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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Genesis 2

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Creation Completed;
Adam in the Garden of Eden

A. The completion of creation.

1. (Gen 2:1-3) The seventh day of creation.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And 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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

a. And He rested on the seventh day: God did not need rest on the seventh day because He was tired. He rested to show His creating work was done, to give a pattern to man regarding the structure of time (in seven-day weeks), and to give an example of the blessing of rest to man on the seventh day.

i. The seven-day week is permanently ingrained in man. Though some through history tried to change the seven-day week (a ten-day week was attempted during the French Revolution), those attempts have come to nothing. We are on a seven-day cycle because God is on a seven-day cycle.

b. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: God sanctified the seventh day because it was a gift to man for rest and replenishment, and most of all because the Sabbath is a shadow of the rest available through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

i. Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11 make it clear that Christians are not under obligation to observe the Sabbath today, because Jesus fulfilled the purpose and plan of the Sabbath for us and in us (Hebrews 4:9-11). Yet Christians do not lose the Sabbath; every day is a day of rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Every day is specially set apart to God.

ii. Though we are free from the legal obligation of the Sabbath, we dare not ignore the importance of a day of rest. God has built us so we need one. But we are also commanded to work six days. “He who idles his time away in the six days is equally culpable in the sight of God as he who works on the seventh.” (Clarke) In our modern world of four or five day workweeks and generous vacation time, surely more “leisure time” can be given to the work of the Lord.

c. In it He rested from all His work: Though God rested on the seventh day of creation, He did not institute the Sabbath or show us His rest for His own sake. God does not take the Sabbath off. Jesus Himself said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). God does not need a day off, but man needs to see the rest of God and know he can enter into it by the finished work of Jesus.

i. The description of each other day of creation ended with the phrase, “so the evening and the morning were the…day.” However, this seventh day of creation does not have that phrase. This is because God’s rest for us isn’t confined to one literal day. In Jesus, God has an eternal Sabbath rest for His people (Hebrews 4:9-11).

ii. “God, having completed His work of creation, rests, as if to say, ‘This is the destiny of those who are My people; to rest as I rest, to rest in Me.’ ” (Boice)

2. (Gen 2:4-7) The history of the heavens and the earth.

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, before 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; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. 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.

a. This is the history of the heavens and the earth: This probably ends the “genealogy” of the heavens and the earth, a history given directly by God to either Moses or Adam, recording the history of God’s seven-day creation. This was something no human was present to witness.

b. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens: This is the first use of Lord (Yahweh) in the Bible. Our English word Lord comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for bread (as does our word loaf), because ancient English men of high stature would keep a continual open house, where all could come and get bread to eat. They gained the honorable title of lords, meaning “dispensers of bread.”

c. Before any plant of the field was in the earth: This history begins before there was any vegetation on the earth at all (back to Genesis 1:1), a time when there was only space and a watery globe we know as the earth.

d. The Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth: When God first created vegetation (on the third day of creation, Genesis 1:11-13), man was not yet created to care for the vegetation of the earth, and there was no rain. The thick blanket of water vapor in the outer atmosphere created on the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8) made for no rain cycle (as we know it) but for a rich system of evaporation and condensation, resulting in heavy dew or ground-fog.

e. The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground: When God created man He made him out of the most basic elements, the dust of the ground. There is nothing “spectacular” in what man is made of, only in the way those basic things are organized.

i. When the Bible speaks of dust, it means something of little worth, associated with lowliness and humility (Genesis 18:27; 1 Samuel 2:8; 1 Kings 16:2). In the Bible, dust isn’t evil and it isn’t nothing; but it is next to nothing.

f. And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being: With this Divine breath man became a living being, like other forms of animal life (the term chay nephesh is used in Genesis 1:21, 1:24, and here). Yet only man is a living being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

i. The word for breath in Hebrew is ruach – the word imitates the very sound of breath – is the same word for Spirit, as is the case in both ancient Greek (pneuma) and Latin (spiritus). God created man by putting His breath, His Spirit, within him.

ii. “The implication, readily seen by any Hebrew reader, [is] that man was specially created by God’s breathing some of His own breath into him.” (Boice)

iii. The King James Version reads: man became a living soul. This makes some wonder if man is a soul, or if man has a soul. This passage seems to indicate that man is a soul, while passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12 seem to indicate that man has a soul. It seems that the Scripture speaks in both ways, and uses the term in different ways and in different contexts.

