Some put forth that the special curse that was pronounced on
Adam because of his sin in the Garden of Eden, has not been
lifted and is still with us today, that mankind is still fighting
a great battle with "thorns" and "thistles" every time he plants
a garden, puts in a farming crop, just a sweating, a hard
toiling, a difficult laboring, a constant fight against thorns
and thistles that make working the land just about impossible, or
Is this really the case? Is all mankind, everywhere, in all
nations, having to fight and battle the ground that is constantly
putting forth thorns and thistles, as some perpetual curse from
God, that makes trying to work the soil a constant sweating
Let us be willing to look at this once upon a time popular
teaching of many religious leaders and Bible commentators, let's
look at it a little closer, within the Bible itself, and
also from historical facts as some nations migrated over the last
number of centuries into the new world to process and work some
very rich and fertile land that they inherited.
Some well noted, if not famous Bible commentators over the
last 400 years have espoused in their preaching and in their
Bible Commentaries (still available today) that the curse put
upon Adam for his sin, is a curse that was never lifted, and is
still with us to this very day.
Now, I have some Bible Commentaries in my library. I use, from
time to time, the popular Bible Commentaries, but I use them VERY
CAREFULLY, realizing that the writers of such works were merely
human beings as I am, as you are. Often they were raised with
pre-conceived religious ideas, from their parents or church or
religious college they may have attended to earn their
theological degree. I use and read these Bible commentators with
the realization they do not all agree among themselves, and that
in fact they are wrong in their teaching and comments MANY times.
As a member of the Church of God, that observes the 7th day
Sabbath and annual Festivals of the Lord as outlined in Lev.23, I
must remember that nearly all these Bible commentators of popular
Christianity, are from the Roman Catholic and Protestant
religious faiths. And as such, we in the Church of God that
observe the 7th day Sabbath, would immediately claim such
Catholic and Protestant commentators are very wrong on
some very fundamental doctrines of the Bible, hence their Bible
Commentaries must be taken and used with great care.
It should be held by all those who hold the Bible as their
only foundation of truth, that NO DOCTRINE should be founded upon
Bible Commentaries. The Bible can stand on its own two feet, or
shall I say TWO COVENANTS, the Old and the New covenants,
Genesis to Revelation. And that the Bible INTERPRETS ITSELF!
Putting scripture with scripture, searching the Scriptures,
studying to show ourselves approved unto God, together with the
help from the Holy Spirit, will LEAD into all truth, just as
To be sure the Bible Commentaries can be a help at times, they
do often give us some technical information on the meaning of
Hebrew or Greek words, or some historical facts that help us
understand a certain passage of the Scriptures. And that is the
MAIN use and function they have.
Once more let me state, the comments by the popular and well
known Bible commentators, are just that, their comments. No
doctrine should be based on their comments alone, sometimes they
are correct and sometimes they are very incorrect.
Use their books and their writings with CARE.
LET'S BACK UP
Adam was placed in a garden IN Eden, according to the first
chapters of Genesis. Notice what is stated under inspiration, in
chapter 2 and verse 15, "And the Lord God took the man, and put
him into the garden of Eden to DRESS it and to KEEP it."
Now, I submit to you, that these words entail that Adam was to
do some WORK! He was not just to sit around, put his feet up, lay
in the sun, and watch the birds fly around all day. He was not in
some holiday resort, having it all brought to him on a platter,
just lazing away his time. God obviously created the garden in
such a way as that it needed to be worked and tended, cared for,
and looked after, otherwise it would run wild, not look like the
Eternal intended it to look. Some WORK by Adam was needed to
keep it looking good, as God created it and wanted it maintained.
When later on, after Adam sinned, and a land curse was
pronounced upon him, I think it should be clear to us that that
curse was a special curse from God that meant his work in keeping
the land he was to be given (outside Eden, as Adam and Eve were
driven out, not able to return, as the narrative shows) was not
going to be anywhere as easy work as the work of keeping the
garden in Eden. But the fact remains some form of work was
required while in Eden. God made man to do work. Life is full
of work in one way or another.
