If I asked you to describe paradise, how would you respond? What do you think goes to make up an ideal life? Is it a tropical island? Is it a place of freedom from rules or for work? Maybe it is a place of no more school or study. Or is it a place of unlimited wealth? What about the Biblical picture of paradise? Is there one?
One thing that makes me most sad about the endless debates of creationism vs science is that people tend to lose the theology of the early chapters of Genesis. For example, in my understanding of scripture, Genesis 2 is about the ideal life that God created humanity to live. In fact, the word paradise comes from the Persian word for ‘an enclosed garden’.
And in the story of Genesis 2, there are many values that are included for this life that people tend to miss. For example, in the garden, the man has work to do. He is to ‘till and keep the garden’ (Gen 2:15).
Today, there are many who will say that life is about being free from work. People dream of winning the lotto so they can be free from work. People buy into get rich quick scams because they long for a life free from work. And yet, the Bible teaches us that people are created to work. Of course because of sin, work becomes much more difficult, but without ‘work’ we are less than we were created to be.
It does make me wonder about how I think about my work. Do I appreciate the work that I have to do? Perhaps at times I would appreciate work which was less ‘under the effects of sin’ and therefore less difficult but am I striving to free myself from work?
It also makes me wonder about those without work. Studies show that being unemployed is heavily linked with depression. What can I do for those I know who are struggling to find work? Or how about if I find myself without work, what ‘work’ can I do in those times?