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."
The overlooked words of Adam's curse:
"......AND YOU SHALL EAT THE HERB OF THE FIELD" (verse 18).
Matthew Henry in his Bible Commentary has this to say:
" .....His food shall from henceforth become (in comparison
with what it had been unpleasant to him. (1.) The matter of
his food is changed: he must now eat the herb of the field,
and must no longer be feasted with the delicacies of the
garden of Eden:.......(2.) There is a change in the manner
of his eating it; in sorrow, (v.17)and in the sweat of his
face, (v.19) he must eat of it......."
Indeed, Matthew Henry could see that in the garden of Eden,
as chapter 1:28-30 shows, Adam and Eve had all the blessing of
the seed bearing herbs good for food and ALSO every tree in which
there was a fruit bearing seed. All this was their food. I can
just imagine the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetable there
must have been in that garden. It makes my mouth water as I think
about what it surely was like. And the pleasant easy work it was
for them to have "dressed and kept" that garden paradise.
Now the curse of Adam meant not only a constant battle with
thorns and thistles,but the food of Adam and his offspring as
they were now to live outside of the garden(chap.3:22-24) and
prevented from ever again entering, was to be ONLY herbs. The
delicious fruit bearing trees of the garden were not a part of
the land outside of that garden. And further more, the work to
produce what herbs they would cultivate for food, would be
fraught with hard toil, laborious labor, and much sweating of the
Is it possible to live without fruits? Yes, of course it
is. So God was giving a punishment here that some others down
through the centuries have found themselves in. People have and
still do, live in parts of nations and land areas where no fruits
trees grow. It takes a certain climate for fruits tress to
The North American Indians have lived in many parts of that
continent for thousands of years, and only certain parts have the
climate to produce fruit trees.
People can live without eating from fruit trees, but fruit
does make eating that much more pleasant and enjoyable.
From Adam's sin, the enjoyment of the wonderful variety of
that part of eating made up of fruit from the trees that produced
those fruits, would be denied him and his offspring, until he
returned to the dust from whence he was taken (v.19).
This must be the meaning here, just as Matthew Henry could
also see, because eating the herb was part of this curse. Maybe
it is also intimated here that ONLY herbs, that produced from the
soil, was to be their food, with no meat or animal eating. We do
know from 1 Timothy 4 and from the animals Noah brought into the
Ark, that God created the animals clean and unclean from the
beginning, hence with the full intention that mankind was to eat
animal flesh as part of his diet.
The curse of Adam being in part, herb eating, would, by
saying such a pronouncement, mean that a part of this punishment
was that fruits and animal flesh eating was to be taken away
during all the days of Adam's life (v.17, 19, last parts).
The IMPORTANT thing to note here is that the specific NATURE
OF THE CURSE was TWOFOLD. 1. Thorns and Thistles so profuse the
working of the ground would be very difficult. 2. Herb eating
(and herbs were eaten in the garden of Eden), meaning ONLY herbs
would now be the food supply.
If ONE part of this curse is still in effect today, if it
was given to be in effect until Jesus would establish the Kingdom
of God on earth at His glorious coming, then the OTHER part of
this curse is also still in effect!
This, I submit, is the correct theological use and
understanding of verse 18. It is theologically sound to have both
parts of this curse fully in tact as a whole, IF the curse was to
extend to the coming of the Messiah in glory.
One part cannot be in effect and the other not. The first
part of the curse cannot be still in effect and the second part
not. The second part cannot still be in effect and the
first part not.
Selecting one part to be in effect while believing or
teaching the other part is not, is what I call "selective
theology." You select your theology by selecting what parts you
want to select your theology from, while ignoring other parts
that would show your selection may be on thin ice.
Now, look around, look at the world, study some history,
even from the time of after the flood of Noah's day. Has man, is
mankind today eating MORE than herbs for food? Oh, indeed so!
For those who especially know how to grow organic fruits.....wow,
what a taste, what a delicious part of eating. Being a fruit
eating fanatic myself, after living for three years in the
wonderful fruit belt that is the Okanagan Valley of British
Columbia, Canada, after living for three years in southern
Florida, among all the citrus fruit of oranges and grapefruit,
with many mango trees as a bonus, I surely know a little
of what the garden of Eden must have been like, but that garden
was even more delicious than anything we have today.
