Redeeming Pleasure


After God created a paradise for humanity to live in, “the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” God put Adam to work. Someone had to prune and water paradise so God assigned those jobs to Adam. In today’s terms we might classify this as blue-collar work.

God also tasked Adam with naming all of the new animals God had just thought up. That might not sound like a big deal at first, but consider your last visit to the zoo as a launching pad for the diversity and sheer volume of this assignment. I can only imagine him carrying his Moleskine notebook while he walked around coming up with names of what to call the life forms around him. And you thought you dealt with writers block! Adam was the world’s first biologist. In today’s terms we might classify this job as white-collar.

God tells Adam to take care of the garden and name the animals. His work included both blue-collar and white-collar assignments. This was easily a forty-plus-hour-a-week occupation to keep him busy. So why does all this matter?

Genesis shows us work is part of paradise.

Life changed for the worse for Adam, Eve, and their descendants after God kicked them out of the garden of Eden. But the concept of work wasn’t a new part of that punishment. Work existed in the garden. But now Adam’s work would be more difficult as a result.

Here enters the basis for the misunderstanding many people carry with them today. When work involves sweat and thorns and thistles, how could it possibly be anything enjoyable? Yet at the heart of work—when we apply ourselves to a result—is pleasure. It’s also something we see God Himself do in the first pages of the Bible.