the purpose of man

"The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." (Genesis 2:15 ESV) 

"Originally this first man was simply called the man (ha-adam) for he was alone for a while and there was no one beside him who was like him. It is not until Gen. 4:25 that the name Adam occurs without the definite article. There the name first becomes individual. This indicates clearly that the first man, who for a while was the only human being, was the beginning and origin and head of the human race. As such he received a double task to perform: first, to cultivate and preserve the garden of Eden, and second, to eat freely of all the trees in the garden except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

"The first task defines his relationship to the earth, the second his relationship to heaven. Adam had to subdue the earth and have dominion over it, and this he must do in a twofold sense: he must cultivate it, open it up, and so cause to come up out of it all the treasures which God has stored there for man's use; and he must also watch over it, safeguard it, protect it against all evil that may threaten it, must, in short, secure it against the service of corruption in which the whole of creation now groans.

"But man can fulfill this calling over against the earth only if he does not break the bond of connection which unites him with heaven, only if he continues to believe God at His word and to obey His commandment. The twofold task is essentially therefore one task. Adam must have dominion over the earth, not by idleness and passivity but through the work of his head and heart and hand.

"But in order to rule, he must serve; He must serve God who is his Creator and Lawgiver. Work and rest, rule and service, earthly and heavenly vocation, civilization and religion, culture and cultus, these pairs go together from the very beginning. They belong together and together they comprise in one vocation the great and holy and glorious purpose of man."

-- Herman Bavinck, The Wonderful Works of God (1909).

We hope you will be able to join us this fall on Thursday evenings to continue language studies or to begin a deeper study of theology. The fall semester of Systematic Theology (September 15 -- November 17) will cover the doctrines of God, revelation, creation, and the origin and purpose of humanity. More details are forthcoming. Please help us spread the word!

Image credit: photo above by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash. 


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