Following on from Adam and Eve’s disobedience in eating of the fruit, God then sets about dealing with the consequences. The snake (Satan) is dealt with first:
Then the Lord God said the the snake: “You will be punished for this; you alone of all the animals must bear this curse: from now on you will crawl on your belly, and you will have to eat dust, as long as you live. I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and yours will always be enemies. Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring’s heel. (v 14-15)
Notice that a curse is placed on the snake alone, as the instigator and deceiver, he was fully aware of what he was doing. In the UK legal system, if someone is accused of killing somebody, they can only be charged with murder if it can be proved that they intended to kill, otherwise it is known as manslaughter. Satan clearly had intentions to kill off God’s creation which is why he is referred to as a murderer and placed under a curse.
Jesus had strong words to say to some of the religious leaders in John 8 v 44. They were claiming to be Abraham’s children and therefore God’s children, but Jesus said that if they really were, they would love him and not act in the way they did. He said they were more like the Devil, deceitful, liars. This is why He says that from the beginning the Devil was a murderer and the father of lies, there is no truth in him. He intended to deceive and knew exactly what the consequences were. He intended to try and destroy God’s perfect creation and our relationship with him. This is why only the snake (the Devil) was cursed by God and the soil on which he had to crawl.
Paul says to Simon the magician in Acts 13 v 10 that he was a son of the Devil, the enemy of everything good, full of tricks and trying to turn the Lord’s truth into lies. Satan obviously didn’t learn from his experience in the garden and is still up to his tricks now, but his days are numbered.
We have this promise in Christ that God will soon crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16 v 20) and in Hebrews 2 v 14:
Since the children, as he called them are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death.
God did not curse Adam and Eve as this would have meant there was no way of redemption available to them, but there still had to be consequences for their actions and discipline. They broke the terms of the initial covenant that God had made with them.
To the woman He said:
I will increase your trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth. In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him (v16)
This part of the judgement was specifically hers. God did not remove the initial blessing that he pronounced over them in Genesis 1 v 28 but it was going to be much harder for her. It would come with pain and suffering instead of the joy and blessing she should have known.
To the man God said:
You listened to your wife and ate the fruit which I told you not to eat. Because of what you have done, the ground will be under a curse. You will have to work hard all your life to make it produce enough food for you (v17)
The soil was going to produce weeds and thorns making the work hard until the man died and returned to the soil from which he had been made. He was still going to be able to eat, but instead of enjoying all the fruit and food that God had provided for them, he was going to have to work harder for it. It would eventually not be enough to sustain life for ever.
All quotes from The Good News Bible