16 ¶ Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Here is something to make us consider. Is this stating that there was no childbirth before this point and that Adam and Eve had no offspring to this point? Or, is this saying that what had been relatively easy and pain-free was now going to be what the Bible will call travail?
Genesis 38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
Literally, this says that from this point on there will be grief and suffering in childbirth. Here is sorrow defined as grief.
Genesis 44:29 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Countless women have died giving birth and many, many infants have not lived to see the light of day. This experience does change women, typically. Although it does not often work out that way the suffering of childbirth should be a reminder of the helplessness of humanity and the need for God’s mercy at all times and in every event. While not every childbirth is a struggle or even presents a painful or sorrowful experience it is typically so and only the benefits of modern medicine make it otherwise at times and to various degrees.
God’s judgment on Eve is that she will suffer pain and grief in childbirth. This is one of the events of life, like death, that should remind us of our need for a Saviour. God’s judgment on the world is due, it is ready, and we have no way of knowing when it will come. It can come very fast or be a long-drawn out ordeal. It is not in our power or knowledge to foretell the hour.
The second part of the judgment on Eve is her subordinate position to Adam. This implies an equality between Adam and Eve, before this, that will be unknown again until the Christian church is instituted and, sadly, will not be realized or culturally accepted in actual relations between men and women until the last hundred years.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
1Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
However, within the husband wife relationship, if it is to be Godly, the woman must acknowledge the authority of her husband. But, first, for the sake of moral order and decency it must be understood that in the confines of all of us being in submission to each other a wife is to be in submission to her own husband and not every man, as culture often dictates the inferiority of women to all men in other countries today and in America of yesteryear.
Ephesians 5:21 ¶ Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
As there have been countless sermons on why and how a woman should be submissive to her husband I see no point in ‘beating a dead horse’, so to speak, and belaboring the point. I would suggest, ladies, that if you cannot find it within yourself to honor that relationship as ordained by God between a husband and wife that you not get married. If a man doesn’t rule your home, as one old-time preacher said, he will wreck it. It’s a very dicey proposition to try to get around God’s judgments, resulting in confusion, disorder, and frustration, often the cause of a failed Christian marriage. And you, man, remember that, in one respect, your feeling of being ‘large and in charge’ is a result of a curse, not because you are ‘all that and a bag o’ chips.’
The rule seems to be that, in the church, men and women are to be equal but in the Christian marriage the wife is to voluntarily submit herself to her husband, while everyone in the church voluntarily submits to each other, as equals, but all in submission to Christ as Lord and Master.
I can remember a time when an employer would ask you if you had a problem working for a woman manager. I also remember an employer saying he would not hire a woman because there were men looking for work who had families to support, as if a woman could not have a family to support. For those men in the church who insist that, “no woman is going to give me orders,” I might remind you;
Romans 16:1 ¶ I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.