The Curse on the Earth
© Robert E. Gentet 2015
Genesis One concludes with God's pronouncement that all He had made was "very good." God was well pleased with all He had created, but shortly something happened that drastically changed the landscape.
At creation, Adam and Eve were in harmony with their Creator. But soon they yielded to the temptations of the devil in the Garden and ate of the forbidden fruit. The result of this broken relationship with God is well known in regard to man's banishment from the Garden of Eden and inescapable return to the dust of the Earth. However, man's relationship with the Earth also drastically changed. God told Adam:
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you...By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food..." (Gen. 3:17-19)
One of the major emphases of the Curse is on the ground, the Earth itself. Ecology and geology immediately become linked to the Curse. The world became an increasingly unpleasant place on which to live. The Curse invoked a very different world from the "very good" one pronounced at the conclusion of Creation Week. This basic truth is often overlooked in other young-Earth models. Paradise was lost.
The first sin involved Adam's and Eve's disregard for God's command concerning the forbidden fruit. The next recorded sin in the Bible involved something far more grave than stealing. It involved the taking of an innocent human life. Out of intense jealousy, Cain killed his brother Abel. As a result, Genesis 4:11-12 tells us that the effect of the Curse on the ground intensified:
"Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
The implications of this intensification of the Curse upon the ground are profound. Crop production was no longer the norm. Wandering in search for food became a necessity. God did not deal lightly with the wanton destruction of human life! Paradise was a dim memory. While Cain's life was spared, the Earth itself provided the penalty by withholding one of man's most basic needs: stable food production.
Something drastic occurred in the ecosystems of the Earth. They seemed to be in upheaval as one event after another disrupted normal food production.
Genesis tells us more about how the pre-Flood earth differed from later times. When Adam and Eve sinned, God directly intervened and decreed the punishment. Even as the human population grew, as it obviously had by the time Abel was murdered, God did not resort to human justice systems. In fact, He specifically forbade other humans from taking matters into their own hands and punishing Cain. God's response to Cain's worry that someone would harm him is very revealing:
"Not so, if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance [from Me] seven times over." (Genesis 4:15)
God reserved for Himself the prerogative to directly punish the wicked in the pre-Flood world. Those who defied Him suffered a manifold increase in the punishment He had earlier dealt! And for the purposes of understanding Earth's history, we need to especially note that in both the case of Adam and of Cain, the punishment was related to the Earth itself.
People seemed to automatically understand that God personally took revenge for sin by increasing the penalty (the Curse). Later when Lamech killed a man he boasts:
"If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times." (Gen. 4:24)
Rebellion against God became worse and worse. Men seemed to pride themselves in defying God and boasting about their evil deeds and God's reaction to them. This must have filled the pre-Flood world with terror and violence as evil deeds multiplied.
Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 260-339) is called the "father of church history." His record of the early beliefs and happenings of the church is most valuable and it also provides us with his view of the pre-Flood earth and how God interacted with it.
Speaking of Christ's pre-existence and His part in Creation, Eusebius also adds the sad state of the world and how humanity fell into rebellion after Creation.
"At the beginning, after the original state of blessedness, the first man disregarded the command of God and fell into this mortal state, exchanging the delight of heaven for the curse of the earth. His descendants, who filled our world, showed themselves even worse, except for one or two, choosing a brutal existence and a life not worth living. City, state, art, knowledge, laws, virtue, or philosophy were not even names among them...and in their madness prepared for war with God himself and to fight the famed battles of the giants, trying to fortify earth against heaven and, in their delirium, to do battle with the supreme Ruler himself.
Notice that not only does Eusebius speak of floods and conflagrations, but specifically says the punishments grew "progressively drastic." This is a key element of the CCC model.
Finally only one man was found to be righteous in the sight of God. The multiplication of the Curse on the ground must have been immense as God personally dealt out penalties in the form of earth shaking events attempting to bring repentance into the hearts of God-rejecting, heartless people.
At Noah's birth, his father Lamech foresaw the lessening of the Curse: "He [Noah] will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed" (Gen. 5:29).
That the Curse was indeed eased in Noah's time is verified in the Noahic Covenant given immediately after the Flood to all mankind: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Gen. 8:21-22).
We know that God is not speaking in an absolute sense of the Curse being lifted. It is not until the future time of the New Heavens and the New Earth that the Curse will be totally rescinded (Rev. 22:3). We still have the diminished Curse on the Earth today involving local floods, volcanic activity, hurricanes, tsunamis, famines, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. in sizable amounts. This strongly implies far more intense geologic and ecologic activities on the pre-Flood Earth when the intensified Curse during the long pre-Flood time climaxed in the worldwide, catastrophic Genesis Flood Event.
Significantly Matthew 24:37-39 reveals the wickedness of the world just before the time of Christ's return will be similar to the time before the GFE. It is precisely here that God says He will revoke the Noahic covenant with mankind and once again curse the Earth in various stupendous ways, ending with a universal destruction by fire (Isaiah 24; II Peter 3:10-13).
Perhaps we can say, to rephrase an old expression: "The future is the key to the past." Anytime that God directly must punish mankind for sins left unpunished by civil governments, great disaster happens upon the land and its peoples.
It has been said: "It is the floods and the fires, the battles and the bombardments, the eruptions and the earthquakes which have preserved so much of the human story" [2, p. 55]
The CCC geologic model understands the effects from the Curse on the Earth contributed greatly to the Earth's rock and fossil record, especially in pre-Flood times.