Saturday, March 21, 2009


Before I express my thoughts on Pain as a cause for sin, let me first cite the definition of pain as according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

¹pain n 1: PUNISHMENT, PENALTY 2: suffering or distress of body or mind; also: a basic sensation caused by harmful stimuli and marked by discomfort (as throbbing or aching) 3 pl : CARE, TROUBLE.

²pain vb : to cause or experience pain.

At first for the discussion herein, I will use the word pain as a verb. My hypothesis being: a lie believed to be true, caused pain, which caused disobedience, resulting in sin. Sin separates us from God and sin without remedy results in eternal death. Sin can and often does cause all sorts of pain (used as a noun) which can ultimately result in an appeal to God to abate said pain, i.e. salvation (physical, emotional, spiritual, and eternal, etc.). But pain is not always a result of sin or deception, but is part of God’s created order by which He establishes boundaries between life and death, health and affliction.

In Genesis 1 we see God creating the cosmos as we know it (notwithstanding any of you old earth theorists). In Genesis 2 Adam and Eve are introduced to the habitation of earth, specifically Eden.

Any idea that would suggest that pain was not a part of the original creation, including our fore parents’ time of residence in Eden, would then have to subscribe to the idea that Adam and Eve had different nervous systems than we do today. I find it implausible because our human body systems rely on pain as an indicator, signal or trigger for boundary and protection. Pain is also part of the process of memory retention.

It seems apparent to me that the “tree of life” mentioned in 2:9b was not only to sustain their physical lives indefinitely (ergo the grace of isolating them from that source later in the narrative), but also as a plant nutrient that when applied to a wound or ailing body would bring accelerated healing (Revelation 2:7; 22:2). Unless one believes that Adam and Eve were supernaturally protected from injury or affliction. That is not necessarily apparent from the text.

So pain by this definition, we will use as a verb or a cause for enhanced security of each human being. In this case it is not a bad thing or the result of sin (yet). [Later in the Genesis narrative (3:16) we find an “increase” of pain during childbirth and physical labor, both after the fall, but pain was a part of their existence (based on the use of the word increase). Pain was to be “increased” because of the fall, indicating that was in existence before the fall. Both cause and consequence.]

But consider the introduction of a lie and things begin to change rapidly. Pain as part of God’s created order (being good) appears to be part of the human existence, but increase that pain by way of a lie, and present little to no abatement from that pain and humans tend to do whatever they need to do to alleviate that pain.

From Genesis 2:9 and beyond we can observe God defining pleasure versus pain. Verse 2:9b is actually the first clear delineation of the inclusion of good and evil. Prior to this only good is represented by God’s actions upon the creation process.

All of which appears to give way to the idea of pleasure versus pain; a clear indicator that these elements were already being part of the created order. Much like the fact of positive and negative ions in molecular structures, there were positives and negatives in all of life here on the earth. Even during the days of Eden.

Further God seems to define things as good versus what… evil. He even clearly defines the role of the one tree that was off limits. It is called the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. As you read through the narrative it becomes clear that God established boundaries and consequences, both of which the enemy will always lie about.

In Genesis 2:16-17a we see the first commandment given to humanity; “…you are free… but you must not…” In verse 17b we see a prophetic consequence; “…you will surely die…” In verse 18 we see the first definition or account of God stating a non-good condition or standing for humanity (only Adam at the time). Further we see God’s first recognition of a level of discomfort, pain or distress for man… i.e. alone is not good [that in itself is worthy of a blog]. So God provides a REMEDY for man’s “alone-ness” or loneliness.


In Genesis 3:1 we see the first vestiges of Satan’s strategies. Twist the truth. It’s kind of like the truth, but not. Craig Groeschel would call it “True-ish” (go to and you’ll find a great sermon series on “it”). “Did God REALLY say, ‘You must not eat from ANY tree in the garden.’?” (Capitalization mine).

At this point Satan was introducing a small and often hard to detect lie to test Eve’s sensitivities and loyalties to God and His truth.

