Cursed Is The Ground

Posted by on Jul 29, 2012

Cursed Is The Ground

“Cursed Is The Ground”

MP3 Version: “Cursed Is The Ground

Scripture Text: Genesis 3:14-24

By Pastor Mike Withem
First Baptist Church
Ranson, West Virginia


A. I want to begin this morning with a question, “In your opinion, what is the most despised, the most loathed, the most abhorred, the most detested, the most contemned of all the animals that God created and put on this earth?”
1. I’m sure that most of us here, this morning, would say that the “SNAKE” holds this honor.
2. This is why if someone calls you a “snake” or a “snake in the grass,” it is NOT a compliment.
3. In fact, I looked up the word “snake” in the dictionary and one of the definitions that I found was this, “a worthless or treacherous fellow.”
4. Nobody likes a snake.
5. For example, how many of you would like to crawl in bed with one of these critters (rattlesnake)?
6. Or how many of you would want to step on one of these guys bare foot (copper head)?
7. Or how many of you would want to grab one of these fellows by the tail (water moccasin)?
8. Here’s a non-poisonous snake (black snake), but I would venture to say that none of us here this morning would want to give him a kiss on the lips!
9. And so, there’s no doubt about it, the most despised, the most loathed, the most abhorred, the most detested, the most contemned of all the animals that God created and placed on this earth is the SNAKE.

B. Now this raises a question, “WHY are snakes so despised?”
1. Why is it that ever time that we see a snake, every time that our paths cross, we want to run grab a garden hoe and cut off the snake’s head?
2. Why is that?
3. The answer is found in Genesis 3 and it has to do with the fact that Satan used a “serpent” (snake) to deceive Eve. (I’ll show you what I mean in just a moment.)

C. But before I do, let me remind you that the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin can be put in two different categories.
1. Last Sunday we looked at the SPIRITUAL consequences, which were three.
2. The first consequence, of course, was DEATH.
3. The second consequence was a LOST INNOCENCE.
4. The final consequence was BROKEN FELLOWSHIP.
5. And so, when Adam and Eve sinned, there were three spiritual consequences (they died [spiritually], they lost their innocence, and their fellowship with God was broken).

D. Now this morning, I want us to look at the NATURAL consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin, and I want us to begin with the…

I. Serpent.

A. Now, by serpent, I mean the ANIMAL itself, NOT Satan (we will talk about him in a later sermon), but rather the animal that Satan used to deceive Eve.
1. I find it interesting that after Adam and Eve sinned, BEFORE God dealt with them, He dealt with the serpent.
2. Notice what God said to the serpent in Vrs. 14, “…Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:” (Gen. 3:14)

B. There are two things that stand out in this verse.
1. Notice, first of all, that God pronounced a CURSE upon the serpent.
2. What did God tell him?
3. He said, “…thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field.” (Gen. 3:14)
4. This is why snakes are the most despised, the most loathed, the most abhorred, the most detested, the most contemned of all the animals that God created.
5. It’s not because God created them that way in the beginning, but because of the CURSE that God pronounced upon them after the fall.
6. I’m sure that before the curse, serpents were warm, lovable, cuddly creatures (I wouldn’t even be surprised if Adam and Eve had a serpent for a pet).
7. But all that changed after God pronounced a curse upon the serpent.

C. Notice, secondly, that as a part of the curse, God physically ALTERED the serpent.
1. What did God tell him?
2. He said, “…upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:” (Gen. 3:14)
3. Do you realize what this means?
4. It means that before the curse, the serpent had LEGS.
5. We don’t know how many legs he had (two or four), but we know he had legs.
6. Of course, snakes today have NO legs, and this is not because of evolution, but rather the curse that God placed upon the serpent.

D. And so, when Adam and Eve sinned, first of all, there were natural consequences for the serpent.

E. There were also natural consequences for…

II. Eve.

A. There were two-fold.
1. First of all, Eve was to experience “sorrow” in child bearing.
2. Notice again Vrs. 16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;” (Gen. 3:16)
3. Now the word translated “sorrow” here literally means “painful labor.”
4. Another translation says it like this, “To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children.” (World English Bible)

B. Someone asked me once, “Pastor, if Eve had not sinned, would she have born children WITHOUT any labor pains whatsoever?”
1. I think that is VERY likely true!
2. (Illus.- A few years ago, a young husband was telling me about what it was like being with his wife while she was in labor and while she was giving birth. He told me that just before his son was born, when his wife’s labor pains were at their peak, she looked at him, then closed her eyes and screamed, “This is all YOUR fault!”)
3. Well, the fact that she was giving birth was his fault, but the fact that it was such a painful process was NOT his fault.
4. The truth is, it was EVE’S fault!
5. And so, the first natural consequence for Eve was that she would experience sorrow (pain) in child bearing.