The point is, the second part of Adam's curse has never been
in effect since the days of Noah's worldwide flood. So, I
submit, sound and true theology must then see that there is no
other recourse but to admit that the first part of Adam's curse
has also never been in effect since the time Noah came forth from
the ark and set foot on dry ground to plant his vineyard.
NOAH, THE COMFORTER!
"And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years and begat
a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall
comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of
the ground which the Lord has cursed" (Genesis 5:28,29).
Verse 29 as translated from the Hebrew by the scholar Jay P.
Green reads this way: "And he called his name Noah, saying, This
one shall comfort us from our work and the toil of our hands,
from the ground which has cursed Jehovah."
How was Noah going to comfort them, by inventing some
chemical spray that would kill all the thorns and thistles they
had to fight against ? I speak of course foolishly.
By reading back you will see that Lamech was from
Methuselah, who was from Enoch, one of the great righteous men
presented to us in the Bible. Verse 29, is more than just
interesting, its words are prophetic in nature. We are given
nothing else to go on, so to speak, but the words of this one
verse, kind of coming at us out of nowhere. We have to do some
reading between the lines. Somehow Lamech was given this
prophetic insight concerning the life of Noah, his son. Did God
speak directly to him? Was and angel set to tell him about
something to happen to the curse on the ground in the days of
Noah? Did Lamech discover this through a dream from God?
Perhaps his grandfather Enoch had passed this prophetic news on,
which he had received from God. We are not told, neither does it
really matter. The fact is that Lamech called the name of
his son NOAH, because it means comfort or rest.
And what we can understand from this verse is that the
comfort would be to do with the working and toil of the hands as
it pertained to the ground which the Lord had cursed. Now, I
submit that something was going to CHANGE so there would be
COMFORT to the workers of the land, which had a curse upon it.
I submit that in the days of Noah, the curse on the ground was
going to be changed in such a way as COMFORT would be the working
of those who toiled on the land.
The comfort that would take place in the life time of Noah,
was to do with the working of the ground and the curse that God
had placed upon it from the time of Adam's sin. I submit that
the only comfort from that curse on the land, would be to LIFT
that curse, do away with that curse, abolish that curse, so
mankind could find comfort in the work and toil of his hands upon
the ground which up to the days of Noah had a curse upon it, and
which God, in the days of Noah would do something about, which
would bring comfort to mankind.
I submit, that it was to be in the days of Noah that this
curse on the ground was to be ABOLISHED, cast away, taken away
from the ground, and once more comfort was to be the order of the
day as mankind tilled the ground.
Can we find the time during the life of Noah when this
situation came about? Oh yes, indeed we can.
THE CURSE ON THE GROUND IS LIFTED
"And Noah build an altar unto the Lord......And the Lord
smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in His heart, I will
not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I
again smite any more ever living thing, as I have done. While the
earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and
summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease"
Some say the curse spoken about here is the curse of the
worldwide food in Noah's day. Wellllll, we shall see from the
Bible, letting the Bible interpret itself, this is not the case.
The compilers of my KJV Bible's centre reference point you
to TWO verses concerning this "curse the ground" phrase. The two
verses are Gen.3:17 and 6:17. Interesting that they saw this as
in a DUAL application, the curse of Adam and the destruction of
all flesh wherein is the breath of life, through the food of
Noah's time. But, if we take one of the keys to correct Bible
interpretation, that is, let the Bible interpret its own words
and phrases, then we find rather simple the interpretation of the
meaning of the phrase "curse the ground."
Does this phrase as God used it in that part of verse 21 of
chapter 8, really have anything to do with Noah's flood and the
destruction of all flesh wherein was the breath of life?
