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.”
Genesis 2:15 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
I’ve included today’s devotional as a reminder of what we talked about a few weeks back at the beginning of our redemptive worship series.
In these two verses we see work existing in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall. Gen. 1:28 is the creation mandate, or the cultural mandate, in which God give 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.
As we saw in a previous devotional from 9.15 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).
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.
ff to 2:56 for additional content
Think of the type of work that you genuinely enjoy. You may even think of it as a hobby, something you do when you have time. Technically, it is work but it is enjoyable. For some it may be gardening, for others perhaps sports, or art, or writing, or woodworking. The options are limitless. The sense we get from these forms of work are the sense of work in the garden.
Work is good. not just how you do the work, but the work itself is good.