Thorns and Thistles
Work existed in Eden before Adam and Eve reached for that forbidden fruit. Adam’s job description was clear: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15, NASB). While we may dislike our particular job, work has been part of the picture since creation.
The curse came in after Adam and Eve ripped the fruit from the tree and tore their hearts away from dependence on God. God said to Adam, as a consequence of their disobedience, in Genesis 3:17-19, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground.”
(Finding Life, pages 147-148)
Eden – The Garden Lost
Leader: God amply provided Adam and Eve with food in abundance; but as a result of their sin, they would eat bread “by the sweat of their face.” Before their “independence day,” God both planted and grew the food to sustain them. The curse meant that they would be responsible now for their own bread, their own rations.
(Finding Life, page 156)
God (to the serpent): 14What you have done carries great consequences. Now you are cursed more than cattle or wild beasts. You will writhe on your belly forever, consuming the dust out of which man was made. 15 I will make you and your brood enemies of the woman and all her children; The woman’s child will stomp your head,
and you will strike his heel.
(to the woman) 16 As a consequence of your actions, I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth and the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation. You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion, he will be the dominant partner.
(to the man) 17Because you followed your wife’s advice instead of My command and ate of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat, cursed is the ground. for the rest of your life, you will fight for every crumb of food from the crusty clump of clay I made you from. 18As you labor, the ground will produce thorns and thistles, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19Your brow will sweat for your mouth to taste even a morsel of bread until the day you return to the very ground I made you from.
From dust you have come,
And to dust you shall return.
(Genesis 3:14-19, The Voice)
Leader: God had already planted the garden; fruit swung ripe and heavy from the trees. Food in abundance surrounded them. But since Adam and Eve took matters into their own hands, they would be responsible for the labor and the now-backbreaking work of tending the land. In a paradise where there had been no sweat, Adam and Eve would scramble to keep up with the demands of a tedious and physically demanding job.
(Finding Life, pages 149