Genesis 2:15 What Work Was Too Much for Man To Do Alone?

As I continue to think about the design of a happy marriage, I have to start with singleness.  Whether you believe in a literal Adam or a figurative Adam, or no Adam at all, the Bible wants to teach that mankind has a purpose.  In the biblical story, when Adam is placed in the garden he has a job to do. He is to work the garden and keep it.  the scale of the job is unclear, is he to tend a keep the whole Earth or just one section.  John H. Walton would have us believe that the headwaters of four great rivers is in Eden, but that the Garden of Eden is not Eden itself.  It is a garden like the gardens of palaces in Europe, or the Botanical Gardens in Chicago.  The four rivers irrigate this garden and Adam tends it.  Alone.

Cattlegate Continues » Silenced

For poor Adam this proves too much to do alone.  God knows that it is not good and allows Adam to parade all the animals and assess their ability to help him perform the task that is required of him.  Although oxen are great at pulling carts they are weak when it comes to hedge trimming and making a decent cup-of-tea.  Although a parrot can fly a message from one end of Eden to the other, they can not redirect water with a new irrigation ditch.  All animals fall short in some way to help mankind with the tasks of working and keeping The Garden of Eden.  That is when woman is formed.

The original language doesn’t have a shining white rib as the origin of Eve.  It has the man possibly ripped in half or possibly a huge, fleshy fistful of man is made into a woman.  She is his equal and together they will be able to perform the task.  Man has a purpose and woman has a purpose.  It is identical and they will only complete it if they pull together.

In this individualised and narcissistic age, we have a lot to learn here.  Our focus is not to be on our spouse and whether we picked the right one from the shelf.  We aren’t to assess whether they give us maximum pleasure or keep our shirts ironed.  The assessment is whether together we can do the task to which God has called us.  If we are to reach our potential, God often gives us more work than we can achieve alone.  The marriage works ideally when we have a clear vision and both see our roles in achieving it.

Do you know what you and your spouse are called to do?  Do you have a God-focused strategy to complete the work?  Are you working as a team?

If you are single, how does this idea of a calling inform who you might marry?  What happens if one day you feel you are called to plant a church in Africa and the next day God seems to keep you caring for family in Boston?

Genesis 2:15

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Prayer

God, I thank you for the partnership of marriage.  Help us to see the strength in the sexes.  help us to see how together we can build and tend to what you have called us to.  May your kingdom come.

Questions

  1. What did God do with the man (Adam)?
  2. What was Adam’s job?
  3. Do you think the job of mankind was different than when Adam was alone?
  4. To what has God called you?
  5. How might a partnership with a member of the opposite sex assist you in completing God’s work?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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14 Responses to Genesis 2:15 What Work Was Too Much for Man To Do Alone?

  1. Olyn says:

    What did God do with the man (Adam)?
    He gave him the job of taking care of Eden, and let him try to find a partner in that.
    What was Adam’s job?
    To care for Eden.
    Do you think the job of mankind was different than when Adam was alone?
    Yes, without Eve humans could not multiply. Also, mankind’s job included human relationships when a second human was joined.
    To what has God called you?
    To share the gospel through relationships (particularly teaching), to love as Christ loves, and to become more conformed to His image through an intimate relationship with Him. However He decides to do that is His choice-I have ideas, but really no specific plans.
    How might a partnership with a member of the opposite sex assist you in completing God’s work?
    Someone to bounce off of, to work with, to challenge and be challenged by. God is a relational God, and He sharpens us through our relationships. Marriage is the most intimate and challenging relationship. There are different strengths in every person, so to work with someone helps to balance out the team. Also, man and woman uniquely complement each other to form a partnership that God designed.

  2. Christina W. says:

    1. He placed him in the garden to work and tend it.
    2. To care for the garden.
    3. I think so. When it was just Adam, he could tend to the earth and have dominion over it, but he couldn’t be fruitful and multiply on his own.
    4. God has called me to teach, to tell others about him and to share his love with those around me.
    5. A partnership with a member of the opposite sex would give me someone to work alongside of. They would be someone to encourage and challenge in the work that God has laid out before me.

  3. Adam was placed in the Garden to work and live there. The job of Adam was to care for Eden and tend to it. Before Eve was created, the job was individualistic, once she was created, the task was community oriented and they had to work together. God has called me to love children and love others the way Jesus loves and to minister to my family. Being married has allowed me to be challenged in my walk with God and has helped me become a better teammate, friend, encourager, etc. Working with someone of the opposite sex allows me to be complemented by Dom and to complement him as we work together toward a common goal (we make each other better).

