Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This Blog Contains a Lot of Cursing

(So I was watching a vlog at matthewlucio.com about whether or not God unfairly cursed Eve over Adam after they sinned, and about half way through a light bulb exploded in my head.  Shrapnel everywhere. Any similarities between this blog and that vlog are entirely uncoincidental.  I blame him... and the Holy Spirit.)


The curses that God speaks of after Adam and Eve fall are fascinating to me.  I think Lucio explained them well.  John Eldredge has also been very influential in my understanding of that whole scene in Genesis 3.  My sister, Beth-Anne, has also given me some insight, especially regarding how the curse effects Eve.  This scene is key to human history, which means it is key to the God-human relationship.  And something new (at least to me) hit me about that tonight.

There is a lot of cursing in the Bible.  “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol. … Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother. … Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road. …Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from a foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”  Cursed… cursed… cursed.

Back to Genesis and the first curse.  Greatly simplified: everything that would have been painless and pleasurable has now, because of sin, become full of pain.  And so God lays out the consequences of our disconnection from Him.  We cut ourselves off from life and death followed.  The curse.

So this is when it hit me.  See, lately I’ve been trying to read/hear/see everything through one filter: God is love.  If God truly is love, then everything (and I mean everything!) He does is part of that love.  So as I was listening to Lucio, I was trying to figure out where the love was in the curses.  To be sure, we brought it on ourselves and fully deserved our suffering.  And normally that would be fair enough.  But love, true love, is bigger than simple cause-and-effect justice.  And at first glance, the pronouncement of the curse(s) seems pretty dim. And so I wondered: where is the love in the curses?

This verse flashed into my mind: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).  Jesus became the curse.  He took the curse fully upon Himself.

To me, this was an expansion beyond my typical understanding of Jesus dying for my sins and the sins of the whole world.  The idea that He became the curse for us implies that He died, not just with all our sins on Him, but with all the pain and anguish that came with them… and not only that, but all the suffering we experience (that all humans everywhere have ever experienced) as a natural result of our disconnection from God.  The labor pains and unfulfilled desires, the thorns and painful toil.  All of it, every anguish that came as a result of the first sin, it all rested upon Jesus from Gethsemane to Golgatha.  The curse given in Eden, and every curse since then, weighed upon His soul.

Furthermore, check this out. Back in Genesis, the curse is bracketed by two important statements:
  • Prefacing the curse upon the humans is the curse upon the serpent, which concludes with the promise of a redeemer: “He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” 
  • And following the curse is the first living (dying?) metaphor: “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” The first animal is sacrificed by God himself… Jesus gives us the first picture of Himself as redeemer.

The curse is sandwiched between promises that the curse will one day be undone! In fact, in a way, the curse itself is also a promise of a redeemer to undo the curse!

When all of this converged (and exploded) in my mind, it entirely changed the way I see the pronouncement of the curses to Adam and Eve (not to mention all the rest of the curses and punishments pronounced by God throughout the rest of the Scripture).  Every curse that Jesus describes to them is a curse that He will one day take upon Himself.  Every pain that He pronounces is a pain that He will suffer in order to rescue us from ourselves.  More than passing a sentence upon them/us, He is passing a sentence upon Himself.  This is the price He is promising to pay to redeem us.

The pronouncement of the curses is not God saying “This is how much you’ve disappointed Me and this is how you’ll pay for your sin” but rather, “This is how much I love you.  This is how I am going to pay for your sin. This is how far I am willing to go to bring you back to Me.”


Kristin said...

I'm still reeling a little bit after reading this. When I read the verse you quoted from Galations, I literally felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I think I've recognized little glimpses of your realization a few times before, but this is the first time I've heard it explained so clearly and connected the dots, and understanding really hit hard.

Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts. It still amazes me how much more there is to understand about God and Love.

Jason V said...

That's how it was for me, too. I had all these bits and pieces of information in my head but in that moment they all came together into this amazing picture of God's love.

Caitlin said...

"Every curse that Jesus describes to them is a curse that He will one day take upon Himself." This is incredible! I have never heard anyone spell it out this way before - but it makes perfect sense. And hammocked between promises :) so beautiful. Now. . . I'm wondering how this affects my understanding of forgiveness. It is a lot to think about. Thank you!

Jason V said...


I like that. :-)

Matthew said...

I actually just read this for the first time. This is pretty sweet! I see why I linked over to it 3 months ago. Inspiring.

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