The Extended Evic Curse


#1

I’d like to intellectually demonstrate why the Evic curse has no meaning today, and hence is an outmoded belief.

A few weeks ago, a stray cat outside my window had kittens. Her agonized cries alerted me to the birth. In Genesis. after Eve disobeys God, God says that He will greatly multiply her birth pangs.

The curse is clearly meant to explain why women suffer greatly in childbirth. It is also used to explain the horrifying expulsion of blood that females experience during menses, which today we know is the shed lining of the uterus to nourish the fertilized egg (i.e., there is no shame or horror attached to menstruation).

I contend this myth isn’t meaningful or applicable today. All female mammals, not just human beings, suffer a great deal of pain when birthing their offspring. Human beings in the ancient world, being intelligent and self-conscious, took this pain quite personally*. Mortality during childbirth scared these cultures because they lived in a pre-scientific age—an age in which it was common for mothers and their babies to die in childbirth. In this context, it would be high arrogance to blame them for inventing an Eve to explain why this happens. It is understandable why they needed an explanation—however superstitious and wrong it might be—for why women suffered agony, and death often accompanied childbirth.

Pain and death have existed since life has existed. Literalists need only open their eyes and see that all mammals suffer birth pangs through no fault of their gender. Only a deceptive God would extend the curse to female mammals and then have mammalian birth pain make perfect sense to us in an evolutionary/naturalistic context. Birth pain is to be expected in the context of evolution and in light of what we see in the natural history record.

A God that endorses belief in a literal Fall (to Christians, the truth) but concurrently hands us conflicting information (data showing that suffering has existed since emotion and pain receptors have existed) cannot exist. This is just one reason why I’m confident the Christian God as promoted by Christians doesn’t exist. Love doesn’t endeavor to sew confusion. (“God is love” is practically meaningless to our human understanding if God intentionally sews confusion.)

(The cat and her kittens are doing wonderfully, BTW. =) I “kittennapped” the whole family.)

  • Christopher Hitchens refers to this pre-scientific time as the “bawling infancy of our species.” Being loosed on a harsh planet with predators, disease, and calamitythrown at them, and without the mental equipment to fully understand these horrors, I’m inclined to agree with that description.

#2

You are falling victim to some assumptions of logic that lead to fallacies.

[list]
*] You are assuming that there was never any pain in birthing.
Genesis 3:16 indicates that the curse is “an increase in pain”. This verse suggests that before the fall there was some pre-existing discomfort or much less pain of some kind (perhaps emotional pain from the mother-child physical separation). Here is the verse: *To the woman He said, “**I will greatly multiply Your pain **in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” *
*] You are misassuming that humanity’s fall had no consequences to anyone but man. This is in contradiction to Catholic Church teaching which tells us that original sin had a consequence to all of creation. *CCC 400 The harmony in which they [Adam & Eve] had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.282 Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.283 Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay”.284 Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will “return to the ground”,285 for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.[Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned] *
[/list]

James


#3

You are assuming that there was never any pain in birthing.

There was no pre-Fall birth. Eve had children post-Fall. What pre-Fall birth are you referring to?

Genesis 3:16 indicates that the curse is “an increase in pain”.
This verse suggests that before the fall there was some pre-existing discomfort or much less pain of some kind (perhaps emotional pain from the mother-child physical separation).

In paradise, there was emotional pain? Are you aware that traditional Christian teaching says that Paradise was pain-free, just as Heaven will be? That creates the problem of Paradise being a place where emotional pain is experienced while Heaven is promised to be pain free. Heaven sounds better. Should we then be glad that Eve essentially gave us better quarters (i.e., a place with zero emotional pain) by rebelling?

Here is the verse: To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."
Again, Adam knew his wife after the Fall.
You are misassuming that humanity’s fall had no consequences to anyone but man. This is in contradiction to Catholic Church teaching which tells us that original sin had a consequence to all of creation.

No, I definitely didn’t assume that. I was a Christian for 15 years, and I certainly knew the traditional Christian teaching that Eden turned the vegetarian saber-toothed cat into a meat-eating one. Back then, that made sense to me. What didn’t make sense to me is God adding more nerves and pain receptors to mammalian anatomy because Eve partook of the tree. It still doesn’t.

Perhaps I didn’t go into enough detail about the story recovered from the earth’s crust (i.e., the natural history record). I addressed this in my OP by saying “Pain and death have existed since life has existed.“

The natural history record shows that predation, disease, and calamity antedate the appearance of human beings by hundreds of millions of years. You need human beings for a Fall.

282 Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.

This assumes predators did not exist prior to man. The natural history record says otherwise. Had the gorgonopsian and allosaurus met man, they would have eaten him. We have always been predated. You are assuming we haven’t based on what a religious book has told you, but most of the evidence shows that predation, disease, and calamity have existed for years.

