I’ve never understood why Eve bears the heaviest criticism for disobeying God. Adam is likewise culpable, and he could have—and should have—put a stop to eating the forbidden fruit. More contemptible is the serpent, who resorted to lies to trip up Eve.
Because of their actions, all three—Adam, Eve, and the serpent—suffer consequences, which they will pass on to future generations.
Looking specifically at Eve, she receives three punishments: pain in childbirth, a desire for her husband, and him ruling over her. The middle phrase doesn’t make much sense, but the NLT renders it differently: “you will desire to control your husband.”
So before Adam and his wife messed up, things must have been the opposite: childbirth was easy, women did not seek to control their husbands, and men did not rule over their wives.
Going forward, women would desire to control their husbands, and husbands would rule their wives. However, in the beginning there was neither controlling nor ruling; there must have been equality, with God intending spouses to live as equals.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.