Examining the complexity of curses and whether they are real or not
The history and cultures of our world have brought us to where we are today. Many various cultures have fueled wonderful traditions, solid communities and exemplary progress. But many cultures have also brought us darkness, superstitions and strong desire to harm those they see as enemies. Enter the worldwide phenomena of curses. To quote from Wikipedia, “A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to one or more persons, a place, or an object.” We find the existence of curses all through human history and across a multitude of cultures. So, where do curses come from? Are they real? Should we be afraid of being cursed?
Does God curse people?
As we think about curses and their dark intentions, it may come as a surprise to realize that God was the one to introduce curses to humanity. Now, don’t jump to conclusions here! All the talk about curses today is centered on the idea of purposefully wishing someone to be harmed. God NEVER has or will He ever wish harm on anyone. This might sound like a contradiction. How can God “cursing” someone or something be different in intention than what everyone else thinks? It all comes down to the meaning of the words for “curse” we use now and the words used back in ancient times.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God came before them to proclaim consequences. God “cursed” Satan and also “cursed” the ground, for Adam’s sake. The word for curse in both cases means “to execrate.” Great - what does that mean? Execrate means “to feel or express great loathing for.” A major factor in God pronouncing the consequences for the Garden of Eden sins was Him expressing His deep disdain for the sins committed. These “curses” from God were not wishes for harm to come. They were expressions of the harmful consequences of sinful actions taken.
Am I cursed?
So, what does this mean for the curses we might be afraid of today? Are they real? If we feel we may be cursed, are we under a spell or the power of some mystical force? The short answer to this complex question is no. We believe our perceptions of these circumstances have far greater influence than what might be true. We draw this conclusion because we believe the Bible, science, psychology and biology overwhelmingly support it.
Check out our September 13, 2021 podcast, “Are Curses Real? Curses Series (Part I)” for more. We touch on some historical examples of curses in the world. Then we examine how feeling you are in control or out of control of your future weighs in feelings of being cursed. We look at the Placebo Effect and the Nocebo Effect. And do you know how our character traits affect our acceptance of curses being real? We even visit the genetics of inherited reactions to stimuli. In all of this, we cite specific scriptural guidance to help us cope with our fears. Anxiety over curses is real, but don’t let that anxiety keep you from finding the faith and courage to overcome! In Part II, we specifically deal with the idea of generational curses handed down to us through our ancestors.
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