Excerpted from Man and Woman in Biblical Unity by Dr. Joy Fleming
Why would God utter curses in the Garden of Eden? The man and woman were already under the sentence of death. The two curses in Eden, on the serpent and on the ground because of the man, were additional acts of God not levied simply for the annoyance of those affected by them (though they would certainly make life harder). They served as pedagogical tools.
(1) They instruct that God is capable of anger. And that He judges, not just external disobedience (as the woman) but, additionally, the inner intents and motives (hence the serpent and the man merit curses).
(2) The curses instruct that God is not indifferent concerning the well-being of those He has created, the “subjects” of his kingdom. And He has a particular regard and love for the human beings He specially made by the work of his hands. He could have cursed the man as He did the serpent, but He desires to act in grace to spare the humans of all He, in justice, can spare them.
(3) The curses further teach that it is not in the best interests of beings created by God to revolt against God’s complete and sovereign rule.
(4) The curses will also henceforth serve as reminders of the human condition. Man’s (or woman’s) usurpation of the place of God results in misery.