From Paradise to Paradise (Gen. 3:16)

If we believe all of the Scriptures we receive them as an organic unity, written by one Author, containing one central message concerning the Christ of God, and inspired by one Spirit. For all Scripture is given by inspiration; it is God-breathed (II Tim. 3:16). Besides, the Scriptures are often designated as being “the Scripture” (Mark 12:14John 2:22John 5:39John 7:38, 42John 10:35John 13:18John 17:12John 19:24, 28, 36, 37John 20:9Acts 1:16;Acts 8:32Rom. 4:3Rom. 9:17Rom. 10:11Gal. 3:8, 22Gal. 4:30I Tim. 5:18II Tim. 3:16James 2:8, 23James 4:5I Pet. 2:6II Peter 1:20).

In perusing all these many, many passages from Scripture it becomes quite evident that the Bible is a unique Book. Although it was written during many centuries by holy men, yet it has but one Author. God who spoke of old time unto the church through the prophets has in these last times spoken unto us in His Son (Heb. 1:2). Furthermore, God even spoke in all the law and the prophets concerning (peri) His Son. Says Jesus to the unbelieving Jews, “For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe Me (emoi in Greek); for He wrote of (concerning Me).

Now these instructions and this rebuke we had better take to heart; they should penetrate deeply into our hearts!

Yes, we must take these words seriously, as exegetes of Scripture.

We believe with all our heart that also in Genesis 3:16Moses is, at bottom, writing about the Son of God, as He was born from a woman, and as He was made to be under law (Gal. 4:4). And we make bold to assert that they who do not read of this Son of God in Genesis 3:16 fail to believe all of the Scriptures. Such have indeed thrown away the “key of knowledge”; yea, they take the key of knowledge away from the hungry people of God. Not reading of the Christ in Genesis 3:6, all they can read is about divine judgment, without grace. Such teaching is fatal; for then the Scripture is a closed book. God gives the book to them and says, “Read.” In the entire Old Testament they then can only find “law,” and this Old Testament is for them not the revelation of the covenant of grace, under types and shadows, but it is pure law. Such interpreters must needs ever teach explicitly, or always and again have the overtone of “law” in their sermons, which law then ceases to be a pedagogue unto Christ. Here the words of Isaiah are apt, where we read “therefore shall the word of the LORD be unto them precept upon precept, line upon line: here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:13). I almost dread to quote the remainder of this verse, which adds “(In order) that they may go and fall backward, and be broken, and snared and taken.”

Unless God reveals the Gospel of the Cross here inGenesis 3:16, there is no hope for heaven, neither is there hope for earth. And, we may be certain, there will be no fulfillment of the beautiful words of Genesis 2:4: “These are the Generations (toledoth) of the heavens and of the earth . . . .” Forsoothe, there will not be a hope for heaven nor for the earth, no joy of the angels in heaven, who always behold the face of their Father, and no song of redemption for the sons of men. The great and glorious judgments of God in heaven and hell will not be an accomplished fact in the “ages to come, when heaven and earth shall all be united under one head” (Eph. 1:7-10). We would ever be driven from Paradise by the flaming swords of the keepers of the most holy place, the Cherubim.

There would be no “from Paradise to Paradise,” the history of salvation which leads up to the birth of the “SEED of the woman” and which leads from the incarnation, cross, resurrection and ascension to the glorious revelation of Christ, the last Adam, in the great salvation of the cosmos (John 1:29).

That Beautiful Gospel Text in Genesis 3:16

We do well to quote this well-known Scripture.

It reads as follows:

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow (pain) and thy conception; in sorrow (pain) shalt thou bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

There are here various elements to which we must call attention, elements which are emphatically stated and underscored by the speaker, Jehovah, the covenant God of Israel.

In the first place we ought to notice carefully that the One speaking here is called in Genesis 3:9, 13 “Jehovah God.” He does not really have three separate and disjoined messages here to Satan, the woman, and the man (Adam). It is one message of two parts: eternal destruction of the serpent and salvation for Eve and for Adam in the deep way of sin and grace! In this message God really sets the seed of the serpent and the Seed of the woman in eternal and perpetual warfare. It is the battle of the ages.