Keeping a garden does take some work. A farmer seeding and
harvesting crops from off his land, a fruit tree grower caring
for his trees and harvesting the fruit they produce, does take
some work. Man was made to WORK!
Now, go over and read Adam's curse in chapter 3. Oh, Adam was
still going to have to work, but this time the ground was going
to yield thorns and thistles, as never before. His work was going
to be so hard, for all the work on the ground he would do, it
would still bring forth thorns and thistles in a special way, a
real battle indeed. This was a curse on the ground that would
translate into the kind of work Adam could never have imagined.
Many years ago, while living in southern Ontario, near
Toronto, my wife and I rented a house at the edge of a town, a
country house with land, that according to my landlord
had never been used, virgin soil. I asked him if we could plant a
garden. He had no objection at all, and so a section of this
virgin land with its wild grass was rota-tilled and vegetable
seeds and corn seeds were planted. The land contained no thorns
and no thistles. I remember doing nothing at all to the corn
patch, it just sprouted corn and grew and grew. Corn grows 5 or 6
feet or more and could care less about wild grass that may
grow under its feet so to speak. Wow, that corn was the best
and sweetest I've ever had. There really was very little work to
do in order to produce that wonderful tasty corn, not much
toiling, and no sweating, and no thorns or thistles.
The vegetable garden was just about the same. Oh yes, a few
weeds and wild grass to pull now and then, but no thorns or
thistle fighting, they just were not there. A little more work in
that garden compared to the corn patch garden, but certainly no
sweating, really just some pleasant evening dressing and keeping
of that garden, and only now and then at that, not every evening,
only once and a while.
In that and other garden experiences I've had over the years,
I have never felt I was under Adam's curse of fighting a land
that seemed to only want to produce thorns and thistles. Maybe I
happened to live in areas where thorns and thistles did not live,
I think there are tens of thousands of other families and farmers
around the nations of the Western world, who have and are still
experiencing what I so vividly experienced on that virgin soil in
southern Ontario those many years ago.
THREE CURSES ON THREE BEINGS
The three curses pronounced on the Serpent, Eve, and Adam,
were specific and only for them as individual beings, with the
expansion of Adam's personal curse to extend to his offspring
because the curse effected the LAND they all would work, to sweat
upon as they struggled to produce food to eat among the thorns
and thistles God said it would now produce.
Let's look at each curse somewhat.
The verses that cover the first curse are found in Genesis
chapter 3:1, 14-15. From these verses many have taught (and it
may be correct) that Satan used and talked through some kind of
creature the Eternal had created, to tempt Eve to disobey the
command of God not to eat from a certain tree in the garden. It
would seem that Type and Anti-type slip back and forth in these
verses. Whatever may be the case about the possibility that the
serpent the Devil (Rev.12:9) used a physical creature to manifest
himself to Eve, or used some other form to talk to her, we do
find that the curse was on ONE being. Read verse 14. There is
nothing in this curse to say MORE than one being, whatever it may
have been, was given a curse. This curse was for this being, no
more and no less.
To say that "snakes" are from this curse, hence a curse still
with us today, is purely of human conjecture, from the fancy
ideas of the imagination of the human heart. Many other creatures
move around on their belly besides snakes. And I do not know of
any snake that eats dust, dirt, or sand, in order to live, or
because they have some curse upon them.
This curse was upon ONE being, and from the words "all the
days of your life" the indication is that this being who was
cursed, was a physical creature of some kind, that would
eventually die, and in so dying the curse would also die.
Nothing here to indicate that the curse of verse 14 was going
to last all the way down to our time today.
The second curse is found in verse 16. It was a curse upon
the woman. Notice it, "And unto the WOMAN He (God) said....."
Nothing in this verse to say ALL women from the time of Eve were
under this curse.
