An actual purpose to place?

By Dave Henning / August 14, 2022

In the beginning God planted Adam and Eve in a garden place called Eden. . . .  Place is God’s first gift to us.  But at this point we should ask, Is there an actual purpose to place?”- Daniel Grothe

“Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east and there he placed the man he had made.”- Genesis 2:18 (NLT)

As Daniel Grothe concludes Chapter 2 of The Power of Place, he makes three observations about the purpose of place.  He notes that when things work rightly:

1.  Place provides security.  As Pastor Grothe notes, a place to call home serves as the foundation in the great quest of becoming.  Thus, he adds, it’s possible to say that place: person: womb: child.  In addition, pleasant childhood memories provide the incalculable gift of safety in place.

Most significantly, any person who lives by faith in Jesus receives the guarantee of a home with the Father.  The ultimate return to security of place.

 2.  Place nourishes identity.  The place we grow up, Pastor Grothe underscores, ends up making us.  Certainly, God created us out of matter.  But matter also makes us.  Furthermore, Anglican bishop John Inge, a lifelong student of place, once wrote that place is “the geography of our imagination.”

3.  Place affords us the opportunity to exercise skilled mastery.  Above all, the author notes, work represents a blessing and a gift.  Also, work is intrinsic to our Creator Himself.  God works.  Therefore, it follows that children of God created in His image work as well.

In conclusion, renowned Old Testament scholar Ellen Davis parses Genesis 1:28 as follows.  The command God gave to Adam and Eve usually translates as ‘subdue,’ ‘take dominion,’ or ‘rule.’  But Ms. Davis provides a fresh understanding of this familiar passage.  Hence, working with the phrase ‘take dominion,’ Ellen translates it as ‘exercise skilled mastery.’

So, Pastor Grothe exhorts:

“That is what the vow of stability was meant to be after all — walls that keep us from tumbling over into a life of untethered rootlessness.”

Today’s question: Do you agree with Pastor Grothe that there’s an actual purpose to place?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the August Short Meditation, “Old song into a symphony”

About the author

Dave Henning

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