"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it... '" (Genesis 1:26-28). After God spoke order and abundant life into the darkness and chaos that was earth, He beheld it and declared that it was very good. Adam and Eve, made in the very image of God, were to learn to be like God. They were to have dominion over the earth just as their Father, Creator has dominion over everything. They were in training to rule with God as children in the Royal household or family of God. Their task as overseers of earth was blessed.
Unfortunately, at some point, Adam chose to stand silently by as the serpent enticed his wife and then himself to rebel against God. You may never have given it much thought but one of the ways Adam and Eve violated God's Law was by theft. They stole fruit from God that He clearly told them was not theirs to have. God had given them everything and blessed them with abundance and yet they were convinced that it was not enough.
The law of scarcity is observed as man's attempt to fulfill his infinite wants with finite resources. Because of this theft, God was going to crank scarcity up a notch.
You can read in Exodus 22:1-4 that it is required of the thief to restore not only that which he has stolen but there must be a quantitative loss to the thief. If the thief is not able to make full restitution, then he must be sold into slavery to pay off the full amount. Now look at how Adam was indeed punished according to the restitution law concerning theft.
In Genesis 3:17-19, the Judge of the universe pronounces sentence on Adam. "Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you... In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground... "
Before Adam's theft, due to the sheer magnitude of abundance given to him as a blessing, Adam would make light work of maintaining himself, his family and the garden. This would have freed up much of his time to pursue other ventures to build and to grow and reach new heights. Adam would have grown spiritually and truly developed into a complete son of God, maturing into the very image of His maker.
So notice the punishment is a curse on the abundance. Now Adam would fritter away his whole life (as all men generally do now) just keeping food on his table, clothes on his back and a shelter over his head from the time he is able to work until the day of his death. Adam rebelled against God whom has dominion over man. Now God allowed creation itself to rebel against Adam so he could experience what it is like to deal and work with rebellion. The curse brought enmity and fear between man and animal. The crops no longer yielded abundantly and the soil rebelled, bringing forth weeds to reduce production. The creeping things of the earth (insects) rebelled against Adam, destroying his crops and spreading disease. Weather patterns changed, also wreaking havoc on production; both food and construction of homes, villages, and societies.
The law in Exodus also requires that the thief be sold into slavery until the debt is paid. Adam indeed has sold his offspring into the bondage of sin. Sadly, instead of repentance, Satan has convinced man that the solution to scarcity is more theft by continuing to seek, within himself, the fulfillment of his wants and spiritual needs that only the Creator can fulfill. Man is perpetually duped into eating more and more of the forbidden fruit, hoping the next bite will be the missing dimension needed to be whole. Man continues to eat from this tree because he stole from it, to begin with, under the premise that man is inherently good and capable of defining what is right and then doing the right.
No one in their right mind would believe that the solution to overcoming sin is to sin more yet that is exactly what man has shown by his actions for 6,000 years. Our solution to theft is more theft to the level of governments that enforce social justice and the redistribution of wealth. Our solution to debt is to spend ourselves into greater debt as we can see in our own nation today where we are the world's greatest debtor nation having surpassed all of Europe, including Britain, by 2.4 trillion dollars. Our solution to overcoming bondage is more bondage as we embrace the State as a solution instead of the Ten Commandments which James so rightly describes as "the law of liberty".
Thanks be to God, that He has provided a second Adam, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from this curse in due time. Understanding this curse and its purpose is key to alleviating and overcoming its effects in a Christian's walk. It is the answer to the question so many scoffers and would-be believers alike, who ask, "If there is a God, why does He allow so much suffering?" Count your blessings in this life, being content in a fallen world where nature itself is rebelling against us and seek God to fill the void we all have that can only be filled by our Father.
Eric Daniel Brown