We all know how this arrangement turned out, of course.
After Adam disobeyed and sinned against God, it all went to pot. He and Eve got kicked out of the perfect garden, and death became a feature of life, as it were.
But here’s the thing. One thing did not change, and that was Adam’s purpose.
The entry of sin did not remove the need for Adam to work—it was still something he had to do, because that was part of God’s plan for man. The only difference now was, work had become a lot more difficult.
The ground that would provide his food had been cursed by the presence of sin (Genesis 3:17), so Adam’s work of cultivating the soil would now become painful, tiring, stressful, and difficult. He would have to battle thorns and weeds, and it would involve blood (probably), sweat, and tears.
Because of sin, work, which was God’s gift, would now become frustrating and possibly even futile. As the Teacher observed sadly in Ecclesiastes 2:22–23:
“What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labour under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.”
I don’t know about you, but as far as I am concerned, that’s a pretty apt summation of what work is all about these days.