Take a concordance such as Strong's Concordance of the
Bible, and look up the words "curse" and "cursed" and see where
they are used in the chapters of Genesis. Read the chapters to do
with the great worldwide flood that Noah and his family were
spared from, chapter 6 through 8. God uses many words to
describe the evil of those days and what He intended to do about
it, WHAT He intended to destroy from off the earth, and HOW He
would go about to do it. Yet you CANNOT FIND ONE WORD where
God said the flood He would bring upon the earth, upon the ground
of the earth, was a CURSE! That word "curse" or "cursed"
together with the word "ground" or "earth" is never used in
chapters 6 through 8. IT IS JUST NOT THERE! God never called the
flood of Noah's day "a curse on the ground" or "cursed is the
ground by a flood I will being."
The word "destroy" is used in chapter 6:17 but not the word
"curse." Oh, yes, men can say it was a curse, all flesh being
destroyed by a flood of waters, but the fact still remains
that using only the Bible to interpret itself, the words "cursed"
and "curse" in these early chapters of Genesis, in connection
with the word "ground" is ONLY used in chapter 3:17 and here in
So, Bible interpreting Bible, the PLAIN and CLEAR meaning of
Chapter 8:21 using the phrase "curse the ground" and that God
"....WILL NOT AGAIN curse the ground for man's sake..." can only
mean ONE thing, God will REMOVE the curse on the ground from the
time of Adam when he sinned, and that particular and specific
curse will never again be on the ground.
This curse was then REMOVED from off the ground in the
lifetime of Noah, thus fulfilling the very prophecy of Lamech,
the father of Noah, that his son was called Noah, meaning rest or
comfort, because that in his days mankind would find rest and
comfort from the "work and toil of our hands, because of the
ground which the Lord had cursed" (chapt.5:29).
By the time of the flood, the Lord God had come to see the
full depths of what He had created in creating mankind with human
nature, the free will and the ability to do either good or evil.
God was now resigned to this fact of the human heart, hence was
saying to Himself, "Because the imaginations of the human heart
that I have created, is to do evil from their youth, I will do
two things, and one of them is to NOT curse the ground any more."
After the flood the ground was in effect CLEAN, cleansed and
ready for a fresh start. That fresh start would NOT include any
curse of the ground imposed upon it after the sin of Adam. This
is what God was saying as one thing He would not again do as
long as the earth remained.
Then there was a second thing God would promise that He
would never again bring on the earth........."neither will I
again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."
Now, THIS part of the two fold sectional promise from God is
the part to do with the flood of Noah's day that killed all flesh
in whom was the breath of life. The Eternal was here promising
that He would never do this again, destroy all that He had
destroyed in the worldwide flood.....well destroy all WHILE, the
connecting word in the next verse, with the words to follow
explain, for the plan of God IS THAT the earth will one day be
BURNT UP and all that is therein, by a FIRE! That fact is
recorded a few times in other parts of the Bible. Then will come
a NEW heaven and earth, together with the prophecies of
But, "WHILE the earth REMAINS" mankind would never again
be destroyed as in the days of Noah, for God has promised, "seed
time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and
day and night shall not cease."
BOTH the curse on the ground imposed for Adam's sin, and the
destruction of all flesh in whom was the breath of life, WAS
REMOVED BY GOD AT THIS TIME, NEVER TO HAPPEN AGAIN WHILE THE
EARTH REMAINED, IN THAT SAME MANNER.
The contention of TWO Hebrew words
It is sometimes contended that because a DIFFERENT Hebrew
word is used in Genesis 8 (for "curse") and chapter 3 (for
"cursed is the ground") that chapter 8 is only referring to the
flood in Noah's day (it, the flood, being a curse) and not to
Adam's curse on the ground in chapter 3.
Here we get into certain technicalities, that really do not
have a bearing on the overall truth of the matter. I have spent a
lot of time studying the Lexicons on this, such a one as "Vine's
Old and New Testament Words" and "The Theological Wordbook of the
Old Testament" and "Strong's Concordance of the Bible." I will
not endeavor in this study to do a full and detailed expounding
of the subject, for it is not needed, but the basic points will
prove useful, together with some comments on a certain aspect of
"word" studying in the Bible used by some to uphold a doctrine
that the words in context(coupled with other Scriptures) do not
support. This will prove I hope edifying and useful to the
The KJV translators chose to use basically ONE English word
- "curse" or "cursed" or "curseth" whereas in the Hebrew there
are at least SIX Hebrew words used - arar, qalal, ala, qabab,
The THREE MAIN ones as Vine gives are: qalal, arar, ala.
