God Did not give Adam a “male-specific” curse

Genesis 3

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

First and foremost, let’s look at how this passage ends: “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Yes, Scripture specifies that God was speaking to Adam when He said this, but we can agree that this statement–by itself, at least–applies equally to Eve, right? Now, then, why assume that everything before this statement only applies to Adam? Similarly, verses 22-24 repeatedly refer to “Adam” when they were being applied to both Adam and Eve.

If you insist that “and God said to Adam” is evidence enough that God was speaking ONLY to him, then you have to assert that women never return to dust, since that was “only” said to Adam; women must all be immortal, since God never told Eve that she would die as he did Adam, in that case. That is truly evidence enough that Adam was not given a “male-specific” curse; women’s bodies die and return to dust in a manner that is absolutely no different than the way a man’s body does. There is no way to assert God’s prior statements to Adam only applied to men; quite the contrary, every curse spoken to Adam applies equally to Eve, despite Eve’s punishment being distinctly female-specific.

Secondly, let’s try to apply this very, very literally for a moment, with the assumption that this curse only applies to Adam (except, again, for the comment about “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return”): that would mean that every single male, regardless of age, only eats by literally by working the fields and a woman cannot possibly experience the same pain for her food.

But if a woman is left alone without a man to provide, does the ground yield food for Eve any more nicely than it does for Adam? No. Does EVERY man who eats literally plow the fields to get food? No. Is it completely unheard of for women to work out in the fields in any culture in the history of the world? No (see the book of Ruth if you somehow need a biblical depiction for proof).

If this curse has no effect on women, then what is it, exactly, that causes the Proverbs 31 woman of noble character to be so busy?

Let’s back up this discussion a little bit and try and interpret this passage less literally but insist that it still, somehow, only applies to men. Modern Christianity asserts that this is merely symbolic of a paycheck. But let’s really think about how we made that jump in logic for a moment–and we’ll find that it is but circular logic.

Once again, it is abundantly clear that a good portion of men “work” in various forms–working very hard and productively–to buy food without ever, ever working from the earth. And at the same time, many women DO work the Earth to get food. At any given time, someone in society needs to cultivate the Earth to grow food for all people to eat, while we have other people doing different jobs in (indirect) conjunction with those who literally produce food.

We use money.

Money is the way we avoid the need for absolutely every single person to till soil, grow and cultivate crops. Accountants, for example, may have SEEMED to avoid God’s curse to Adam in the literal sense, but they work hard (putting aside debate as to whether they work exactly AS hard) at an equivalently occupying task related to sustaining a society in which everyone is fed to justify partaking in the crops. Housewives are not the slightest bit different: likewise they work very hard (as scripture commands them, and the Proverbs 31 woman demonstrates), SEEMING to avoid Adam’s curse, but similar to the accountant she contributes heavily toward her husband, who either works the field directly or indirectly helps another man (or woman, as often happens) cultivate those crops for food. Hence, neither the hardworking accountant receiving a paycheck nor the hardworking housewife who helps her husband earn a paycheck have avoided the burden of Adam’s curse. If the curse of having to work the earth only applied to Adam, the Proverbs 31 woman would not be busy, but just as unburdened as Eve in the Garden of Eden.

What is it about Genesis 3:17-19 that effectively says: men and women will both be busy day-to-day, but only Adam works to receive a paycheck? Nothing!

The conclusion is this: the curse was uttered to Adam as something that would apply to both Adam and Eve. Yes, for the most part men would be the ones literally working fields, although the reality that Eve shared in the punishment is the reason that, one way or another,women needed to be just as busy dealing with the cursed ground either just as directly as Adam or indirectly for some other farmers’ work (again, see the Proverbs 31 depiction of a noble wife–astoundingly busy). Now obviously men would get labor jobs of various kinds more often because men are naturally physically stronger, but even still, that did not prevent women from working from the earth altogether. Women without any male providers need to get their own paychecks.

I’m going to change my tone for a moment to make myself excruciatingly clear.

Some argue that the curse allegedly directed solely at Adam has an influence on his nature as a man.
Adam’s physiology did not change because of the curse; he was built as a man, testosterone, muscles and all, BEFORE the fall.

Have cultures across history had a tendency to put men to certain types of work because they considered that the curse to Adam made doing so appropriate? Of course not. A man twice as big and strong as I am is more likely to make a better lumberjack. The “curse to Adam” did not make him that way. If a single woman looks for a husband and fails, she will more than likely discover from firsthand experience that she too experiences the metaphorical “thorns and thistles” of the “curse to Adam” with the same great pain as a man for sure.

What is at stake here? Spiritual bondage upon men, as the world is plenty full of ways to make men feel like their value, especially as men, depends on their paychecks and what they produce, and this is another such attempt.

(For that matter, the money=productivity fallacies of our culture is also probably the reason why parenthood–both motherhood and fatherhood–are undervalued)

There is nothing wrong with suggesting that a man is built and arguably fulfilled by different kinds of work than women because of how God DESIGNED him as a man from the beginning, not because he was cursed to it.

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  1. Can We Reclaim the Phrase “Be a Man”? | Self-Defensive Christian Man

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