Saturday, October 10, 2009

EfM Year 1 Chapter 4: The JE Account of Creation and the Fall in Genesis 2:4b - 3:24--Thoughts on Work

The fall of Adam and Eve apparently had serious consequences for work. Here is what God said to the man in Genesis 3:17-19:

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, "You shall not eat of it," cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

And from our course materials:

The man and the woman will eat only as a result of toil. The man was created for work. He was to till the garden and care for it. Now, work has become toil. It is hard, bitter, and offers few rewards. Instead of being a plentiful garden, the earth is now a hostile place in which the barest necessities of life must be eked out by the sweat of one's brow. This is the kind of world in which humankind has lived throughout the ages and is still the situation of most people today. Modern affluent America is quite different from most of the societies of the world, but we are becoming aware that even we may not have escaped the ancient judgment after all.

Here I think we need to remember that the story of the fall and God's judgment upon the man and the woman is the Hebrew people's way of explaining why things are as they are--why work is so burdensome. This is not the actual unassailable pronouncement of God. It is a Hebrew story to explain life conditions.

The worst thing we can do is to submit to these judgments--to say, "Oh, well, God says that work will be drudgery, so I'll just have to accept it and go on drudging away." NO!!!

Even the Bible says that work was originally fulfilling and fruitful. So what do we want to create? Surely a world where work is joy-filled, creative, and soul-satisfying. Work requires discipline, yes, but discipline motivated by an underlying passion.

If we wanted to, we could have a world where everyone has fulfilling work and where we all share the mundane tasks.

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