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

If we speak of food and the misery attending it, not only have beasts the same general produce of the earth, now no longer an Eden, which we have; but men defraud men of the same and rob them of it by theft and plunder. Hence hedges and walls and other strong defences are found necessary for the protection of property; and even by these the produce, we have obtained by the labor and sweat of cultivation, can scarcely be preserved in safety. Thus we have indeed a remnant of the labor of cultivation, but very far different from the employ of the original tillage. Not merely because it is attended with the greatest toil and distress, but because the ground itself, being as it were unwilling, yields sparingly; whereas to Adam it yielded as it were with the greatest joy and with the richest abundance, whether he sowed his seed within Eden itself or in any other part of the earth. There was then no danger from plunderers and murderers. All was in perfect peace and safety.  (p.95)


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


Luther, Protestantism, Religious Views on Work

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