Chapter 1

A Curse and a Promise

Imagine waking up one day in a perfect world. You stretch in bed without feeling the ache in your back. You reach for your eyeglasses on the nightstand but realize, with your hand in midair, that you can see perfectly. Dumbfounded, you turn to wake your spouse. As he yawns and rubs his eyes, you know suddenly that you love him more deeply than you ever have before.

The morning news has never been so refreshingly dull. No overseas conflicts, no acts of terrorism, no political scandals. When your phone rings, you expect an update from your friend about her chemotherapy sessions. Instead your prodigal son asks how you are and whether it would be okay if he came home.

You’ve been under a curse, and now you’re free.

It’s a nice idea, but we all know a perfect world doesn’t exist. But what if the idea resonates so deeply because it was once true and will be again?

Adam and Eve were flawless people in a flawless world who had flawless relationships with their Creator God and each other. When we look at them, we see what we were created to be, what God had in mind for each of us.

But in this couple we also see what humanity chose to become. God asked one thing of Adam and Eve. In the midst of a lush garden created just for them, he asked them not to eat fruit from one tree. Their choice must not have seemed like much at the moment—just a bite from a piece of fruit. But the choice had serious consequences. Their choice resulted in a curse.

First, Eve and Adam were separated from God. All of us since then have been distanced from God. The most important of all relationships, the one with our Creator, was broken.

Second, Adam and Eve were separated relationally from each other. The struggles we have today in trying to relate perfectly to the people we love show us how devastating this part of the curse is. Our relationships are seldom all we want them to be.

Third, the couple was separated from nature’s proper functioning. We battle weeds in our gardens and pain in our bodies. Our toil is endless, and we struggle to accommodate ourselves to a world that is not always kind to us. Eventually our bodies fail us entirely.

All of this came about because one beautiful morning, Adam and Eve did the one thing God asked them not to do. Can you imagine their anguish? They knew life in a perfect world as no one since has known it. They knew exactly what they had lost with the curse.

But God did not leave them without hope. God buried a promise in the curse. At some future time, a Redeemer would rise up and crush evil, even though the embodiment of evil, Satan, would first strike the Redeemer’s heel.

Thousands and thousands of years passed after the promise was given. Women and men struggled with alienation from God, from each other, and from the physical world around them. It must have seemed that God would never fulfill his promise. Had he forgotten? Had he changed his mind? Who would break the curse?


1 Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries: Updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

2 Allen, R. B. (1999). 1666 עָצַב. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (687). Chicago: Moody Press.