Monday, December 12, 2011

Pain in Childbirth?

Scripturally speaking, is there a warrant for believing pain in childbirth is inevitable? "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children" and "in sorrow shalt thou eat [the food of the ground] all the days of thy life" [Genesis 3:16-17]. So, if it means women birth in agony, it follows that men should be in agony every time they take a bite of food and try to swallow it. Let's look at assorted versions of this scripture:

From the LDS King James Version:
16 Unto the awoman he said, I will greatly bmultiply thy csorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth dchildren; and thy desire shall be to thy ehusband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy awife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: bcursed is the ground for thy sake; in csorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Take note of the footnote: It is Adam's footnote that says "sorrow" could also be translated "travail" or "pain".
Footnote 16c - HEB increase thy discomfort and thy size (i.e., in the condition and process of pregnancy)
Footnote 17c HEB travail, pain
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Genesis 3:16-17 on lds.org has no footnote for Eve's "sorrow" and the footnote for Adam's "sorrow" is - HEB travail, pain
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The Pearl of Great Price, which should be the best for LDS students to go by, says the following:
Moses 4:22-23:
22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In asorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy bhusband, and he shall rule over thee. 23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, acursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in bsorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
The footnotes for "sorrow" only refer one to Genesis and to the Topical Guide.
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Apostolic Bible Polyglot w/Strong's Numbers:
(Gen 3:16) AndG2532 to theG3588 womanG1135 he said,G2036 In multiplyingG4129 I will multiplyG4129 G3588 your distresses,G3077 G1473 andG2532 G3588 your moanings.G4726 G1473 InG1722 distressesG3077 you will bearG5088 children,G5043 andG2532 toG4314 G3588 your husbandG435 G1473 G3588 your submission,G654.1 G1473 andG2532 heG1473 will dominate you.G1473 G2961

(Gen 3:17) And to G3588 G1161 AdamG* he said,G2036 BecauseG3754 you hearkened toG191 theG3588 voiceG5456 G3588 of your wife,G1135 G1473 andG2532 ateG2068 fromG575 theG3588 treeG3586 of whichG3739 I gave chargeG1781 to you, saying ,G1473 ThisG3778 aloneG3441 you are notG3361 to eatG2068 fromG575 it --G1473 and you ate;G2068 accursedG1944 is theG3588 landG1093 amongG1722 G3588 your works;G2041 G1473 inG1722 distressesG3077 you will eatG2068 itG1473 allG3956 theG3588 daysG2250 G3588 of your life.G2222 G1473
G3077 Distresses – lupรจ loo'-pay – Apparently a primary word; sadness: -grief, grievous, + grudgingly, heaviness, sorrow. Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries. Same meaning for both Adam and Eve.
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Brenton's English Septuagint:
Gen 3:17 And to the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings; in pain thou shalt bring forth children, and thy submission shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Gen 3:18 And to Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and eaten of the tree concerning which I charged thee of it only not to eat--of that thou hast eaten, cursed is the ground in thy labours, in pain shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
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Geneva Bible 1587:
Gen 3:16 Vnto the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy sorowes, and thy conceptions. In sorowe shalt thou bring foorth children, and thy desire shalbe subiect to thine husbande, and he shall rule ouer thee.
Gen 3:17 Also to Adam he said, Because thou hast obeyed the voyce of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, (whereof I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eate of it) cursed is the earth for thy sake: in sorowe shalt thou eate of it all the dayes of thy life.
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King James Version 1611:
Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorowe and thy conception. In sorow thou shalt bring forth children: and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and hee shall rule ouer thee.
Gen 3:17 And vnto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened vnto the voyce of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commaunded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eate of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorow shalt thou eate of it all the dayes of thy life.


There are newer versions. I tried to find what I thought would be closest to the original. Some newer ones say the word for Adam (sorrow) and the word for Eve (sorrow) are different; however, I believe that was changed because of the human culture's belief that childbearing should be much more painful than eating.

Question: What would our culture be like if someone had decided a few thousand years ago that it was the eating that would be painful and the childbirth that would be joyful?

3 comments:

  1. My wife decided to have our second child at home. She was very surprised to find that with a proper attitude of submission and humility she never felt any "pain." Just pressure as her body guided her through the process.
    It's a beautiful truth - by submitting we can avoid a lot of pain. Why would we need to suffer unnecessarily? If the lesson is already learned a merciful Lord will gladly save us from the pain. If the people living during the millennium won't need to suffer pain or death, it stands to reason that we don't either.

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  2. Thank you for your insights - a valuable addition to the conversation.

    I had pain when I had my children, but it seemed possible to have children painlessly. At least, there seems to be no scriptural nor biological reason for pain in ordinary birthing.

    My mother told me (several times) about how she had gone to a hospital to have one of my older sisters.

    The nurse was going around the room asking, "How far apart are your pains?"

    One woman replied, "I don't have any pains."

    "Then why are you here?" asked the nurse.

    The woman explained that she never felt pains. She just knew when she was going to have her babies.

    To me, that seems like the way it is supposed to be. And your wife is another witness to that type of birthing.

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  3. I also wanted to comment on this: "If the people living during the millennium won't need to suffer pain or death, it stands to reason that we don't either."

    It seems to me that this is where we are supposed to be heading and how we are supposed to be living - now. I honestly don't think we will magically and suddenly stop suffering pain or death when the Millennium comes; we have to be that way before it comes.

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