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Summary: The brief account of God’s direction to Adam in the garden of Eden as recorded in Genesis 2:15-17 is instructive to us in establishing a dominion mandate for every generation that has followed him, In this account we see: 1) God’s Commission (Genesis 2:1

Genesis 2:15-17 "Forbidden"

Everton Community Church. Sunday January 15th 2012

A Canadian government commission has been established for at least the next year, to hear submissions from thousands of individuals and groups on the development of a Western Canadian pipeline called the XL pipeline. Most of the concerns deal with perceived environmental threats and responsibilities to care for precious resources like water. Thus far, native groups have cautioned the government not to proceed with this project.

As human beings living on this planet we must ask ourselves what responsibilities do we have to each other, the other living things around us, to generations not yet born, and to God Himself. Do we have a dominion mandate, and if so is one based on freedom or responsibility? If it is of responsibility, is there a priority?

God’s intention from the beginning was to put man to work. (Because of sin) work became drudgery, but initially work was something not only which God intended for man to do but also something that God engaged in Himself! “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Gen. 2:2).The creation order is perfectly straightforward—(Human beings are) to work properly and rest adequately. It is significant that the Sabbath rest which was to become such a distinctive feature of the lifestyle of God’s people was introduced by God Himself at the (end) of creation. (Humanity’s) ignoring of it may be far more detrimental to him physically, socially, and spiritually than he realizes.! (Briscoe, D. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1987). Vol. 1: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 1 : Genesis. The Preacher’s Commentary series (40). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.)

The brief account of God’s direction to Adam in the garden of Eden as recorded in Genesis 2:15-17 is instructive to us in establishing a dominion mandate for every generation that has followed him, In this account we see: 1) God’s Commission (Genesis 2:15), 2) God’s Commandment (Genesis 2:16) 3) God’s Caution (Genesis 2:17)

1) God’s Commission (Genesis 2:15)

Genesis 2:15 [15]The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (ESV)

God placed the man in the garden for the stated purpose of supervising it. Verse 15 continues the thought of v. 8 but with a subtle difference in the language. “Put” in v. 15 translates the causative form of the verb nûaḥ, “rest,” and so could be rendered literally “caused to rest.” In v. 8, however, the term is śîm (“put, place”). Here the language of v. 15 is essentially equivalent to v. 8 in context, but “rest” bears a special significance for depicting deliverance from Noah’s waters in Genesis 1–11 and for speaking of the safety that Israel would experience as found in the Pentateuch. God promised to give Israel safety (“rest”) in the land from its enemies (e.g., Deut 3:20; 12:10; 25:19). This is illustrated by Lot and his family; visiting angels “led them safely [“gave rest”] out of the city” (Gen. 19:16). It also is used of dedicating something before the presence of the Lord (E.g., Exod 16:33–34; Num 17:4; Deut 26:4, 10; cf. priestly garments, Lev 16:23). God prepares the garden for man’s safety, where he can enjoy the divine presence (E. R. Clendenen, “Life in God’s Land: An Outline of the Theology of Deuteronomy” in The Church at the Dawn of the 21st Century (Dallas: Criswell Publications, 1989), 162–63)

The text does not indicate that the entire primeval earth was a paradise. The word garden (gan) signifies a place protected by a fence or wall. (Linguistically in the words used to describe it, and from various ancient reports), the garden was located “eastward” in respect to the writer and in a plain (‘eden) at the confluence of four rivers (Gen. 2:8, 10–14). Two of the rivers can be identified—the Hiddekel (Tigris) and the Perat (Euphrates). The Pishon and Gihon are likely two of the other Mesopotamian rivers which flow into the Tigris and Euphrates. These four rivers joined to flow through the garden as one river (E.A. Speiser, Genesis, The Anchor Bible (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1964), pp. 19f.).

The author seems to be describing the geography of ancient Sumer just north of the Persian Gulf in what is present-day Iraq (Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 2:8–17). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.).

In the garden God gives the man a purposeful existence that includes overseeing his environment. Work is a God-given assignment and not a cursed condition. It was not to do whatever he chose, but fulfill his God-given responsibilities in God’s prescribed manner.

After the fall, the punishment is not “working the ground” but laboring outside the garden against the harsh new conditions of the land, which was “cursed” as a result of the fall (Gen. 3:17–18). It was sin that spoiled the pristine relationship between the man and his environment, making work a toilsome chore that became a requirement for mere existence (3:17–19, 23).

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