The Morality of Tractors

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17… cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground…

Genesis 3:17-19

This Blog post isn’t really about the morality of using tractors. Most Christ-followers that I know don’t really question the morality of using farm machinery.

What I really want to talk about here is another part of God’s sentence as a result of the Fall:

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16

God’s sentencing of Eve to increased pain in childbirth (note: there must have been some amount of pain in childbirth prior to the Fall in order for Him to multiply it), and perhaps to lack of desire for marital relations with her husband, but commanding her to engage in marital relations with her husband anyway even when she didn’t want to (depending on how you interpret this) has been used to argue that women can’t be raped by their own husbands, and that women shouldn’t complain about their reproductive woes … because this is what God sentenced women to suffer as a result of Eve’s rebellion.

Why do so many people interpret this to mean that churches are responsible for enforcing God’s punishment of Eve, but not for enforcing His punishment of Adam? In otherwords, why has it been seen as acceptable for Adam to use a tractor for so much longer than it’s been seen as acceptable for Eve to get professional help for hyperemesis gravidarum (uncontrollable vomiting due to pregnancy) or postpartum depression, or divorcing an abusive husband who repeatedly sexually assaults her?

Nobody tells men to go back and try again, that digging and seeding and weeding by hand isn’t really all that hard. But plenty of women have been sent home with admonishments to learn not to be so dramatic, enjoy their babies and start deferring to their abusers.

Why is that?

One thought on “The Morality of Tractors

  1. I would say because that’s part of the curse–that men rule over women. Patriarchy in general is a curse, an extension of the curse between individual heterosexual relationships. In the Garden, we have a state of equality and union with men and women, and more broadly all life and God, then as a part of the Fall away from perfection, we have hierarchy introduced. Those that don’t bear the brunt of the curse/who have internalized the curse don’t see it as a curse, but I do think you make a good point that progress involves breaking curses. We aren’t called to live under curse, but to return to union and right relationship with the earth and with each other. And it is really sad when people consider curses to be righteous, something to honor and enact, because in this we reject truth and freedom.

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