  4. 1. God placed Adam in the garden to care for the creation that He had just made. He entrusted Him with its care.
    2. To tend the garden and keep it.
    3. The original purpose of caring for the garden was still there because the point of giving Adam a partner was for him to tend to garden better. However, things were added to the purpose and relationship between man and woman and multiply became the new and extremely important purposes. Now man was not just caring for a garden, but for people made in God’s image.
    4. Christ has called me to Himself, to be like Him and to tell others of His great love for them, especially children through teaching. He has called me to love the people He has placed around me with His love.
    5. We would be able to care for and work alongside each other, complementing and looking after each other in ways we could not take care of ourselves. We would be able to listen, advise, and encourage each other.

  5. Michael McCardle says:

    What did God do with the man (Adam)?
    He put Adam in the garden.
    What was Adam’s job?
    to work in the garden and to keep it nice
    Do you think the job of mankind was different than when Adam was alone?
    yes. When Adam was alone he only had one responsibility; to tend the garden
    To what has God called you?
    To care for his word and to teach it with care in a high school class room.
    How might a partnership with a member of the opposite sex assist you in completing God’s work?
    I will have someone who can council girls, can give me advice on how to relate to female students.

  6. Megumi says:

    1. God placed Adam at rest in the garden
    2. Adam’s job was to worship and obey as the image-bearing ruler of the world.
    3. No
    4. God has also called me to worship and obey Him
    5. If I marry I will have a permanent teammate in ministry.

  7. Maria T. says:

    1. What did God do with the man (Adam)? in this verse, God placed Adam in the garden.
    2. What was Adam’s job? Adam’s job was to work and to keep the garden.
    3. Do you think the job of mankind was different than when Adam was alone? The command became different when Adam and Eve were together. They were called to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth. Adam’s job when he was alone was simply to work and to keep the garden. I think that the job of mankind changed not in kind but rather in magnitude, perhaps.
    4. To what has God called you? In the present, He has called me to be a student, a daughter, a sister, a friend.
    5. How might a partnership with a member of the opposite sex assist you in completing God’s work? Marriage would be spiritually sanctifying, which is definitely completing God’s work.

  8. Jung Kim says:

    1.What did God do with the man (Adam)? God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to live there.
    2.What was Adam’s job? His job was to work and keep the garden well.
    3.Do you think the job of mankind was different than when Adam was alone? Yes; after Eve was created, their job was to multiply and have dominion over the earth tobether. Whereas, before Adam was to take care of this on his own.
    4.To what has God called you? God has called me to be a student at Moody to be equipped as an elementary teacher.
    5.How might a partnership with a member of the opposite sex assist you in completing God’s work? I would say marrying someone that God has planned accordingly will be glorifying and completing God’s will and desire.

  9. 1. God put Adam in the garden alone.
    2. To care for Eden by working the land
    3. Yes, he cared for the Garden only
    4. God has called me to follow Him and teach children to also know, love and follow Him.
    5. My partner makes up for what I lack in God’s work and I make up for what He lacks.

  10. Maelynn says:

    1. He put him in charge over Eden.
    2. To name the animals.
    3. I don’t think so.
    4. Being a wife and teacher.
    5. Well, my husband and I are a team. We will be doing ministry together.

  11. Andrew Moore says:

    1. He set him in the garden and gave him his job.
    2. To name the animals
    3. Yes, Adam really had a very specific role to fill, while people fill a much more diverse pool of roles now.
    4. To be a good friend, child, sibling and student.
    5. Members of the opposite sex work well together, complementing one another’s strengths and helping to cover their weaknesses.

  12. Christa says:

    1. What did God do with the man (Adam)? He formed him from the ground and breathed into him the breath of life and placed him in the garden to work
    2. What was Adam’s job? To tend the ground and subdue the earth
    3. Do you think the job of mankind was different than when Adam was alone? I think that it was far more lonely and that it was probably less productive
    4. To what has God called you? God has called me to himself, to follow him, to teach his gospel, and to use the gifts and abilities that he has given to me
    5. How might a partnership with a member of the opposite sex assist you in completing God’s work? It would give me a fuller perspective on the work and allow me to share the burden with someone else

  13. Emmy R says:

    1. He placed him in the garden to work.
    2. To care for and name the animals.
    3. Yes, his job was much more specific and direct.
    4. God has called me to give my life completely over to Him for His service, whether that means here in Chicago or in a village in Africa.
    5. Partnership would give me a wonderful support, encourager, and stability as we did ministry together.

  14. 1. God formed Adam out of the dust and breathed life into him.
    2. Adam’s job was to name and care for the animals in the gardena and to take care of everything else that God had created.
    3. If I understand the question correctly, yes. God gave different commands to different people as the population grew.
    4. As a human being, God has called me to many things. I’m called to love people, to be honest, to treat everyone with respect, etc. As a Christian, I am called to love God with all of my heart, share the Gospel with people, to hold people accountable, to pray, etc. Vocationally I feel that I am called to be an educator and teach children about the world around them and about God’s love for them.
    5. A man would help support me, encourage me, and together we would use our gifts and talents to better serve God’s people and bring glory to Him.

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