“God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
Moses, the writer of Genesis, finished his description of creation. He brought attention to God as supreme Creator and to man as God’s special creation. God designed man in such a way that he could reflect the likeness of God and bring Him glory. The creation was very good—just how God designed it. But is this how things are today? Certainly not. Something must have happened. This is where the story takes us now.
Before we take a step forward, Moses brings us a step back. He doesn’t pick up on the new week. He returns to day six for more details. At this time, “there was no man to work the ground.” So God made man from the ground and breathed life into him. Then, God “planted a garden in Eden,” where He put the man to work.
Work would be easy for the man. The garden was a well-spring of growth and nothing would challenge his labor. Even food was easy to come by, for God made fruit-bearing trees spring up all around him. In fact, there were two trees that sprang up which God designed particularly for man. One was the tree of life. The other was the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
God is a worker. (Remember His work of creation in six days?) And, since man is made in God’s image, man is a worker. So God charged man to carry on His work by multiplying and ruling the earth. It was a fantastic job. God gave only one condition: No one could eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” This is what we call the covenant of works. It is the binding agreement that God made with the man, particularly with the first man who represented all humanity. If man keeps his end of the agreement, he will enjoy the riches of God’s blessing.
- How would you picture the garden in Eden? Can you imagine what it might have been like to live in a paradise like that? How would you think about work?
- What does God’s charge to work suggest about Him? With the whole setting and story in mind, what does it teach us about God?
- Does this change the way you view work? How do the two trees resemble choices we are faced with today?
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