Love from the Garden to the Silver Screen

A relationship of mutuality and equality was ruined with the curse of a woman’s desire for her husband. The imperfections that are in relationships now and as seen through popular culture reflect the punishment of Adam and Eve’s shared disobedience.

Molly Law
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Woman pursuing a man

Love depicted within popular culture often reveals what became broken because of Adam and Eve’s shared sin and consequences. This romantic love, revealed through the silver screen, is conveyed as something to be desired at all costs when, in actuality, is a distortion of God’s intended creation. Popular culture reinterprets biblical themes and often redefines them for society.

In Genesis 3, known as The Fall, Eve is tempted by a serpent to eat of the fruit that would “open her eyes” to what God knows: the knowledge of good and evil.

Both Eve and Adam eat the forbidden fruit, and God declares the consequences, “‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you’” (Genesis 3:16).

The curses that are given for Adam and Eve’s disobedience seem to be few, but they manifest into many imperfections and distortions in life. A shift occurs between Adam and Eve’s relationship in the garden before and after they disobey.

God curses their relationship; in one way he says that their respect, love, and equality will be distorted. Another is when God says, “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” Eve will be dependent on Adam — with physical desire, survival, and emotional attachment.

Eve’s Choice and Consequence

It is easy to see what was lost in a relationship between a man and a woman when sin entered the world from what they had in paradise. In the Garden of Eden, Eve was not in subordination to Adam.

According to Phyllis Trible, in her article, “Depatriarchalizing in Biblical Interpretation,” Eve was a helper. The Hebrew word for helper is “ezer,” which means “beneficial relationship that does not imply inferiority.” She says, “Male embodies female and female embodies male.”

Man and woman were equal, and Eve was a woman who was her own person, who had a loving husband that loved and desired her, and vice versa — in a healthy and perfect relationship.

This all changed when Adam and Eve chose to open their eyes and to become more like God — knowing both good and evil. Unfortunately, they received their wish, and a wonderful relationship was forever changed.

God cursed Eve with a desire for her husband and her subordination to him. Sibley Towner in Genesis says, “Man to rule over you. ‘Remember that this sentence is not found in Genesis 1-2, which describes the way things were meant to be, but in Genesis 3, which describes the way things came to be after human relationships with God and each other experienced brokenness and alienation.’”

In the New Oxford Annotated Bible, Michael Coogan, says that maturing, civilized humans moved from a connectedness established in Genesis 2 to a damaged connection between, God, man, woman, and earth. He says that Adam and Eve started the disintegration of the connection that they had between them.

God says in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman…” (Genesis 3:15). Enmity means “a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism.” Along with enmity for each other, man will now rule over woman.

Trible says, “This statement is not a license for male supremacy but rather it is a condemnation of that very pattern. Subjugation and supremacy are perversions of creation.” She says that this subordination and subjugation is a consequence for their shared sin.

A relationship of mutuality and equality was ruined with the curse of a woman’s desire for her husband. The imperfections that are in relationships now reflect the punishment of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.

Your Desire for Your Husband

It is interesting that the phrase “your desire will be for your husband” (Genesis 3:16) is actually a curse. This statement is a result of Eve’s choice, and this desire is not a healthy or good desire.

Some questions are raised, such as, what kind of desire is this? What makes it a bad desire? Interpreters of the word “desire” do not completely agree that it is an all-encompassing sexual desire; it can mean this but there are different interpretations.

Joel Lohr notes, “S. R. Driver, in his classic commentary on Genesis, suggests that we are here dealing not so much with desire as with ‘dependency.’” S.R. Driver says that a woman’s dependency is her need for “cohabitation.”

The word “desire” can refer to sexual desire, this feeling that women need to feel connected to a man both physically and emotionally.

The feeling of always needing that connection, even when it is not within the context that God intended for it to be is the punishment that was given to women. The line underneath it is, “and he will rule over you,” goes hand-in-hand with “your desire will be for your husband.”

Towner says, “As the ‘ruled over’ one, the woman’s horizon is reduced and focused on the man.”

It is certainly the truth that the object of many women’s hearts is men and their need for men in their lives in some capacity.

New Bible Commentary says, “Your desire may be a desire for sexual intercourse or for independence, but ultimately the husband’s head ship will prevail.”

There are many interpretations for the word desire, but the point is that men and women lost that original context of union and equality. Now, women are destined to long for what was once in the garden.

Eve’s Curse Seen Through the Silver Screen

The problem with popular culture’s definition of love is not in a couple’s separation, the problem is that their identities are in each other, they are not independent people who love each other, but are one dysfunctional being.

God said that a woman’s desire will be for her husband. One book and film series that depicts a very distorted version of romantic love that influenced a generation of young women is the Twilight Series.

A toxic love between a human girl and a vampire is all any young girl aspired to have — the love between Bella and Edward. In one line of the movie, Bella’s mother observes and tells Bella, “It’s like you two are connected somehow; when you move, he moves.” This is an image that clearly defines codependency.

According to the biblical text, ever since The Fall, humanity has moved further from God and the life in the garden. When Eve took a bite of the fruit and offered it to Adam, their relationship was forever altered and terribly perverted.

Not surprisingly, secular culture has a differing and unbiblical view of the distortion that came after The Fall, specifically for Eve and what her new reality came to be.

Lindsey Averill in her article, “Un-biting the Apple and Killing the Womb: Genesis, Gender, and Gynocide” reveals popular culture’s opinion of Eve and women’s rise in humanity. She says that when Eve disobeyed, she took a stand for all women and became independent.

Averill says, when Eve took that bite, she created a world where both men and women could be equal. Before The Fall, according to Averill, woman was under submission to a male-God and her husband.

She says that Eve’s creation was, in fact, evidence that she was not her own, but part of her husband’s identity.

When people think of Eve’s curse, they think of pain in childbearing; this is the consequence that stands out the most because it is physical and obvious.

The other two consequences of desire for your husband and his control over you, are harder to see. As women, we know we have an innate desire for men and a desire to feel connected to them. Within the context of biblical marriage, this is something God created as a gift for husband and wife, but outside of it, it brings heartache and destruction.

“We do not have love if it is not all-encompassing and all-consuming,” which is the message that is going out to girls and women of all ages. According to Genesis 3, this is not the relationship that God intended for men and women to have.

Eve did not break from man’s control when she took a bite from that fruit, she created that control. The biblical text calls all humanity to have healthy, loving relationships, but, because of The Fall, popular culture is not.

For further reading:

Did Evil Exist Before Adam and Eve Sinned?

Why Did God Create the Forbidden Fruit in the First Place?

What Is the Biblical Definition of Marriage?

Why Do We Pray for Love?

What Is the Biblical View of Submission?

How Are Created in the Image of God?

How Can I Guard My Heart?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes


Molly Law is the Editor of Christianity.com. She has a Master of Arts in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling UK, where she studied and lived for a year in Scotland. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Professional Writing and a minor in Biblical Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Her editorial career includes Senior Editor of a bimonthly magazine for the American Correctional Association, Editorial Assistant at Luath Press in Edinburgh, and Freelance Journalist for the News Virginian. She enjoys reading 18th-century British Literature, creative writing, and traveling. 


Originally published April 19, 2021.