Preface: “ ‘ “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines” ’ ” (Matt. 15:8, 9, RSV).
Genesis 2 covers a lot of territory, but its central theme is concerned with humanity’s purpose on Earth. I think each of us at one time or another has wondered if there was a purpose, a meaning, to our lives. Thank God there is!
It is interesting that this chapter begins with the blessing of the Sabbath. The first reason we have for living is to worship the Creator of our world. For many of us, the Sabbath is a wonderful, relaxing way to end the week. But this was not how it was for Adam and Eve. Sabbath was instead a day to rejoice in the creation of their new world. In fact, it was the first full day for Adam and Eve. One of our purposes, then, is to get to know God, to take that one day in seven to seek companionship with and knowledge of Him.
God also designed work for Adam and Eve. They were to work the ground, grow the plants, and care for the animals. In fact, Genesis 2:5 specifically says that no shrub or plant of the field had grown up because there was no one to work the ground. To maintain God’s creation is part of our God-given purpose for existing. We cannot fully enjoy His creation unless we work at preserving it.
Another purpose God has given us is to obey His laws. No no community can operate without laws. It was simple in the Garden of Eden: “Don’t eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (see Gen. 2:16, 17). God is not unreasonable in His expectations.
Finally, God gave us marriage. We have certain social obligations under God. Human companionship is as necessary as worship. Friends and family fulfill a need that God placed in us. We cannot survive on our own. Divide and conquer is a tool Satan will readily use against us if we let him. Does this mean that each of us needs to marry? Of course not! Paul says, “I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness”
(1 Cor. 7:7, NLT).
Regardless, we must have help through life from people we can trust. Don’t try to handle all of life’s difficulties, or even life’s joys, on your own. You weren’t created to live like that.
So, does it really matter how I live today? Does Genesis 2 still outline God’s intended purpose for my life? I believe so. We need to stand by what God wants for us, because as we honor His purpose for our lives, it only improves our lives on Earth.