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We Were Created to Work

danger-man-at-work-hiMany people have a love/hate relationship with the word “work.” They like the idea of accomplishing goals and earning their keep, but the actual sweat and effort makes them squirm.

I often hear men boys complain about their workload—the hours are long, the work is menial, their boss is a tyrant, the amount of homework stresses them out, it hurts their fingers—but then with a little bravado in their voice they announce, “Well, it’s just my cross to bear. Work is a part of the Fall. Thanks a lot, Eve,” and then they’re applauded for their perseverance.

CREATED TO WORK

Those guys are wrong. Work is actually not a part of the Fall. Adam began working the very day he was created. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

Work has always been a part of God’s original design for mankind. We were created to work. We were created to cultivate. We were created to create.

What comes with the Fall is not the reality of work but the cursing of our work (Gen. 3:17-19). Now what we create resists. What we cultivate rebels just like we did to God.

Sin has entered into our work. Instead of working to spread the glory of God, we gravitate towards two different extremes—laziness or idolatry. One man may hide between his parents’ couch cushions to avoid working too hard at Taco Bell. The other works 90 hour weeks, neglects his family, his faith, and his health, all for a corner office.

Both are sin.

Work is a lot more difficult now, but we are still called to work and that work can still be good.

WHO’S THE BOSS

We were created to work but not for ourselves and not to create our own meaning. We work and create because—being made in the image of God—we are to reflect the God who created the world and works in human lives.

Our work is worship to Him. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

You can be a pastor, a lawyer, a mailman, a student, a plumber, a stay-at-home mother, an accountant, or a barista and work hard and well, remembering the whole time your true employer is Jesus Christ. Negative attitudes and half-hearted service wouldn’t please an earthly boss, let alone our Heavenly One.

Jesus died that we would reflect Him in every aspect of our lives. How we flip burgers is not of little value. Everything matters.

That truth should encourage us to make those lattes or crunch those numbers to the best of our abilities—to the glory of Christ. Through your work you can show others how great your God is, that His transforming power infiltrates even the littlest of actions.

You don’t need a seminary degree or a title for permission to minister full-time as a vocation. A banker can make just as much an impact for the Kingdom as a pastor. But this is only possible if our work is for Christ and not ourselves. He is our Lord and Savior and He is the only One who can give our work true meaning.

For further reading check out Tim Keller’s book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work.

This post was adapted from a previous post by me on the Ekklesia Eugene blog.

To Whet Your Appetite: 07/20/12

  • To continue in Christianity’s quest for good music, the blog Mere Orthodoxy has a good post on one band that is creating beautiful things, Gungor.
  • A humorous little story from D.A. Carson on why recognizing authorial intent when reading the Bible is so important. Summary: a postmodern reader actually does care about authorial intent when they are the author.
  • How do we persevere when faced with extreme challenges? Wesley Towne shows that you do that by keeping your eyes on the finish line.
  • The Gospel Coalition has compiled a series of updates on many current events happening around the nation that are affecting Christians.
  • Voddie Baucham writes that the same-sex marriage movement is actually not the same as the black civil rights movement at all.
  • John Piper and Tim Keller, arguably the two brightest minds in Christianity Today, have a video discussion about justification, sanctification, and the dynamics of faith.
  • A new study has linked sexual behavior among adolescents to their exposure to sexual content in media.

Tweets of the day:

7 Problems with Theistic Evolution

Theistic Evolution is the idea that God used macro-evolution (the common descent of every species from a single ancestor; i.e. whale, oak tree, buzzard, and Dr. Phil are all related) as His means of creating life on Earth. It is an attempt to reconcile the Christian belief of a divine Creator and what seems to be “irrefutable” scientific evidence of evolution. Many Christian leaders such as Tim Keller, Francis Collins, and N.T. Wright hold to Theistic Evolution.