Oh, I know, I know, what has been taught by some preachers of
the Bible, and some Bible commentators over the centuries, some
still teaching it today. The teaching has been from many
religious quarters that ALL women from Eve on, will have PAIN,
physical pain in childbirth, and that they are under the THUMB of
their husbands, as their mighty ruler.
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!
The pioneer of modern natural pain free childbirth, in the
Western world, GRANTY DICK REID, in his book called CHILDBIRTH
WITHOUT FEAR (out of print, but possibly your local Library will
have it, very educational and informative), completely,
scholastically, from the Hebrew words used in this verse, proves
without a doubt this teaching, widely promulgated and believed in
his day, is utterly FALSE.
Of course the simple way that this teaching can be found to be
an error, without a knowledge of the Hebrew (which Granty Dick
Reid does carefully and technically expound in his above
mentioned book) is the fact that MANY women have PAINLESS
childbirths, maybe hard work (then again some do not even have
much hard work even, I've known and talked to such women) but NO
PHYSICAL PAIN. As Reid brings out in his famous book, many
Oriental women, before the modern age, just went out into the
field when it was time to bring forth their baby, squatted,
pushed as if having a bowel movement, and gave birth, no hard
work, and no pain.
I have known a few ladies in my life that when close to their
due date for childbirth, they thought nature was calling, and
needed to go to the bathroom for a bowel movement, and....you
guessed it, the bowel movement was their baby coming, no pain,
no hard work. They never made it to the hospital needless to say,
their baby was born in the bathroom.
Many thousands of modern women today disprove the idea that
God placed a curse on all women from the time of Eve, a curse
that says all women will have physical pain during childbirth.
It is not the intention of this study to expound all the truth
concerning this verse. What I do want you again to notice is that
this so-called curse is given to the woman, to Eve. Nothing is
said here that what God told Eve He was going to give her was to
be passed on to ALL women for ALL time, as long as women were
giving birth to children.
The third curse is found in verses 17-19. Like the above two
curses, it is given to ONE being, in this case to Adam. Once
more nothing is said that it will be passed on to ALL persons,
ALL over the world, for ALL time, until the Kingdom of God is set
up on the earth, at the glorious coming of the Messiah Christ.
Now, this curse on the ground, was something OUTSIDE of Adam,
that could and would effect others of his offspring, as they also
had to work this same land. Adam lived close to a thousand
years, so the effect was long and would have effected an
eventual large population.
I submit, these three curses were upon single BEINGS only,
with Adam's curse or punishment being on the physical land, and
hence so effecting numerous others that would come via Adam's
I submit that nothing in these verses state the curses would
forever continue on the earth as long as there were physical
person on the earth, or for as long as the Messiah is yet to
come to establish the literal Kingdom of God.
THE SPECIFICS OF ADAM'S CURSE
Genesis chapter 3 and verse 17 tells us that Adam's punishment
for disobedience was that the ground would be cursed. The
following verses get more specific and bring out the main details
of this curse upon the ground and the resultant effect it would
have on Adam. As we have noted, not only Adam would be effected
in his manner of life from this ground curse but also those of
Here, we see that God was going to MAKE AND PERFORM A SPECIFIC
circumstance on the ground that was not there in the beginning.
It would be an intervention on God's part with what we call
"nature." He would bring about certain phenomena as related in
verse 18 (which we shall look at in detail shortly) that would
make Adam's working of that land, a SORROW, or more specifically,
a TOIL, as this Hebrew word would better be understood as
meaning. It is number 6093 in Strong's Concordance for those who
may want to research this word in more depth. It is used in
chapter 5 and verse 29, where the context is clearly indicating
that the WORK and TOIL mankind was now experiencing with
producing food from the land was NOT A COMFORT, hence the work
and toil not of the garden of Eden, of easy pleasure, but
HARD SWEATING TOIL of DIS-comfort.
