(Gen.2:1-3) The Seventh Day
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. In six days God finished His Work of Creation. Finished (kalah) means to complete, cease, or accomplish. God always completes what He begins. As He finished His Work of Creation, He is faithful to finish His Work of the Christian (Phil.2:6).
2:1 All the hosts of them. This can mean the host of an organized army or of angels; it can refer to the sun, moon, and stars; or the whole of creation. Though it can refer to angels, here it refers to the sun, moon, and stars. Job 38:4-7 refers to the Sons’ of God (angels) shouting for joy when God created the world. The angels were created prior to the heavens and earth.
2:2 He rested on the seventh day. God made the seventh day a Sabbath (rest) and this is its origin. Sabbath means to cease, desist, or rest; to stop working. God rested from “His work which He had done” (x2). This does not imply that God gets tired: “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps.121:4).
The Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is fascinating. It was a real place. In this garden, God placed every kind of animal species. They were under the care and dominion of Adam and Eve. Every tree in the garden was pleasant to the sight and good for food. There was nothing harmful, undesirable, or unpleasant.
There were two special trees in the garden: “tree of life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. However, there was nothing inherently special about these two trees. The tree of life did not have the power of life; nor did the tree of the knowledge of good and evil have the power of death. While sinless, Adam and Eve were worthy to partake of the tree of life. It was a right reserved for the righteous. It symbolized Mans’ right standing with God. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a test. The only difference with this tree was the sanction God placed on it. He forbade them to eat of it (V.16-17). The tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not bring death. God punished their sin with death. The power of life and death belongs to God alone.
We can guess the geographic location of the garden by a river mentioned that passed through it and parted into four rivers. A possible location is a modern day Iraq. However, the geography mentioned is this chapter is before the flood and was possibly alter thereafter. The four rivers are…
1. Pishon (v.11-12): the location of this is uncertain.
2. Gihon (v.13): Cush likely refers to modern day Ethiopia. The location is still uncertain.
3. Tigris (v.14): A river that flows through the country of Iraq.
4. Euphrates (v.15): Quote: “The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers dominate Mesopotamia. Both rivers originate in the high mountains of eastern Turkey and flow south-southeastward to the Persian Gulf. Large
2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Sanctified (qadash) means to consecrate; set apart; make holy. The Sabbath is a sacred day instituted by God. As Christians, Christ properly defined the Sabbath. He did not abolish it. He removed the added Pharisaic burdens but He did not remove the Sabbath. Setting aside a day for rest and worship is still commanded by God. It is still one of the top ten moral laws. In a world that runs a thousand miles a minute, what better witness can Christians be than to gather once a week and worship our Lord.
The Sabbath symbolizes the rest that believers experience in Christ. He completed the work of salvation and is SEATED at God’s right hand. He worked salvation for us in His perfect life of obedience and His sacrificial death on the cross. In Christ, we cease from working for our salvation and rest in His completed work. There is a day of complete rest with Christ in His kingdom (Heb.4).
(Gen.2:4-6) An Observation
2:4 This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created. This is true history. It is not an allegory, poetry, or any other special form of literature; it is a historical narrative. Science cannot prove how the earth came to be. No was there to observe it. However, the Bible gives us God’s eyewitness account. The one who was there to observe it (God) is relating to us the facts.
2:4 in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. The Lord God (Yĕhovah ‘elohiym) is one of the great names of God. Yĕhovah comes from Yahweh and means The Existing One. It refers to God’s Uncausality, Aseity, and Eternality (Refer to note on Gen.1:1-2). ‘Elohiym is plural for ‘ĕlôahh. In this instance it is speaking of the one true God. Not only is He Lord, and not only is He God; He is The Lord God.
Day (Yowm) means day, time, or year. In Genesis one, the phrase “evening and morning” (repeated) indicates a 24 hour day. We are given a day by day account of creation. In Genesis two, God steps back and gives us a closer look at the sixth day of creation. This day was important and deserved special observation. But the word day still doesn’t refer only to the sixth day in this instance. It appears that the word day means time. This verse is summarizing the entire work of creation with the word day and leads into a specific focus on day six. Genesis one gave us a broad look at God’s work of creation. Genesis two compliments it by taking a closer look at the most important day.
2:5,6 For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth … but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. (Refer to note in Gen.1:6-8 “The Second Day”.)
