I’m not particularly religious, but I have read through the entire Bible. This happened when I was considering different religions, and also in college for some classes. Since I was a kid, though, this has been the part that really bothered me. Genesis, chapter 3, wherein Adam and Eve are punished for partaking of the fruit. I just don’t think it’s fair that the average man is no longer sweating in the field trying to tame the earth, but the average woman is still screaming each time she pushes out a baby. Or, in places where the average man is still working the earth, the average woman is expected to help. But, still no guys experiencing the painful miracle that is childbirth. Here are two versions of the text to consider:
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.’
To the man He said: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, For our of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.
– New King James Version, Genesis 3
An alternate interpretation says:
To the woman he said: ‘I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master.’
To the man he said: “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, “Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return.’
-New American Bible Revised Edition, Genesis 3
Today, however, man isn’t necessarily sweating in pursuit of his daily bread. Nor is he dealing with “thorns and thistles”, for the most part. There are, in fact, only certain men AND certain women that are toiling in an effort to eat the food of the earth. So Adam’s punishment now impacts some men and women, whereas Eve’s punishment still impacts almost all women, and no men.
Last time I checked, the “pangs of (your) childbearing” were still very much a factor in bringing forth new life. And I’m assuming God meant to include the often excruciatingly monthly pain associated with being a fertile woman, so we get this punishment on the regular. I’m hoping that the whole “he shall be your master” thing isn’t prevalent these days, but it’s still an issue in many parts of the world.
So if God doesn’t make mistakes, and he is all-knowing, then he knew that it would play out like this in the future? And he was cool with that? That seems unlikely, in my opinion. It definitely doesn’t sound like what Jesus would do, at least. I get that Eve is the one that took the first bite, and encouraged Adam to do so, but I still don’t think it’s fair. In fact, it bugs me that Adam is so quick to point fingers at Eve, like he wasn’t capable of shutting his own damn mouth or making his own decisions. That’s why I picked the image that I did – Adam is seriously doing a “wasn’t me!” while looking crazy guilty. Look at him shrugging his shoulders all “dude, what did I do?!” I do realize this is artwork and not an actual image of the events, btw. This just matches the impression I have in my head.
Thoughts? Am I way off here? I haven’t had the benefit of years of religious education or even regular church attendance, so I welcome another point of view to consider!