“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” Genesis 1: 28b, ESV.
“The scriptural justification for culture building starts with Genesis. At the dawn of creation, the earth is unformed, empty, dark, and undeveloped. Then in a series of steps, God establishes the basic creational distinctives: light and dark, ‘above the expanse’ and ‘below the expanse,’ sea and land, and so on. But then God changes the strategy.
“Until the sixth day, God has done the work of creation directly. But now he creates the first human beings and orders them to carry on where he leaves off: They are to reflect his image and have dominion.” How Now Shall We Live (Colson and Pearcey, 295).
A great battle persists between the forces of nature and the forces of God. The world in nature fights to go back to the void. We are commissioned to bring order to the chaos, to produce fruit from the ground, to continue the work God began in Eden.
Our job is to sustain and progress that work.
Deep in our souls, we yearn for order. Most adults mature beyond the messy bedrooms our mothers pushed us to put in order. Our world grows through family, to our own homes, to our own jobs, to new communities.
We yearn for order and peace within these communities, within ourselves.
God put people in a garden. Man built cities where gardening is often an afterthought. God will eventually take us to a new city.
A city of cultivation?
For now, we experience inflated costs, rising crime, increasing despair.
We are captives in a world leaning into chaos.
When Israel suffered the captivity of the Babylonians, God told the people to continue following His edict from Eden:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease,” Jeremiah 29:5-6, ESV.
Christians all over the world have a sense of exile. Disorder and hostility abound.
God tells us to keep on. And more than that.
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile,” Jeremiah 29:7
Work for order. Build a house (or fix yours up). Plant a garden–or begin planning one now. Marry. Raise children.
Teach others the skills to carry on this edict from Eden.
Seek peace and prosperity, not just for ourselves, but also for the city of chaos around us.
While culture falls, let’s build.