B. Adam in the Garden of Eden.

1. (Gen 2:8-9) Two trees in the Garden of Eden.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And 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.

a. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden: Eden was a garden specifically planted by God; it was a place God made to be a perfect habitation for Adam (and later, Eve).

b. There he put the man whom He had formed: The details in the creation of Adam and Eve teach us something. After reading Genesis 1, we might have assumed that man and woman were made at the same time, but the text doesn’t specifically say so. We assume it. We don’t know the details about man’s creation until Genesis 2.

c. Out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow: The rest of Genesis chapter 2 does not present a different or contradictory account of creation. Rather, it is probably the history of creation from Adam’s perspective. This is Adam’s experience of creation, which does not contradict the account of Genesis 1:1-2:7 – it fills it out.

i. In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus refered to events in Genesis 1 and to events in Genesis 2 as one harmonious account.

d. The tree of life…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: These two trees were among all the other trees God created and put in the Garden of Eden.

i. The tree of life was to grant (or to sustain) eternal life (Genesis 3:22). God still has a tree of life available to the His people (Revelation 2:7), which is in heaven (Revelation 22:2).

ii. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the “temptation” tree. Eating the fruit of this tree would give Adam an experiential knowledge of good and evil. Or, it is possible that it is called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil not so man would know good and evil, but so God could test good and evil in man.

2. (Gen 2:10-14) Rivers in the Garden.

Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

a. Now a river went out of Eden: The whole feel of this account gives the sense that it was written by an actual eyewitness of the rivers and surroundings. Adam probably wrote this himself.

b. The name of the first is Pishon: These rivers are given specific names which answer to names of rivers known in either their modern or ancient world. However, the names of these rivers can’t be used to determine the place of the Garden of Eden because the flood dramatically changed the earth’s landscape and “erased” these rivers.

i. We know modern rivers today such as the Tigris or Euphrates because some rivers in the post-flood world were named after familiar pre-flood rivers by Noah and his sons.

3. (Gen 2:15-17) God’s command to Adam.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but 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.”

a. Put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it: God put Adam into the most spectacular paradise the world has seen, but God put Adam there to do work (to tend and keep it). Work is something good for man and was part of Adam’s perfect existence before the fall.

i. “The ideal state of sinless man is not one of indolence without responsibility. Work and duty belong to the perfect state.” (Leupold)

b. Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat: The presence of this tree – the presence of a choice for Adam – was good because for Adam to be a creature of free will, there had to be a choice, some opportunity to rebel against God. If there is never a command or never something forbidden there can then never be choice. God wants our love and obedience to Him to be the love and obedience of choice.

i. Considering all that, look at Adam’s advantages. He only had one way he could sin and we have countless ways. There are many trees of temptation in our lives, but Adam had only one.

ii. God made this command originally to Adam, not to Eve; God had not yet brought woman out of man.

c. In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die: God not only made His command clear to Adam, but He also clearly explained the consequences for disobedience.

C. God creates the first woman.

1. (Gen 2:18) God declares He will make a helper comparable to Adam.

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

a. It is not good that man should be alone: For the first time, God saw something that was not good – the aloneness of man. God never intended for man to be alone, either in the marital or social sense.

i. Marriage, in particular, has a blessed “civilizing” influence on man. The most wild, violent, sociopathic men in history have always been single, never under the plan God gave to influence men for good. This is not good!

b. I will make him a helper comparable to him: God’s “blueprint” for creating this companion to Adam was to make a helper comparable to Adam.

i. Different versions of the Bible translate this idea in a variety of ways, but the idea is essentially the same in each of them:

· Helper meet (suitable, adapted, completing) (Amplified)
· A companion … a helper suited to his needs (Living)
· A helper such as he needs (Beck)
· A helper correspondent to himself (Septuagint Bible)
· A helper suitable (NIV, NASB)
· A help meet for him (KJV)

c. A helper comparable: In reference to the marriage relationship, God created woman to be a perfectly suitable helper to the man. This means God gave the plan and agenda to Adam, and he and the woman together work to fulfill it.

