Monday, August 18, 2008

Is an Epidural a Sin?

I know...the question is absurd. And it is asked in a tongue-in-cheek way, mostly. I asked this question in a personal journal a few years ago, but had forgotten about it. It was resurrected by a comment thread in a previous post.

My reasoning goes like this:
In the beginning, God punishes humanity because of their wickedness. There are three general categories of punishments in early Genesis (besides the punishment of specific people like Cain). I may write later about God's graciousness in spacing out these punishments and letting humanity demonstrate its intentions over time.

If today, humanity tries to "undo" some of the punishments of God, is that a new form of arrogance and rebellion or is it good and part of wanting to bring about the Kingdom (which reverses the sin-order)? To use an analogy: If a parent punishes a child, say, by making them go to their room, at what point does the child rebel against the parent and subvert the justice of the punishment? Leaving the room early? Decorating the room so that it has all the features of the family room (t.v. & playstation 3)?

When I have heard about people wanting to live past 120 years, this has been criticized as trying to "undo" the punishment of God. Yet we put pesticides on our crops each year to minimize the thorns and thistles we experience. And many women use epidurals to counter the pain of childbirth. However, when we talk about reviving a common language, people get scared about one world government and say that God confused the language for a reason. So which punishments are to be taken in fully and which are to be countered?

From the Fall (Genesis 3)
1) Women: Increased Pain in Childbirth
2) Women: Desire for her Husband. He will rule over her
3) Men historically but both men and women: Cursed is the Ground
4) Humanity: Thorns and Thistles come from the ground. Humanity shall eat from the plants of the field (Refer to earlier post and comments about whether eating crops is part of the curse of God)
5) Humanity: Death
6) Humanity: Banished from Eden

From General Human Evil (Genesis 6)
7) Humanity: Lifespan shortened to 120 years
8) Humanity: The Flood, wiping out most of humanity

From the Tower of Babel
9) Humanity: Confuses their language
10) Humanity: Scatters them across the world


Brent Anderson said...

Okay, I wanted to let folks know, I think the question above typifies the questions believers should ask about the "original" punishments.

Maybe not trying to recreate Eden and utopia but working to restore some of the things humanity lost...whether from sin or from punishment.

Don't we regret that "a women's desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her"? We would want to counter this, wouldn't we?

Rebecca said...

giving birth ain't no tea party, even with an epidural.

Brent Anderson said...

Thanks for writing Rebecca!

I know it's ridiculous for me even to have asked this question. :-)

Brent Anderson said...

I just talked with three of my sisters last night who didnt especially like this post. :-)

One of them felt like I had an agenda...that women should bear the brunt of childbirth to fully take on this punishment of humanity.

That was not my intent. I did want to ask the question:
What God-given punishments do we try to overcome just as we try to overcome some sins?
Asking about epidurals was a good hook, if you will, for interest.

Jacob Shaw said...

If God didnt want it to be painful he wouldnt have let it be. Its a punishment for all humanity, and i now see that it would most likely go against his laws