283 Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay”.

Things decayed long before man appeared, including radioactive isotopes. Scientists measure that rate of decay to determine the earth’s great age.

You sound like a Catholic creationist. If you are, I respectfully bow out of discussion with you. I prefer debating someone who doesn’t fear data (like a Ken Miller) because I have no desire to convince you that biologists, astronomers, and geologists don’t have an axe to grind. There is no conspiracy of scientists inflating geochronology. The data practically fell into their laps.


#4

It’s not normal for most mammals to hurt much during birth. I’ve been privileged to see that miracle in many species, on video and IRL, and pain and dificulty for mammals other than ungulates and primates usually indicate far overdue offspring or serious maternal malnutrition – the necessary effects of the Fall. A crueller world means babies must be born later and smarter, whereas ideal nutrition is no longer common. A well-fed cat who is not overdue usually has her young without realizing it until a few minutes later. They fall right out while she goes about her business. Then she feels a little light, goes back and finds them and put them in the nest.
The term “creationist” is a lttle outdated, as is “evolutionist”. Everyone who is paying attention to the facts as they keep coming in, especially leading cosmologists and physicists, is some of both, at many different points along a long continuum where camping at either end has become unviable.


#5

Are you infallible and are you a fundamentalist creationist? You previously implied you were a fallen away Christian. Are you now saying you believe in scripture again? Take note that scripture is silent on every detail of how long Adam and Eve were in Eden and how they lived day to day. Should we assume that Adam & Eve did not participate in intercourse in Eden? Unless scripture explicitly asserts one way or the other on a particular matter how do you objectively know that Adam and Eve had no children before the fall? I assert you can’t unless you: 1) accept scripture as infallible and 2) make assumptions that scripture is holistic and an accurate and full account of every aspect of human history and in particular about pre-fall man. I accept that there is the possibility that scripture does not give the full account of all aspects of pre-fall human relationships and paradisaical life and that this information is not material to us for salvation.

Thus, while not a traditional view or teaching of The Church that Adam and Eve had children we can not definitively know from silence of scripture in this regard. The words given in scripture “I will increase your pain of childbirth” certainly imply at first glace that there was at least a knowledge that there would be some pain associated with birth - had there been a birth. How would you reconcile this apparent contradiction?

Well, clearly, before the banishment from Eden there was certainly a transitory period in Eden (“Paradise”) where Adam and Eve attempted to hide in a state of sin. But God had no trouble finding them. They experienced emotions of shame in discovering they were naked. Thus that is a case where emotional pain was felt while still physically present in Eden - albeit for perhaps a short transient time. And we are told in various other places of scripture that God (who is in heaven) experiences forms of hurt that we humans can relate to. That is God feels sadness, hurt and regret when His people sin and disobey and certainly felt pain when Christ died on the cross. As for your observation about Eve’s sin gaining us a greater place - YOU BET! But it was not through any merit of Adam and Eve but through the goodness of God alone. Have you not read the verse *John 17:19 “Oh happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” *

Consider that it God did nothing but permit the effect of the sin to cause the change to His natural order since it was an election of choice by creatures of His Creation. Also consider the possibility that it was not a change in physiology but rather a change in how the senses perceive pain as a consequence of spiritual depravity. People forget that humans are simultaneously physical, intellectual and spiritual. Our spirituality is the greater aspect of our humanity and who’s state has the most influence on “our attitude” and “feelings”. Simply put - sick and hurt spirit - sick and hurt body and intellect. Ever wonder why the world has so much apparent madness, anxiety, muddled thinking, self defeating behaviors? It is because we are cascading down in our moral depravity caused by compounding sin.

Unless one can objectively experience this assertion personally then one is only speculating and assuming this to be the case. that said It is entirely possible that physical death was always a natural ordered means by which God replaced all or part of His material creation. And it is entirely possible that there was never any anxiety associated death since it was an ordained law without eternal consequence. Recollect that animals and plants do not have eternal souls - only man does.

It is entirely possible that things that predate man are nothing but transient mechanism that are prerequisites to man’s formation. It is also possible that natural history is wrongly interpreted or we do not have all the missing pieces. We can only speculate.

See above. Since God did not ordain man to be present on earth during this period the assertion is hypothetical. If God had ordained man to be present during this period He may have ordained that these creatures would fear man and flee from him rather than been aggressive or to ignore him as not a threat.

Is this really decay or is it an organic working of nature that simply transforms one form of matter into another? Have you not heard the scientific claim “matter can not be destroyed - only converted”?

I tend toward being an evolutionary belief and see it as wholly consistent with God’s mechanism for creation. That said, there are many holes in the natural evolutionary concept since the complexity of DNA is so profound it would have required an evolutionary discontinuity (a freak of nature) for nature to have made the quick jump in complexity between single cell creatures and man. Its not really important to me one way or the other exactly what mechanisms God creates through (e.g. the constraints of natural law or by spontaneous creation). The only important thing to me is where we go from here.

