A stubborn untruth in Western culture casts work as part of the Curse imposed by God to punish Adam and Eve’s sin, which would make work inherently evil. That idea is not found in Scripture. Rather, these are the biblical facts about work:
God works. The fact that God Himself labors shows that work is good, since God cannot do evil. God is always working.
God created people in His image to be His coworkers. He gives us the authority and ability to manage His creation.
God established work before the Fall. Genesis 1-2 records how God created the world, noting that He placed the first humans in a garden “to ten and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). Their assignment came before sin entered the world and before the Curse in chapter 3.
God applauds work even after the Fall. If work were inherently evil, God would never encourage people to labor. But He reappeared for Noah and his family the same command He gave Adam and Eve to exercise dominion over the earth (9:1-7)
Work itself was not cursed in the Fall. Genesis 3:17-19 shows that as a result of Adam’s sin, God cursed not work but the ground: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it.”
This does not mean work remains unaffected by the Curse. Sin has three results:
1. Work that had been a joy became “toil.” People would come to dread the burden of work.
2. “Thorns and thistles” would hamper human efforts to exercise dominion. In other words, the earth would not be as cooperative as it had been.
3. People would have to “sweat” to accomplish their tasks. Work would require greater effort.
Whenever and however we spend our days, work can be burdensome. Several evils connect with work—pressure and stress, physical hazards, office politics, boredom, unchanging routine, disappointments, setbacks, catastrophes, frustration, competition, fraud, deception, injustice. But these are not inherent to work and they can be refused.
Work and its fruit are a gift from God (Eccl. 3:13, 5:18, 19). Work is not a curse.