Scriptures

Genesis 2

Introduction

Genesis 2 is an overview of the creation from man’s angle, it focuses on and zooms in on God’s greatest creation, man.

‘Thus, the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so, on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.’ Genesis 2:1-3

This is basically a summary of Genesis 1, and notice it’s not stated here that God rested from all activity, but that He rested from creation, ‘the work which he had been doing,’ which is an expression repeated twice. Please note that this has no reference whatever to the Jewish sabbath. This doesn’t refer to the days of the week, but to the days of the creation.

This day of God’s rest is still going on, Hebrews 4:4-6 / Hebrews 4:11, and will obviously continue until Christ returns. There is no command here for man to rest, no revelation whatever to Adam or his posterity suggesting or commanding the observance of any such thing as the Jewish sabbath.

Notice also, the specific thing from which it’s stated that God rested is the work of creation, a fact which is obvious enough in the fact that the creation isn’t still going on. There is also no mention here of ‘evening and morning,’ which tells us that the close of the seventh day is still in progress. We must remember that the sabbath that God blessed was the first day of Adam’s life, not the seventh, and there’s no indication whatever that Adam ever heard of a sabbath.

The sabbath was made known, not to Adam, but to Moses, Nehemiah 9:13-14, and the reason for the Jewish observance of the sabbath given to them wasn’t because God rested on the creation sabbath, but ‘the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt,’ Deuteronomy 5:15. The sabbath was never a sign between God and all men, but, ‘It is a sign between me (God) and the children of Israel.’ Exodus 31:17.

God created everything in six days, Genesis 1 / Exodus 20:11. At the end of the sixth day, God looked at everything He had made and said it was ‘very good’, Genesis 1:31.

The next day, day seven, God rested from His work of creating because it was all finished, Genesis 2:2. God then blessed this day because it was the day that He chose to rest from His work, Genesis 2:3.

Why did God rest?

Was He tired from all the work of creating? Not at all! The Bible tells us that God doesn’t get tired or sleep, Psalm 121:3-4. He rested to establish a pattern for us to follow.

‘This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant 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. 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. Genesis 2:4-7

This is an account of the heavens and the earth when God created them, the word ‘account’ in the context of Genesis refers to that which is begotten or generated. In this book it’s the accounts of people through whom the seed-line promise of redemption would come.

Since it’s the purpose of the writer to give an account of origins, the book is conveniently divided into sections by an introduction that alerts us to the beginning of a new section by mentioning the beginning of a new posterity.

Ten times the writer introduces a section with the statement, ‘This is the account’ Genesis 2:4 / Genesis 5:1 / Genesis 6:9 / Genesis 10:1 / Genesis 11:10 / Genesis 11:27 / Genesis 25:12 / Genesis 25:19 / Genesis 36:1 / Genesis 37:2.

Beginning with this section, man is the offspring who came from the creation of the heavens and the earth, since from the dust of the earth the body of man was formed. Remember Moses isn’t presenting a second account of creation but focuses on the created heavens and earth giving birth to the human race.

There was an ‘expanse’ created between the waters of the earth and the canopy of waters above the earth, Genesis 1:6. The canopy of waters above the earth produced a greenhouse effect that created a warm temperature throughout the world, and thus lush vegetation grew over all the surface of the earth before the flood of Noah’s day.

Evidently, rain didn’t occur before the flood of Noah’s day, and thus some had a difficult time believing the sermon of Noah that a great destruction by water was coming.

In this context we learn that vegetation throughout the world was watered by a mist that came up from the earth. The lush global vegetation made it possible for animal life throughout the world to exist in great abundance.

Creation of man

The average person weighs around 10.5 stone and is made up of the following chemicals: 92.4 lbs. Oxygen, 31.5 lbs. Carbon, 14.6 lbs. Hydrogen, 4.6 lbs. Nitrogen, 2.8 lbs. Phosphorous, 1.12 lbs. Chlorine, 1.02 lbs. Iron, 0.34 lbs potassium, 0.24 lbs. Sulphur, 0.12 lbs sodium, 0.04 lbs magnesium, 0.02 lbs. Fluorine.

Now if you accept that, that is all there is to a human being, then you’ve sadly missed the point, there’s a lot more to a human being than just a few chemicals. You see all human beings are triune beings, let me explain.

The Godhead is made up of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Human beings are also triune beings because we have a body, soul and spirit. But sadly, many people have forgotten the soul and spirit part, all they think about is the body. You see all these so called super models which in the world’s eyes have great physical bodies but sadly the soul is dead.