You sound like an agnostic or an atheist. I prefer to not discuss and debate with someone who only recognizes scripture when it’s convenient to use it to support extra-scriptural theories but in all other cases reject it when it does not support the same. Irrationality is a cousin to inconsistency. Good Luck in your search to resolve the inconsistencies found in archaeological evidence.

James


#6

Hi James. Pardon me for assuming you were a literalist. Your first reply was devoid of detail. In addition to implying Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel prior to the Fall, you cited common knowledge Catholic teaching which no doubt I would have been aware of being a Christian. Obviously, I know the Fall affects the natural world; it was the Evic curse being extended to other mammals that I was questioning.

James said:

Unless one can objectively experience this assertion personally then one is only speculating and assuming this to be the case.

What? Person experience is not objective. You no doubt claim to have experienced succor and instruction from Mary. Some “feel” her at Lourdes and Fatima. Personal experience is not based on observable phenomena. It is influenced by emotions or personal prejudices. Hard data is the opposite of that. It can’t be quibbled with because the calculator doesn’t lie.

Religionists, unfortunately, do. Lying is built into the system because the Pope can receive any information and convince millions he is correct. Protestants agree with me, though they aren’t consistent in seeing the same egregious flaws in their own belief system. Skeptics see the whole picture, many of us having “experienced” the same numinous feelings as you. The numinous is not reliable, yet it is the foundation on your belief system.

that said It is entirely possible that physical death was always a natural ordered means by which God replaced all or part of His material creation. And it is entirely possible that there was never any anxiety associated death since it was an ordained law without eternal consequence. Recollect that animals and plants do not have eternal souls - only man does.

It is entirely possible that God is pulling the wool over our eyes in the natural history record. Many things are entirely possible. Occam’s razor is useful here.

strngrm said:

It’s not normal for most mammals to hurt much during birth. I’ve been privileged to see that miracle in many species, on video and IRL, and pain and dificulty for mammals other than ungulates and primates usually indicate far overdue offspring or serious maternal malnutrition – the necessary effects of the Fall. A crueller world means babies must be born later and smarter, whereas ideal nutrition is no longer common. A well-fed cat who is not overdue usually has her young without realizing it until a few minutes later.

I only cited the stray cat as a recent example. It has been my experience that the birthing process for is extremely painful for mammals, well fed or not. Besides, this cat was fed by the neighborhood; she had plenty of food and water and still the process was obviously agonizing.

They fall right out while she goes about her business. Then she feels a little light, goes back and finds them and put them in the nest.

Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and say that mammalian birthpangs aren’t common. If they were, would that make a difference to you?

The term “creationist” is a lttle outdated, as is “evolutionist”. Everyone who is paying attention to the facts as they keep coming in, especially leading cosmologists and physicists, is some of both, at many different points along a long continuum where camping at either end has become unviable.

Christianity is in crisis precisely because most Christians camp at the creationist end, making the world think you fear data. That is significant. When your main PR people advance ideas that were long ago disproven, you imperil souls (according to your belief system, of course).


#7

We all (Christians that is) agree that we have a Creator Who knows what He is doing and always did know, that He made everything for a specific reason and made humans special, and relatively late, and that He has influenced our development ever since, including a curse caused by the first humans’ turning away from Him.
We all agree that living things go through adaptive and maladaptive changes and that adaptive changes are correlated with a long life; that’s what makes them adaptive.
So we are all both creationist and evolutionist. Almost no one clings to either extreme, least of all the scientists (biologists, astrophysicists, etc.) atheists like to try to drag their way. Physicists tend to be more religious than philosophers or psychotherapists, and great physicists have cited their work as the reason. A post isn’t anough space and I don’t find it intelligent to spare enough time to turn this into a research project to prove this to you. You will do a little digging and find out it’s a fact or you will stick to a foregone conclusion or you will not care or something else will happen. I hope you seek truth all your life and I know if you do you will return to faith.


#8

I agree. Physicists are seeing that the deeper and deeper they get into subatomic particles they are realizing that there is something “keeping matter all together” that appears more mystical than physical. There is even withing the uncertainty principal (Heisenberg interval) and interval of time so small that its impossible to observe all aspects of matter’s interaction (mass and momentum can not be both observed). So theoretically ANYTHING can happen in this small interval. It’s as if God has said “some things are private and you shall not know”. So within the very laws of nature we see that there is a window whereby God could step in and do anything He wanted and return it back to its prior state without us ever seeing it unless He wanted us to. In this interval matter could be created and annihilated so that the sum total was null for all we know. I really think Physicists are starting to see that there is more mystery to creation than ever man will be able to fathom.

James


#9

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