As I’ve been studying for my oral exam, which takes place on Tuesday December 1st. As I’ve been studying one of the interesting things that has occurred is that a lot of the verses that we point to for doctrine are found in chapter three, verse sixteen (3:16). Now I’m not one to place any kind of faith/stock in numerology (the concept that the numbers of the Bible are in some way supernatural and give clues to meanings that are not necessarily obvious from the text), but I do believe in God’s sovereignty and providence. So what I thought would be fun is to look at each book of the Bible and examine the 3:16 verse to see what can be seen.

For today, we’ll look at Genesis 3:16 which reads:

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Nothing like a nice simple verse to start things off. Let’s start by thinking about the context of this verse; the scene that is taking place is that Adam and the woman (she isn’t called Eve until after these events take place) have just sinned and God has found them in the garden. Not a pretty picture, and the event that doomed all of humanity for all these long years after.

This verse sits right in the middle of the curse that God established upon the parties involved. The serpent is told that he will always be in strife with the woman; the serpent will bruise the heel, but it’s head will be crushed. To the man the ground will now bring forth thorns and thistles instead of the bountiful harvest that it was originally intended to do. And finally there is the curse upon the woman.

There have been those who have used this verse to abuse women and keep them down. In fact up until the rise of Christianity women were considered second-class citizens at best. The common, male, Jewish prayer thanked God for not being a Gentile, and not being a woman. No where in this verse do we see that kind of thought; remember that the woman was just as much created in the image of God as the man (Gen 1:27).

How then does this verse play out? Anyone who has been through the pain of childbirth understands this curse. Giving birth is not the most pleasant of experiences. A woman’s body goes through so many changes over the course of nine-months, and then the pain of labor can be unbearable. Many women died as a result of childbirth throughout history and it is thanks to modern medicine that the mortality rate for both is now very, very low.

One of the other things that we don’t consider too often though is that a woman’s menstruation is also part of the curse. For many women that monthly “visitor” is not the most pleasant time in life. Bloating and cramping, water retention, things that, as a man, I can’t really relate to.

Now there are some whose opinion is that women should not take advantage of modern conveniences in when it comes to childbirth or monthly menstruation. This is clearly a failure on their part. While the experience is surely part of the curse that does not mean that we should ignore modern conventions. Does that same person take aspirin when they have a headache? Probably. Or how about when you are working and you get hurt, are you going to seek medical attention in order to remedy your problem? More than likely, so why is it wrong for women to make use of such things?

For our women readers, I’m sorry that you are in that situation. Men, let’s do what we can to make things as easy for the women in our lives as we can. Don’t focus on yourself and put your wife first (which should be a priority anyway)!