An Inductive Study Through Genesis 2
-Why are there two different creation stories – one found in Genesis ch. 1 and the other in ch. 2? The answer is chapter 1 is a brief overview of the days of creation while chapter 2 gives us a focused and more detailed description of the creation of man.
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
-These verses describe the first week of the Creation, which ends with the 7th day, a special day that God blessed and set apart as special. The Hebrew, in which these words were penned, makes it clear that the creation was completed when the 7th day began.
-Notice that whereas the first 6 days were all marked off by the formula, “The evening and the morning were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd . . . day,” we don’t see that for the 7th day. The reason why is because the creative agency of God continues to be complete; His rest from the work of creation continues.
-When it says that God rested on the 7th day, it does not mean He was tired and needed a break. The word simply means to cease from labor. Isaiah 40:28 makes it clear that God does not grow weary, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary.”
-The rest of God on the 7th day implies that God was ending His work to enter a new phase in His relation to the creation, and that was to enjoy it.
-The work of creation is complete and God now adds a day, the final day, as a time to enjoy the creation. This is why God blessed the 7th day and sanctified it. When something is sanctified, it means it’s set apart for God’s special use and purpose.
-Because of this, a 7-day week becomes a part of the creation-cycle; it’s built into the very fabric of the creation. Historically, we see this 7-day pattern repeated again and again in the cultures of the world.
-There have been some who’ve tried to alter it, as in the French Revolution when they tried to throw off every last vestige of Biblical faith and go to a 10-day week. But all such attempts to alter the 7-day week have been fruitless.
-The NT makes it clear that what the OT Sabbath day began has now been completed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith in Him brings us rest from a life of trying to earn our way into God’s presence through the works of the law. Christ IS our Sabbath.
-So, while we don’t have to observe the Sabbath as a religious duty, it’s still wise for us to understand that 6 days of work and 1 day of rest is part of the very fabric of creation. For health’s sake, we ought to take one day in every week to rest and renew ourselves by ceasing from our usual labor and giving ourselves to the enjoyment of God’s creation.
-Verse 1 of chapter 2 is a profoundly interesting statement for what it implies about the physical universe. It says that God finished His work of creating. This verse squares perfectly with the established laws of science, the most basic of which are the laws of conservation of mass and energy.
-The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. The creation account of Genesis 1 and these first verses of chapter 2 imply this exactly; that God created all the matter and energy in the universe and then ended that creative work.
-Having created all matter and energy – which we see in 1:1-2, God then set certain laws to govern that physical universe.
-The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that it’s the nature of energy to move to a state of equilibrium. Also called the Law of Entropy, it refers to the fact that energy tends to spread itself out evenly over space unless there is a continual influx of new energy building it back up. The Law of Entropy says that left to itself, energy will flow from the higher to the lower place until the level of energy is uniform throughout.
-Another way to describe it is that left to themselves, things will go from a state of order to disorder. So the THEORY of evolution is flatly refuted by a LAW of Physics! And yet the Fall and God’s promise that death would come when man rebelled fits perfectly with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Genesis 2:4-6 “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”
-Genesis 1 is the account of creation. Chapter 2 begins the history of the earth, and right off we’re told that earth conditions were very different than they are today.
-There was no rain, but there was a constant mist that saturated the air and ground with moisture. The thick vapor canopy that surrounded the atmosphere would make just such a mist possible and would provide for lush vegetation when God did create it.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
-God started with the dust of the ground and fashioned a body for man. The word “formed” is used in Jeremiah 18 to describe the work of the potter forming a vessel. Since man is made of the “dust of the ground” (Psa. 103:14), the metaphor of a potter working in clay is fitting.
-The Hebrew for man is adam and comes from the word for ground – adamah
-Once the physical body was ready, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. God imparts to man something that was not “of the earth” but rather had it’s origin in and from Him – His very breath.
-In both Hebrew and Greek there is one word for breath and spirit. What God is doing here is giving man a spirit by touching him with His own Spirit. The point for us to glean here is that man possessed a level and kind of life the animals did not have.
-With the impartation of the spirit – man became a living being. The word “being” is nephesh and is translated in other places as “soul,” or “person.” Now, here’s what’s interesting – the same Hebrew phrase is used of the animals in Gnesis 1:20, 24.
-Animals have souls – that is, they possess life that knows desires and appetites. They may even have rudimentary emotions like fear, or contentment.
-But the difference between the creation of man and the animals is that man’s soul comes as the result of the merging of his spirit with his body. We never read that the animals have a spirit; the life they possess is a simple kind of soul that has only one aim that is survival.
-Man is different because his soul, his desires and emotions are the result of the spirit’s infusion of the body.
Genesis 2:8-9 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
-Verse 9 doesn’t contradict what we read in chapter 1 about the 3rd day of creation when the plants were made – this is merely describing God’s construction of Eden. So all of this takes place, of course, on the 6th day.
-The word “Eden” means pleasure or luxury and that’s precisely the environment God placed the first man in – a beautiful place that delighted the senses.
Genesis 2:10-14 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
-Coming out of the region of Eden was a river that watered the garden. Once it left the garden it split into 4 branches. The way these rivers are described leaves you with the impression this was recorded by an eyewitness.
