The creation mandate fills a hole in the faith and work movement.
If one were to summarize the underlying thesis of the contemporary faith and work movement in a single sentence, it would likely be “Your work matters to God.”
Dozens of books have been published on the subject and a seemingly significant movement of conferences, websites, and resources has gained traction in the past two decades. The answers to why our work matters to God and what that means practically may vary, but the message “Our work matters to God” has shaped much of the conversation in churches and Christian workplaces alike.
But I believe we need a more Kuyperian understanding of this concept. Our work matters to God because all of the created order belongs to Christ, and we find in the creation account not just the anthropological truths that matter to this subject (mankind is an image bearer of God) but the ontological truths as well (our very being is connected to our pre-Fall mandate to be the workers and cultivators of God’s creation). This foundational appeal to a theology of work requires a pre-Fall understanding of work and purpose and then a post-Fall application.
A Kuyperian understanding of this theology provides a vision for work that is, like all of nature, tainted by sin yet under the redemptive work of God’s plan in history. Human beings as image bearers of God, created with an incomprehensible capacity for productivity and creativity, demonstrate the lordship of Christ even in a fallen world and participate in the glorious redemption process as our earthly endeavors build God’s kingdom, business by business.
“Some people imagine the state of glory around God’s throne as though all labor will have ended, to taste heavenly bliss in pleasant idleness,” …