A Curse in the Bible is not always easy to understand. Be careful. Here are some principles to help you. Don’t misinterpret Coronavirus as God’s curse.
A curse, from a Bible point-of-view, can be blasphemy against God or someone in authority like the king or a parent. A curse can be a direct intervention from God, like the plagues in Egypt. In this case, no vaccination can stop it; only God can. There are also curses humans bring on themselves because of wrong-doing.
(Agony of Humankind and the Antidote chapter 4.1)
There are accidents and circumstances where we can be in the wrong place at the wrong time; this is not a curse (Luke 13:4).
Coronavirus, with its pandemic tentacles, has invaded every aspect of our lives. For those who are spiritual, it has taken that route too. For those who are non-believers, it is another reason to have a smirk at the expense of believers. Here’s why The Explanation is addressing the theological outlook of this worldwide pandemic. Coronavirus is headlining in a lot of statements by religious people and leaders, often used to bolster a particular spiritual point of view. Here’s what the Bible says. If you’re expecting a yea or nay answer to the title, you’re out of luck. You’ll just have to move on. If you want some bible-based severe answers, then stay with me.
Why is The Explanation broaching this subject? It’s not to increase visitors and reads, although, I admit, that would be nice to inform more people. No, we’re in Genesis 3:14 and have just finished a series of five posts about what the Serpent shall eat dust all the days of its life means. That context refers to the term curse.
Curse of the Serpent
In that same Bible verse, Gen. 3:14, God pronounced the word curse. He put a curse on the Serpent, which involved its mode of movement and diet.
And the LORD God said to the serpent, because you have done this, you are cursed (H779) above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly (H1512) shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life:
We’ve already seen that belly refers to the gushing of water to harm and destroy. The Serpent would eat dust, referring to the composition of the man and woman. It devotes its time to devour humans. This disposition causes the Serpent to be a cursed object. Here’s the Biblical Hebrew meaning.
אָרַר ʼârar aw-rar’; a primitive root; to execrate:
KJV – ⨯ bitterly curse.
Rather succinct. Please check the Bible verses for H779 at UnlockBibleMeaning.com. Strong helps us out with an unusual word, execrate. Here are some synonyms: revile, denounce, decry, condemn, vilify, detest, loathe, hate, abhor, abominate, despise. All these traits can describe one who is cursed.
Let’s add another element by considering a description of things that creep on their belly (H1512). We’ll use the same Biblical Hebrew word on your belly (H1512), that describes the Serpent’s locomotion.
Whatsoever goes on the belly, (H1512) and whatsoever goes on all four, or whatsoever has more feet among all creeping things that creep on the earth, them you shall not eat; for they are an abomination (H8263).
In English, the word abomination has strong overtones in a very negative sense. We know this is a justified description of the Serpent.
שֶׁקֶץ sheqets sheh’-kets; from H8262 (שָׁקַץ); filth, i.e. (figuratively and specifically) an idolatrous object:
KJV – abominable(-tion).
Associated with abomination are filth and idolatry. Idolatrous, figuratively, in the sense of spiritual filth. Once again, the Serpent is guilty on both accounts. Idolatry is not only turning away from the true God. It includes turning to the worship of something else. We have seen there are many other objects of worship, beetles, animals, humans who consider themselves I AM. And, serpents which represent the ultimate Serpent. Here’s a passage that reveals the extent of the ultimate abomination.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations (G946) and filthiness of her fornication:
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON (G897) THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS (G946) OF THE EARTH.
That is a prophetic passage referring to a very very powerful worldwide influence. This system is the instigator (mother) of all the fake spiritual derivatives, spiritual filth, throughout Earth. We learn here that all the spiritual practices and beliefs have spread from a central foundation. That of mystery Babylon; this has to do with the secretive rites practiced by the original Babylonians some 600 years BC. Check the meaning of Babylon (G897) and see that it comes from Hebrew, meaning confusion.
This confusion is significant. Why? Remember, Genesis 2:25, the man and the woman were NOT ashamed, which means they were NOT confused. Whereas the Serpent was, and is, confused. All of these characteristics describe both the Serpent and the very influential mystery woman. They are both abominations. They are both a curse by their beliefs, their secretive imaginations, and their detestable practices.