(Gen.2:7) The Creature Man
2:7 formed man out of the dust of the ground. Formed (yatsar) is different than create (bara) and made (asah), though It is similar in meaning to “made”. It means to form, shape, or fashion. God formed Man from the dirt/clay. Isaiah 40:6-8 say, “A voice says, ‘Cry!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
2:7 breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. God gave life to the man made from clay. He was now complete: soul, spirit, and body. We are a spirit, with a soul, residing in a body. As God is triune, He created man in His likeness as a triune being.
2:7 man became a living being. We are created. We have a beginning. We have a cause. Unlike the self-existing and eternal God, Man came into existence at a point in time. We are not the cause of accidental nature selection; our cause is the Intelligent Designer of the Cosmos.
2:8 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. God planted a garden. He made it for the Man that He created. Eden means pleasure. It would be a paradise for Man to call home.
2:9 out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree. It would seem there are two likely interpretations to verse 9.
1. That this is looking back to the third day of creation and giving us a closer look at the particular work that God on that day -namely, the garden of Eden. Here He is showing us the intended plan for the garden. It would be a home for Man.
2. That this is a unique work God did after the six days of creation. The word planted possibly supports this in that it is different than creating and making.
Neither of these interpretations creates a theological issue. The context of the chapter (that it is a closer look at the six days of creation) supports the first option. And that God created plant life from the earth (Gen.1:11-12) as He does here, “out of the ground”.
distances separate the rivers for most of their journey, but near Baghdad they converge to within twenty miles of each other before diverging again.” (Holman Bible Atlas, TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES).
2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
God’s Vocational Will
God placed man in the garden and gave him a vocation. Not only was he to care for and have dominion over the animals, he was to take care of the garden. His job was to tend and keep it. Adam was God’s Gardener. Being in the image of God, he had a specific purpose. God placed him in a habitation that was suited perfectly for his life’s work.
God has a will for your work. He has an environment suitable for your God given skills. Discovering your life’s vocation is one of the most important tasks of your life. Whether a builder or baker, software programmer or school teacher, homemaker or businessman your vocation has equal purpose and value. Without your labor, someone will suffer.
Discovering God’s Will for your work is only half the journey. Discovering how you can give Him glory through your work is what fills it with eternal meaning. God has made you for the purpose of serving Him through your talents. To display His skill in creating you, not your own.
First, review the natural skills and talents that God has placed in you. Pray and ask Him what field would be best suited for them. This may take a few tries and may vary with time and experience. But God has a Will for a specific vocation in your life. He will show you.
Second, Glorify God in your vocation. How can you do this? It’s simpler than you think. Ministers are not the only people that glorify God in their work. Anyone who follows Christ in obedience to His commands within their vocation can equally glorify God.
1. Acknowledge that though you are working for yourself or an employer, that ultimately you are working for God. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col.3:23). This will affect your attitude permanently. It will cause you to work more diligently and honestly, knowing that even though your boss may not be around, that God is watching. And that ultimately, your paycheck comes from Him, not your employer. It may also have an opposite affect. You may be working with an employer that demands you to work in an ungodly way. They may ask you to lie or cheat. Acknowledging that you first work for God may mean that you have to quit. In a case like this, God gets glory in and through you as you display His righteousness in you work.
2. Acknowledging that your work is a service to humanity, not a paycheck. Every job has a meaning. Without stay-at-home mothers, large families would fall into disorder and there would be successive damage to coming generations. Without police officers, crime would be uncontrollable. Without cooks, we would starve. Without waste management, we would stink. Without fast food workers, we wouldn’t be able to eat easily on busy work days. Everyone contributes to society. Don’t let society define how much your work is worth. Before God, your work is important.
Glorifying God in your vocation begins with the attitude of your heart. Are you working for God or Man? Are you serving humanity or self? Discover God’s vocation for you life. Work for His glory. And serve for the benefit of humanity. Love Christ in and through your work!
(Gen.2:16-17) The First Covenant and Prohibitive Imperative
2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man. In chapter one, God brought forth the universe by the power of His Word. Creation obeyed God’s imperative. When He blessed Adam and Eve is was a Positive imperative: “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen.1:28). Now, God is giving the only Prohibitive Imperative to Man: “You Shall Not!”
