Here is the 3rd installment of The Missing Curriculum:
Work, at its core, is an act of governance. Governance over wood, metal, cows, cotton and carrots. Governance over electrical currents and wind. Governance over fiber optics and digital images. Governance over people. Governance over things. Governance over ideas.
Randy Kilgore, a leader in the current “faith-at-work” movement, says: “God created a world that functions on order, and requires labor for its tending. He created you and me to be a part of that order, to do that labor. Even when our acts at work don’t seem to have eternal significance, their very rendering fulfills His original commission to humans to tend His creation.”
"Creation-tending" is a very big job! Ruling over all the earth entails a responsibility as broad as the world is wide, and requires many varied occupations, including carpentry, high-tech work and homemaking.
It involves physical work (as with Adam tending and keeping the Garden), and mental work (as with Adam naming the animals).
Both kinds of work occurred before the Fall. Work is not a curse! It was the ground that was cursed. Not the work.
It is our great and awesome responsibility as vice-regents over this remarkable planet to govern over God's creation. And we were made in the image of God so that we could carry out this function well. The curse just made this work more difficult.
If the Fall had not occurred, human beings would be involved in all sorts of legitimate businesses, similar to the kinds of businesses we see going on today—sans the sin.
Some people think that when Adam and Eve sinned, they forfeited their role as governors over Earth. Like ambassadors caught in an act of treason, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden and removed from their positions as God’s vice-regents over all the Earth. In this scenario, “earth-tending” could no longer be the job description of human beings.
If this is the case, then we are prisoners on a cursed planet, sent out to wander, spending our days toiling for food. Our work, then, is no longer a way of fulfilling the role that God had in mind for us when He created Adam and Eve: “Let Us make man...and let them rule…over all the earth.”
Beyond providing for our subsistence, our work, then, could no longer have significant purpose.
Next week: Part 4