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Creation – Genesis 1-2

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – and the earth was formless and empty. There was only darkness, in other words, no life. God’s Word and Spirit then brought shape to creation – sky, sea, and land – while filling the empty spaces with birds, fish, and animals.

The Word of God creates in three creative acts – separating, gathering, and producing fruitfulness from the seed of plant and animal life. These three Spirit-acts are often present when God acts creatively:

  1. Israel – separated Israel from the Egyptians, gathered them at Sinai, and made to multiply and be fruitful in the land.
  2. Church – separated from the world, gathered around Christ, and made to multiply and be fruitful in making disciples.

In Genesis 2:7, God forms Adam from the ground like a potter shapes the clay and then breathes life into him – the description implies sovereignty (as a potter) and intimacy (breathing into). In Genesis 2:8, the LORD plants a garden in Eden – a garden characterized by precious stones, fruit trees and a river of life.

In verse 15 the LORD takes the man and places him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Adam was not native to the Garden – he was formed outside Eden and brought into the Garden by grace just as Israel would later be brought into the Promised Land.

Adam and Eve’s task was to “work and keep” the Garden. This phrase in Hebrew could also be translated “serve and guard” as in a temple. So, which is it? Is Adam and Eve to “work and keep” a garden or “serve and guard” a temple? The answer is both – the Garden is also a Temple i.e., the place where God dwells and loves with people.

God’s purpose is for Adam and Eve to work the land and extend the Garden of Eden into the outside wilderness. The expansion of the Garden of Eden, along with Adam and Eve being fruitful and multiplying, will result in the whole world become Eden with God’s image bearers reflecting his glory throughout the whole earth. This is the goal! Adam and Eve’s great commission is to live for the glory of God and work for God in seeing God’s presence and kingdom expanded into all the earth. As Christians we have been redeemed to live for God’s glory, make disciples of all nations and fill the earth with God’s glory.