A study of these words shows they are really "nuances" of
each other - a shade of expression, meaning, feeling etc. The
bottom line basic meaning of all of them is to "slight" or bring
down from a higher elevation, or as the Theological Wordbook
says: "of intending a lowered position, technically, to curse."
The aforementioned Wordbook has a lot to say on the Hebrew
words for "cursed" and "curse" as in Gen.3:17 and 8:21. Strong's
Concordance number for those words are respectively: number 779
These two root words are used in Gen.12:3 and the
Theological Wordbook says on this: "As God said to Abraham: 'he
who curses (qalal) you' (pronounces a formula), 'I will curse
(arar) him' (put him in the state)."
You may also note Malachi 3:9 and two words used for
"cursed" and "curse." In Strong's their numbers are 779 and
Trying to make a little more nuance sense of these three
words Vine says this: "On distinction from arar ('to curse by
laying an anathema on someone or something')and qalal ('to curse
by abusing or belittling'), ala basically refers to 'the
execution of a proper oath to legalize a covenant or agreement.'
......The 'oath' was a 'curse' on the head of the one who broke
the agreement......So ala functions as a 'curse' sanctioning
a pledge or commission, and it can close an agreement or
The Hebrew and the Greek of the Bible are full of many words
meaning basically the same thing but with nuance differences, and
often are given as but ONE word in the KJV translation.
I can give you the example of the words "coming" and
"appearance" as in the Greek NT. Look at "Vine's Dictionary of
Old and New Testament Word" and see ALL the different Greek words
used in the NT under those two English words, kind of blows your
Now, the Jehovah Witnesses teach Jesus Christ will NOT
literally, bodily, return to this earth. And they try to prove
and uphold their teaching by getting somewhat "technical" with
these Greek words for "coming" and "appearance." Here it's this
one used, there it's that one used, and over in another passage
yet another of these many words may be used. The words alone
sometimes fit what the Jehovah Witnesses want to teach and want
you to believe.
Their arguments come crashing down to earth in a million
bits, when the CONTEXTS and the PHRASES of the use of these words
are taken into consideration. Then it becomes very clear that
Jesus and the NT writers BELIEVED and TAUGHT that Christ would
indeed return to this earth in a LITERAL and BODILY way. That His
literal bodily feet would one day stand on the mount of Olives,
just as prophesied in Zechariah 14.
As I've tried to show above, from the context and from
letting words within a PHRASE (in this case the phrase uses the
word "ground") our phrases of Gen.3:17; 5:29; and 8:21 even using
two Hebrew words for "cursed" and "curse" is TALKING ABOUT
THE SAME THING - the curse placed on the ground for Adam's sin.
There is just a nuance difference from Gen.3:17 and 5:29 with
As I've stated, the LAST HALF of Gen.8:21 is God talking
about not destroying every living thing "as I have done" - that
being the part in the verse where the Lord is speaking about the
worldwide flood of Noah's day. A rainbow covenant is then given
to Noah and his offspring as to the promise and oath from God
that a flood of waters will never again cover the earth to
destroy all living creatures (chapter 9).
But while the earth remains God would promise that seed time
and harvest, cold and warmth, summer and winter, day and night,
would continue. We have them to this day, not all summers are
pleasant (some too hot), not all winters are pleasant (some too
cold and stormy), and some seed times are not the easiest, just
as some harvest times take some diligent work......BUT what I say
is that God at this time LIFTED the terrible backbreaking,
running battle, constant brow sweating fight mankind was having
with thorns and thistles clogging up and overrunning the ground
(not that sin was lifted, not at all, and with physical and
spiritual sin comes various curses. Man has been polluting
the air with his industrial smog for a few hundred years now, and
we are destroying the ozone, which is resulting in more harmful
and deadly rays of the sun reaching us to curse us with more skin
cancers. We pollute our rivers and streams and even the sea with
all kinds of chemicals, and we reap the cursed after effects) and
when the Eternal was ready to give His chosen people Israel the
land of promise, it was a land so free from Adam's curse that God
called it a "good land" one that flowed with "milk and honey."
