For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Commentary on Genesis

by Luther, Martin (1958)


This first chapter of our Holy Bible is written in the simplest and plainest language, and yet it contains the greatest and at the same time the most difficult themes. Therefore the Jews, as Jerome testifies, were forbidden to read it or hear it read before they were thirty years of age …

Key Passage

And God gives to Adam a two-fold charge that he should work or till this garden, and also that he should guard and defend it. Some faint vestiges of this original command yet remain in these miserable remnants of primitive things, which we still possess. For even to this day these two things must ever be joined together: not only that the earth should be tilled but also that the productions of that cultivation should be defended. But both these great principles are corrupted and marred in an infinite number of forms. For not the tillage of the earth itself only but the defense of it also are filled with every kind of misery and trouble. And what the cause of all this sorrow is will be fully clear to us shortly in the following chapter of this book. For we shall there see that this working or tillage of the earth is defiled and embarrassed by thorns, by thistles, by the sweat of the brow and by various and unending misery. For, to say nothing about the labor and sorrow of procuring necessary food, what difficulty, what labor attend even the bringing up a child from its birth! (p.94)


Reformation, Protestantism, Theology, History, History Of Ideas, Religious Views On Work


Luther, Protestantism, Religious Views on Work

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