Read Genesis 2:15-17. What is man’s duty toward creation and toward God? How do these two duties relate to each other?
The first duty of man concerns the natural environment in which God has put him: “to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15, NKJV). The verb ‘avad, “tend,” refers to work. It is not enough to receive a gift. We have to work on it and to make it fruitful — a lesson that Jesus will repeat in His parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The verb shamar, “keep,” implies the responsibility to preserve what has been received.
The second duty concerns his food. We have to remember that God gave it to humans (see Genesis 1:29). God also said to Adam that “you may freely eat” (Genesis 2:16, NKJV). Humans didn’t create the trees, nor the food on them. They were a gift, a gift of grace.
But there is a commandment here, as well: they were to receive and enjoy God’s generous gift “of every tree” (NKJV). As a part of this grace, though, God adds a restriction. They should not eat from one particular tree. Enjoying without any restriction will lead to death. This principle was right in the Garden of Eden and, in many ways, that same principle exists today.
The third duty of man concerns the woman, God’s third gift: “man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV). This extraordinary statement is a powerful expression that highlights human responsibility toward the conjugal covenant and the purpose of being “one flesh” (NKJV), meaning one person (compare with Matthew 19:7-9).
The reason it is the man (and not the woman) who should leave his parents may have to do with the biblical generic use of the masculine; hence, perhaps, the commandment applies to the woman too. Either way, the bond of marriage, though a gift from God, entails human responsibility once the gift has been received, a responsibility that rests upon both the man and the woman to fulfill faithfully.
|Think about all that you have been given by God. What are your responsibilities with what you have been given?|