May 30, 2009

Creation and Redemption

Genesis 1:26-31

The Lord God … put [the man] in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Genesis 2:15


God told Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and subdue it” and to rule “over every living creature.” They became God’s representatives to care for his creation as gardeners and stewards of all that God had made.

This work is often called the Creation Mandate. Adam and Eve and their descendants developed gardening and the care of livestock. They also later developed the building of cities, the forging of metal tools, and the making of music. (See Genesis 4:2, 17-22.)

But what was supposed to be done to the glory of God was soon corrupted by sin. Human “culture” became a mixed bag of good (such as growth, learning, and development) and bad (the use of good things for evil: murder, theft, vengeance, and other destruction).

Jesus told his followers, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation,” teaching people “to obey everything I have commanded” (see Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). Redemption has been accomplished. And now, through the spread of the good news, people all over the world can come back to God, to live every day for him. This Great Commission sounds like an echo of the Creation Mandate. It doesn’t do away with gardening, music, or invention; it brings everything back to God. That means my hobby of carpentry, for example, can also be work that honors God!

Lord, thank you for work and for the health and strength to do it. Help us to do everything—evangelism and other work—as a fragrant offering to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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