I’ve mentioned once or twice that I’m in a Christian moms’ group. We meet weekly, and I have become fairly close with the moms involved, even though we don’t always see eye to eye on certain issues. At least we can all agree that setting a good moral and spiritual example for our children is among the many important jobs we have as mothers.
We’re working through a kind of Bible study book right now, and where the previous books have focused a lot on the child-rearing aspect of things, this one is devoted entirely to what the Bible says about marriage. And the way it’s set up is as a kind of guide through various verses, that is, the verse is printed right there alongside discussion questions and author insights. It’s interesting, but a lot of it is sort of a review of what at least James and I covered in our precana (Catholic marriage prep) classes three and a half years ago.
But that’s not what this post is about. There’s a certain verse in Genesis that has been kind of on loop in the back of my head since our group discussed Chapter three. It’s this one:
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)
Now, let’s forget about the whole, “rule over you,” part of this. That part is tricky, and maybe if I find myself at a loss for what to post over the next twenty-six more days of the Blop, I’ll get back to it then. What’s been bothering me about this verse is the whole “pain in childbirth,” punishment God gave to Eve for her choice to sin against Him.
As we’ve been looking at the passages that this marriage book has brought up for discussion, I have found myself in the minority in my assumption that since the Bible was transcribed by men, it’s entirely possible that parts have been embellished or changed just a little bit in the detail in order to fit the times or the agendas of the men with the pens. Many Christians take offense at this suggestion. They say that the whole Bible is God’s own words and only God’s own words, and that’s it, and it’s been proven (I won’t get into that part right now, either).
But what bothers me about that opinion can kind of be summed up with my feeling about this Genesis passage. Because I can’t reconcile God’s punishment to my experience in real life. When I gave birth, I could hardly describe the pain as “greatly multiplied,” in fact, I don’t describe my birth using the word “pain” at all. Because it wasn’t painful to me. I know that many women do experience pain in childbirth, and in fact I have heard women describe it as the worst pain of their lives. But that wasn’t me. And I happen to know that I’m not a total freak in that other women have been lucky enough to have given birth pain-free, too. So is this “punishment” really the Word of God? Or was it something that someone tossed in there to either justify what many women went through to give birth or to inspire women to fear childbirth and give some of the amazing power contained in that act over to men?
Just something I’ve been thinking about. I don’t really have an answer.
Also, the Republicans called me again today. During M’s afternoon nap. Again. Hooray for Election Day being over! Now the robots can go back to their home planet and hibernate for another four years. Zzzzz.