Genesis 1:28-29; Genesis 2:15ff
As I look back to see how God pursued me and drew me to himself, one of the main things he used was a deep sense of unrest in regards to purpose. What was life really all about? What were we on this earth to do? Why did our lives matter? These are the questions that Genesis 1-2 address…and the answers are filled with weight and hope!
What are we created to do?
(1) The devotional mandate (worship) – we have been designed to worship. In Genesis 1:29ff God placed Adam and Eve in Eden gave them everything they needed. Then he appointed a means of learning the difference between good and evil…a tree that they were not to eat of. Instead they were to trust God…that what he had provided was enough…that he loved them and knew best. I have become convinced that Adam and Eve would’ve learned about evil whether they disobeyed or not. God walked with them in the afternoons. If, for sake of argument, they had resisted the temptation of the serpent and trusted God, could they not have asked God about the whole exchange later that day? Then their beloved could have explained good and evil to them in the context of righteousness, rather than rebellion.
What would it have been like if sin never entered the world? What would it be like to never question God’s goodness? That is what we were created for. We were created for a trusting relationship with God where he alone is on the throne of our lives and he alone receives our allegiance and trust- in a word: worship. The question is not will we worship, but what will we worship because we will worship someone/something if not our Creator…because that is how we have been designed.
(2) Relational Mandate (wedlock) – In Genesis 2 we hear for the first time, “It is not good.” What isn’t good? Answer: for man to be alone. God creates woman. And when God brings her to Adam, he breaks out into poetry! Moses was telling the people of Israel that they were designed for community. People have a need for a relationship. The confusion often comes when we ask why we need it. If marriage is representative snapshot of other relationships, then the answer is that we need one another not only for our happiness but unquestionable for our holiness as well! God uses us in one another’s lives to help mature us in a variety of areas that left ourselves we would never see, let alone address. Only in relationship with others can we be the people we were designed to be.
(3) Cultural mandate (work) – There are at least 5 commands in Genesis 1: Be Fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue creation, and rule over things. Let’s briefly unpack these.
– Be fruitful and multiply: produce enough images to cover the Earth.
- Have Babies! We are called to raise children…even if that means they will radically turn your life and “freedom” upside down. Obviously there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes) and we are to use wisdom. And it necessarily means more than simply having children…we are to teach and train children in the way of the Lord – passing spiritual inheritance is at the heart of our job of “multiplying”
- Be Active in Evangelism and Discipleship- You may never be able to have children or may never marry. But we all can multiply because we can multiply disciples.
– Rule and manage creation on God’s behalf– work is creative license. Even in the garden there is evidence that although things were without fault, Adam and Eve were to “cultivate” meaning they were to rule and manage in creative ways. One author imagines Adam seeing leaves falling to the ground where he’d been sleeping and breaking off a branch to move the leaves off of his sleeping place…thereby making and using the first ever “rake.” The point is, we all get an area to creatively develop whether it’s art, business, medicine, custodial duties, or working in the home. So work was designed to be a privileged opportunity given by the Lord.
You were made to have a trusting relationship with God, to relate rightly with each other, and to multiply and have dominion in creative and fulfilling ways. Looking at our lives against this backdrop it’s not hard to see that things are flipped upside-down. Things are not the way they are supposed to be. You can’t understand that you are fallen until you understand where you have fallen from. The good news is that Jesus has come to bring his blessing as far as the curse is found! Only in a right relationship with Him, through repentance and faith, can we begin to regain some of what was lost…knowing that when he comes again he will complete the restoration that was started at his death and resurrection and continues today through his Church!