Epilogue: The Covenant God offers today has been the same since Creation itself.
Now that we stand in the Spirit of Christ as our guide going back through the written Word, we note something important in the narrative of the Fall. The fabric of Creation did not change when Adam and Eve sinned. What changed was their interaction with Creation and the Creator. They were damaged; they had departed from the innocent faith and trust in God. Instead, they bought the lie of Satan that their human minds were capable of discerning all they needed to know about moral truth. They became their own gods, as it were.
Without that fully conscious, heart-led dependence on God, they could not be allowed to compound their error by living eternally. So they became mortal. Mortality itself comes with a package of provisions that were not necessary when they were in an eternal form. Instead of their instinctive knowledge of God and His divine moral character, they were morally blind. This is why they hid from Him; they no longer had that instinctive trust. Instead, they were living with a fear and consciousness of sin that had not previously existed. They no longer knew God as Father, but as someone remote and powerful.
Because they didn’t know the Creator, they didn’t know His Creation. That meant that they didn’t know themselves. They no longer knew what they really needed, what they should have wanted. It wasn’t just nature that was a mystery, but their own natures became a mystery.
The Curse in Genesis reveals that women were never equipped to discern moral truth in quite the same way as men could. It wasn’t her mission in life; it was his. She was supposed to follow his lead in such matters, and he was supposed to firmly take that burden of leadership and the responsibility. So the Curse is characteristic of these differences.
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. (Genesis 3:16)
It’s typical of ancient Hebrew — lyrical, terse and symbolic. Don’t pick over the precise semantics; Hebrew isn’t like that. The first line warns that motherhood will become a lot harder than was intended in the first place. She would become obsessed with nest-building, a materialistic preoccupation. Childbirth was supposed to be a thing of joy and beauty, but now it would come packaged with a lot of suffering. Women would forever have a desperate longing for male affection, but it will include a lust to control men for their own pleasure and convenience. The nesting obsession would mean a bottomless demand for things that men could produce. Still, men would always have power over women if they chose to use it.
There are more connotations there, but this is the focus for now. The union of souls that make a marriage would now be complicated with mortal frailties. The point here is that we are obliged to discern between those things woven into the fabric of Creation itself, versus those problems that arise from being fallen. In a certain sense, everything we see here was there in the first place, but humanity chose the bad side of God’s moral character, walking out from under the divine moral covering. We are now exposed to His wrath, and as long as we are in mortal flesh, mortality includes a lot of curses on marriage.
Marriage now becomes the single greatest chore in human existence, holding the greatest promise if we get it right, and the core of our human misery when we don’t. We are wired to want it above all else, but it’s the one hardest thing to get right. The business with covenant revelation is meant to ameliorate the Curse, to give us a taste of what we had in Eden. The full recovery requires dying in the flesh, both in symbolism and literally. The path back to Eden is the path of increasing death of the fleshly nature. But so long as we live in a fleshly mortal form, some sorrows are simply built in, and we have to learn how to bear them.
By Creation itself, women are not wired for moral leadership. It’s not a question of equality, but of divine assignment. The Curse of the Fall means women will always desire that authority, and sometimes to falsely claim to have it. Instead, their primary mission in life is to be bogged down in childbirth and rearing, always trying to gain a leverage they cannot use.
Men are cursed, too. Because Adam let his wife make certain choices with long term moral implications:
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 out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:17-19)
Instead of an instinctive awareness of Creation’s rich provision, they would forever be fighting against a natural world they no longer understand instinctively. They will go out and sweat and struggle, but find weeds where they sought fruit. They have surrendered that heart-led connection with Creation. They remain subject to all the various divine provisions and limitations as part of Creation, but would be alienated from the instinctive knowledge of it. This is because men have a bad habit of letting their women decide things that God said men are obliged to handle.
Since Adam refused to get off his duff and take charge of the situation with the Serpent, refusing to shepherd his wife, his workload would increase massively. He would be distracted by all the cares of providing, seeking to extract an improper provision from an uncooperative natural world, and his very real need for time to contemplate moral truth would come at a very high cost. His manhood would always be in doubt. If he gets more stuff, he’ll be distracted by trying to keep it and the power it gives. If he tries to reconnect with the natural world, it will mean living closer to poverty in his woman’s eyes, risking her spite.
So while he remains dominant, it will be very messy. His only hope is to start back on the path to Eden. He must train his woman to accept his guidance and walk that path with him. They must merge their egos and build a team commitment to each other. She will struggle to accept that path, but for different reasons than her man. Her primary motivation will need to be keeping his covering and all the joys that come with it. They’ll both have to discard the Forbidden Fruit.
Only in the Covenant can they find peace with God, so it must be a covenant marriage.