Christians often say they’re “wounded.” But they’re not referring to our deepest wound.
For most of my faith life, I attended churches that described believers as “wounded.” But this woundedness is based in Genesis 3 and sin. It’s the result of a gospel that deals mainly with managing our sin problem. But this wound had been healed by Christ’s wound on the cross. So we should celebrate our healing rather than touting how we’re all wounded.
And yet we are wounded. We just don’t recognize our deepest wound.
Our deepest wound is found in Genesis 1, before Genesis 3. This wound isn’t the result of our sin problem. It’s the natural result of our original purpose, that is, why we exist: marriage to Jesus. We discover this wound in Gen.1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, and 31.
Your version of these verses likely reads: “And God saw that it was good.” Good is a Hebrew word which may be translated either as good or as beautiful. Most English translations give the translation “good,” but the Septuagint version chooses to give the Greek for “beautiful” (kalon) instead of “good” (agathon). But is “beautiful” legit here?
Yes. Aquinas wrote: “Things that give pleasure when they are perceived are called beautiful.” Adam and Eve get great pleasure out of creation, beginning with God bringing them together. Made in the image of God our Lover and Maker, they make love. It’s intensely pleasurable, so Adam and Eve perceive it as beautiful. The beauty they experience inspires them to want to know the eternal God who is Beauty. And this creates a “profound sense of lack, one that is so profound it has been likened to a wound.”
The wound is that created beauty cannot fulfill the eternal desires it brings. As Pope Benedict XVI put it, “Beauty wounds, but that is precisely how it awakens man to his ultimate destiny.” Our ultimate destiny is to be “married,” or “wed,” to Christ our husband. This is a holy wound, best depicted in the statue, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. As the tip of the angel’s flaming spear penetrates Teresa deeper and deeper, she experiences a painful yearning for consummation with Christ in eternity. She feels our deepest wound.
The 14th-century Byzantine theologian Nicholas Cabasilas described this wound. When we have longings so great that we “accomplish things beyond human thought, it is the Bridegroom himself who has wounded” us. He goes on to say “the size of the wound is evidence of the arrow, and the longing points to the one who has shot the arrow” (remind you of people who have fallen in love saying they’ve been “struck by Cupid’s arrow?”).
Women in childbirth depict this arrow’s wound. Imagine if we’d never fallen. We’d be betrothed to Christ. Our intense longing for joy, for eternal consummation with Christ, would begin with birth but not be fulfilled until eternity. This would be painful. Childbirth in creation would depict this, explaining why Eve would have felt pain in childbirth.
But we fell. This yielded an additional wound: separation from God. Thus, God’s seemingly odd oracle given to the woman after the Fall: I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. Since our bodies tell God’s story, this additional wound is depicted in a woman’s pain in childbirth being increased. This is the wound most American churches refer to. It’s the natural result of a gospel that starts in Genesis 3 and sin.
The solution is the gospel that starts in Genesis 1 and creation. It reminds us of why we experience a natural birth but must also have a second birth, born of water and the Spirit. The Spirit is the seed (semen) of this second birth by which we are betrothed to Christ, to our husband, Jesus. Our second birth heals the wound of our sin. It also awakens in us a recognition of our deepest wound, longing for consummation with Christ.
This makes our deepest wound wondrously beautiful. It’s why churches should affirm our healing from the horrible wound of sin while accentuating the holiness of our deepest wound, which is betrothal to Christ.
 Paul Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon: a Theology of Beauty, trans. Steven Bigham (Oakwood Publications, 1990), 2.
 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 39, 8.
 David Clayton, The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College, (Angelico Press, 2015), 24.