I was very surprised when reading Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace, Scott Hahn’s book on Opus Dei, that God put Adam to work in the Garden of Eden:
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)
What I had rememberd from my Catholic education was that work was the punishment meted out to Adam for eating the fruit:
To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
I was reminded of this while listening to Catholic Radio this morning. One of the regulars, I forget who, restated my original understanding, that work came after the fall as punishment.
Scott Hahn made the distinction between the satisfying, eternal work in the garden vs. the hard and ultimately fultile work for survival after the fall.
So which is it?