And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and to keep it.
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Ambrose of Milan
Note, now, the person who was taken and the land where he was formed. The virtue of God, therefore, took man and breathed into him, so that man's virtue will advance and increase. God set him apart in Paradise that you may know that man was taken up, that is to say, was breathed upon by the power of God. Note the fact that man was created outside Paradise, whereas woman was made within it. This teaches us that each person acquires grace by reason of virtue, not because of locality or of race. Hence, although created outside Paradise, that is, in an inferior place, man is found to be superior, whereas woman, created in a better place, that is to say, in Paradise, is found to be inferior. She was first to be deceived and was responsible for deceiving the man. Wherefore the Apostle Paul has related that holy women have in olden times been subject to the stronger vessel and recommends them to obey their husbands as their masters. [ 1 Peter 3:1 ] And Paul says: 'Adam was not deceived, but t...
Although man was placed in paradise so as to work and guard it, that praiseworthy work was not toilsome. For the work in paradise is quite different from the work on the earth to which he was condemned after the sin. The addition “and to guard it” indicated the sort of work it was. For in the tranquility of the happy life, where there is no death, the only work is to guard what you possess. .
Having spoken of Paradise and the rivers which issue from it and divide up, Scripture turns to speak of the entry of Adam into Paradise and the law which was laid down for him, as follows: "The Lord God took Adam and left him in the in the Paradise of Eden to till it [or worship Him] and keep [or guard] it." [ Gen2:15 ]
With what did he till it, seeing that he had not agricultural implements? And how would he have been able to till it, seeing that he could not have managed it himself? And what would he have to clear from it, seeing that there were no thistles or thorns there? Again, how could he have guarded it, since he could not walk right around it? And from what was he guarding it, seeing that there was no thief trying to enter it? Now the barrier which came into existence at the transgression of the commandment testified to the fact that no guard was required as long as the commandment was kept.
So Adam had nothing to keep there except for the law which was laid down for him...
TODAY AGAIN, IF you don't mind, we will continue in the direction of yesterday's sermon, and apply ourselves to the task of drawing out from there the thread of spiritual teaching for your benefit. There is, you see, great force concealed in the words read just now; we need to go into them at great depth and study them all with precision so as to reap the benefit they offer. To make a comparison with people trying to discover gems in the sea: they submit to such toil and trouble and expose themselves to the buffeting of the waves in order to light upon the object of their search. Consequently, we should apply our minds much more diligently to the task of discovering what lies concealed below the surface of the words, and thus lay hold of these valuable gems.
Don't be concerned, dearly beloved, to hear reference to depths. In this case, you see, there is no unruly surge of waves; instead, there is the grace of the Spirit shining upon our minds, making possible for us an effortless disc...
Tilling the earth, keeping the commandments of God and fidelity to those commandments was the “labor” of God…. Just as believing in Christ is a “work,” so also was Adam’s faithful keeping of God’s command. If he touched the tree, he would die, but if he did not, he would live. “Work” was keeping the spiritual words…. The text says “work” and “protect it.” From what? There were no thieves, travelers or people with bad intentions. “Protect it” from what? From himself. Do not lose it by transgressing the command. Instead, he would preserve the commandment and in so doing preserve himself in paradise.
In the beginning man was created with a nature inclined to work, for in paradise Adam was enjoined to till the ground and care for it, and there is in us a natural bent for work, the movement toward the good. Those who yield themselves to idleness and apathy, even though they may be spiritual and holy, hurl themselves into unnatural subjection to passions.
For (the title) God, indeed, which always belonged to Him, it names at the very first: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;" Genesis 1:1 and as long as He continued making, one after the other, those things of which He was to be the Lord, it merely mentions God. "And God said," "and God made," "and God saw;" but nowhere do we yet find the Lord. But when He completed the whole creation, and especially man himself, who was destined to understand His sovereignty in a way of special propriety, He then is designated Lord. Then also the Scripture added the name Lord: "And the Lord God, Deus Dominus, took the man, whom He had formed;" Genesis 2:15 "And the Lord God commanded Adam." Genesis 2:16 Thenceforth He, who was previously God only, is the Lord, from the time of His having something of which He might be the Lord. For to Himself He was always God, but to all things was He only then God, when He became also Lord. [Against Hermogenes 3]