Secondly, we ought to observe that the prediction to Eve was given by the LORD (Jehovah) within the framework of the PROTEVANGEL. Does not Adam as God’s prophet, in the Spirit of Christ (I Peter 1:11), call his wife, the woman, with a new name? It is a name which she could only bear within the framework of the promised SEED, spoken of in Genesis 3:15! Prior to the fall she can only be known as the one “taken out of the man.” Here we see the marriage as it was from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6). They are made unto one flesh by God’s creative act. Here we see the mystery of marriage, only in part. Even as Adam was a “figure” of the Christ-Adam to come, so their marriage was a prefiguration of the higher celestial marriage of Christ and the sanctified bride of all the redeemed of all ages. However, in good prose, in direct discourse, Jehovah here sets the woman, as she is in the marriage-state,. to serve greater things to come. Through the pain and sorrow of motherhood Eve, the woman, must serve to bring forth all men out of one blood (Acts 17:24-28Heb. 2:10, 11). The natural is first and then the spiritual (I Cor. 15:46).

We do well to notice the following particulars in the text.

The dark and painful and sorrowing side of Eve the mother of the living will be “multiplied exceedingly.” Such increase of sorrow is of the LORD (Jehovah) and serves His redemptive purpose, as well as the eternal condemnation of the Serpent, the old Dragon, Satan, the Devil. However, the sorrows are real. The Hebrews text here is very expressive. The terms for “greatly multiply” are really literally translated “causing to multiply I will multiply.” We read the same grammatical construction in Genesis 2:17, “. . . for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Here too we have “Dying thou shalt die.”

It is a very dark and painful side to the life of the mother of the living. And it is the word of Jehovah, which He will certainly fulfill in strictest justice: “dying thou shalt surely die.” The woman, Eve, who had been translated out of death to life, is translated thus in the very world in which she was created into the world of the kingdom of Jesus Christ—through death and hell unto life and glory. It is the way in which the seed of the serpent will be utterly bruised under the heel of the seed of the woman (Rom. 16:20). Note the beautiful promissary word to the church; the seed of the woman, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”

Yes, even through this prediction of gloom, viewed in light of all the Scripture, there are shining light-beams of grace and glory. God made all things by Christ and unto Christ (Col. 1:16). Here in Eve’s sorrows, by faith in the Scripture, we detect the joy which one day shall be eternally full. There is deep meaning and deep and comforting pathos in the words of Jesus to His disciples, “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow because her hour is come; but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world” (John 16:21).

Yet this sorrow is real and terrifying for the woman.

And it is God’s judicious and righteous verdict.

Let us take a little look at the “sorrow” of Eve as here predicted and as fulfilled, even in all godly women throughout the ages. I believe that Eve may be called a “case-study.”

First of all, she is the first mother who ever conceived and gave birth to a child. She would experience labor, a grievous thing. The term in the Hebrew is employed in Genesis 6:16, 17 as well as in Job 9:28Psalm 16:4Proverbs 10:10;Prov. 15:13. (See also I Chron. 4:9Is. 14:3.) The term expresses inexpressible weariness and labors, vexing pains and sorrows accompanying motherhood in the history of sin and grace.

Think for a minute of the very sorrowful experience of Eve as a mother of Cain. She thought that she had given birth to a “man, received from Jehovah.” This one would fight the Lord’s battles, as of the party of the living God against Satan and all his hosts. But, alas,her firstborn son, would be from a spiritual point of view dead in trespasses and sins, truly conceived and born in sin, without the new birth. He would be what John calls “a murderer,” “out of the Evil One.” He would be in a sense the father of the serpent’s seed in his generations. He would not be reckoned in the “generations,” the toledoth, of the heavens and of the earth. He cares not for the blood of the covering of skins, pointing to the blood of Christ, and to be clothed with the righteousness of the saints. No, the joy of the firstborn must wait till a babe is born to the virgin Mary, the seed of the woman, which was not by the will of an earthly “Adam” (Luke 1:35Matt. 1:18).

Also the Gospel spoken to Eve concerning the sorrows of her conceiving children awaits its fulfillment in the birth of Jesus Christ. However, here the sorrows are such that Mary will see that her firstborn Son will be set for a falling and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. Yes, in this fruit of the womb we will see that the Israel of the election in the Old Testament is glorified, and that he will be for a light to the Gentile world.

Truly Genesis 3:16 is a beautiful Gospel-text!

Blessed are the mothers in Israel who believed, walking continuously in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.