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Audio Archive - The Calvary Ottawa Years
Parents - Genesis 3:16-20

Parents - Genesis 3:16-20

Message 1 in a series on Marriage

This is the first in a series on Marriage. Here we look at our “parents” marriage, the very first one, Adam and Eve, and the conditions that marriage exists in. From there, we can ask some questions about our immediate parents’ marriage. Our parents shape not just our norms about marriage, but human beings, and more importantly our expectations about God.

The other messages in this series are:

  1. Marriage - Genesis 3:16-20 “Parents”

  2. Marriage - 1 Corinthians 7 “Free”

  3. Marriage - Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives”

  4. Marriage - Ephesians 5:25-34 “Husbands”

  5. Marriage - Hebrews 13:4 “Kept”

Here are my notes:

Marriage - Genesis 3:16-20 “Parents”

Let’s turn in our Bibles and Bible apps to Genesis 3, where we will read from verse 16 to verse 20.

Before we start, I would like to draw your attention to something new here this morning. For many, many years, we have had the request to somehow get the audio of the Bible Study into the nursery area, and we’ve never been able to figure it out. Last week, it came up again, and this time, Josh Gilman suggested we try going “live” on YouTube. So, we had a tv and an Apple TV that had been donated a couple of years ago, we installed it all, and did a test run off of my phone this week and it worked. So, that’s why there’s a tripod and a phone over there, it’s broadcasting live so the people serving in the nursery upstairs can watch and follow along.

And, of course, we are live on YouTube, and you never know what the Holy Spirit might want to do through that.

And it’s free. Amazing.

So, let’s pray and then we will begin our Bible Study. (government, new year, return to school, need for Haven Too, January 17th)

Genesis 3:16–20 (CSB): 16 He said to the woman:
I will intensify (or “surely multiply, or “greatly multiply”) your labor pains;
you will bear children with painful effort.
Your desire will be for (most of the English translations say “for,” the ESV is unique here, it says “contrary,” the NLT says “will be to control”) your husband,
yet he will (or shall) rule over you.
17 And he said to the man, “Because you listened to your wife (the NKJV is intense it says... “you have heeded the voice of your wife”) and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’:
The ground is cursed because of you.
You will eat from it by means of painful labor (some of the translations have “toil” there, but “painful labor” is fitting because it signals us to the painful labor of woman in childbirth) You will eat from it by means of painful labor
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow (or face)
until you return to the ground,
since you were taken from it.
For you are dust,
and you will return to dust.”
20 The man named (or called) his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.

This is a familiar passage to many of us, and it’s our starting place for a study on Marriage. This will be the first in a handful of messages.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of doing lots of pre-marital counseling. And, lately, my cup has run over, in that, I’ve had more requests for PreMarital Counseling than I can fit into the schedule. And, since we finished our study through Matthew, I thought it would be a good time to take a few weeks and do a thorough study on the topic of marriage.

Now, for some of us this will be a review, because you were in one of those premarital sessions. Others, this will be familiar, because you went through something similar in your preparation for marriage, or you’ve read some books or listened to someone else teach through these passages. Still others, might be wondering how applicable this could be, because you’re not married, or not married yet, or don’t want to be married, or widowed or divorced.

But, I’d like to remind us all… when we study marriage in the Bible, we are actually learning about God. Because, marriage, as Paul reminds us, is something that reflects the nature and character of the relationship that Jesus has with the church. So, this is really about Jesus.

We are going deep.

If you’re taking notes, you can put the word “parents” as the topic for this passage today. This passage describes the conditions of the first marriage, and those conditions we believe are universal, they are in every marriage, all across the world, all across time, and cultures. You’ll want to think about how your parents handled those conditions, because they shape your norms, what you consider to be normal in marriage. But, again, they also shape your expectations of the character of God. So, “Genesis 3:16-20 - Parents”

The first thing we need to look closer at in this passage is the last two phrases in verse 16. The English translations vary there. I read from the CSB which says:

Your desire will be for your husband,
yet he will (or shall) rule over you.

You’ll remember, when I read it, I said: (most of the English translations say “for,” the ESV is unique here, it says “contrary,” the NLT which often will seek to convey the thought instead of being literal, says “will be to control”)

What shapes the translation is a similar phrase in Genesis 4:7. Look at it with me. God is talking to Cain, which is Adam and Eve’s firstborn, and in the last phrases he says:

Genesis 4:7 (CSB): … sin is crouching at the door. (and here’s the phrase) Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

What does that mean about women, and their relationship towards men? Well, certainly, we are blessed in English with all these translations. But, we need to look at all the other information in these four verses before we jump to any conclusions.

So, let’s make some observations about what’s here.


  1. Painful Labor

    1. Woman - childbirth, child rearing?

      1. Seed goes into her

    2. Man - work

      1. Has to plant seeds

  2. Sweat

    1. Woman - home, husband

      1. Her origin

      2. Brought out of the side of man

        1. Created last

        2. Represented by Wisdom/Help

    2. Man - eating, dirt

      1. His origin

        1. Created first

        2. Responsible for ruling

  3. Result

    1. Woman - Ruled (by origin)

    2. Man - Returned (by origin)

      1. Psalm 90:12 (CSB): 12 Teach us to number our days carefully
        so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.

  4. God

    1. Punishment?

      1. the serpent was cursed

      2. the ground was cursed

      3. the man and the woman weren’t cursed

      4. the conditions were changed.

    2. Blessing?

      1. Psalm 18:30 (CSB): God—his way is perfect;

      2. Deuteronomy 32:4 (CSB): The Rock—his work is perfect;
        all his ways are just.
        A faithful God, without bias,
        he is righteous and true.

      3. the struggle provides the conditions for the acquisition of wisdom

        1. Original temptation - Genesis 3:6 (CSB): 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom.

    3. Connection Point?

      1. God is the Ezer

        1. Moses called God “ezer” - Dt. 18:4

        2. David over and over in Psalms called God, ezer

        3. Jesus promised the Helper, the Holy Spirit

      2. God is married.

        1. Married Israel, they wanted to control him, or was contrary to him.

        2. Jesus is going to marry the church

      3. God is the husbandman

        1. Planted the earth with plants

        2. Planted the earth with animals

        3. Planted the earth with humans

        4. Is dealing with thorns and thistles

      4. God has children.

        1. What is his level of pain in bringing forth children into this world?

          1. Psalm 139:13 (CSB): 13 For it was you who created my inward parts;
            you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

          2. Some never make it out of the womb.

How did your parents handle these conditions? Did they have extra difficulties because of alcohol, or addiction, or abuse?

Did they grow in wisdom? Or did they give up?

Let’s pray…

go for a coffee…
Audio Archive - The Calvary Ottawa Years
Here’s a spot for keeping some of the messages I did in Ottawa from 2004 through 2021. Many of these I’m quite proud of, and hope they could still be a blessing beyond their initial audience. And, because of the nature of what the Lord did, I’m hopeful, this will provide a spot to go back and remember afresh a specific moment.
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Andy Falleur