Genesis 3:8-24 Curse

Garden of Eden | Sound Doctrine Ministries

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c]of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it’,
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.[g] 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live for ever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.


When I play some card games and board games we have to play good versus evil.  My friends like to cast themselves as the good guys and so I often have to play the role of the bad guys.  In one game I have often played as the Dark Elves and they often cast a hex on their enemies.  A hex is a spell that disables or damages an opponent.  Maybe it drains their life away.  Maybe it freezes them.  When I think of the word curse I often think of it in those terms.  I think of a voodoo woman in the bayou sticking pins in a cloth doll.  So how does God curse mankind in the above passage?  I see no cauldron or pointed black hats.

The curse of Genesis three is the removal of God’s blessing and the removal of his presence.  We see that God had caused the vegetation and the animals to flourish in the Garden of Eden.  No more.  Now God will allow the land to grow wild.  Mankind will need to work the ground harder.  There will be fewer instances of low-lying fruit.  Plants like thorn bushes and thistles will make the landscape more hostile.  Maybe they always grew outside the garden, but now ‘outside the garden’ has become the home of the first couple.

In leaving the garden mankind leaves their communion with God.  Having abused the relationship, like all relationships, the level of intimacy is damaged.  God still sustains and exists wherever people live, but there is no fellowship.  Now evil forces will work against mankind and mankind will fight against them.  There will be wars on earth and there will be death.  There will be decay of Adam and Eve and they will fade back into the dust from which they are formed.

In pronouncing a curse, God does not pronounce some hideous action toward Adam and Eve.  God pronounces their departure from Utopia.  The rest of scripture will describe mankind’s quest to regain Eden.  It is not because of the destination, though.  It is because of God’s presence.


For many today, Lord, this curse sounds like no curse at all.  It sounds like freedom and independence.  It sounds like mankind’s dreams were realised.  I don’t feel that way.  I see you as absent in too many ways and I long for re-admittance to The Garden.  Show us the way to bring your ideals to this earth once more.


  1. How is Adam cursed?
  2. How is Eve Cursed?
  3. How is the land cursed?
  4. What does it mean ‘to curse’?
  5. How do you work to reverse the curse?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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17 Responses to Genesis 3:8-24 Curse

  1. Michael McCardle says:

    How is Adam cursed?
    Adam is cursed by suffering from the consequences of hard manual labor because God curses the ground.
    How is Eve Cursed?
    Eve is cursed with the pains of childbirth, desire for her husband and that her husband will rule over her.
    How is the land cursed?
    Thorns and thistles. Which makes gardening with my mother a pain in the butt.
    What does it mean ‘to curse’?
    ‘To Curse’ is the removal of God’s blessing.
    How do you work to reverse the curse?
    By seeking a deeper and authentic relationship with God so that I might find joy in all my work and suffering.

  2. Maelynn says:

    1. The ground was cursed as a result of Adam’s sin.
    2. Eve was cursed in child birth.
    3. The ground would brimg forth weeds and thistles.
    4. The removal of God’s blessing and presence.
    5. I turn from sin and turn towards God. I seek to follow after him with the reward if heaven in sight.

  3. Christina W. says:

    1. Adam would now have to toil to work the ground and will now experience death.
    2. Eve would now experience pain in childbirth and her desire would be for her husband who would rule over her.
    3. The land would now produce thorns and thistles.
    4. “To curse” means the removal of God’s blessing and presence.
    5. I work to reverse the curse by taking time to spend in God’s word and in his presence in prayer.

  4. Molly says:

    I am struck by the last question, “How do you work to reverse the curse?” In today’s society people are searching for that one thing that is missing from their life. They sense the hole felt in their soul and try to replace it with money, sex and material things, little do they know that none of those things will satisfy. God’s presence is the only thing that will satisfy our longing souls. I find His presence all around, He is a faithful God. But there are times when I don’t want to be in his presence, I want to sin and do things my way. His spirit is always speaking though, often times for me in the most inconvenient times (because my heart is not always in the right place) I enjoy spending time with the God head, experiencing fellowship with them and acknowledging their presence, it brings rhythm to my day.

  5. Christa says:

    1. How is Adam cursed? Adam was cursed with a cursed ground and a difficult work life and ultimately with death
    2. How is Eve Cursed? Eve was cursed with pain in childbearing and in the desires of her heart in the relationship that she had with her husband
    3. How is the land cursed? The land was cursed with thorns and thistles
    4. What does it mean ‘to curse’? ultimately it means the removal of God’s presence and goodness
    5. How do you work to reverse the curse? In myself, I can do nothing to reverse the curse; it is only through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection in order to redeem me and have a relationship with me that I can participate in the unity of Christ which allows me to be again in God’s presence

  6. Maria T. says:

    For some reason, the third question is sticking out to me. How is the land cursed? I usually don’t think about the land as being cursed. I think about how Adam and Eve were cursed and the natural outworking of that was difficulty in planting, cultivating, and working the ground. Yet the ground is cursed because of their sin. Thistles and thorns were not part of God’s garden. I think that the fact that the land was cursed proves how serious the sin actually was. it has such far reaching effects on everything, including the very earth we live on. It seems that the God has used it as a picture to demonstrate that there is not an escape from the effects of sin unless we turn to Him. His plan to completely restore creation is the only hope to be fully rid of the effects of sin.

