First, God curses the serpent first. Serpents would be lower than all other beasts, and would travel on the ground. This may mean that they previously had legs, but the jury is still out on that question. Whatever the case may be, THIS serpent becomes a snake, as we would know them today. Which snake? We can’t tell. But, Revelation 20:2 tells us that this is indeed Satan, also called the Devil.
In addition to having to slither along the ground, God tells them that there would be enmity between the woman and him, and between the woman’s offspring and his offspring. It will get so bad that violence with result. Satan will harm the woman’s offspring (Jesus), and the woman’s offspring will crush Satan’s head.
This is the first noting of God’s plan of redemption in Scripture. Naturally, the plan was in place before the Fall, because God knew it was going to happen. Satan would kill Jesus, but He wouldn’t stay dead. Instead, He would later destroy Satan.
For the second curse, God curses Eve with pain in childbearing. LOTS of pain. Every mom understands this one. As a dad of four, I can empathize, but I doubt I can ever really understand. There was a time when I ran my thumb around the sprocket of a motorcycle, between the bike and the chain. But, that was very temporary pain. Childbirth takes hours, and is painful all the way through.
Finally, God declares that her desire will be for her husband, and he would rule over her. Much has been made of this sentence. But, I’ve never been able to get my little grey cells wrapped around it. I’ll let the scholars figure it out, and wait for Heaven when I can ask God for His answer.
The third curse is upon Adam, and by extension both Mankind and the universe (since Adam was the “owner” of the universe). We were made to work, but now work would be very hard. And, God added “thorns and thistles” to man’s cultivation efforts.
He is also told that he would “eat the plants of the field”. But, Adam was already designed as a vegetarian (see Genesis 1:29), so how is this a curse? Before the Curse, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. The “field” is outside of the Garden itself. So, Adam (and all Mankind) would be barred from the Garden for life.
However, the final statement is the worst of all: “… until you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Adam would die. And, by extension, so would every other human and every animal that would ever live. Worse still, this is an eternal, ongoing, death. “Dying, you will die.”
Now, some have said, “why do I have to die for Adam’s sin?” in answer to this curse. There are a couple of answers that apply. The first is, every time I sin, I fall with Adam. In fact, I show that I am in agreement with his decision to sin. And, since we all sin, we all therefore must die.
But, death is also a blessing, in a way. This is a sin-cursed, messed-up world we live in. Who would want to live forever in such a rotten place? The strong trample the weak. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But, if we all lived forever, eventually the poor would become rich, and then they could take revenge on those who used to be rich. It would be terrible to live forever in such a world. Do you agree?
Physical death is, in its own way, a blessing.
So, God expels Adam and Eve from the Garden, and locks the gate with an angel and a flaming sword. A reminder of sin, should Adam ever pass this way again. The Flood will remake the entire surface of the planet, obliterating the Garden and removing the need for a guardian, but for the next 16561 years, this would be a reminder of how it used to be.