God, who put the tree of knowledge in the center of the garden. See: Which Tree is in the Middle of Your Garden?)
Once again, it would take too long to cover the significance of this in detail. It’s all covered in Secrets of Heaven. But it is yet another indication that these are metaphorical, not literal, stories. God spoke of eating or not eating from the trees because the trees, especially the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, are symbolic trees. But by Genesis 3, when the humans had already begun falling away from God, Eve was focused on the fruit of the forbidden tree, and was greatly tempted by it. This follows from the symbolism of the serpent, which is following our physical senses and their pleasures and fallacies instead of following the inner voice of God.
For a little more on the symbolic meaning of the first Creation story, see the second half of this article:
Heaven, Regeneration, and the Meaning of Life on Earth
With all of that as background, here’s an answer to your two questions:
At some point in the long-distant past, humans ceased being mere animals, focused only on food, shelter, reproduction, and so on, became aware of the existence of God and the spiritual world, and developed a relationship with God. When exactly this happened is hard to say. But it may very well have coincided with when early humans first began to bury their dead rather than just leaving their dead bodies behind as other animals do. Burial suggests a sense of an afterlife, and is usually accompanied by tokens of an expected afterlife.
This initial development and change from being mere animals to being spiritually aware humans is represented by the first Creation story. The second Creation story continues that development, first to the peak in the middle of Genesis 2, and starting with Genesis 2:18, with the loss of that original simple, innocent, direct relationship with God.
This initial development from animals into fully spiritual humans who had a direct relationship with God probably took place gradually over tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. The “days” of Genesis 1 represent whole epochs in early human spiritual history.
There was no literal tree of life or tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life symbolizes living from God’s love, wisdom, and power, which is our spiritual life, whereas the tree of knowledge of good and evil represents deciding for ourselves what we think is good and evil, right and wrong, based on outward appearances and the pleasures of the physical senses. (Not that physical pleasures are wrong. They are good gifts from God. But when we put them before God, and make them primary in our life, then they become evil instead.)
I hope this gives you some sense of what the Creation stories, and the trees of the garden of Eden, are all about.
Hey Lee. I noticed an interesting thing about the serpent in the story, and what God said to him that I can’t believe I never noticed before. God punishes the serpent, but if the serpent represents Satan, then God didn’t punish him, but rewarded him. Instead, God tells the serpent that he will crawl on his belly and eat nothing, but dirt, and his seed/child will be separate from the woman’s seed/child.
Traditionally Christianity likes to claim the world is Satan’s cause of all the evil and sin it. I also noticed he referred to the serpents seed and children, but the traditional interpretation of Satan can’t have children. I honestly can’t believe that as early as Genesis, it blatantly contradicts traditional Christian dogma and I never noticed until now.
The entire Bible, from beginning to end, blatantly contradicts traditional Christian dogma. Unfortunately, traditional “Christian” theologians and preachers have so blinded themselves with human traditions and dogmas that they cannot read and understand even the most basic teachings of the Bible. Here is one series that covers some of the key points of Protestant doctrine that are either not taught in the Bible or are flatly contradicted by the Bible:
The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 1: God is a Trinity of Persons?
Once the scales of unbiblical and false “Christian” dogma fall away from our eyes, we can finally read what the Bible itself says, in its own words, and understand its true message.
I was just shocked because that is what the entire foundation of Christianity from beginning to end is built upon the serpent being Satan, but if they take this literally, the serpent can’t be Satan.
All of the stories in the early chapters of Genesis are purely metaphorical. None of it was ever meant to be taken literally. The serpent does represent Satan metaphorically. But the serpent is not literally Satan, because there was no literal serpent.
Also, the serpent, or snake, has a more specific representation, which is the experience of our physical senses.
In a positive sense, we do need our physical senses to get along in this world and to learn the things we need to know.
But in a negative sense the serpent represents trusting our physical senses more than we trust God. It means wanting to get all of our information from physical sources, and not trusting anything that comes from a spiritual source unless it is supported and corroborated by physical evidence. This materialistic and sensory focus leads people away from simple trust in God, just as the serpent led Eve away from a simple trust in God and away from listening to God’s instructions about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.