This week we are going to put a cap on the topic of redeeming work and really drive home some of the ideas we’ve been talking about.
In Genesis 1 we see the creation of work in what is known as the creation (or cultural) mandate.
Genesis 1:28 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In this verse we see work existing in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall. In Gen. 1:28 God gives humans their marching orders of sorts. This mandate consists of three aspects:
- God’s blessing
- The command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth
- The command to subdue creation and have dominion over it
This mandate calls Christians to make culture (as Keller defines culture – taking the raw material God made and rearranging it for human flourishing as God defines it).
Genesis 2:15 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
In Genesis 2:15 we see the purpose for which God placed humanity in the garden—to work it and keep it. Without reiterating everything we have already said on this text, the humans were given work to do in the garden. Now this work was different than the work that we tend to think of. This seems like more of a “tending” sort of work. It was not laborious or tiresome. It was enriching and fulfilling. remember the scene is in a garden that God has blessed them with all of the plants for food. The image is of a lush garden, rich with fruit-bearing trees and vegetation that the land produced on its own as a blessing from God. The responsibility of humans is then to simply eat of God’s blessing and provision. This work, whatever it was to consist of, was not necessary for their survival. This was a different kind of work—a paradise kind of work.
At minimum, this says that work is not a necessary evil part of the human condition. Work is intrinsically good. Yet something happens in Genesis chapter 3 that makes work not always seem so good. This we will discuss tomorrow.
Plan on joining us for one or both of our courses this week. Check out the the Redemptive Life Campaign page for times and info.
Think of your concept of work. Is it a necessary evil that you have to do just to get by, or is it something good in your life that you get to do? When you think of a paradise kind of work what things come to mind? What makes this type of work so enriching for you? What does that say about what it means to be human?