The apostle Paul gives us complete description of the nature of man, ‘May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

Here, the apostle clearly reveals that man is a triune being, consisting of spirit and soul and body. And even though this is the only verse in the Bible in which the three-fold nature of man is mentioned, these three elements, body, soul and spirit, are referred to in different combinations in other places, in both the Old and the New Testaments.

In the Old Testament, for example, in his God given wisdom, Solomon refers to the body and the spirit. ‘The dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it’. Ecclesiastes 12:7.

Solomon says at death, the body returns to the dust of the earth, and the spirit goes back to God who gave it. So straight away we can see a distinction between the body and the spirit.

‘And be not afraid of them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ Matthew 10:28.

Here Jesus Himself speaks of those who are able to kill the body, but who are unable to kill the soul. This statement proves that body and the soul are also different. ‘For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ Hebrews 4:12

The Hebrew writer tells us that the Word of God is able to pierce, ‘to the dividing of soul and spirit’. Again, this shows us that there is a difference between the soul and the spirit. And remember the spirit in which the Hebrew writer makes reference too here is not the Holy Spirit but the human spirit.

Paul makes this clearer in Romans 8:16 where he writes, ‘The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.’ He also makes it clearer in 1 Corinthians 5:4 ‘In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

And finally, the writer says, ‘To the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.’ Hebrews 12:13

Contrasting the assembly of the Israelites at Mount Sinai with the assembly of the Hebrew Christians at Mount Zion, the writer tells them, ‘You have come to the spirits of just men made perfect’. And so, in Ecclesiastes 12:7 we see the distinction between the body and the spirit. In Matthew 10:28 we see the distinction between body and soul. And in Hebrews 4:12 we see the distinction between soul and spirit.

Now please remember that in these verses where these three elements are mentioned, I’m not offering them as proof of man’s nature because we need to understand them in the context of which we find them. It’s in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 where we find a definite statement as to the nature of man. We have to remember where we came from.

Why?

Because some people have forgotten their creator / Hosea 8:14 /  Deuteronomy 32:18. That’s what happens when you forget where you came from, you become unmindful. When you take God out of the picture, you’re left with a pointless existence. When you take God out of the picture, you’re left with being nothing special.

Now if we’re going to try and reach anyone, we ourselves first need to understand the nature of man. We too first need to understand where we came from.

‘The LORD God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.’ Genesis 2:7

We see here that God formed or fashioned or moulded, man’s body out of the ground, and we read, that God ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man, became a living being’.

Now the word ‘being’ has been preferred by later translators, rather than the word ‘soul’ which is used in the King James Version, because the original word ‘nephesh’ does not mean ‘soul’ in the special New Testament sense.

Mickelson Hebrew Dictionary says this, nephesh (neh’-fesh) 1. (properly) a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality 2. used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental).

Mickelson Greek Dictionary says this, psuche (psoo-khay’). 1. soul, inner being or life 2. (literally) breath

In fact, in the Old Testament, where the word ‘nephesh’ occurs 745 times, the translators of the King James Version have rendered it by at least 30 different words or phrases. So, the difference between the Hebrew ‘nephesh’ of the Old Testament and the Greek ‘psuche’ of the New Testament is easily recognisable.

Something else we need to remember is that we’re not to suppose that man was a ‘dead soul’, until God breathed into him ‘the breath of lives.’

The word ‘life’ is plural in the Hebrew text. In other words, there was nothing before; it was the entrance of ‘the breath of lives’ which actually constituted him ‘Man’. Notice that the word ‘became’ is categorical. We should read the verse in this way; ‘God ‘breathed’ into his nostrils the breath of lives, and Man came into being, a living soul’.

That phrase, ‘a living soul’, is adjectival and describes and defines man after God breathed life into the form which He had shaped. And it’s here we see the difference between man and the rest of Creation.

Remembering that the Hebrew word ‘Adam’ means ‘man.’ ‘Life’ like animal life, is something which Adam shared with every other living creature created by God. But the difference between the other creatures and man lies in the fact that God said, ‘Let us make Man after our own image, after our likeness.’ Genesis 1:26

Only with reference to man is this said, and it is this ‘likeness to God’ which uniquely constituted man a rational and moral being, possessing a conscience that enabled him to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, obedience and disobedience. It is in this sense that man is a soul, a self, having self-awareness and self-consciousness.

Now look at Genesis 1:26 again, ‘God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’

This shows us that man isn’t only superior to all other living creatures on Earth because he possesses this moral awareness. This is also shows us that the gulf between man and the rest of creation was further emphasized and endorsed when God assigned to him dominion over all other living creatures.