C. The second consequence was SUBJECTION (submission) to her husband.
1. Notice again the latter part of Vrs. 16, “…and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Gen. 3:16)
2. In other words, he will be in authority over you, and you will without reservation submit to him.

D. (Illus.- As you know, many churches today have women pastors. This, of course, is very much contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches. Have you ever wondered how these churches justify a practice that is so clearly a violation of the Scriptures? They justify it by asserting that Paul’s writings on this subject were based on the culture that existed in his day, and that because our culture today is different, we can disregard those Biblical teachings. Some even go far as to say that Paul did not like women, and for that reason his writings reflected only his views and not God’s.)
1. This kind of reasoning, of course, it absurd.
2. The Biblical prohibition against women usurping spiritual authority over men has NOTHING to do with culture or with Paul’s view of women.
3. The reason that women cannot be pastors is because of Eve’s sin, plain and simple.
4. Let me show you what I mean.
5. Notice what the Bible says in 1 Tim. 2:11-12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (1 Tim. 2:11-12)
6. Now that’s the principle, but what is the reason behind the principle?
7. Was it the culture of that day? (No!)
8. Was it Paul’s view of women? (No!)
9. Paul gives us the reason for the principle in the following two verses, he said, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim.2:13-14)
10. The Biblical principle of women submitting to men SUPERSEDES every age and every culture, because it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

E. And so, the natural consequences for Eve’s sin were two-fold.
1. First of all, sorrow (pain) in child birth.
2. Secondly, subjection (submission) to her husband.

F. Now, last of all, notice the natural consequences for…

III. Adam.

A. The first consequence for Adam was that God CURSED the ground.
1. Notice again Vrs. 17-18, God said, “…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;” (Gen. 3:17-18)
2. What does it mean when it says that God “cursed” the “ground”?
3. It simply means that God made it less fertile, less fruitful and far more difficult to work and to grow things.
4. You see, before Adam sinned, the land was PERFECT for growing things.
5. While it is true that Adam had to work the land BEFORE he sinned, he didn’t have to contend with things like “thorns…and thistles,” plant eating insects, plant diseases, or poor soil.
6. (Illus.- I’ll tell you what, to be a successful farmer today, there are so many things that you have to overcome. You have to use all kinds of weed killers, and insecticides, and fertilizers.)
7. Before Adam sinned, he didn’t need any of these things, because the land was perfect for growing things.
8. But then God cursed the ground.

B. Adam’s second consequence is related to the first.
1. Because God cursed the ground, working it would be very HARD (difficult, strenuous).
2. Notice again Vrs. 19, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;” (Gen. 3:19)
3. Adam didn’t know what it meant to “sweat” before he sinned.
4. In fact, I’m convinced that he never broke a sweat, the whole time that he tended the garden.
5. But all that changed when he sinned.
6. (Illus.- I have never been a farmer, but I’m told that it is one of hardest ways to make a living. Could be why the number of farms and farmers in the US has declined over the years. People are looking for easier ways to make a living.)
7. But it’s not just farmers.
8. Because of Adam’s sin, life is more difficult for all of us, no matter what our occupation may be.
9. Let’s face it, we live in a sin cursed world, and in one way or another, sin makes life more difficult for all of us, without exception.

C. And so, the natural consequences for Adam’s sin were a CURSED ground and a HARD life. (The next time you complain about life being hard, remember who’s fault it is!)


A. Now, there is a natural consequence that BOTH Adam and Eve had to deal with, and that is PHYSICAL death.
1. When Adam and Eve, immediately, they died spiritually.
2. However, they also began to die physically.
3. Why?
4. Because from that point on, they no longer had access to the tree of life.
5. Notice again Vrs. 23-24, “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Gen. 3:23-24)

B. And so, there were many natural consequences that resulted from Adam and Eve’s sin.
1. First of all, there were consequences for the SERPENT. (cursed above all other animals and made to crawl on his belly.)
2. Secondly, there were consequences for EVE (suffering or pain in child birth and subjection to her husband).
3. Then, finally, there were consequences for ADAM (a cursed ground and a hard life).

C. But let’s not forget that in the midst of all of this, their sin and the consequences that followed, God promised Adam and Eve a SAVIOR! (We are going to look at those promises in our next study of Genesis.)

D. Can I ask you a person question, “If you should die this very moment, do you know absolutely for sure that you would go to heaven?” (If not, listen very carefully to me for just a moment and I will tell you how you CAN know.)