When Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, their immediate punishment was spiritual death and the beginning of physical death. God also confronted them with further consequences that have been passed down through the lineage of mankind and are therefore part of our heritage, too.
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:16-24
God told Eve that her joy in conceiving would be overshadowed by the pain she would experience in bearing children. But perhaps one of the most significant consequences of the fall of man is that woman will “desire after her husband.” This can also be interpreted as “an attempt to control or dominate.” And he will have “rule over her.” This can also be defined as “he will have a tendency to act as a dictator over her.” Each will strive for CONTROL and neither one will live with the best interest of the other in mind. Can you see where some of the strife that is experienced within marriages actually can be traced back to the curse that occurred from the original sin of man?
Adam received specific punishment from God, too. God told Adam that now he will have to work hard to till the earth. The ground will now produce thorns and thistles for man to contend with in bringing forth produce on which to live. Although most men today do not physically toil the earth (unless they are farmers), this can be more generally applied to whatever means by which a man provides for his family. While originally maintaining the Garden had been easy for Adam, now he would have to sweat to produce and provide.
As God finishes this discourse, He reminds Adam and Eve that their physical bodies are dying and will eventually return to dust. He goes on to remind them that because man will now experience a physical death, it will now be necessary for Adam and Eve to multiply and populate the earth.
As a final judgment, God sends Adam and Eve out of the Garden. But God’s love is truly present in this action. He does not want man to eat from the Tree of Life and live in this state forever. God has a better, more loving plan for humans: to send a Redeemer, His Son, to cover their sins and bring them back into a close relationship.
Can you identify some ways the consequences of the original sin of Adam and Eve plays out in your marriage today?