Wednesday, November 14, 2012
In Search Of Truth, Genesis 3:16-19
A special role exclusive to women is childbirth. Many women would say it's the greatest joy they've ever experienced in life. But as a consequence of sin, childbirth is very painful. Even with the advances of modern medicine, there is often more damage to the body, complication in childbirth and greater recovery time required for those who seek to avoid labor pain through medical intervention. What should have been a beautiful experience is now a painful, frightening, or at least complicated and taxing one for most women.
Likewise, the relationship between men and women became damaged at this point. Men and women were created to be equal partners, but verse 16 indicates that there is now a strong tendency for men to not only lead their wives, but rule over them like tyrants. (Some have also concluded that the specific usage of the Hebrew words in verse 16 indicates that a woman's "desire" for her husband includes a desire to dominate him.) So today we live with the reality of conflict in every marriage and frustration as our wills collide. Apart from sin, we think of our spouses first. But in our sin, we try to manipulate and dominate our marriage partners.
Adam's sin was not simply listening to his wife. The Hebrew word used here for "listened" contains the meaning of "obedience" as well. Adam allowed someone who was on the wrong path to influence him to go along with them. As a result, a primary joy of Adam's is tainted as well.
On average, men are more driven to achieve, produce, provide and "succeed". This isn't to say that many women aren't the same way, but in broad strokes, men are more driven to go out and "take on the world". For many men, what they achieve in their career defines who they are in their minds. (When men meet new men one of their first questions is often "what do you do for a living"?) Men seem wired to take great joy and pride in their work. And again we see this great joy tainted as a consequence of sin.
Even though most of us don't directly grow our own food, the difficulties now inherent to growing food have a trickle-down effect on the entire working world. Ultimately, we all have to work in order to eat. We work to pay the grocer, who pays the farmer who pays his workers to labor and toil over uncooperative soil. The frustration of the worker requires higher pay for his work, requiring the farmer to charge more to the grocer and the grocer to the customer.
Sin has made both the soil and our fellow humans uncooperative, resulting in a work experience in life that is frustrating and unproductive. As a result of Adam's sin and our own contributed sin, attempted productivity is often a discouraging, difficult thing that we face everyday.
I think fans of Skyrim or the board game Agricola intuitively feel this. For some reason, I LOVE collecting herbs and plant samples to mix potions in Skyrim or Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. For some odd reason I can't describe, I love taking my piece of land in Agricola and making it productive. I believe this is because we were created to create and produce. And a number of games we play as geeks give us a taste of what work would be like without the real frustrations that come with it in day to day life.
The good news is that for those who love and follow Christ, work will one day be restored to the exciting, fulfilling activity it was meant to be. In fact it will be far more enjoyable than the best games we play right now!