Here is what MATTHEW HENRY says concerning this in his Bible
"Cursed is the ground for your sake; and the effect of that
curse is, Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto
thee. It is here intimated that his habitation should be
changed; he should no longer dwell in a distinguished,
blessed paradise, but should be removed to common ground,
and that cursed........His business shall from
henceforth become a toil to him, and he shall go on with it
in the sweat of his face,v.19. His business before he
sinned, was a constant pleasure to him; the garden was then
dressed without any uneasy labor, and kept without any
uneasy care; but now his labor shall be a weariness, and
shall waste his body; his care shall be torment, and shall
afflict his mind. The curse upon the ground, which made it
barren, and produce thorns and thistles, made his employment
about it much more difficult and toilsome....."
ADAM CLARKE'S Bible commentary has this to say:
" Cursed is the ground for thy sake - from henceforth its
fertility shall be greatly impaired; in sorrow shalt thou
eat of it, be in continual perplexity concerning the seed
time and the harvest, the cold and the heat, the wet and the
Once more notice the last words of verse 17, "....all the
days of YOUR LIFE." A specific curse or punishment on ADAM for
all the days of his life, and Adam lived, as some chronologers
have worked out, to just BEFORE THE FLOOD, close to the time of
NOAH, which we shall come to and study later on in this article.
For now, keep in mind Genesis 5:29, and that the word Noah means,
rest or comfort.
This was a curse upon Adam, a single person, just as the other
two previous curses were upon specific personal beings. Yet,
Adam's curse or punishment was on the ground he would work, and
so effect also his offspring, the rest of mankind that would come
via the children Adam and Eve would produce. Certainly Adam would
die before the curse ended.
Before we study in-depth verse 18, I want you to re-read what
I have written about verse 17 above. Now, I want you to meditate
on the vast majority of households and farmers in the Western
world. I will specifically meditate upon the lands I'm familiar
with, England, Wales, Canada, and the USA.
Most in those countries who plant gardens and who work the
land in growing various grain crops (and I've lived in all the
above countries, seen it all first hand, even been part of it at
times, making my living in the agricultural/animal world) have
been blessed with fertile soil, richly producing mountains of
food stuffs that the rest of the world often envies. The land
workers of those four countries, though often working long hours
at times, do not call their work a discomfort, but in the most
part a joyful pleasure, and they are not out in the fields
constantly having to fight a running battle with thorns and
thistles. The grain farmers of Western Canada and other parts
who are organic farmers, some I have lived near, are not fighting
a battle against thorns and thistles, and just a puffing,
groaning, pulling and sweating in hard laborious toil as they
work their land. I have known and talked to organic fruit
orchard owners in the Okanagan Valley of B.C. where I lived for
three years, and they told me they had to do a little more work
to keep their fruit trees healthy by not using chemical sprays to
ward off the bugs and the birds, but they were not fighting
thorns and thistles, nor did any of them think or believe they
were under some terrible hard sweating discomfort that made their
life miserable. They thought is was a pleasure to have such a
natural working relationship with the produce of the land.
The punishment on Adam via the curse God would place on the
land "all the days of his life" would be no such pleasure. God
would specifically send thorns and thistles, a deliberate
intervention in the land, on the soil, outside of the garden of
Eden, Adam would be driven from, which would be a very real
DIS-comfort, for all, until someone by the name of Noah would be
born, and whom his father prophesied would COMFORT the
land and people, which the Lord had cursed (chap.5:29).
Now to the specifics of verse 18.
The JAMIESON, FAUSSET, BROWN, Bible Commentary in three
volumes, gives the GREEK word used for "thistle" in the
Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament by 70
Jewish scholars around 200 B.C.) and then states:
".......the calthropy of botanists, a kind of thistle armed
with long spines. This latter word is supposed to be
derived from a root which signifies 'round,' in reference to
its spherical form, or its being surrounded by a downy
circlet, which makes it capable of easy and rapid revolution
along the surface of the ground. The seed is furnished
with means of quick and extensive dissemination, for it has
a wing to waft it from place to place, and a hook by which
it can fasten on any object that is in the way of its
transit. Botanists have reckoned that a single seed of the
common thistle will produce in the first crop 2,400 and
576,000,000 in the second, and so on, in the same
extraordinary ratio of increase........