ISRAEL AND THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY
As we read through the books of Moses (first five books of
the Bible) we learn that the land that God intended to give to
the people of Israel was "a good land" and "a land flowing with
milk and honey." This promised land was ALREADY a bountiful
physical land of wonderful fruits and seed crops of many
varieties. If Adam's curse on the ground was still in effect,
would this land of promise really have been described as flowing
with milk and honey? If the people of that land were still
having a running battle against thorns and thistles, and toiling
in the sweat of their face to scratch out some food from the
ground, I doubt God and the those sent out to spy the land (as
they did before entering) would have spoken with such excitement
about it flowing with milk and honey. Also there was plenty of
fruit in that land, not just herbs, and Adam's curse as we have
seen indicates only herbs (no fruit) was to be part of the
penalty, the fruit being only in the garden of Eden, from which
Adam and Eve were driven, not able to re-enter (remember God
placed great Spirit Beings at the east of the garden and a
flaming sword to "keep the way of the tree of life" -
In passing let me add that Adam's punishment may also be
telling us that "herbs" for him and his offspring, not only meant
no fruits, but also no meat eating for food, somehow the Eternal
keeping the animals way from the family of Adam. If this be the
case, then it will answer as to why God later instructs Noah
about all mankind now, after the flood, having all moving things
that live, for food (but qualifying it by saying "as the green
herb have I given you all things" - certain restrictions on all
moving things, just as there was on green herbs, for not all
green herbs are good for food, in fact some green herbs can kill
you if eaten) - see Genesis 9:1-4. The law of clean and unclean
flesh was from the beginning (Noah took pairs of clean and
unclean animals into the Ark, seven pair of clean, one pair of
unclean. More clean animals possibly for Noah and his family to
kill and eat while in the Ark during the flood, then possibly
just to have more clean animals to produce more, after the flood,
as mankind was now allowed once more to eat flesh, returning to
my comment on Gen.9:3-4) for the Lord created them clean and
unclean from the beginning to be received by those who know the
truth, that such as were sanctified (set apart) by the word of
God (those created to be fit for food "as the green herb") could
then be eaten (1 Tim.4). But the punishment on Adam for his sin,
may have taken this flesh eating away from mankind, until it was
restored to mankind after the flood, in the days of Noah, whom
his father Lamech said would "comfort us concerning our work and
toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has
cursed." Part of that comfort may have been the restoring of the
law of eating animal flesh "as the green herb" law.
Now, back to my main comments about Israel and the land of
milk and honey.
I suggest, and I believe I have proved, that the promised
land was a "good land" because the curse on the ground from the
time of Adam's sin had been removed, hence indeed it could be a
land of milk and honey just from the NATURE of things. The
Eternal seeing this wanted to give His chosen people an
inheritance within some of the very best productive land on "the
good green earth" as we often call our planet.
Then I submit we have at least one section of Scripture that
in its very wording would clearly tell us that Israel, if they
would serve and obey the Lord with all their heart, with all
their soul, and with all their mind, they as a people in the
promised land WOULD HAVE NO CURSES OF ANY KIND UPON
THEM.......JUST HAPPY PLEASANT PHYSICAL UTOPIA.
Most of us in the Church of God have heard and read these
words expounded MANY TIMES from the pulpit, and in magazine
articles for decades.
" And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently
unto the voice of the Lord your God, to OBSERVE and to DO
ALL His commandments which I command you this day, that the
Lord Your God will set you on high above all nations of the
And all these BLESSINGS shall come on you, and overtake you,
if you shall hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God.
Blessed.......shall you be in the fields.......
Blessed.......the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of
your cattle.......Blessed shall be your basket and your
store.......The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in
your storehouses, and in all that you set your hand unto;
and He shall bless you in the land.......And the Lord shall
make you plenteous in goods.......in the fruit of your
ground.......The Lord shall open unto you His good treasure,
the heaven to give the rain unto your land in his season,
and to bless all the work of your hand......."
Nothing here about Adam's curse still being on the ground,
and Israel having to constantly wage a battle against thorns and
thistles in the sweat of their brow, to attain these blessings.
