Skip to main content

The Curse and the Rupture

Graham Cole, following Jaques Ellul, likes to term the first sin in Genesis 3 'the rupture' in addition to the traditional title of 'the fall.' The strength of this suggestion is that it draws our attention to the 'breaking of a network of relationships' (Cole 2009: 56). In this post I'd like to explore the idea of the fall also as 'the rupture' and how taking that vantage point sheds light on the curse. First, though, we must take a moment to look at the role of man and woman in the Garden.

The first text to look at is Genesis 1:28-29, where God gives man a job to do, to procreate, and to extend God's rule as God's vice regent. He was given plant life for his food. The second text is Genesis 2:15-20. There we see man at his work, specifically tilling the ground and ruling the animals by naming them. The picture portrayed between man and his environment is positive and he is working towards its benefit. All of this is necessary background to keep in mind when we look at the curse (the text of Genesis 3:12-24 is below).
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (NIV)

At the rupture, three relationships were broken, the relationship between man and God, man and the cosmos, and man and his fellow man. The first of these is the most obvious. While not part of God's explicit curse, God does, in verse 22-24 banish Adam and Eve from the garden enacting the first exile. Adam and Eve's intimate relationship with God was shattered.
The second, broken interpersonal relationships, is clear from the text, as the relationship between Adam and Eve is fouled up. Also, the very next story is the story of Cain's murder of Abel, illustrating the case in point. The third is also clear: a frustration of Adam and Eve's relationship with their environment. The task of cultivation (their God given task) and their relationship with animals is frustrated. Additionally, the means through which they were to extend their dominion, reproduction also has been made more difficult. Thus we have frustration at every point due to broken relationships caused by sin.

Comments

  1. I thought this post was going to be about the rapture. Made my eyes roll for a second.

    So, is this the only post you're writing on this, or will there be a follow-up? Maybe something to tease out the theological implications a bit more? Just wondering. If not, maybe we can discuss a bit here in the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ask and you shall receive. I'll try to get something up later this week, but no promises. :)

    BTW, I don't think you'll ever see a post from me on the rapture. :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …