After sin entered the world, work shifted from being an activity completed alongside the Creator and became a curse borne apart from him (Genesis 3:17–19), as humanity began forging their own way, separate from God. Genesis 3:16 shows us that the curse of sin didn’t just impact the world in which we live; it impacted our relationships as well. This is especially true in the family. The result of sin’s curse on our homes often manifests itself as abuse and dysfunction that passes from one generation to the next. Pamela Li writes, “Children of dysfunctional families tend to carry on the cycle of dysfunction into their own lives and into their own families. … Adult children of dysfunctional families (ACDF) struggle with trust (in others and themselves) and self-esteem. Understandably, these deficits often tend to bleed into all areas of their lives. Difficulty forming healthy relationships and maintaining attachments are also common issues” (Pamela Li, “What Is a Dysfunctional Family & How to Break the Cycle,” Parenting for Brain, updated April 25, 2023, https://www.parentingforbrain.com/dysfunctional-family/).
This fracture in relationship with God and with each other is one of the many consequences of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Hebrew word used to describe evil in Genesis chapters 1–3 is raʿ, which translates to “bad, disagreeable, giving pain, unhappiness, misery, pertaining to evil or wicked thoughts, deeds, actions.” It can also be described as “distressful, injurious, causing calamity or adversity.”