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REUBEN - Why was Adam required to till the earth? Would plant life even have been able to grow, age and die considering death did not come upon the living things until the Fall?
JOEL - Adam did not start to till the ground until after the Fall; after he was driven from the garden of Eden:
"Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;" (Moses 4: 29)
Adam was made from the dust of the earth and so the Lord was sending him back to that dust(ground) to cause him to till the land to grow his food.
"And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him." (Moses 5:1)
No time frame is given as to when he actually began to till the ground, but apparently he was able to do it and plant seeds soon after leaving the garden.
Another verse might have a little different meaning. Immediately after God created the earth and Garden of Eden and before He created man the scriptures say:
"And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air"(Moses 3:5)
God created man spiritually before physically on the earth. When he said "not yet a man to till the ground", He was probably refering to the future condition, after the Fall when Adam would no longer be in the Garden.