Friday, October 31, 2008

what does God mean when he says this?

To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."

Genesis 3:16

I have always wondered what this means, I will 'greatly increase your pains'.

Any thoughts?

12 comments:

RodeoClown said...

Maybe it wasn't originally going to hurt so much...

John Dekker said...

Or, greatly multiply. It's the same word used in Genesis 1:28, "be fruitful and multiply". So with the multiplication of kids comes a multiplication of pain. And it is in her role as a mother that the woman suffers pain.

My interpretation of what comes next is that the woman's desire is a desire to dominate - "your desire will be for you husband but he will rule over you."

So it is as a wife and mother - the two main spheres of womanly activity according to the biblical world-view - that the woman experiences the consequences of sin.

Nixter said...

I thought the same as you Rodeo.

So John are you saying it isn't necessarily to do with the physical pain of giving birth?

Ruth said...

I don't think it was originally going to hurt as much too.

I think John is agreeing, but also commenting on the meaning of the next verse

I agree with John too.

Alison said...

Not sure if this is really answering the question, but it makes me think that although childbearing and rearing is such a blessing and gift, because of the curse it is also incredibly hard and painful work - physically and emotionally. A bit of a double edged sword. Therefore God hits us where it hurts, so to speak - in our greatest joy is our greatest pain.

I used to think this verse was only about the giving birth bit, but now, after having to look after a newborn, I think it's application may extend beyond birth.

Alison said...

I've also heard that the term for pain is the same used to refer to the man's curse of painful toil in vs 17, so it has connotations of hard slog rather than excruciating physical pain.

Tracy said...

I have nothing to add, but this is an interesting conversation!

Ben McLaughlin said...

this is probably a silly comment, but I started wondering HOW it wouldv'e hurt less. I could only see two options-- either the human anatomy would be different or the baby would come out smaller..

maybe I need to think outside the square a little more!

kristina said...

lol. I am with Tracy on this one.

rd said...

I think you'll find out for yourself soon enough

Lucy C said...

Ben, for some people it doesn't hurt.
I know of two people, one of whom is related to me, who said that child birth did not hurt for them.
Amazing, but true.

Martha said...

My mother claims it's "not that bad" but I beg to differ.