.......'The sweat of the face' was to be substituted for a
light and pleasant pastime;'the herb of the field' for the
delicious fruit trees of Eden......"
ADAM CLARKE in his popular Bible Commentary has a long
detailed factual comment on various thistles and thorns. I will
quote most of it:
" .......In the curse pronounced on the ground there is much
more implied than generally appears. The amazing fertility
of some of the most common thistles and thorns renders them
the most proper instruments for the fulfilment of this
sentence against man. Thistles multiply enormously; a
species called Carolina sylvestris bears ordinarily from 20
to 40 heads, each containing from 100 to 150 seeds.
Another species, called the Acanthum vulgare, produces about
100 heads, each containing 3 to 400 seeds. Suppose we say
that these thistles produce at a medium only 80 heads, and
that each contains only 300 seeds; the first crop from these
would amount to 24,000. Let these be sown, and the crop will
amount to 576 millions. Sow these, and their produce will
be 13,824,000,000,000.......and a single crop from these,
which is only the third year's growth, would amount to
331,776,000,000,000,000.......and the fourth year's growth
will amount to 7,962,624,000,000,000,000,000.......A progeny
more than sufficient to stock not only the surface of the
whole world, but of all the planets of the solar system, so
that no other plant or vegetable could possibly grow,
allowing but a space of one square foot for each plant.
The Carduus vulgatissimus viarum, or common hedge thistle,
besides the almost infinite swarms of winged seeds it sends
forth, spreads its roots around many yards,and throws up
suckers everywhere, which not only produce seeds in their
turn, but extend their roots, propagate like the parent
plant, and stifle and destroy all vegetation but their own.
As to THORNS, the bramble, which occurs so commonly, and is
so mischievous, is a sufficient proof how well the means are
calculated to secure the end. The genista,or spinosa
vulgaris, called by some furze, by others whins, is allowed
to be one of the most mischievous shrubs on the face of the
earth. Scarcely anything can grow near it......It is very
prolific; almost half the year it is covered with flowers
which produce pods filled with seeds. Besides, it shoots out
roots far and wide, from which suckers and young plants are
continually springing up, which produce others in their
turn......it is extremely difficult to clear the ground of
its roots once it has got proper footing......"
AAAHHH!! Such is the nature of many species of thorns and
thistles. With such comments is the usefulness of Bible
Commentaries, a lot of interesting facts and figures already
studied and written for us.
God was now going to punish Adam (and his offspring who would
automatically reap the sweating hard toil by the curse on the
land) for his sin, by lifting His hand, or shall we say planting
with His hand, the choking, land grabbing THORNS AND THISTLES,
that mankind would have to constantly battle against in the sweat
of his brow. Adam, all the days of his life (verse 17) and until
he returned unto the ground, and was once again dust(verse 19).
Stop and think. If this curse was STILL on the earth and all
mankind everywhere was still having to battle and fight this
curse in the sweat of their brow, then when the white man
discovered North America and the Indians (a part of the offspring
of Adam), he should have discovered a land just FILLED with mile
after mile, acre after acre, of nothing but thorns and thistles
(given what Adam Clarke has revealed to us about the swift
multiplication of the same), and only some acres that the Indians
would have cleared and managed to keep under control, by the
sweat of the brow. But the white man found no such overrun land
of thorns and thistles, and there sure were not enough Indians in
North America to have kept those nasty fellows in the deep blue
sea of the Atlantic or Pacific, if God was still punishing man
with Adam's curse on the land.
This curse for Adam, put on the land, was very
SPECIFIC......it was a curse of THORNS and THISTLES! It was not
a curse of wild grasses, as found in many nations of the earth,
such as North America when discovered, grasses that the abundance
of wild life thrive upon.
Adam's curse had very specific words within it. And PART of
those words most have forgotten or most choose to ignore, but
those words are also part of the whole total curse that was to be
the punishment for Adam, until he returned to the dust, until
"all the days of thy life."
To be continued