After Man’s aspirations to trump God’s I.Q. tripped him into mortality, God mercifully spared him and Woman but left them forever changed. Cursed. Man’s work became a tiresome burden and Woman writhed with agony as she pushed life from her body. Those were their yokes to bear alone. But they shared a curse as well; the curse of ambition and desire.
Genesis 3:16 God said to Woman, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Her desire to overthrow man is punishment for trying to overthrow God. This appetite for dominance paces like a lion within her, a bent lust for control born reaching out in attempts to subdue and undermine, to lure and drag around by the mind or heart. But instead of ruling she is ruled.
She is even ruled by theologians today who’ve argued that these words from God describe His ideal for the relationship today between Man and Woman – her under his thumb, him snapping his fingers to bend her will to his own. He is the ruler. She is the subject. “God said so.”
But we are to “aim for perfection” today, for relationships and living resembling the days before the bite was taken and the heart of God broken (2 Corinthians 13:11). Man and Woman honored, loved, cared for, partnered with each other. Equals. Ambition is the puddle Man and Woman both fell into but don’t have to stay in. Yet Go was right, the feud for superiority continues. It is the creature devouring both sexes, all cultures, from within.
“Your DESIRE,” God says.
Man and Woman feel rejected, shamed, blamed and tricked. And the seed of destructive desire, desire to be valued over the other is born. The seed grows in the heart and is passed down to the flesh of brothers. One accepted by God. The other ignored.
GENESIS 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Cain is warned that there inside him prowls a ravenous desire ready to take him over if given the chance. The same desire that wars in his parents while fighting with one another over remote controls and household chores undone, over credit card statements and sexual stalemates, over in-laws and dreams unfilled. It’s in him. The same wild poison. Growing, feasting on his brotherly envy. His need to rule over another now rules him.
It fans anger into action.
GENESIS 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
It whispers guidance on covering tracks.
GENESIS 4:9b “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
It dooms him to repeat the fall of his father. The same trajectory. He’s cursed and mercifully spared all at once, a walking symbol of Yaweh’s judgment and compassion for stumbling man, unable to leash the beast within.
More tonight at IKON from Chapter 4 of Genesis.