Why did God say women would suffer in childbirth?


By BibleAsk Team

The Pain in Childbirth

After the fall, the Lord declared to Eve, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). The pain in childbirth is not just physical but is also used as a symbol of the severe anguish of the mind due to sin (Micah 4:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; John 16:21; Revelation 12:2). 

In addition, the Lord said to Eve that her pain will be accompanied by the following: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). This will be so because the woman had broken her divinely appointed relationship with the man. For instead of being a help “meet” for him, she had become his seducer into sin.  

The Place of Women in Bible 

Because of sin, the woman’s rank of equality with man was lost. Man was to “rule over” her as lord and master. And this was greatly manifested among most of the non-Christian nations, where women have been subjected throughout the ages to humiliation and slaveryIn the pagan nations, women were commonly considered as assets, and thus much inferior to men. Pagan philosophers sometimes debated whether a woman even had a soul. And in some pagan cultures, a father or husband had authority over the women of his household to the point of ordering their death.   

However, among the Hebrews the condition of women was one of subordination but not of oppression or slavery. Christianity has placed a woman on the same platform as a man in receiving the benefits of salvation and redemption. Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).  

Although the husband is to be head of the household, Christian principles will lead him and his wife into an experience of true partnership, where each is so dedicated to the happiness and well-being of the other. The Lord commands, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them” (Colossians 3:18, 19).  

In Christianity, subordination does not in any way imply inferiority. The submission of the wife is of the type that can be offered only between equals, not a demanding obedience, but a free submission because the man was ordained by his Maker to be head (Genesis 3:16). 

God’s Promise of Redemption

With the curse of sin on Eve and her descendants, there was a promise of hope and salvation. The Lord stated, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The war that started between Christ and Satan in heaven (Revelation 12:7–9), was continued on earth but Christ again defeated the enemy (Hebrews 2:14). And this war will terminate finally with Satan’s destruction at the end of time (Revelation 20:10).

Christ himself was the One that carried Adam and Eve’s penalty of sin. Sadly, Christ did not emerge from this battle untouched. The nail marks in His hands and feet and the scar in His side will be eternal reminders of the infinite price He had paid to redeem humans and give them eternal life (John 20:25; Zechariah 13:6). “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13; John 3:16).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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