2:17 You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. Some call this the “Adamic Covenant”, or in Reformed Theology “The Covenant of Works”. God would bless them and be with them. They had to keep the garden, subdue the earth, and not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The prohibition to not eat from the tree was a test. Dispensationalists refer to this stewardship and test as the “Dispensation of Innocence”. How would Man respond to temptation in their innocence? Would they pass the test?
Whereas we have many rules and laws -under God, in society, at work, in the family -Adam and Eve had one. Free from Sin, God didn’t need to restrict anything from them. Why? Because nothing in itself is sinful (Rom.14:14). It is we -after the fall- who take the good things that God created and use them for our sinful purposes. Sin comes from within us, not outside of us (Matt.15:18-19). It is only now, that since we are sinners, that God has placed many boundaries and restrictions. He is protecting us from ourself.
2:17 for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
Justice is the fair, impartial, and deserved consequence or our actions -whether good or bad. There was a consequence if Adam ate the fruit that God prohibited. Death! “The wages for sin is death” (Rom.6:23a). When we break any one of God’s rules, nor matter how small it may seem, we deserve the same consequence. Death. We lie, cheat, steal, curse, hate, and lust. All Adam did was eat a piece of fruit. But the point is, no matter what law we break, what makes it so bad it that we are defying the rule of a Holy and Just God.
2:18 And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone’. Marriage began in the heart of God. God is triune. In the triune fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit He has always been in perfect unity and community with Himself. God was never alone. Nor has God ever been lonely. He created the world not because He was lonely, but to get Himself glory. However, since God has never been lonely, He didn’t want Adam to be alone. He knew it was good for Adam to have a helper.
2:18 I will. Marriage is God’s will. Before a man and women say “I do”, God said, “I will”. Any intimate relationship outside this context is outside of God’s will.
2:18 make him a helper comparable to him. Helper (‘ezer) is a masculine noun that comes from the verb ‘azar that means to help, succor, or support. This was what the women was to be: A man’s support system; someone to succor him in life. She is something good. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Pr.18:22).
2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird. This is a summary of day five and six of creation
2:19 and brought them to man to see what he would call them. Adam named the animals. This unique right was reserved for him as the image bearer of God. Adam had the wisdom to discern appropriate names for each kind. God enjoyed watching Adam reflect His own character, as a father would enjoy watching a child.
2:21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. Men do not have one less rib than women because God made Eve from Adam’s rib. Adam was missing a rib, but not his children. Think of it this way. If you were to cut off you finger and have a child, your child would still be born with all their fingers. So it was with the descendants of Adam and his rib.
2:22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman. While Adam slept, God was at work. Since Adam could not find a wife, God made him a wife from his own body. God took Adam’s rib and made women.
2:22 He brought her to man. This is the first marriage in the history. As a father would his daughter, God gives Eve to Adam as his bride. She was a gift from God. Whenever a man and women are joined in holy matrimony God is present. He is the unseen witness of the covenant between the two.
2:23 This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman Because she was taken out of Man. As a Groom pronounces his vows before the Minister, Adam verbally declares his allegiance to the women. He a knowledge that she completes him. And that she is given to him by God, in that she was taken out of himself and given back to him (1Cor.11:8).
2:23 She shall be called Women. Women (ishshah) has the same root as Man (iysh). Adam was acknowledging that he now had a helper comparable to him. He found his match. God is always the best matchmaker.
2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. God is speaking. (At the very least it is God commentary through Moses as he records the history.) He is pronouncing them husband and wife. The institution of marriage is close to the heart of God. It is a Covenant between a man and women. Not only are they accountable to one another, they are accountable to Him. Jesus said, “what God has joined let not man separate” (Matt.19:6). Therefore, marriage is for life. As marriage falls apart, the rug is pulled out from under the feet of society. This is what God says concerning divorce (Malachi 2:16; Matt.5:31-32; Matt.19:3-10; 1Cor.7; Eph.5:22-33; Col.3:18-19; 1Pet.3:1-7).
2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Marriage is between a man and woman before God. And sex is reserved for this Union. Adam and Eve were free of sin. The didn’t even know what nakedness was. They were unashamed. But our sin has exposed us before God. It has brought shame. Pre-marital sex and same-sex marriage are two of the shameful sins of our day. It is a violation of the most basic institution of human life.
“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.” ~ C.S. Lewis