In verse 3 we can observe that Eve’s simply knowing the truth of what God said, was not enough insurance from being deceived and overcome by temptation. “But God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you WILL DIE.’” (Capitalization mine).

By verse 4 of chapter 3 we see the full blown frontal attack of a lie being plied upon Eve. Thus beginning to compromise her faith and trust in God’s word and His provision. Bringing into question the idea that maybe there is something God is keeping from her. Bringing into question the idea that better and more pleasure is beyond God’s command. “You will not surely die.” Really?

In verse 5 the third lie is presented to Eve, thus sealing her doubt in God and introducing the idea that God is ripping her off and therefore producing pain or want in her. “For God knows that when you eat of it…” Satan implying that if she ate the fruit she could attain something she DID NOT already have.

Herein begins the process of pain birthed in the lie. Satan (through circumstances and even other people) will create a feeling of lack or deficit… the feeling that God is somehow withholding some good from us that we deserve… that He is ripping us off somehow! Thus producing a desire for something different that may be “better” than what one presently has at hand… pain. Oh you may not call it pain, but let feelings like this grow inside you and it will produce a pain and a void that you ultimately will attempt to satiate.

James tells us in 4:1-3 that our desires and wrong motives create enormous pressure on us which ultimately causes us to sin. If the enemy can produce some level of pain of want in us… we are well on our way to sinning against God, ourselves and others. Even in 1:14 he tells us that “evil desire” ultimately leads to sin and death. So how does the enemy stimulate evil desires within us? He introduces a lie which introduces some level of pain or discomfort, therefore we have desire to alleviate that pain. And when we do not obey God, regardless of the pain the lie produces, sin takes root and destroys everything.

Back to Genesis 3:6 we find Eve on the threshold of accepting Satan’s lie, that produces want, lust, desire, and ultimately pain. The enemy will do everything possible to utilize facts and truth, but with a slight twist to produce a feeling of lack in the hearts of humans. As a result we tend to embrace the lie that says “God, there must be something better… something that feels better than what I’m feeling right now.”

The fact that the enemy achieved his goal by causing Eve to believe the lie; “You have need to gain something and God is withholding it from you, so just take what you deserve,” was the beginning of the end for life as they knew it. And it was the beginning of a strategy that Satan has not yet rested from using against God’s children.

The problem of pain is introduced when we believe a lie to be true and the lie produces a sense or feeling of lack, deficit, void, need, want, desire etc. etc. all equating forms of PAIN. At this point our impulse is to eliminate that bad feeling or pain. And all too often, we seek to GAIN something that God has not ordained for us to rely upon, but because we believe the lie as truth… we act.

The saddest part about this whole process is it works. We buy it lock stock and barrel. Because of the way our pain sensors are designed (regardless if it’s physical, emotional or spiritual pain), we try to abate the pain. Even when we get temporary results, as soon as the pain returns, we tend to seek out the source that once helped alleviate the pain. All well and good until the pain returns and grows.

Pain as cause leads to pain as consequence, yet God in His redemptive plan uses pain as a foundation to launch His answer. Namely Jesus Christ and His Truth spoken to us.

So the next time I start to talk about people’s pain, don’t stop me just yet. Ask yourself if you’ve acted upon an impulse to alleviate some sort of pain in your life, which may not have been of God’s leading, but temporarily abated the feeling of pain. I know that I have and many other Christians find themselves doing the same thing. There are varying degrees of abatement used to alleviate feelings of pain (and varying degrees of consequences too), but nonetheless all are powerless to alleviate the original lie which ultimately causes PAIN to return and sin to be birthed.

I encourage you to consider these thoughts. We humans do all sorts of things in the name of pain relief (ask Dr. Jim Blessman what he did for many years in the pursuit of alleviating human pain and suffering), but there is only one thing that can and always will alleviate the pains of life caused by lies we believe to be true… and that is the Voice of the Living God speaking truth to the hearts of the deceived (all of us included).

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