Genesis 2:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:15, NIV: "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."

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

Genesis 2:15, KJV: "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."

Genesis 2:15, NASB: "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it."

Genesis 2:15, NLT: "The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it."

Genesis 2:15, CSB: "The LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it."

What does Genesis 2:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

One of the most important lessons which jumps out from this verse is that immediately after he was created, the first man had a God-given purpose. God placed him into the paradise of the garden of Eden with a job to do. God had created a world which included work needing to be done; He created man with a mission to do that work. Logically, God didn't need to structure the world in this way. He could have created a world that was fully self-sustaining. He could have made human beings to simply live in luxury and enjoy all of God's creation without ever having to contribute anything.

That, however, was not God's design. Even before sin entered the world, human beings were meant to work, to help to accomplish God's purpose. That is built into us. Chapter 3 will reveal that sin changed the nature of our work and our response to it, but work itself is not a curse. It is part of our purpose as God's creatures.

This first man's work was relatively simple and straightforward: to maintain the garden of Eden. This purpose will be lost when he sins, later in this story. For those restored to fellowship with God through faith in Christ, that sense of purposeful work begins to be restored, as well. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."