We need to acknowledge that “work” changed after The Fall. We talked about the in a previous post on work before and after The Fall. There was no longer the ease to it that it had before sin entered the equation. It became a struggle. In a real sense, the ground “fought back” with Adam. It grew thorns and thistles that had to be navigated as he harvested his plants- and even as he prepared the soil. He had to contend with weeds. There was now struggle amidst the joy.
Why did God do this? Why did God curse the ground? It seems to me that there may be something the Lord was trying to show Adam- and us:
- We are created from dirt (see Genesis 2:7).
- In effect, that means that we are nothing more than God’s dirt.
- We (God’s dirt) rebelled against Him (see Genesis 3:6b).
- Now, as a curse, the dirt beneath us rebels against us (3:17-19).
- In the thorns and thistles, we see a living picture of our rebellion against the Lord.
Make note- the pronouncement of this curse didn’t happen once in the Bible, but multiple times. In the chapter immediately following The Fall, we see Cain (a tiller of the soil) kill his brother Abel (a herdsman). As a punishment, the Lord told Cain,
“When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you” (v11- see Genesis 4:11-12).
Again, the dirt would fight back.
Moses later told the Children of Israel that if they sought the Lord and served Him with gladness then they would have plenty and never lack. That land would yield its strength, so to speak. Of course, if they didn’t seek the Lord, the land would fight back at them as well.
If they did not serve Him but prostituted themselves to other gods, then they would be cursed with hunger, thirst, nakedness, and “have need of all things” (see Deuteronomy 28:45,47-48). Absolute poverty, according to Moses, was the opposite of total blessing.
Of course, it is important, too, to see that as we are redeemed (again, God’s dirt), we see the earth redeemed (our dirt). We become free to prosper- rather than merely struggle to survive.