i. The phrase “in reference to the marriage relationship” is used because God has not ordained women to be helpers to men in authority (instead of being in authority themselves), except in marriage and in the church (1 Timothy 2:12-13).

ii. God gives to man the responsibility (and the accountability) to be the leader in the home and gives to the woman the responsibility and the accountability to help him.

iii. This does not mean there is to be no help from the man to the woman (though in many cases this is sadly true). It means when God looks down from heaven upon the family, He sees a man in leadership, good or bad, faithful or not, to the calling of leadership. A true leader will, of course, help those helping him.

iv. We only see “helping” as a position of inferiority when we think like the world thinks. God considers positions of service as most important in His sight (Matthew 20:25-28).

d. A helper comparable: Not only was the woman to be a helper, but also she was made comparable to the man. She should be considered and honored as such. A woman or wife cannot be regarded as a mere tool or worker, but as an equal partner in God’s grace and an equal human being.

2. (Gen 2:19-20) No helper was found comparable for Adam among the animals.

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. So 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.

a. Brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: If Adam had the capability to intelligently name all the animals, it shows he was a brilliant man. Since at this time Adam’s intellect had not yet suffered from the fall, he was probably the most brilliant man who ever lived. Adam was the first and greatest of all biologists and botanists.

b. So Adam gave names: Adam did not name any other animal after himself, calling any other animal “man” or “human.” By this, we see he understood that he was essentially different from all the animals. They were not made in the image of God.

i. Mark Twain had a joke where he described Adam coming home to Eve after naming all the animals. Eve looked at an elephant and said, “What did you name that big animal?” Adam replied, “I called it an elephant.” Eve asked, “Why did you call it an elephant?” Adam answered, “Because it looked like an elephant!”

c. But for Adam there was not found a helper: It was obvious to Adam that the animals came in pairs and he had no mate. Since God deliberately had Adam name the animals after seeing his need for a partner (Genesis 2:18), God used this to prepare Adam to receive the gift of woman.

3. (Gen 2:21-22) God makes the first woman from Adam’s side.

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. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

a. God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam: This is the first surgery recorded in history. God even used a proper anesthetic on Adam.

b. The rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman: God used Adam’s own body to create Eve to forever remind him of their essential oneness. As Adam came to know Eve he would see many ways that they were different, but he must never forget that they are essentially one and that they are made of the same substance. They are more alike than they are different.

i. We don’t really know exactly what God took from Adam’s side to make Eve, and it doesn’t really matter. Modern research into cloning and genetic replication shows every cell in our body contains the body’s entire genetic blueprint. God took some of Adam’s cells and changed their genetic blueprint in the creation of Eve. Nevertheless, the story that women have one more rib than men because of the way Eve was created is a myth.

ii. We also know the Bride of Christ comes from the wound made in the side of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

iii. There is a beautiful Jewish tradition saying God made woman, not out of man’s foot to be under him, nor out of his head to be over him, but “She was taken from under his arm that he might protect her and from next to his heart that he might love her.” (Barnhouse)

c. He made into a woman: It is important to realize that there are not two beginnings to the human race, one in Adam and one in Eve. There was one beginning of the human race in Adam.

d. And He brought her to the man: God brought Eve to Adam and created Eve out of Adam. He was first – the source and the head. She was created to be a helper perfectly suited to him. Thus the subordinate relationship of wives to husbands is found before the curse, not only after it.

4. (Gen 2:23) Adam’s brilliant understanding of who Eve is and how she is related to him.

