Artemis’s pain post has got me wondering. Eve’s curse is famously (at least, depending on how one parses it) twofold: “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:16). Eve is punished both with painful parturition and with marital subordination.
Granted, we’ve softened the language of that second mandate somewhat. But, I wonder, by what hermeneutical criterion have we rejected the first section entirely while adopting the second, even in modified form? Why do Church leaders not issue statements reminding women that God has always intended for childbirth to be painful, and therefore to avoid epidurals (or anything else that might unnecessarily ease the process)? If, on the other hand, we contend that the first statement to Eve is nothing more than a description, on what basis can we maintain that the second is meant prescriptively?
- 17 June 2006