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CREATED TO WORK

Man, in his original state, was not created to be indolent nor slothful—man was created to work. It was not God’s design that man occupy a passive state, simply enjoying the paradise that God had created in Eden. Man was given responsibility for work, and Adam was endowed with the abilities necessary to perform that work.

The Scriptures are lucid:

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28);

Then YHWHd God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Gen. 2:15);

Out of the ground YHWH God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name (Gen. 2:19).

God had worked, establishing the pattern that man was to imitate; He worked six days and rested for one day:

Then the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God finished the work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made (Gen. 2:1-3).

In providing the example God informs us that man is definitely to be industrious, and that there is to be more work than rest (six days of work and one day of rest; there must be a principle here that the modern culture needs to hear since it is constantly seeking a shorter and shorter work week). God not only informs man that he is to work, but He also reveals to man the length of time he is to work.

In working, man is like God; the creature is like the Creator. Several times God informs man of His work (see: Work of Creation) and instructs man to work in order to follow His example. So God intends for man, as least in this area, to be like Him. Man is to emulate his Maker. Foundationally, work must be reflected upon from the work of God; this is to affirm that work must be viewed Theistically before it can be considered humanly or earthly.

Also in his working man is displaying the image with which he was made (see: Display the Image). Since man is made in the image of God, and man in his totality displays that image, then the work that man is responsible for accomplishing is reflective of the work of God. As God works, so man, who is a reflection of the image, must work. And in his working man is exhibiting a characteristic of God.

The bliss of Eden was not without work. From this we are taught that work is not a factor from which man should desire to be freed. In other words, a state of joy and happiness is not a state free of work. To view retirement as a time to be liberated from work is humanistic reflection, a reflection that reveals a rejection of the creational model and the Theistic order of things.

Man was given work to do, even before the Fall. So work in its essential character is not associated with sin but with creation. Work is not evil; work is good. Initially, work is not to be reflected upon from the perspective of the Fall and its accompanying curse, but is to be contemplated as part of the original creational model.

It is true that sin made Adam’s work difficult and laborious, and causes man’s work since the Fall to be characterized by “thorns and thistles” (Gen. 3:18). But the difficulty and frustration associated with work today is not a reflection on work but a reflection on the punishment that Adam brought upon himself and his descendants because of his disobedience. The essential nature of work is associated with God and His creative work, not with Adam and his sin in the Garden.

Man’s work is not without guidelines and parameters; work is regulated by God. In His commandments to Israel, God wrote:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, or your son, or your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, or your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days YHWH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. ThereforeYHWH blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Ex. 20:8-11; see: The Seventh Day).


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