When I was studying for last week’s post, I found something in the text that I hadn’t noticed before. I have read or heard the Creation account numerous times, but I had missed a certain detail about Adam’s beginnings:
Genesis 2:7-9, 15
Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.
The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He placed the man He had formed. The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.
So looking at these verses – we find that Adam was created out of the dust from the ground in one place and then was taken east to where God had planted the beginnings of what would become the famous “Garden of Eden”. Adam’s creation location also comes up after Adam and Eve disobey God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After God kicked them out of the garden, look for where Adam and Eve went:
The Lord God said, “Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove the man out…
When I finally noticed these references to Adam’s land of origin, I began thinking about the God’s theme, throughout the Bible, of choosing individuals and people groups for specific service – and that their origins do not negatively impact the kind of work God has for them.
To be clear – I’m not talking about “salvation” here. God didn’t “save” Adam when He took [him] and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. (Nor was Adam “unsaved” when he was kicked out) God was calling Adam to a specific type of work and service, and this call-to-work theme repeats itself countless times in Scripture.
Look at what God told Abram when He called him:
The Lord said to Abram:
Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
God had a mission for Abram – start a new nation in a new land. And from one of Abram’s descendants, a nation would be chosen to serve. God corporately called them to work:
Now if you will carefully listen to Me and keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine, and you will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.
Paul also mentioned Israel’s purpose in the beginning of his letter to the believers in Rome:
and if you are convinced that you [being a Jew] are a guide for the blind, a light to those in darkness, an instructor of the ignorant, a teacher of the immature, having the embodiment of knowledge and truth in the law…
There are numerous examples of God calling on individuals (Noah, David, Jeremiah, Paul) and corporate groups (Aaron’s priestly family, David’s kingly descendants, Jesus’ 12 disciples) to do specific work.
While I do not know what specific work you may be called to, or even if you’re not sure if God has personally given you a “specific mission”…know that we, corporately as believers, have been chosen by God:
2 Corinthians 5:19-20
That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.”
I’m certain that your backstory doesn’t begin in Eden. But it doesn’t matter how your origin story began – we have a job to do. God has called us to work, so let’s get to it.