How do these three different parts of man relate to each other?

I go into the local schools quite regularly and every now and then they ask me to come in and have a question and answer session with the children about God, the Bible and religion as a whole. And I remember one child asking me an amazing question, does the body have a soul? Now that’s a great question and yes, we can answer and say, yes, the body has a soul but maybe we should say, it’s the soul which has a body.

Our soul is self-conscious

Now I say that in light of what we’ve just looked at, the ‘soul’ is man’s unique self. It is the part of his being which, because it is rational and moral, determines the actions performed by his body, and which, therefore, renders him personally accountable for what he does.

And so, it is man’s ‘soul’ which will ultimately be either saved or lost, depending on his response to the offer of the salvation which was made first possible by the coming of the Christ into the world.

Our body is Earth conscious

So now let’s look at the body, as someone once said to me ‘The Body is of the earth and for the earth’.

We might describe the body as ‘Earth-conscious’, since it is the physical tool or instrument, by means of which a person’s ‘soul’ or ‘self’ by its very nature is invisible is able to function in a physical world. If we think about Jesus Himself, when the Lord came into the world, John 1:1-2 / John 1:14.

Although the Son existed ‘in the beginning with God’, it was necessary that ‘the Word’ should ‘become flesh’ and ‘dwell’ or ‘tabernacle’ among us. You see the Lord needed a physical body.

And as Paul tells us that Jesus ‘Though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!’ Philippians 2:6-8.

Paul says without the human form that He took on Himself, it would have been impossible for Him to fulfil the unique purpose for which He came.

He needed a body why?

1. To be able to communicate with mankind in a personal and unmistakable and uncomplicated manner.

2. To present the ‘signs’ which were to be the authentication and endorsement of His Messiah-ship.

3. To set the human race the perfect example of obedience to the will of the Father.

4. And above all, by means of that perfect life, to demonstrate His worthiness to become the perfect offering for the sin of the world.

And so, The Word must become flesh. This was the divine plan, and it is why we find the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, in 10:5 placing the words of the Psalmist from Psalm 40:6-8 into the Lord’s mouth, Hebrews 10:5.

Notice that the ‘body’ was prepared for ‘me.’ Peter, also talks about the body in 2 Peter 1:14, and he describes it as ‘putting off my tent.’

In other words, man is more than just a bunch of chemicals. Man, is not merely an animated construction of flesh and bones; he is a soul, a ‘self.’

Man, is housed in a physical body; and since his body is designed for earthly life, at death, the body returns to the earth. God told Adam ‘In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to the dust you shall return.’ Genesis 3:19.

We’ve briefly looked at the soul and the body now let’s briefly look at the spirit of man.

Our spirit is God conscious

‘But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding’. Job 32:8. If we consider the body to be ‘Earth-conscious’, and the soul to be ‘Self-conscious’, we may think of the spirit as being ‘God-conscious’. In other words, it is that part of man’s nature which enables him to reach out to and communicate with God. It is the spiritual dimension in man’s character, and, here again; we see the difference between man and other creatures.

It’s only man says who can say, ‘My soul thirsts for God, for the living God’, Psalm 42:2. Its only man who is encouraged to ‘seek after Him, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him,’ Acts 17:27. Its only man who is given the assurance that ‘He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being’, Acts 17:27

And like we saw earlier according to Ecclesiastes 12:7, at death, ‘the spirit returns to God Who gave it’. Someone recently shared with me an illustration to help me get this point and I would like to share it with you because I think it’s helpful. When I am away from home, I use the telephone as a means of communication with my wife. But when I am at home we talk face to face and so I do not need the telephone. Well in a similar way, God has endowed us with the ability to contact and communicate with Him, whilst we are here on earth.

And so, when we are ‘at home with the Lord’, we will no longer need the telephone. And so, it will be with our spirit.

‘Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 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. 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 Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.’ Genesis 2:8-14

The word garden means pleasure of delight and in the Septuagint, it means a paradise, this is the place where only a king could walk. It’s also referred to as the garden of God. Ezekiel 28:13 / Ezekiel 31:8-9 / Isaiah 51:3. Notice the garden was in Eden not of Eden, it was in Eden, the paradise of God.

Eden was more than the garden wherein God located man, the tree of life was there and eating from this tree would somehow give eternal life to man, Genesis 3:22-24.

The Tree of Life

The appearance of the tree of life in Revelation 21-22, and the statement of God Himself in Genesis 3:22 compel us to see something more than mere symbolism. All of the elements for immortality is in man’s body already. The tree of life, whatever it was, had the power to activate and continue life forever.

