|To Develop and to Extend|
Creation Matters (4)
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
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Creation matters to God; for that reason creation matters to the people of God as well. We must understand God’s purposes for the creation, accept our calling as stewards over the earth and everything in it, and learn as much as we can about what God expects of us as we exercise dominion in His Name. When we turn to God’s purpose for the creation of men and women we discover a fascinating, but maddeningly brief, job description that God appointed to His dominion-keepers with respect to creation matters.
In our text God assigned a twofold mandate to Adam, and, subsequently Eve. They were to “work” the garden of Eden and to “keep” or, more literally, “guard” it. The garden of Eden, it appears, was adorned with greater abundance and evidence of God’s glory than the world around it. Adam’s task in that environment boiled down to developing the good gifts of God, deposited in and around the garden, and extending them from the garden to the rest of the earth.
Adam’s interaction with the creation involved plants and animals, which he was to name and husband, as well as various other resources, including, running water (for energy and transport? vv. 10-14) and minerals to be mined and processed (vv. 11, 12). Much of this work would have been back-breaking manual labor, while other aspects of it were likely more intellectual – both blue and white collar, we might say. The idea clearly indicated is that the man and woman, by “working” the garden and its resources, and by having children to fill the earth, were to extend the goodness of the garden, and its heightened power to reflect the glory of God, beyond the original garden to wherever human beings would roam and settle. The fall into sin, of course, short-circuited this plan, and highlights for us Adam’s failure at the second task of his job description, that of “guarding” the garden. As important as it was to develop all the latent potential of the garden and its resources, the man and woman also had to keep and care for it, guarding it against anything that might bring it to ruin.
The mandate to Adam and Eve, in the most general of terms, defines our own mandate yet today. God has appointed people to develop all the goodness and potential of the earth, in ways that will increase and extend His glory, and to guard the creation – in all its forms – from anything which threatens it with destruction or decay. Exercising dominion in this way begins right where each of us lives, with whatever portion of the creation and its fruits the Lord has been pleased to entrust to our development and care.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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