What we see is that if they would diligently serve the Lord God
in obeying all His commandments, then they would have a society
and a land that could only be described as a veritable "utopia" -
the envy of all the other nations on the earth.
I submit to you that God could only offer these blessing for
obedience to Israel, because He had already (from the days of
Noah as we have seen) REMOVED FROM THE EARTH, the curse on the
ground because of Adam's sin.
NEW WORLD INHERITANCE
One of the famous fathers of the now new world land called
the United States of America, said words to the effect that the
people who settled that land, found themselves, as if given a
gift, the receivers not through great hard work, but as it were a
gift, the recipients of some of the most choicest and rich land
that the earth has to offer. Probably the people of Canada could
say the same thing.
The tens of thousands of Bison or Buffalo roaming the vast
plains were well looked after with the wild grasses covering
thousands of square miles. No thorns and thistles to worry about,
to any large degree, sure they are part of nature, so some are
here and there, some in more areas than in other areas. The new
settling farmers of the new land just had to turn the soil and
plant, and yes, do some long hours of grass, weed, stone removal,
bring in the cattle, bring in the sheep, in some areas plant the
fruit trees, and blessing upon physical blessings was and still
is the result from what is probably the richest large land area
on the globe. God never promised mankind would not have to
"work" to "dress and keep" things, that was given to him way back
in the garden of Eden, but once dressed and kept, it takes not
much hard toiling to keep it, if doing a little each day.
Now, this does not mean to say there was no thorns and
thistles to contend with in parts of North America. I do not mean
to say the farmers and fruit growers and vegetable producers back
in those early days did not have to toil to make a living on the
land. Some areas did have to be cleared of thorns and thistles,
where they grew, but North America was not covered with a blanket
of thorns and thistles. Some areas do not have them. I have
related already the experience of planting a garden on virgin
soil in southern Ontario, where I did not have to pull any thorns
or thistles, and very little work was needed to produce a
Yes, those early settlers had wild grass and weeds to pull,
even stones to clear from their land, some had trees to clear in
order to make productive land for themselves and their farming
enterprise, but wild grass, weeds, stones, and trees, were NOT a
part of the curse on the ground when Adam sinned, the curse was
only to do with thorns and thistles, and the eating of herbs
(which subject of only herb eating I've covered above).
Apparently the Province of Alberta (where I have recently
move to, as I write this in 1999) has a good share of thorns and
thistles that workers of the land have to contend with, but even
then the landscape is not covered as like a blanket with them,
for God has seen fit, since the Noachian flood to make sure
enough wild grass and other natural phenomena covered the land
areas of North America and the world, to hold back thorns
and thistles from taking over and choking out all plant life on
the earth (remember Adam Clarke's comments above about how
greatly thistles can spread and multiply). Some areas of some
land masses are very easy to "dress and keep" while others take a
little more work, and still other areas harder work still. But it
can be hard work to build a house, especially if you live in the
heat of the State of Florida, where I lived for three years.
All of North America is one of the greatest proofs that the
curse placed on the ground in Adam's day has long disappeared
from the face of this good green earth.
Let me go back for a while to the Old world, and especially
to my home country where I was born - WALES. The Welsh
country-side, with its valleys, its hills and dales, is noted as
being some of the prettiest in the whole world, especially North
Wales. It is still (I was back there for three months in the
summer of 1997) mostly a farming and sheep raising country.
Sheep farming is all over those Welsh hill sides, and so it has
been for centuries, as well as the other types of farming. What a
peaceful, lazy, quiet, friendly, country it is to this day, and
the Welsh are still singing away. It is known as the "land of
song." Those lush green hills and valleys are free from thorns
and thistles, the people just do not have to worry about them.
My contention is that the curse on the ground after Adam
sinned, a curse from God sending thorns and thistles like this
world has never seen since the time of the worldwide flood, was
like no other in the history of man on this planet. I contend
that the amount of work today needed to combat thorns and
thistles as we work the land, is in comparison to what mankind
had to battle with, and toil and work at, in the days before
the flood, just no comparison at all, another ball game
entirely, like trying to compare a coconut with a tomato.
To be continued