Question: Why did the Lord curse the Earth, which He Himself had created? It is not the earth’s fault that Adam and Eve have sinned.
Answer: This is what this verse sounds like in the book of Genesis
“And he said to Adam, because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, saying: Do not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life”(Gen. 3:17).
Why does the Lord curse His own creation? To begin with, we need to understand that a curse pronounced by God is not tantamount to a human curse. “Damn you!” we may shout (or whisper viciously) in anger to the one who offended us: That would mean that we want all the evil of the world to come down on our offender’s head. By human reckoning, a curse is the equivalent of our hatred. However, when we read in the Bible that God curses someone, it means that a just sentence is being pronounced. For example, God curses Cain, the first murderer, “And now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” (Gen. 4:11). In the language of the Bible, the word “curse” means separation. According to the word of God, Cain is rejected by the earth and therefore is doomed to wander forever: “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth” (Gen. 4:12). God’s curse is not so much a sentence as a statement of the changes that took place due to the fall of man. Cain has killed his brother shedding his blood onto the earth, and now the earth does not want to give its fruit to Cain.
It is similar in the case of Adam and Eve. Man used to be the crown of creation and at the same time the master of the created world. In the first chapters of Genesis, we read about Adam naming the animals that the Lord gives him (Gen. 2:19-20). The world obeyed man precisely as long as man obeyed God. The Fall of Man changed everything. Adam separated from God, and now we see God “walking” in Paradise and calling, “Adam, where are you?” Adam and Eve separated from each other “and saw that they were naked.” Adam is no longer the master of God’s creatures, having turned into simply one of them. The curse of the earth signifies its hostility to man. Now, in order to get his own food and survive, he is forced to fight with the whole world.
We find a similar interpretation in the lines written by St Symeon the New Theologian, a monk and a mystic of the late 9th – early 10th centuries. “Do you see now how the earth accepted the evil-doer, after it was cursed? It has lost its original fertility, when it would yield fruit by itself, without difficulty. Why did that happen? So that he would cultivate it in sweat and toil harvesting whatever small amount grows on it to support his life and his needs, whereas, if not cultivated, it would remain sterile, producing only thorns and thistles ”(Word 45).
In addition to that interpretation, there is something else. For example, in St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans we read that the world is tormented by a state of “corruption” into which it fell because of man (Rom. 8: 20-22). According to the holy fathers’ explication, “corruption” in this case means sin, in the broadest sense of the word. Inevitable death, illness, having to kill for food and much more; all of that is “corruption of the world”, by which we mean not only man, but all living creature. The thirst for possession of others, which Freud has discovered, is also an echo of the ancient corruption of the world. However, St Paul writes not only about the ancient tragedy itself, but also about deliverance from it. The whole world, he says, is waiting for the adoption of man by God, because that will restore the order, conceived by the Creator. The confrontation will disappear and harmony will come. “And the cow will graze with the bear, and their cubs will lie together, and the lion, like an ox, will eat straw. And the baby will play over the snake’s hole, and the baby will stretch out his hand on the snake’s nest. They will not do evil and harm in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters fill the sea” (Isaiah. 11: 7-9).
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds