O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
So I was asked a question by a friend who is exploring covenant eschatology. She wanted to know why, if the 'curse' has been lifted, there is still physical death and sickness. That was easy to answer. But it raised another question. Another part of 'the curse' was that the ground was cursed. What did that mean, and how was it lifted? Can someone help me understand this from a covenantal context please? Thanks!
Here is Ge 3:17-19 for your reference.
And unto Adam 121 he said 559 , Because thou hast hearkened 8085 unto the voice 6963 of thy wife 802, and hast eaten 398 of the tree 6086, of which 834 I commanded thee 6680 , saying 559 , Thou shalt not eat 398 of it: cursed 779 [is] the ground 127 for thy sake; in sorrow 6093 shalt thou eat 398 [of] it all 3605 the days 3117 of thy life 2416; Thorns also 6975 and thistles 1863 shall it bring forth 6779 to thee; and thou shalt eat 398 the herb 6212 of the field 7704;In the sweat 2188 of thy face 639 shalt thou eat 398 bread 3899, till 5704 thou return 7725 unto the ground 127; for out of it wast thou taken 3947 : for dust 6083 thou 859 [art], and unto dust 6083 shalt thou return 7725 .
My best guess is, the ground is God's people.
Form Don Preston:
"Fifth, in the Song YHVH said He would make atonement for the land and for the people. (Note: several translations render this "for the land, the people" which is more than a little intriguing and important, but we will not discuss that here. The word "and" is not in the original)."
Thank you Jeff! A covenant context never fails to amaze me. I learn something new with every question!
Tami Jelinek did a great job in her CC Conference presentation on this.
Hope that helps.
Thank you! I just listened to my copy of this on my ipod tonight. She did a fabulous job is drawing the comparisons. ROP
Tami's article that Micah posted was also posted here and a nice discussion followed that will probably answer your questions but feel free to ask more.During that discussion i posted a link to another site that Tami's article was discussed and a lot of good stuff there so be sure to check it out too.
I had a section in my sermon last Sunday that is related to your question. My sermon was on Hosea 13. It's available here if you are interested: Hosea Series.
That text in Hosea 13 has a passage about pain in childbirth related to Israel's failure. Isaiah 26 has the same imagery, complete with a promise of resurrection. That's fitting because, if you follow both of those texts, the prophet portrays Israel dying in childbirth.
This is, I believe, the meaning of the curse on Eve; that Israel's labor in bringing about salvation to the world would be through increased pain and travail. That is exactly what played out in covenant history in the old covenant.
I believe the prophets illuminate the true meaning of the original story in Genesis 1-3. We see something very similar in Revelation about a woman in the pain of childbirth.
Hope that adds something helpful. I think Jeff's comment is another way of looking at the same reality. Adam is Israel.
This is so great! Thank you Tim! I look forward to listening to some Hosea sermons.
This is the passage from the Song of Moses that Jeff referred to in Don Preston's quote:
Deuteronomy 32:43 NASB "Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land [Hb. adamah] and [and is not there in the Hebrew] His people."
Notice how it's the same Hebrew word in the curse:
Genesis 3:17 NASB Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground [Hb. adamah] because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
This passage in Hosea is also helpful I think even though it isn't the same Hebrew word. But it does reinforce the idea that the ground/land was synonymous with the earth/land, both representing the covenant people of God:
Hosea 1:2 ESV When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land [Hb. erets, or Earth, referring to Israel] commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD."
Thank you so much - this is VERY helpful to me and to the others with whom I shared it.
While the theme of thorn and bramble are used metaphorically throughout the old testament, sometimes to show the ememies of Israel as thorns (a dominant theme) it also was used to show the destruction of the sacrelidge of Israel against God as in Hosea.
Hosea 10: 7Cut off is Samaria! Its king [is] as a chip on the face of the waters.
8And destroyed have been high places of Aven, the sin of Israel. Thorn and bramble go up on their altars, And they have said to hills, Cover us, And to heights, Fall upon us.
9From the days of Gibeah thou hast sinned, O Israel, There they have stood, Not overtake them in Gibeah doth battle, Because of sons of perverseness.
But within the context of the genesis account the ground is cursed as a source of sorrow from which to eat, to be sustained until death. From the fruits of the trees they are turned to eat the herb of the field... sweat, and work, would only get them to turn to dust- to futility. It seems the jargon is mostly in the physical sense, a penalty to live a life outside the paradise of God. I would certainly agree that in every way people have been suffering the spiritual ramifications of this curse as well but in this passage God excludes the man and woman from spiritual life in his presence to a phyiscal life of suffering.
I suppose anyone of us could find the metaphoric use to the words, herb, field, sweat, eat, bread, ground, dust throughout the rest of the Old testament. But I am not sure that because this is so that Genesis is speaking of some kind of curse on a nation of people that were to be the blessing to the world (Israel). After all it was from dust the man was taken and to that dust he would return. Was the first dust (of the land) from which he was taken better than the dust (the land) to which he would go? or is the whole thesis a curse of physical death - a complement to spiritual death (from God's presence0?
17And to the man He said, `Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and dost eat of the tree concerning which I have charged thee, saying, Thou dost not eat of it, cursed [is] the ground on thine account; in sorrow thou dost eat of it all days of thy life,
18and thorn and bramble it doth bring forth to thee, and thou hast eaten the herb of the field;
19by the sweat of thy face thou dost eat bread till thy return unto the ground, for out of it hast thou been taken, for dust thou [art], and unto dust thou turnest back.'
Here are some thought I had on the subject, from a study I did back in '09, before I had really thought much about the whole concept of CC;
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
God now turns back to Adam, the one that He had originally reprimanded for disobedience, and speaks in much the same way as He later spoke to Abram, because a similar situation came up. In Genesis 16; we see that 'Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.' Abram, although he wasn't 'cursed' in quite the same way, or to quite the extent that Adam was, for heeding his wife rather than God, received a long-lasting and age-enduring ( it still goes on today, in fact! ) punishment for his crime! In a previous article, I discussed the fact that traditionally, because of this verse; it is thought that God actually cursed the ground, causing it to bring forth weeds and thorns, etc. If you'll notice though; The curse is upon Adam himself, and his labor: 'in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.' ! Later on, in Genesis 8:21, God promises 'I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.' Again, was this curse upon the land itself, although some will argue that the land itself was cursed, destroyed, or 'changed'; or was it upon the labors of the people on it?
Here is a short passage from an article I wrote in Deember of the same year;
'In verse 22; He speaks of His elect ones, and in verse 23, of the fact that 'They shall not labor in vain..........., bringing to remembrance the passage in Genesis, where God tells Adam that, because he was disobedient; 'Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.', and the passage in Deuteronomy 28, where God tells them, in verse 33, 'A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor...........', thus speaking , in the new, or re-creation of the 'heavens and new earth', of a reversal of the curse, or curses for disobedience that God had levied upon His Old Covenant people of Israel. '