Just a thought stemming from my previous blog and the words ‘good’ in relation to ‘very good.’ If we use words like ‘magnificent’, ‘the best’ and ‘awesome’ to discuss simple everyday things, then what words are left to describe God and creation?
Anyway, that was just an inherent thought.
Getting back to the subject on hand, in Genesis 2 there is a slight shift more toward mankind and their relationship with God. The other difference is that there is a change in the name of God. In Genesis 1 the name ‘Elohim’ or God is used but in Genesis 2 a more personal name ‘Yahweh’ or Lord is introduced along with the word God. When I discovered this I found it interesting and I wondered why, so I researched it a bit – well loads actually. Now to simplify it ... in the time of Moses, whenever Yahweh is used it is to stress the Lord’s personal relationship with His people. Elohim on the other hand refers to God as the creator of the whole universe of people and things of the material world.
Just before we begin let’s ask the question that some of us at some point in time has thought about or has asked or has heard it asked. Were Adam and Eve real people? Many believe that as their names literally mean ‘man or earth’ and ‘life bearer,’ and therefore that these names are just a metaphor and that Adam and Eve is just a story representing a bigger picture called humankind. However, I believe that they were real people. They ate fruit, walking in the Garden, had children, made enormous mistakes, sinned, repented and after the fall worked hard to provide for their families.
GEN 2:4 – 6… This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens and no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.
Before humankind was created to care for the earth, God took care of His creation.
GEN 2:7… Then… the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Being formed from the dust conveys a picture of a potter fashioning clay into shape. But without the breath of life our bodies were a lifeless shell and were nothing special until God breathed physical, mental and spiritual life into us. Our lives and worth therefore come from God’s Spirit.
GEN 2:8, 10 – 14… Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed … A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The rivers flowed out of Eden therefore we can deduct that Eden had the central location. But where was Eden? Well despite the specific details given, we don’t exactly know as 2 of the rivers mentioned in Genesis 2 either no longer exist or was so dramatically changed by the flood and therefore either disappeared or changed path and are known under a different name. Research has shown however that Eden could have been somewhere in Iraq (i.e. at the end of the Euphrates and Tigris, where they meet before the Persian Gulf) or under the Persian Gulf or in Turkey (i.e. at the start of the Euphrates and Tigris and nearby Mount Ararat where Noah’s Ark came to rest.) We may never know however because Eden may presently be buried under miles of sediments due to the flood in the time of Noah. Also as the continents split apart during or after the flood, it makes the Garden of Eden even more uncertain.
GEN 2:9… The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
There were two trees at the center of life (1) A tree of life that would of enabled us to live forever in fellowship with God (2) A tree of the knowledge of good and evil which gave a person the ability to discern good from bad and therefore have knowledge of their sinning or give them the option to sin.
So from this we can gather that sin already existed (i.e. the option was already there so it had to have existed) Perhaps at satan’s fall sin started? Whenever it started, man was just not aware of it yet. They were innocent.
GEN 2:15… The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
God gave mankind the responsibility of the garden to care for it and protect it. Man was already given a job / duty before sin occurred. Therefore work is not as a result of sin and should not be avoided.
Many boast of their achievements and abilities as though they were the creator of their own strengths. Others feel worthless as their abilities don’t stand out. But in reality our worth comes not from our achievements but from God who chose to give us life. Therefore value life as He does.
GEN 2:16 – 17… And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
There was 1 law … 1 rule that God asked of mankind and obeying God would have been preventing mankind from coming to experience good and evil. God said we would die if mankind disobeyed, not an instant death but God couldn’t let evil be eternal and therefore taking away the tree of life would allow man to slowly die. On a more spiritual level: we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God and without Jesus and His sacrifice we would die spiritually too.
GEN 2:18… The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Helper!! I want to emphasize this point for a minute or two so that you can just keep it in your mind as we proceed. The definition basically is someone to provide strength in an area that is lacking. A suitable companion - in other words a wife should complement her husband not be exactly like him.
God equips both men and woman for various tasks but all these tasks lead to the same goal – honoring God. Each role carries exclusive privileges and there is no room for thinking one sex is more superior to the other.
In Ephesians wives are told to submit to their husband. Husbands, however, are not told to submit to their wives but to love them. This submission is different to child-parent submission and it also does not tell all women to submit to all men, only to your husband.
But in my opinion there are different levels of friendship with men and there are varying different levels of submission depending on your relationship with each man. If submission is one of the qualities a man would look for in a wife then the woman should be portraying some level or extent of this quality already. Or how else will the man know that is one of her traits?
I do want to emphasize again that both genders are equally created in God’s image and are both heirs together in eternal life. So this submission is to the leadership of the man for health and harmonious working of varying degrees of a relationship (i.e. you would submit differently to a husband than to a friend or boyfriend or fiancé.)
I hope this makes sense and I’d like to hear your views on this.
GEN 2:19-20… Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field, all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
By naming the animals the man demonstrated his authority over all the other creatures. This verse also emphasizes that before woman was created, there was no suitable helper in the whole vast creation that God had made.
GEN 2:21-22… So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.
God chose to make woman from man and not from the dust. In so doing, He illustrated that in marriage man and woman symbolically become one flesh. There we have it – marriage is God’s idea! And throughout the Bible, God treats this spiritual partnership seriously. I use the word partnership as marriage is working as a team, standing with each other, being one.
Now when you read this next verse please do take all our previous discoveries into account.
GEN 2:23… The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
Oh wow! And isn’t that interesting too, God used man to give form to woman and woman becomes the child bearer of the entire human race. Also man named woman and just like with naming the animals, demonstrated his responsibility / care over them.
GEN 2:24… For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Let’s look more closely at marriage now. God gave marriage as a gift to mankind. We were perfectly created for each other. From this verse we can learn that marriage has 3 basic aspects.
1) The man leaves his parents and in a public act promises himself to his wife
2) The man and woman are joined together by promising to take responsibility for each other’s welfare and by loving the spouse/mate above all others.
3) The 2 become 1 flesh in the intimacy and commitment of sexual union that is reserved for marriage. Marriage is consummated by sexual intercourse and bodily fluid is shared and therefore 2 become 1.
Strong marriages include all 3 aspects.
It is interesting to note though that in those days, a man didn’t leave his father’s household but rather stayed close by to the land he would inherit. This verse then rather refers to the fact that man should put his wife before the rest of his family.
GEN 2:25… Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Adam and Eve were innocent and unaware, just like a child who can run naked in front of others without shame. But we’ll talk about this more later on. Just keep in mind that this is how God originally wanted it to be - a pure relationship with Him.
In conclusion there are 3 dimensions explored in Genesis 2
· Vertical relationship to nature below
· Vertical relationship to God above
· Horizontal relationship to other people and ourselves
Next time we’ll learn that Adam and Eve didn’t always live the way God intended it but through their mistakes we can learn the important lessons about the way God wants us to live.