Thursday, December 4, 2014

“Curse of Eve” — pain as God's punishment?

Elizabeth Hurley as the devil in the updated "Bedazzled" dressed up like the temptress Eve.
Got religion? Why?
Mr. Hand, why do women suffer so much pain in child labor, menstruation, and with their women's issues?

Adam, am I as beautiful as the Evil One?
Well, children, have you ever read the Bible? It explains everything. Basically you can blame it on God or at least the patriarchs who picked and chose what to include and what to throw out of "the Bible," a set of apocryphal, semi-historic books about a people in the desert. Most got thrown out, you know, so it would fit into a hotel bureau. Who even needs the first half, that old Angry God testament, when the good news is much better, written more for our time? Just ask a Christian.

God made us white, right, Eve?
Ms. Guzzo, why are females cursed with so much more pain than men? is all about "Exploring the F-word in religion and the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community."

The “Curse of Eve”—Is Pain Our Punishment?
Stacia Guzzo
I have been involved in several interesting discussions lately involving friends asking me what I thought of the so-called “Curse of Eve.”

This “curse,” which is generally used in reference to the pain of childbirth, is assumed from the text of Genesis 3:16a.

"Then he said to the woman, 'I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.'" - NLT interpretation

European-ized Adam and Eve
On one side, I have [heard] friends and colleagues argue that the pains of labor are a direct result of Eve’s sin, and thus all women who bear children will suffer them as a reminder of their inherent sinful nature.

On the other hand, I have had friends question this interpretation: Why, they ask, would God use such an incredible event [bringing new life into the world] to punish us? And what about women who don’t experience any pain in childbirth at all? Or [those] who do not have children? Is God’s punishment reserved for those who procreate? This doesn’t seem to make much sense in a larger spiritual framework.

Well, there was that apple. - Shut up, Adam.
Some additional questions have arisen from these discussions. I had a friend recently ask me, “If a woman is supposed to feel pain in childbirth, is she going against God’s will [to experience lots of pain] if she uses medication to ease her discomfort?”

Another friend brought up the fact that God’s actions are seldom (if ever) random; therefore, what is the transformation that God is expecting from such a punishment?  What does Eve’s “punishment” have to say about how we interact with, communicate with, and love God (and likewise)?
(Crass) Eve Libertine explains a woman's position in "Bata Motel" from the album "Penis Envy" with characteristic liberating punk irony
You smell better than he does. - O, Adam!
I’d like to look closely at these questions in a series of posts on the so-called “Curse of Eve.” In these posts, I’d like to propose the following thoughts:
  1. The modern translations of the verse greatly influence our interpretation that painful childbirth is a punishment from God;
  2. The punishment (not curse) was rather that of relational damage than of literal, bodily pain;
  3. The pain of labor is referenced many other times in scripture without reference to sin, and in the New Testament that pain is referred to in a redemptive light. More

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