“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
When God created the first human, Adam, He gave him the task to work and keep the garden of Eden. Work thus belongs to God’s good creation; it is not a result of sin but fits into God’s good purpose for humans. For example, it was Adam’s task to give all animals a name (Genesis 2:20) and to have dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:28).
At the same time, sin has damaged everything — including work. When Adam had disobeyed God, He told him:
“… cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life […] By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:17-19). The daily work of humans thus would become laborious and tiring. And this has been a common human experience ever since. Moses even says: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble” (Psalm 90:10).
And yet, work on itself can still be something good. “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
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