“Brendon… the ground you walk on is cursed, and no matter what kind of job you have, it will suck in one way or another. And chances are, most months there will be more month than there is money.
“Kara… you’ll probably give birth to children someday, but without drugs the pain will make you wish you were dead. Oh, and Brendon will never quite meet your expectations, but he’ll dominate you anyway.”
I hereby pronounce you husband and wife. You may now start having second thoughts.
A few weeks ago Christina and I were able to travel to Portland, Oregon to see my brother (Brendon) get married to the girl of his dreams (Kara). Thankfully, the wedding didn’t sound anything like the words above. I’m pretty sure no wedding ever has.
That’s because the passage in Genesis 3 that this exchange is drawn from is A CURSE. People don’t want to think about curses at weddings. As the King of Swamp Castle said in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, “This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who!” But I digress…
What I’m saying is, when you see a curse, it’s best not to encourage it. The best thing to do is fight it, defy it, pray against it, live into the blessing.
But I think as many of us try to live out our lives as men and women, and as husbands and wives, we end up slouching towards the curse anyway. As I explain, I’m going to leave out the part about child-bearing. Drugs, no drugs… you can make up your own mind on that.
Adam, as we know, was formed from the dirt. Which is why, incidentally, it is so hard for a man to get, or stay, clean. Eve was formed later on from Adam’s rib so that pastors would have something clever to say at weddings about the woman being equal to man because she came from his side.
Even when God was most involved in the lives of humans, he tended not to deal with us in a very direct fashion. He did not pop Adam and Eve out of thin air (ex nihilo for your seminarians,) he used materials. And it’s as if those materials are always there to tempt us to put our trust in matter (materialism) instead of its Source.
Adam’s matter was dirt. So how did God curse Adam? He cursed the dirt, so that men throughout history would have to bust their butts all day long, and this is the thanks they get from you kids?
Eve’s matter was Adam. So how did God curse Eve? He said that she would always desire a relationship with him, but he would rule over her. She would always long for equality and intimacy and emotional/spiritual compatibility, but Adam would be too stubborn and dirty for much of that. Plus he’d be at work all the time.
At first glance, Eve’s curse looks demeaning (although it shouldn’t be strange that a curse would be demeaning.) But many women have lamented their fate to be subordinate to a man, and have decided that they’d rather have Adam’s curse… workaholism! Now that’s living the dream…
The fact is, they’re both curses, and God does not expect us to seek out either one. He created us to be equal… for the first woman to come out of man, and every subsequent man to come out of woman. Similarly, he created us to seek God. When men (or women) try to achieve significance through their work, or when women (or men) try to find ultimate fulfillment in their human relationships, we are all missing the point. We are chasing after the curse instead of the blessing.
I probably don’t even need to say that the curse is largely unavoidable, this side of eternity. But thankfully God’s grace, especially as displayed on the Cross, has punched huge holes in it, through which we can see and live out what God intended for his children.
That is true religion… not to set up systems that play into the curse, but to guide ourselves and others into the blessings that God has made possible by his own sacrifice.
Now…. you may kiss the bride.