Restoring the Biblical View of Labor (Part 2)

God is the Lord of both the spiritual and the material worlds. The Bible reveals that God is good and created everything. He entrusted man with the care of His creation. God also commanded man to work, as He worked creating the world. It is very important to notice in the Scriptures that work was present before humanity needed atonement. 

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

Work is the integral part of human existence, and any labor or work should be done as service to God. Therefore, it is possible to be a coworker with God in all different forms of work! 

Having created man in accordance with His special design, God put the first couple in the Garden of Eden, so that in the environment created just for them, they would learn to obey Him. 

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

God made man able to understand their responsibility to tend the Garden but also able to understand the moral responsibility they had before Him. The Lord warned Adam that obedience would lead to life, but disobedience to His word would lead to death. 

Do you see this? God granted man freedom of action and choice, but at the same time He drew the moral boundaries of what was permitted and what was not. True freedom has limitations. The Lord God taught, teaches and will teach us through our ability to choose! 

We must always remember that despite the Fall, God never stopped loving us and still invites us to fulfill our mission – which is to be His coworkers and His representaives. King David understood God’s will for man in this world. 

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. (Psalms 8:3-8)

In this song of praise, David exalts and glorifies the Lord as the Creator of the Universe and the Earth. At the same time, he expresses joyful surprise at the fact that this awesome Creator remembers people and honors them with His presence. God crowned man with glory and honor, in other words – man reigned over creation and was called to represent God Himself; He made him sovereign over the works of His hands, in order to maintain order and carefully watch over creation. 

David, who lived after the Fall did not even mention it. The Fall and its catastrophic consequences did not cancel God’s will for people – to carefully and wisely rule over creation. However, being separated from fellowship with the Lord, we became bad representatives of God. We forgot that in the end, we will have to give a report to God about the path we have chosen in this life.

The Impact of the Fall on Economic Relations 

The Fall bore consequences on relationships between people and the created world. The will of the first man and woman to live independently of the Creator and neglect His goodness changed the spiritual relationship between people and God. The rebellion of Adam and Eve also opened the door for the invasion of sin and evil. It also effected economic relations. In the third chapter of Genesis, through a created thing, evil was able to seduce the first people, and make them doubt the goodness of God, and rebel. 

The New Testament Scriptures clearly speak of the demonic influence on people’s lives. Relationships between people are strongly influenced by “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), as well as by “principalities…. powers… the rulers of the darkness of this age… spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). These dark forces also affect the minds of people who create economic structures and laws regulating economic relations. Therefore, It is extremely necessary to pray and intercede for private entrepreneurs and Christians involved in the economic structures of large companies. 

Despite the fact that after the Fall, labor became mostly something tiring and disappointing, it is still an integral part of our lives and a reflection of the image of God in us. When creating the Universe, God made decisions, worked, evaluated His work, and even rested from His work. So, we, the bearers of His image, have the same qualities and, moreover, the responsibility to work, and properly manage the resources given to us. 

Click here to read Part 1.

This article is an excerpt from my book Influence. Responding to the Call of God.