Genesis 2:15 tells us, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Work wasn’t part of the Curse. The Curse, rather, made work menial, tedious, and frustrating (Genesis 3:17-19). Because work began before sin and the Curse, and because God, who is without sin, is a worker, we should assume human beings will work on the New Earth. We’ll have satisfying and enriching work that we can’t wait to get back to, work that’ll never be drudgery.
God is the primary worker, and as His image bearers, we’re made to work. Jesus found great satisfaction in His work. He said, “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17). We create, accomplish, set goals, and fulfill them—to God’s glory. Our work will be joyful and fulfilling, giving glory to God. “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3). (Work will be refreshing on the New Earth, yet regular rest will be built into our lives.)
Even under the Curse, we catch glimpses of how work can be enriching, how it can build relationships, and how it can help us to improve. Work stretches us in ways that make us smarter, wiser, and more fulfilled. Work in Heaven won’t be frustrating or fruitless; instead, it will involve lasting accomplishment, unhindered by decay and fatigue, enhanced by unlimited resources. Our best workdays on the present Earth—those days when everything turns out better than we planned, when we get everything done on time, and when everyone on the team pulls together and enjoys one another—are just a small foretaste of the joy our work will bring us on the New Earth.
Because there will be continuity from the old Earth to the new, it’s possible we’ll continue some of the work we started on the old Earth. We’ll pursue some of the same things we were doing, or dreamed of doing, before our deaths. Of course, some people’s jobs won’t exist on the New Earth, among them dentists, police officers, funeral directors, and insurance salespeople. What are now their interests or hobbies may become their main vocations. Others might continue working as they do now, as gardeners, engineers, builders, artists, animal trainers, musicians, scientists, craftspeople, or hundreds of other vocations. A significant difference will be that they’ll work without the hindrances of toil, pain, corruption, sin, and exhaustion. It will be the best we have experienced in our most fulfilling work, without any of the worst.