Humanity’s Relationship with Humankind, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #32)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:16 which reads: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul:

Pain is experienced even at a point of great fulfillment for the woman. Nevertheless, in her role of bearing and raising children of promise in Jesus Christ, the woman is privileged to participate in God’s plan to create a people for Himself… The phrase “he shall rule over you” and the parallel wording in Genesis 4:7 suggests that her desire is to dominate. The marriage ordinance continues, but is frustrated by the battle of the sexes… The harmony, intimacy, and complementarity of the pre-Fall marriage relationship are corrupted by sin, and marred by domination and enforced submission. The restoration of these relationships takes place through new life in Christ.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from William P. White. He said: “The Bible is a harp with a thousand strings. Play on one to the exclusion of its relationship to the others, and you will develop discord. Play on all of them, keeping them in their places in the divine scale, and you will hear heavenly music all the time.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with Humankind (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The second relationship that was broken at the Fall is that of individual human beings with one another. Again, we can only infer bits and pieces regarding the original relationship of the members of the human race. We are not given much information about the period between the creation of the first couple and the Fall. Moreover, although God had commanded Adam and Eve to procreate, the Fall occurred before any children had been born. As a result, the pre-Fall discussion that we have in the Bible concerns only Adam and Eve.

What we can infer is that there was a complementary hierarchy of the members of the human race that was to expand as the race expanded. Adam named Eve, and Eve was to help him. Eve complemented Adam in that she was a helper totally appropriate for him (as the KJV translates it, “an help meet for him”). This suggests that even as they were created in their finiteness, both Adam and Eve had certain strengths (and thus, conversely, what we might now call weaknesses, which in the original couple would perhaps be better termed “finite limitations”) that complemented each other.

Based on the relationship between Adam and Eve, we might draw the inference that as humankind was to expand into a world-ruling hierarchy, each person would have a position of authority within it that would be in perfect accordance with his or her abilities. As the population grew in this scenario, the size of the “garden” would also grow. Furthermore, it would appear that in such a world each person’s desires and goals would be in accordance with his or her abilities.

All this changed after the Fall. We see it first as Adam and Eve try to pass the blame on to each other. God asked Adam whether he had eaten from the tree, and Adam blamed the woman whom God made. When God asked Eve, she in turn pointed the finger at the serpent. The consequences of the Fall are announced in the curse when God addressed Eve: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Two relationships are affected here, that of mother and child and that of husband and wife.

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