βδέλυγμα bdelugma bdel’-oog-mah; From G948; a detestation that is (specifically) idolatry:
KJV – abomination.
The Serpent goes on its belly, it’s an abomination, really, the abomination of abominations; this is the curse! In this way, the Serpent is marked and differentiated from all the other beasts. In that capacity, God allows it to accomplish its insidious work, eating dust, consuming humankind, bruising the heel of the woman’s descendants.
There are at least two instructions I’d like you to take away from this example of God cursing the Serpent.
- God allows the Serpent to be both idolized and to have great riches, as with the mystery woman. The point being, fame and fortune are not necessarily the sign of a blessing or cursing. It could be either, and we have to be very careful with our interpretation. In Revelation, we see the abomination is rich and sumptuous. There’s a rise to a crescendo that impresses people worldwide. To the point, that this curse looks like the blessing of blessings. The Bible is not against prosperity, but beware of its outright pursuit and especially how we consider it. The fall, in the case of Babylon, is abrupt and instantaneous. That fall is also part of, and indeed, can be the result of a curse. In this case, it’s part of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15, her seed (the woman) shall bruise your (the Serpent’s) head.
- This curse is ongoing, all the days of your life (Gen. 3:14). In other words, It is not necessarily a one-time event. So, we have to be careful, interpreting natural or any other disaster or event, like Covid-19, an earthquake, tsunami, floods, or forest fires. They are not necessarily curses from God.
Curse on humankind’s sustenance
In this same context in Genesis, there’s a second curse concerning the man. We find the same Biblical Hebrew word as for the Serpent.
And to Adam he said, Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed (H779) is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life;
We will be discussing this more at length in a couple of weeks. What I’d like you to retain here is this. Whereas in verse 14, it is the instigator itself, the Serpent, that is cursed, here it is the ground. Neither the woman nor the man is cursed. It is their environment in which and with which they shall live, or, in this case, we could more appropriately say, survive.
In Genesis, there are further references to curses. Please note that there are different Biblical Hebrew words (H7043, H7045) for the English word curse. These have slightly different meanings, which you can study. The point is that we can’t draw a hasty conclusion when studying, particularly in our native language translation.
And now are you (Cain) cursed (H779) from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand;
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse (H7043) the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD had cursed (H779).
And he said, Cursed (H779) be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren.
And I will bless them that bless you (Abraham), and curse (H7043) him that curse you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
12 My father (Isaac) peradventure will feel me, and I (Jacob) shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse (H7045) upon me, and not a blessing.
13 And his mother (Rebekah) said to him, Upon me be your curse (H7045), my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
Let people serve you (Joseph), and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you: cursed (H779) be every one that curses (H779) you, and blessed be he that blesses you.
Cursed (H779) be their (Simeon and Levi) anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
How humans, and God, function.
Cursing is not an unusual practice. So, let’s understand some basics about how God functions and how He interacts with how humans function. We’ve already broached these points, but because of what’s about to take place at this specific juncture in Genesis, let’s revise and understand them. The particular time is the exclusion of the man and woman from the Garden of Eden to which we shall return.
God created the man and woman. He gave them neshama, their minds, which means Hey endowed them with humanity. We could call this their human nature, realizing that, at their creation, their human nature was naked. Their nature was both CLEAN and SUBTLE-WISE; this is the first and foremost function of humans; we have human nature. We have God-given minds.
As an aside, realize that neither science nor psychology recognizes this first function of humans. They start trying to figure out how humans work from a false premise. How can we get mental health right from a wrong departure?
The second function of humans is their endowment with free will. God gave them a choice of Trees from which they could eat. If you were a good God and wanted to force a direction in an individual’s life to WHICH TREE, would you have directed the man and woman? I believe it would be the Tree of Life. Well, we know they ate from the other Tree. God did not intervene to stop them, though, obviously, He could have. The man and the woman, you and I have free choice.
The third function is exercising our minds by making choices. That’s what we do every day, all day. Now, we have to decide minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, what we’re going to do in confinement. Not always easy when we’re out of our routine. The result of making a free will choice is our behavior.
