Adam in the Garden

“In a selfish act of laziness, God created Adam for slavery and shoved him into Eden’s trenches to work as a landscaper and even put him on a hyper-restrictive diet, laying down the law about what he could eat.”  Unfortunately, that is precisely the meaning that way too many people believe when they read Genesis 2:15 “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  Of course, they wouldn’t come out and say it as bluntly as I just did, but their attitudes reveal that they believe it nonetheless.

That kind of statement is wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Shocking and wrong.  Did I say that? 

Yeah, it’s SO wrong.

Not selfish, not laziness, not slavery, not shoving, not trenches, not landscaping, and not restrictive.  Glad I got that off my chest.

Ok, Barb ol’pal, what do you think it means then? 

I’m glad you asked.  My meaning expansions are in the [parentheses]:  Genesis 2:15 “The LORD God [in a divine act of joy and generous delegation] took the man [His cherished and prized pinnacle of Creation] and put him in the Garden of Eden [God’s sanctuary and palace garden, a place of lush beauty, yielding fruit by command of God Himself] to work it [rule it, have responsibility for lovingly keeping it every bit the sanctuary it was from the start] and take care of it [by maintaining communion with God and keeping the order and beauty with which this sanctuary was created.  In effect, God was giving the man the highest honor possible: to maintain—by man’s God-given abilities and intellect—what God had established in creating man in God’s own Image and creating a sanctuary for joy, communion with God, and as worship of Him as our Creator.]”   

As we continue looking at Agricultural Imagery and Analogy in the Bible, the first occupation for man is a combination gardener and priest.  The image conveys everything from cultivation, nurturing, and stewardship of what God has given us… as an act of worship.

Food for thought:

  • In general, is your unspoken expectation that God is out to bless you or mess with you?  In a situation where things could go wrong through no fault of your own, do you expect that they will or that God will preserve you from it? 
  • When you think of Adam’s working in the Garden of Eden do you think of digging dirt and planting rows of corn or beans in the hot sun, or do you think of priestly duties? 
  • How might changing your assumptions about work in the Garden change your attitudes about God and about the work He has you doing? 
  • In Creation, God established order over chaos, light into darkness, form into the formless, and life into what He’d already created as a material world.  Even before the fall of man, God’s sanctuary needed to be maintained to keep chaos, darkness, and material forces from pressing in, disrupting the order.  Read Colossians 1:15-17 and Hebrews 1:3  Who really holds it all together?  How might Adam’s working in the Garden be both gardening and priestly as God’s Image-bearer?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on January 13, 2018

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