In Gal 3:10-14, Paul asserts that those who rely upon the works of the Law are under a curse (presumably because no one is able to perfectly keep the Law). He then claims that Christ has redeemed “us” from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for “us” (3:13). But who does the “us” refer to? Does it refer to Jews (exclusive) or to Jew and Gentile alike (inclusive)? Each view has its difficulties. On the inclusive view one must explain in what sense Gentiles were under the curse of the Law as well as the significance of the citation of Deut 21:23. Advocates of the exclusive reference must account for the seeming parallel between the “us” of 3:13 and “we receive” in 3:14 as well as the seeming implication that Paul would be speaking of exclusively Jewish reception of the Spirit in 3:14. The parallel between the “us” of 3:13 and “we receive” in 3:14 strongly suggests to me that Paul has in view an inclusive reference to believers in both places — Christ redeemed Christians (Jew and Gentile alike) from the curse of the Law so that Christians (Jew and Gentile alike) might receive the promise of the Spirit.
If this is so, that raises the question as to how Gentiles who did not have the Law can be subject to its curse. Admittedly, Paul does not directly answer this question in Galatians. But he does address a similar issue in Rom 2:12-16. There Paul argues that Gentiles who sin without the law perish without the Law (2:12) and that “whenever Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts” (2:14-15). From this passage in Romans, then, it is not a significant step to the idea that Paul considered Gentiles to be under the curse of the Law. After all, Gal 3:10-14 emphasizes that “whosoever” relies on doing the Law, regardless of ethnicity, are under a curse, for no one is able “to do all that is written in the book of the Law.”
This line of argumentation has led me to consider the possibility that Paul considered the curse of the Law as a particularization/focusing of the larger curse that rested upon all of creation as a result of Adam’s transgression in Eden. This post is already too long to add further argumentation, so I will simply open the floor for comments and questions. What say you, friends?