The fourth function is a code of ethics. Simply put, let’s say we have a fire. The code of ethics states, “don’t go too near or play with fire.” We have the free will choice to act as we want with that fire. But, in every aspect of life, there are rules. Be it in at home, in school, at work, in sports, or with a profession. There are always “do’s” and “don’ts.” A code of ethics is an integral part of life, even if a lot of people don’t realize or accept this concept nowadays.
The fifth function is justice. The outcome of our behavior. What happens if we human beings put our hand in the fire. We get burned, sometimes, very severely burned. This specific function, justice, has to be discussed in the context of what a curse is, Why? Because when we look at an event or the outcome of behavior, it could be a horrendous result. It could even be considered a curse. But, who is at its origin? God or humans? In this scenario, humans are the cause of being burned.
Let’s apply these functions (human nature, free choice, behavior, ethics, justice) to the ground God cursed in Genesis 3. One could say that this means God somehow poisoned the ground, or rendered it less fertile or desertic. Only about 7% of all land is arable. Could this be the curse? Possibly, but unlikely. As I said above, this is something challenging to evaluate, and The Explanation doesn’t get into such speculation.
However, look at it from a positive angle. Do we have fine quality arable land? Yes, we do around the world. True, we have to work to grow vegetables, fruit, and crops. But the ground does yield plenteous quantities of nutritious food. That is a blessing, not a curse. In the book of Acts, we have a confirmation of these blessings from God.
16 Who (God) in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. (Sam, a confirmation that God lets nations CHOOSE their own philosophy of life. Each nation has its own identity, and God allows such choices.)
17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
Rain from heavens is a confirmation of the meaning of Genesis 2:5-6 when rain replaced the mist that watered the ground. Fruitful seasons points to the fourth day of Creation, the sun and moon that govern the calendar and establish the seasons so we can grow and harvest crops. Humankind needs rain AND seasons AND land to be filled with food and gladness. Since Creation, God has assured these cycles for humankind’s benefit. Earth’s ground can feed its multiple billions of people if only we’d manage its resources properly.
On the other hand, humans have brought havoc to the land by cutting down trees, by using fertilizers, by overworking the earth, by monoculture, and by many other questionable methods. We’ve also greatly influenced what the ground can produce by affecting the climate, the use of pesticides, insects, and the seed we plant. Humans have not respected the ETHICS of the land. Yes, there are rules, and we haven’t always followed them. In this case, we reap what we sow. Hunger, because of lack of food, is a curse. And we’ve brought it on ourselves.
This scenario is not a curse from God.
Coronavirus falls in this category. We maybe don’t know the exact pathway of this epidemic, but we do know that hygiene is involved in the transmission of the virus from an animal source to a human recipient, who then becomes a source for passing it on to other humans. We are treating people with this sickness, and despite thousands of deaths, we’ve saved many more. Hopefully, we’ll have a vaccination, in which case there will be no more, or very few deaths, and it will become a disease like Scarlet Fever or Diptheria. Unfortunately, these diseases are part of the Agony of Humankind, agony we’ve brought on ourselves.
The blessings and cursings in Deuteronomy 28 fall into this category. We shall discuss this when we talk about the antidote to human ills.
God can and does curse.
When God curses, there is neither cure nor vaccination. The ten plagues in Egypt were curses from God. These types of curses are the equivalent of punishments, directly applied by God. They come when we do not follow God’s commandments, laws, and demands (Pharoh wouldn’t listen to God’s request, hence the ten plagues in Egypt).
You can do a study to find examples of such interventions by God. One would be after the reveling of the Israelites while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments. There’s the revolt of Korah. Another was when King David counted his troops rather than having faith in God.
Both the Old and New Testaments use the word curse in various ways, and we have to be very careful about attributing a curse to God. Probably the first approach would be to ask, what is my, our responsibility for the situation?
The result of human behavior is what we reap. It is the verdict of our trial. As such, a curse is part of justice. It is a method to alert us that something is wrong somewhere. Be it a result of our voluntary behavior or, in fact, divine intervention. Generally, by the nature of its manifestation and intervention, we’ll know whether it is Divine. Let’s not attribute the folly of humankind to God.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 4.1 of the book Agony of Humankind and the Antidote.
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