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.”

a. This is now bone of my bones: Adam recognized that Eve was both like him (bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh) and not like him (woman…taken out of man).

b. Flesh of my flesh: Adam understood the essential oneness in his relationship with Eve. This point is so important that it is referred to several times in the New Testament, including the great marriage passage in Ephesians 5:28-29: so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:28-29).

i. No one walks into a room and seeks the most uncomfortable seat. The natural concern we have for ourselves causes us to take care of ourselves. In a healthy marriage relationship the husband realizes the essential union he has with his wife, that he cannot bless her without blessing himself and he cannot mistreat or neglect her without mistreating or neglecting himself.

c. She was taken out of Man: Adam recognized that though he and Eve were one, she was not the same as him. He understood that two different people were becoming one. 1 Peter 3:7 tells husbands to recognize that they are one with someone different, someone whom they must understand: Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel.

i. If men and women are different, are they equal? Elisabeth Elliot, quoted in Boice: “In what sense is red equal to blue? They are equal only in the sense that both are colors in the spectrum. Apart from that they are different. In what sense is hot equal to cold? They are both temperatures, but beyond this it is almost meaningless to talk about equality.”

d. She shall be called woman: “Woman has been defined by many as compounded for wo and man, as if called man’s wo because she tempted him to eat the forbidden fruit; but this is no meaning of the original word, nor could it be intended, as the transgression was not then committed.” (Clarke)

5. (Gen 2:24-25) The marriage of Adam and Eve.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

a. They shall become one flesh: The marriage principle stated here is based upon the dynamic of oneness yet distinction. A man and wife can truly come together in a one-flesh relationship, yet they must be joined. It is a spiritual fact, but the benefits of that oneness are not appropriated by accident or by chance.

b. They shall become one flesh: This passage forms the foundation for the Bible’s understanding of marriage and family. Both Jesus (Matthew 19: 5) and Paul (Ephesians 5:31) quoted it in reference to marriage.

i. “The institution of monogamous marriage, home, and family as the basic medium for the propagation of the race and the training of the young is so common to human history that people seldom pause to reflect on how or why such a custom came into being.” (Morris)

ii. Many want to believe that the monogamous, two-parent family was invented in the 1950’s by American television icons Ozzie and Harriet, but Adam and Eve are the original family. This is God’s ideal family. This isn’t polygamy. This isn’t concubinage. This isn’t the keeping of mistresses. This isn’t adultery. This isn’t homosexual co-habitation. This isn’t promiscuity. This isn’t living together outside the marriage bond. This isn’t serial marriage. This is God’s ideal for the family, and even when we don’t live up to it, it is still important to set it forth as God’s ideal.

c. One flesh: The idea of one flesh is taken by many to be mainly a way of expressing sexual union. While sexual union is certainly related to the idea of one flesh, it is only one part of what it means to be one flesh. There are also important spiritual dimensions to one flesh.

i. Paul makes it clear the sexual union has one flesh implications even when we don’t intend so, as when a man has sex with a prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:16). Husband and wife become “one flesh” under God’s blessing. In extramarital sex, the partners become “one flesh” under God’s curse.

ii. In this sense, there is no such thing as “casual sex.” Every sexual relationship at least begins a one-flesh bond. The bond will either be something beautiful (like the beautiful dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) or it will be something grotesque (like Siamese twins).

iii. It depends on whether the bonding takes place in a relationship with the right conditions: committed love, demonstrated by the marriage commitment, and a pursuit of true intimacy. Just because sex is taking place in marriage doesn’t mean it is truly fulfilling God’s purpose of bonding together a one-flesh relationship.

d. They shall become one flesh: Though an initial bond in a one flesh relationship can be formed at the first sexual relationship a couple has, the fullness of what God wants to do in the one flesh relationship takes time. It has to become.

e. They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed: Before the fall, Adam and Eve were both naked … and not ashamed. The idea of “nakedness” is far more than mere nudity. It has the sense of being totally open and exposed as a person before God and man. To be naked…and not ashamed means you have no sin, nothing to be rightly ashamed of, nothing to hide.

i. Adam and Eve knew they were physically naked – nude – before the fall. What they did not know was a sinful, fallen condition, because they were not in that condition before their rebellion.

ii. We often feel uncomfortable when someone stares at us. This is because we associate staring with prying, and we don’t want people to pry into our lives. We want to remain hidden and only reveal to other people what we want to reveal.

iii. When we want to be most attractive to someone else, we do the most to change our normal appearance. We have the thought, “If I really want to impress this person, I have to fix myself up.” None of this feeling was present with Adam and Eve when they were naked…and not ashamed.

©2013 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission
[A previous revision of this page can be found here]

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