In Chapter 2 of Every Good Endeavor, Pastor Timothy Keller reiterates the idea that the Biblical view of work stands in stark contrast to ancient Greek thinking. Because we are made in God’s image, we have been given specific work to do. While the Greeks saw manual labor as ordinary work relegating humans to the level of animals, the Bible states that work distinguishes us from animals and elevates us to a place of dignity. Furthermore, the cultures of nations surrounding Israel such as Egypt or Mesopotamia reserved the term “image of God” for the king or others of royal blood.
The truth is, the Bible tells us, that all kinds of work have dignity. As Pastor Keller states: “Simple physical labor is God’s work no less than the formulation of theological truth.” God worked in creating the world. As God’s representatives, we work in His place- “the fingers of God”. The author points out how difficult it is for us to comprehend how revolutionary this Biblical idea is when compared to the history of human thinking. Minister and author Phillip Jensen reflects on this revolutionary concept in his book Beginnings: Eden and Beyond:
“If God came into the world, what would he be like? For the ancient Greeks, he might have been a philosopher-king. The ancient Romans might have looked for a just and noble statesman. But how does the God of the Hebrews come into the world? As a carpenter.”
Tomorrow’s blog: “Work becomes fruitless”. New Short Meditation on Tuesday.