The creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 supplies a wealth of information regarding God’s design for human society, including men. Genesis 1:27 states that “God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them,” stating that God created two sexes of equal value and dignity. Genesis 2:7 says that “the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground,” showing that mankind is specially created by God and not the product of evolution. Moreover, God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” so that man is a spiritual being designed for covenant union with God through faith and obedience.
Armed with all this useful information, Genesis 2:15 goes on to provide the how of biblical manhood: how is the distinctive male calling lived out? I have called this verse the “Masculine Mandate,” because it establishes the architecture of biblical manhood in a way that is confirmed throughout Scripture. It is blessedly direct and to the point: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). At the heart of this calling are two words that shape the biblical view of manhood: work and keep.
By Richard D. Phillips