  7. Megumi says:

    1. Adam is cursed with hard toil.
    2. Eve is cursed with pain in child-bearing and tension in her relationship with her husband.
    3. The land is curse with thorns and resistance to human cultivation.
    4. God’s curse for Adam and Eve is to remove them from paradise.
    5. I can’t reverse the curse, but God is reversing the curse in my life as he draws me to restored relationship with him.

  8. Andrew Moore says:

    When I think about the curse, I tend to think about how wide ranging it was. Certainly, I think that disease is a result of the curse, but are things like bad weather or even conflict between human beings a result of the fall as well? Genesis’s list of things that are cursed is relatively short, but I think that there has to be greater effects than the ones listed.

  9. Kimberly W. says:

    I have never thought about seeking to reverse the curse before. I see and experience the curse in life everyday. It can’t all be reversed this side of Heaven. We are still East of Eden. The land will grow thistles and weeds and have rocks no matter what we do. Farming is hard and childbirth is no walk in the park. Those things will not change. However, I suppose we can fight against aspects of the curse–namely, the relational aspects of the curse. The curse has damaged our relationships with each other and with God. God sent His Son to mend the damage in our relationship with Him. We can heal, at least in part, the relationships we are in through love and forgiveness. The phrase “long-suffering” comes to mind. Is that not how God is in His relationship with us?

  10. Jung Kim says:

    The curse, as Mr. Worrall mentions above, in Genesis 3 is the removal of God’s blessing and His presence. This reminds us the meaning of sin as well. Sin, in other words, means when we are going away from God’s presence and turning away from Him. I sin everyday. This is different than language. Language is local and changeable. Yet, our sinful nature doesn’t. This is WHY I need Jesus. This is WHY we need His presence. Lord, I want more of you.

  11. 1. Adam is cursed by having to manually work to sustain his life, but he will eventually experience death.
    2. Eve is cursed by having pain in child-bearing, there is also a desire to control her husband. Eve will also eventually die.
    3. The land is cursed with thorns and thistles.
    4. God’s blessing is removed when something is cursed.
    5. In order to reverse the curse, I try my best to turn from sin and think with a heavenly perspective in mind. I also seek God’s perfect will and try to conform mine to His.

  12. 1. Adams is cursed with having to toil with the ground which has become hardened and he shall return to dust.
    2. Eve is cursed with pain in childbirth and relational struggles with her husband.
    3. The land is made less fertile and hardened. It does not only produce good things, but more easily produces destructive things.
    4. To assign a fate or struggle of some form to someone or something.
    5. I cannot reverse the curse on my own in myself. This has to be a work of Christ Jesus throughout all of humanity and creation.

  13. Nate Silvieus says:

    I can’t imagine what it would have been like to constantly be in the physical presence of God. Furthermore I cannot imagine how devastating it must have been to have that presence removed from my life. The story of redemption has it’s beginning with that curse. God’s physical presence was localized in the tabernacle, and then the temple, and only one man, once a year, was allowed to enter it under serious conditions. However, now (with great timing of Wednesday being the Day of Atonement) we have for ourselves a great and perfect high priest in Jesus Christ our Savior. Through his sacrifice and resurrection, we are able to come before God once again without the conditions and ceremonies. Jesus has made the old covenant “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13) and we can come before God blameless forever if we believe in Him.

    “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 8:24-25)

  14. Adam is cursed by God with manual work of the land and one day, experiencing death. Eve is cursed with pain in childbirth and relationship tensions with her husband. The land is cursed as it becomes hard and less fertile, easily producing bad things. To “curse” something is to cast judgement on it and take away the blessing of God. To reverse the curse, I must be made into the image of Christ more and more each day, striving to look to things of heavenly value and not earthly things.

  15. It today’s culture, being a woman, I can see the curse of Eve lived out in many non-Christians and Christians alike. There is a deep desire to rule over their husbands. Even if they have no husband there is a need to prove themselves as, “boss”-“I can be just as good at as man in any occupation”. When we see that sometimes it’s physically impossible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m am all for encouraging women to go for their goals and be strong (especially in the Lord). But, how far should we go with that desire to lead. When we see that in the curse Eve’s desire will be for her husband(namely to rule over him). It’s so important to watch and be wise in how we treat our husbands because we are naturally inclined to want to override and rule over him.

  16. Emmy R says:

    The curse truly does boil down to an absence of the presence of the Lord. Everything Adam and Eve once knew was ripped away from them in one decision. How sad it must have been for them to get a glimpse of Heaven, and then have it striped from them for the rest of their lives. The saying must have rang true in their lives, you don’t know how good something is until it is gone.

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