Genesis 2:4-17

October 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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This week, we continue our look at the details of the sixth day of Creation. In the second chapter of the book of Genesis, we see the seventh day (which we looked at last week). Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the specifics of the creation of man and woman:

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

I started this week’s study with verse 4 because you’ll see this phrase used in a few of the later chapters of Genesis. This phrase is often used to alert the reader to the fact that details are coming. Moses writes that this is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, and then goes into the details that are pertinent to the creation of mankind. After the “headline” verse of this passage, it says that no shrub of the field was yet in the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprouted. This would seem to contradict Day 3 of Creation week. However, the shrubs and plants here are believed to be those with thorns. Because the fall hadn’t happened yet, there were no thorns either (thorns were part of the curse). Instead of rain, a mist watered the land (it wouldn’t rain until the flood came). While this makes sense, I haven’t found any connection to thorns in the Hebrew. What I did find is that the word field refers to cultivated land. There were no shrubs or plants of the field (of cultivated land) because there had been no rain and there was no man to cultivate the land.

Moses then proceeds to explain the creation of man. God created Adam out of the dust of the ground. It’s not just a hands off creation though. It says that God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. This word is the Hebrew word yatsar:

formed – (Strongs’ number H3335) – yatsar: to mold into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively to determine.

Here we see God physically molding Adam into shape and then breathing the breath of life into his nostrils. What is the breath of life? According to the Hebrew it’s exactly what it says. It is the divine wind of life being breathed into his lifeless body. It is at this point that Adam becomes a living being.

The scene then switches to where the Lord will place the man. This place is a garden that is east, in Eden. We are unsure where this place would be located today (and it was most likely destroyed in the flood…), but we do know that this place existed. From this garden flowed a river that then split into four rivers. These rivers bear names that we are familiar with as do some of the areas associated with these rivers. Two of them are the Tigris and Euphrates. Many believe that these rivers are the same rivers as those know by these names today. I don’t believe this to be the case for two reasons. First, the global Flood would have completely destroyed the rivers and the garden itself. The amount of sediment and the level of rearranging that would have been accomplished with the Flood would easily erase the original rivers and create new ones. But they are named the same! Um…so? How many cities in the USA bear names from cities in England or France? How many cities in the western US bear names of cities in the eastern US? The fact that the rivers of today bear the same name as those of the garden of Eden only mean that Noah or one of his descendants named the new rivers where they settled after rivers and places they were familiar with.

The passage then continues with the Lord placing the man into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Here we see man working before the fall (that means that it’s not part of the curse…). More on that later. We are going to end with the first command that God gives to the man.

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.

This command gives man great freedom! Many see this as a confining rule by a mean, uncaring God. Man is given the freedom to eat from every tree in the garden except one. The only tree that man cannot eat from is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warns Adam that if he eats of this tree that he will surely die. We’ll touch on some of the issues with this command when we look at the curse that comes in Chapter 3. What we’ve seen this week is that God formed man from the dust of the ground, that He breathed the breath of life into him, that He placed him into the garden of Eden to keep/cultivate it, and that He commanded him not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the naming of the animals and the creation of woman! We would love to see you back here with us and to let others know what we’re doing. If you have any questions, please leave a comment! See you next week!

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