The Tree of knowledge of good and evil

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was also present and eating from this tree would bring the curse of death, both spiritually and physically, Genesis 2:17 / Romans 5:12 / 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. It would be spiritual death in that man would be separated from his Creator, who only is eternal. It would be physical death in that man wouldn’t have an opportunity to eat of the tree of life, for man was driven from the garden after eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The names of the rivers are given in order to identify the location of the part of Eden in which man lived. We don’t know the location of the Pishon and Gihon but according to our present understanding of where both the Tigris and Euphrates are located, we would assume that the Moses wants us to understand that the area about which he is discussing is somewhere in the upper Mesopotamian area.

‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 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 from it you will certainly die.’ Genesis 2:15-17

It’s clear here that man was to work but work was a blessing, this was the first physical exercise and as we know, even today, with every opportunity for good, there comes an opportunity for sin. Since man was created a free-moral agent with the ability to choose, he could be truly free only if he was placed in an environment wherein he could make choices. Thus, the garden in Eden offered man the opportunity to choose between good and evil.

Why did God put this tree in the garden in the first place?

Simply because He wanted man to learn accountability, He wanted man to know he can exercise choice, in a sense this was a religious exercise for man. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil had to exist within the environment of man in order for man to be identified as a true moral being with the ability to choose sin.

And we shall see later, Adam and Eve already knew the difference between right and wrong, thus they were aware already of moral distinctions.

God isn’t saying here that there were magical properties in a certain tree that would provide ‘knowledge’ of good and evil, but their eating of that forbidden tree would result in their experimental ‘knowledge’ of good and evil. Any tree that God might have prohibited would have done the same thing.

‘The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground 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. 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. 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.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’ Genesis 2:18-25

He was given authority to name the animals, this is a mental exercise for him. And please note that he didn’t evolve from animals but was given dominion over all animals. His superiority over animals was manifested in the fact that his spiritual and intellectual nature after the image of God allowed him the ability to give names to the animals.

The man is to name the animals which was a sign that man was to have dominion over them. Notice also that man isn’t like the animals, that’s why he didn’t find any true companionship among the animals.

For companionship that was equal with man, God had to create a helper who was suitable for him and in order for man to find true companionship in woman, she had to be created with the same nature and intellect as man. True companionship could never have existed if woman were in any way created inferior to man.

It’s here where the name Adam is used for the first time, his name means firstborn, a name which is used 500 times in the Old Testament. The woman was to be a helper in answer to the loneliness of man, and thus a partner and companion in life. Man had a social need that couldn’t be satisfied by any animal and so God created woman to fill his need for companionship.

God performed the first every surgery on man by putting him under anaesthetic, the sleep coming upon Adam was a prophecy of the death of Christ, the God-Man, on Calvary and just as the wife of Adam here was taken from his side during that sleep, so that church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of the second Adam was, in a figure, taken from the side of Jesus Christ, from which, upon its being pierced by the spear, there came forth blood and water, symbolic of the two grand ordinances of Christianity, namely, the Lord’s Supper and Christian baptism.

Although most translations tell us that God removed his ‘rib’, it should be noted that God actually removed a shank from his side, indicating equality with the woman. Woman wasn’t taken from Adam’s foot that he might rule over her, it wasn’t from Adam’s head that she might dominate him, but from his side that she might be his true equal and companion.

When God created woman, this was giving the man emotional exercise. And notice that Adam is so grateful for Eve at this point, ‘wow, she is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’ but later that will change, Genesis 3:12. Remember earlier Adam had the blessing to name the animals, here he was blessed to name her woman.

God created mankind in two phases

1. Male.

2. Female.

Both make up what is man and in Genesis 5:2 the word ‘man’ is plural. He created man for unity to specify the unity we need with God. In John 17, Jesus makes appoint about unity with the Godhead. In this unity you can see the relationship between Christ and the church. Adam was asleep and when he woke up a woman was formed. Jesus dies and falls asleep and when He wakes up his church is formed.

This beginning of society, the beginning of marriage relationships, when two people come together in marriage, they become one flesh, husband and wife, Genesis 3:6, and it’s only within the marriage relationship do we find the greatest sexual relationship. There were no problems in being naked in the Garden because there was no shame in nakedness but again, as we shall see later this is going to change, Genesis 3:7 / Genesis 3:10.

For this moment in time everything is very good for both Adam and Eve, they have a great garden to live in, they have great companionship with each other and God and all the wild life, this was truly paradise on Earth.

Go To Genesis 3

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

James 1:2

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