Genesis 3:14-17

14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Let’s break this down.  Satan is cursed, but not “for thy sake.”  (What does cursed for thy sake mean?)  To Eve, though not explicitly cursed, God says he “will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…” which sounds suspiciously like a curse.  Adam is cursed “for thy sake” and like Eve will suffer “sorrow … all the days of thy life.”

A while back, I asked about the 2nd Article of Faith, asking if people can be cursed for others’ sins.  If we take the story of Genesis somewhat literally, women are cursed to have painful childbirth.  That is all women are cursed because of Eve’s sin.  All men die due to Adam’s sin.  On that post, several argued that the 2nd Article of faith simply refers to Adam’s transgression, and we can be punished for other’s sins.  But Margaret Young stated,

But in the Articles of Faith we are told that we are not responsible for Adam’s transgression, that each man is responsible for his own, and you have to extrapolate from that, then, is the black man responsible for Cain’s transgression, or Ham’s transgression, for whatever is implied by seeing his father’s nakedness?  The answer has to come back that, no, not if we do believe that every man is responsible for his own sins. 

Are we responsible for our own sins, or can we suffer or be cursed by God to suffer punishment for our forerathers?

If we talk about real life, if a mother is addicted to drugs while she is pregnant, the child can suffer debilitating learning disabililties from fetal alcohol syndrome, or drugs, or whatever.  Surely the child is suffering the curse of being born to an unhealthy and sinful mother.  And if God is responsible for all life, is God essentially cursing this infant to a horrible life?  Surely God does curse the children of unfit parents in the real world, (or at least refuses to intervene on their behalf.)  Does God curse children of sinners to hell, such as was taught by the Curse of Cain/Ham?  Surely Brigham Young believed and taught the curse of Ham and Cain.  While the church disavows these theories now, it hasn’t repudiated godly curses.

Or is Margaret Young correct in her interpretation that God doesn’t punish or curse people except for their own sins?

Do you feel the church teaches that godly curses are real?

And finally, why does it say the ground is cursed for Adam’s sake?  Is this opposition in all things, kind of “good thing”?  Or is it simply ancient man’s feeble attempts to explain why farming and childbirth are difficult?