Posted by: Brian Musser | March 7, 2013

Workplace Love

I am going to say some things that are stereotypical, some things that may be misconstrued as sexist. I know that these are gross generalizations but I believe that there is an important truth buried here.

Genesis 1:26 – 28
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

In Genesis 1 we see humanity was created by God in the image of God and then given specific tasks to accomplish. The verses above cycle through humanity created in the image and then God giving humanity tasks to accomplish twice. Bearing the image of God has some connection to our accomplishment of the tasks given. We look like God as we work on our assignments. Our working is connected to the image of God in us.

Genesis 2:15 – 25
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

As we move into Genesis 2, specifically, we see not just humanity in general, but man specifically placed in God’s created garden to take care of it. Man was created and placed in the garden by God to work it. Also it was not good for man to do this alone so woman was created to be his helper. The context of the first human relationship between male and female is interwoven within the context of God-ordained job assignments. If we look at Genesis 2, we see man as assigned to care for the garden and woman assigned to support him in this role.

Before you start screaming about equal rights and patriarchal society and women’s liberation and misogyny, just for the moment give me the benefit of suspended disbelief. Put all your arguments aside and let’s examine what relational conclusions could we draw from this if we assume it to be true.

Humanity bearing the image is somehow connected to their God-given assignments. Both men and women bear the image of God and that image of God is connected to their tasks. This is the basis of what I have been calling Work-Ship. Men and women were created to look like God. Looking like God is somehow connected to the tasks assigned to them. I think bearing the image of God helps us complete those tasks. I think working helps bring out the image of God. God’s image in us helps us work, and through work, we look more like God than without it.

Based on that premise, humanity looks better when it is working than when it is not. Humanity looks more like God when it is working than when it is not. Now let’s break this up into the genders. Work gives men the ability to display confidence, courage, passion, creativity, etc. From what I’ve been told these are all qualities that women find attractive. I would venture to say that some of these qualities are the image of God being brought out through our work. Work gives women the ability to look like God as well. They display compassion, nurture, enthusiasm, encouragement, etc. (And yes I know those are stereotypes but please just play along with me for a little while longer.) These are qualities that men find attractive in women.

So now here are the questions:
What happens when I never see my wife/husband when they look their best at accomplishing tasks?
What happens when a husband does not see a wife’s work as significant? Does he miss the image of God in her and does she look that much less attractive to him?
What happens when a wife never gets to see their husband succeed? Does she ever get the chance truly see them at their most God-like?
How has the Industrial Revolution’s separation of work, home and family negatively impacted the ability for marriage relationships to be as good as possible?
What happens when in the context of the work environment a man is constantly supported by a woman in a God-like manner other than his wife? Does she become that much more attractive to him than his wife?
What happens when a woman sees a man lead in a God-like manner in the work environment other than her husband? Does her husband pale in comparison, not because of reality but because perception?

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