Can work be worship?

In Hebrew Bible by Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

Adam was given a holy duty to work the ground. In Hebrew we see that Adam himself was created from the very ground he was now commissioned to work.

In Hebrew the word “ground” is אֲדָמָה (adamah) and the name of first human is אָדָם (adam), because he was taken from the ground. (You can hear the connection adam/adamah).

There are several different words in Hebrew that communicate the idea of worship. One interesting word that appears in Genesis, when God commands Adam to work the ground in Garden of Eden, is the Hebrew word עֲבודָה  (avodah). This word is often translated as “work”, but it also can be understood as “service”. In fact, it was used to describe the work Israel’s priests.

So, was it work or worship? Well… both. Serving God is work, but there is a reason that it also means “service”. When God tasked Adam with working the ground in the Garden of Eden, it was not yet something affected by sin and death. Adam’s work of taking care of God’s creation, was both his job and his worship.

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