And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.” (NLT)
When the first humans decided they knew better than God how to live life, they disrupted a few relationships. One was with God: they hid from him. Another was with their fellow humans. Relationships, sexual and otherwise, were corrupted by shame and guilt. Yet another relationship was spoilt: that between human beings and the created world.
It was not as if human wrongdoing abolished all the good in the world. It was just that along with the good came the bad, along with the delight came the drudgery, along with the beauty came the brokenness.
None of us needs reminding that our world is broken. Things are not as they ought to be or what God intended it to be. When we went wrong, the world went wrong. Not that all that happens in the world can be directly attributed to specific human action, though that is widely true. In a more general sense, the world is out of shape because of the general tendency of humans to go their own way rather than God’s way.
This must not make us world haters or those who neglect our world, awaiting transfer to some distant corner of the universe called Heaven. It is our privilege and duty to extend the rule of God in the world he made, to be salt and light to that world. And to be thankful for the beauty that exists in the brokenness.