-There’s a good chance that Adam or one of his descendants wrote this, and while there’s a good bit of geography given here, trying to identify these rivers with contemporary rivers is fruitless because the Flood
radically altered the geography of the earth.
-The reason why some rivers are still called by these names is because Noah and his sons used the old names for the new rivers they found after the flood.
Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
-Many people have the mistaken notion that work is the result of the Fall. Work and labor are not a part of the curse; where the curse comes in is in unfruitful, unproductive work!
-Even though God had enclosed the garden and set every good tree in it, man was delegated the duty of tending to it. We’re left with the impression that God is calling man into a partnership. God creates, and then man stewards.
-Because man is created in the image of God, he possesses the capacity to use the creation in a way that carries on in the mode and motif God established and which brings God glory.
-The word “put” here in v. 15 refers to the act of setting something in its intended place where it is at rest. When God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, He was setting him in the place where he was meant to be. His task of taking care of the garden was a part of what God intended for him as a man.
-In v. 15 the garden is called the “Garden of Eden.” In Genesis 13:10 and Ezekiel 28:13 it’s called the Garden of the Lord. This wasn’t Adam’s garden, it was God’s. Adam was merely the gardener.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
-This is the first occasion of God speaking a specific command and it comes in reference to man’s diet. Adam can eat of any and all the trees save one. Why did God make the tree of the knowledge of good and evil if Adam wasn’t going to be allowed to eat of it? Because for Adam to be a creature of free will, there had to be a choice.
-It wasn’t merely a case of giving Adam the opportunity to show his disobedience – without such a choice as this there was no opportunity for him to show his obedience! If there is never a command, never something forbidden, then there can never be choice. And choice is crucial to this whole venture because without choice there can be no genuine love.
-God wants our love and obedience to Him to be the love and obedience of choice. So there had to be the opportunity to exercise choice.
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
-Though everything has received the pronouncement from God of being good, now He sees something that is not good, that Adam is alone.
-While God sees the problem, Adam is blissfully ignorant of it at this point. So God does something to make Adam realize his need.
Genesis 2:19-20 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
-In naming the animals, Adam quickly came to realize that all of them had a mate; there was a male and female of each of the animals. No doubt it was then that Adam realized while he was superior to them in terms of the level of his life and capacities, he was inferior to them in this regard.
Genesis 2:21-22 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
-Here in verse 21 we read that God took one of Adam’s ribs to make Eve. Actually the Hebrew word used here is an archaic one that we aren’t really sure of the literal meaning for.
-The translators render it as “rib” because of a lack of anything else to think of as coming from Adam’s side. It’s the word tsaÃƒÂ²la, and means “curved.”
-Very early the word came to be associated with the materials of construction and the buildings they constructed. This word is used for the small storage rooms that lined the temple, rooms called “cells.”
-In light of all we know now about genetics, what we may be seeing here is God taking a cell and some DNA material from Adam and manipulating it to produce the woman. Think about it, what is DNA but a curved molecule that contains the genetic material from which a person is derived.
Genesis 2:23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
-Adam doesn’t name her as he does the animals. By naming the animals he’d shown his dominion over them. Adam GIVES Eve his name – he is “ish,” she is “isha,” the feminine form of “ish.”
Genesis 2:24-25 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
-These verses are crucial to our understanding of what God intends for marriage and this passage will be covered in a different study, but for now, let’s end with this.
-In v. 18, God said it was not good that the man was alone – then we read the story of the creation of Eve. At the point God said man’s aloneness was not good; sin had not yet infected the creation.
-The image of God in man was unmarred – and yet God still said man’s aloneness was not good, man was incomplete.
-I think we see in this a huge clue as to why God created in the first place. You see, just as man, created in and bearing the image of God, needed a companion – could it be that God, dwelling in eternity, wanted a companion too.
-It was in Adam’s sleep that God took from his side that which He made into his bride, just as it was in Christ’s deep sleep on the cross that God took from His side that which He made into His bride. The spear went in, and the blood that flowed became the basis, the ground of our salvation, the bridal price for our redemption.
-I find it interesting in Ephesians 5 where Paul is defining the roles of the husband and the wife, he ends by turning everything around and saying that marriage is but a picture of Christ and the church.
-From that perspective, verses 24 & 25 in Genesis 2 take on a whole new meaning. Not only do these verses reveal God’s plan for marriage between a man and woman – they shows us the kind of relationship He wants with us.
-God doesn’t want a pet – a lap dog, a finicky cat that occasionally brushes up against His leg. He wants a bride, a lover, a companion, as it says of Eve – a helper.
-Not that God NEEDS help! He needs nothing. But He still consents to give us a place in what He’s doing and His great plan for the ages.
Look at verses 24 and 25 again –
24Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
-When we come to faith in Christ, we become new creatures. We leave behind our old identity and become the Bride of Christ.
-The relationship God wants with us is not some distant, infrequent thing but an intimate oneness that goes to the very core of our being.
-He wants to remove all shame, all guilt, all regret, and replace them with acceptance, love abounding, peace, and absolute confidence. If these things are not yours today, get your eyes off your failure and put them on Your Forgiver and Lover – Jesus Christ.