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What was Adam’s Garden Work?

adam-eveAre you imagining it right now?

What was Adam's work according to Genesis 2?

Well verse 15 says he was rested in the garden to serve it and keep it.  What's that going to look like?

Well we're all thinking of hoes and ploughs and honest labour and thank God for Genesis 2 and the Protestant work ethic etc, etc,.

Now clearly there's a time and a place for all of that and certainly Adam is made a co-creator with the LORD, a co-gardener too (v5).  None of what follows should be read as anti-physical labour or anything of the sort.  But probably our picture of Adam's garden work is massively distorted by the fall.

Just for starters, we probably imagined him clothed.  And we probably imagined him sweating.  (cf Gen 3:17-19).  It's actually very hard to disentangle our thinking from the all-pervasive effects of the fall.  But let's try to do it...

According to what we read in Genesis 2, what does Adam actually do in his pre-fallen state?  He preaches (v19-20).  He doesn’t just talk to the animals, he names them.  Not at a distance but all the animals are brought to him to find their true identity.  As head of the old creation, Adam graciously speaks their true Adam-determined identities into existence.  And in this pre-fallen state, they simply receive his verdict and are constituted as who they are by his powerful word.  By his effective speech-act he declares who they really are – he preaches to the whole creation (cf Mark 16:15).

You could even say that all Adam does in his pre-fall work is preach.  He preaches to all creation and then 'dies' for his bride!

Through his words in Genesis 2, creation is brought under his feet.  Through his silence in Genesis 3, creation unravels.

People often talk about God's creation agenda in a way that divorces it from His redemptive agenda.  They talk of His cultural mandate in a way that divorces it from the great commission.  But right from the beginning proclamation is at the very heart of all God's ways and works.

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3 thoughts on “What was Adam’s Garden Work?

  1. A3B7A29B44 BW 4,6 some part of me with 1 Adam

    In addition to your comments, it seems that in the Hebrew, there are differences between the individual name Adam as your designated name is:Glen and the eukaryotic designation of man. It seems; the designation is the eukaryotic, as in human species. Moreover, there also is a dichotomy between a creature growing in knowledge at one at this time with the Lord God's and the omniscience of the Lord God, Himself. This is signiricant as he learns in the order everything is paired including the fact all eukaryotic organisms' cellular communications need Guanine + Adenine and Thymine +Cytosine to transmit DNA information. None of these beautifully earth formed creatures could satisfy in the sharing and discussion of these wonders, so God built the woman from his rib. I enjoyed your emphases in light of this world; we now live in.

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