I do not doubt the hearts or motives of those men (they are far more brilliant than I will ever be and I greatly appreciate Keller’s The Reason for God) but the problem is that no matter how long I look at this, the idea of a Creator as the Bible presents it and the idea of evolution cannot be reconciled.

Here are the 7 biggest problems I see with Theistic Evolution (though there are more):

1.  TE inherits all the impossibilities of naturalistic evolution as a theory of origins. No matter how many times scientists or your college professors say it, it is not a scientific fact that a species (given time and chance) can evolve into another species. It is not a scientific fact because no one has ever seen it happen; and science is all about observable and repeatable processes.

Many TE’ers try to skirt around this and say, God did the impossible, which sounds a lot like the literalists (those who hold to Genesis 1-11 as literal) the TE’ers criticize.

2.  TE brings about a low view of Scripture. I have to tread lightly on this because many TE’ers love the Lord and are far more godly than I. The problem is that when you look at the Bible and begin to pick and choose what is right or wrong, literal or myth, fact or fiction, it inevitably (even if inadvertently) leads to a lower view of Scripture.

What criteria do you use? How do you know that only the creation story is myth? What about the resurrection or the virgin birth?

The rest of my points show how TE contradicts much of what the Bible presents and how TE’ers must explain that away to make it work.

3.  TE teaches that one species evolved from another species. Genesis 1 continually teaches that each species multiplied “according to its kind” (1:11, 12, 21, 25). It means exactly what is says. Bird to bird. Lion to lion. Human to human.

4.  TE implies that God is not actively involved in His Creation, but created a self-sustaining system and let it run. Instead, the rest of Scripture portrays God as actively involved in and sovereign over His Creation.

Here are just a few verses: He causes every blade of grass to grow (Psalm 104:14); He brings to lions their food (104:21); He feeds the fish and chooses the time when each one will die (104:27-29); He feeds every bird (Matthew 6:26); He opens the flower petals of every flower (6:29-30). God is an artist constantly at work in His personal masterpiece.

5.  TE confuses the imago Dei (the image of God). If humans slowly evolved from apes, when did the image of God get imparted to mankind? Some TE’ers think God chose two humans (Adam and Eve) from among a group of ancient humans and placed His image on them. Others think God imparted His likeness the moment apes evolved into biological humans. Still, these prove insufficient answers. Also, if we are all evolved from animals, what separates us from the animals?

We were called to have dominion over all creation (Genesis 1:26) and that is all wrapped up in being created in the image of God.

6.  TE confuses the Fall and its consequences. If humans slowly evolved from apes, when did the Fall occur? When the first man was born? Was there a garden of Eden and was there really a divine command to obey? When did sin nature take over mankind?

TE’ers differ on this view. One of the more common views that I have heard is that it was more of a gradual Fall, not an outright rebellion. But such a view lessens the weight of sin and the treason of placing ourselves above God. Genesis 3 is extremely clear until you begin to allegorize and mythologize it.

7.  TE sees death and sickness as a means of progress, not as a result of the Fall. This might be one of the biggest reasons why I do no think TE is biblical.

For evolution to occur, death needs to happen. Evolution and death go hand-in-hand, like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.

The weak, the sickly, and the lame need to die off so the stronger can survive, pass on their genes, and hopefully down the road create a newer and stronger species. Since the moment of God’s impartation of the imago Dei and the moment of the Fall are arbitrary to the TE’ers, it is not too hard to assume that humans were dying before the Fall.

Imagine explaining that in your next counseling session with a grieving wife who just lost her husband. Even though a TE’er may want to, they cannot tell that woman that her husband’s death is a result of the Fall. But the Bible states that death and sickness are a result of the Fall, specifically the sins committed by Adam (Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:22). We live in a broken world, marred by sin. Death is not a cog in the machine of progress but a symptom of a disease.

Here is the good news, Christ came to overturn the effects of the Fall through His crucifixion and resurrection, conquering sin and death (Romans 5:18; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49, 54-57).

For further reading: