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Chapter 2

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Adam And Eve (ch. 2:4 - 25)


Chapter 1 of Genesis is an overview of creation.  Chapter 2 gets into some of the specifics of creation, and that is what is meant when the text says, "this is the account of the heavens and the earth." 


The next phrase in verse 4 calls God by a new name.  Prior to this God has been named God, that is "Elohim."   Most scholars view "Elohim" as meaning the all-powerful creator of all things.  We see Elohim used here, but we also see another word used here.  The English word is "Lord" which is translated from "Yahweh."   "Yahweh" in its basic form means "to be."  So you might say that "Lord God" means, "the One who is, the all-powerful One." 


At this point we will think a little bit about the word "Lord", or the word "Yahweh."   Again, "Yahweh" simply means "to be".  With this in mind we'll look at Exodus 3.  This is the account of the burning bush, where God speaks to Moses and tells him to lead Israel out of Egypt.  Moses is reluctant. He thinks that his fellow Jews won't believe him when he says God spoke to him and they will ask, "what is God's name." 


God answers in Exodus 3:15 by saying, "I am who I am."  That's what "Yahweh" means.  "Yahweh" is simply "I am," another way of saying "to be."


In Exodus 3:16 says that "this is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."   I won't expound on this statement here.  It's a major point to think about.   The fact of the matter is that God named Himself "Yahweh", or "I am". 


One more thing to note before we leave "Yahweh" and that's the root word of "Yahweh".  "Yahweh" comes from the Hebrew word "yah," meaning "breath, breathe, or wind."  This is interesting because that is really what God is.  He is spirit, and both the Greek and Hebrew words translated as spirit means breath, breathe or wind.  I would think that when Moses told Israel that the God of their fathers was "Yahweh," they'd understand that to mean spirit or breathe.  They'd understand that their God was not material as the polytheistic gods worshipped by pagans.


The main point to verse 5 is that in the beginning when God first created the earth, there was no plant life because He had not sent rain, and there was no humans available to work the ground.  I believe this point in the creation process is right at Genesis 1:1, where the earth was formless and empty.  As I've said previously, most scholars tend to believe that when speaking of "the surface of the deep" in Genesis 1:2, the word deep refers to water.  If this is so, then at this point in time there was no plants, no man, no rain, but the earth was covered with water, thus no need for rain.  


Another thing we might learn from verse 5 is concerning man working.  It is clear from this verse that God created man to work the fields.  I'd suggest that this work is not like the work we know today, that is strenuous work.  Strenuous work is a product of the fall as seen in Genesis 3:17.  God seems to have intended man to work, but probably man's work was to be more like God's work, and we know God's work was effortless.  He merely spoke things into existence, and He called that work.


Verse 6 my opinion really explains Genesis 1:2.  Verse  6 states that "streams came up from the earth and covered the surface of the ground."    Water covered the whole earth.  There was no need for rain, and plants could not exist until God separated the water from dry ground.     


In verse 7 we see more of the details of how God made man.  It says that He "formed man."   The word "formed" pictures someone  molding something with his hands from clay.   The Hebrew word for "man" means red, as in red earth, and that is just what God made man from as seen in verse 7.  


Man was named Adam.  Adam is a transliteration from the Hebrew word "Adam", meaning "red", suggesting that the earth man was made from was red.   It makes me wonder if man then did not have a reddish colour skin at creation.


The word "woman" is simply the feminine version of man.


The rest of verse 7 is interesting.  It reads, God "breathed into his (Adam's) nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."   The KJV, as well as other translations say "living soul" instead of "living being."   


The first thing I want to mention here is the words "breath of life".  The Hebrew word for "life" is plural, and thus means "lives'.  God breathed in Adam the "breath of lives".  You ask, what does that mean?  I think this means that when God breathed into Adam, He breathed into Adam life that would be reproduced in Adam's descendents.


This is the second point I'd like to make.  This is the picture. Some will say this is anthropomorphic while others will say this is a literal action on the part of God.  However it happened, it clearly happened.  God blew into the nostrils of man that produced life within man.  We do not see God doing the same with the animals, although you really can't argue anything from silence.  Maybe God did blow into the nostrils of animals although it is commonly thought that this blowing on the part of God is strictly with man, and not with the animals, making man special and significantly different from the animals.  One thing we can say about this is that the earth produced the animals.  In man's case, God Himself created man from the earth. 


What happened when God blew the breath of life into Adam?   It appears to me that after God formed man from dust,  He blew something of Himself into man.  Part of God actually was placed in man that caused him to come alive, completing the creation of man in the image of God.   Man was created like God, because part of God was placed in him, but man was not created as another God.  God did not duplicate Himself in man.   


When God breathed into man, something of God was placed in man, that something made man a spiritual and eternal being.  We should note as well that all animals had the breath of life in them as well.  See chapter ,1 verse 30.  In my thinking this makes animals spiritual and eternal as well.  


I need to address the words "living being" in the NIV or "living soul" in the KJV.  Those who adhere to the KJV believe this verse tells them that the totality of man is a soul.  They say this because the text states man became a living soul.  Thus they do not believe that man has a soul but is a soul.  Such thinking seems to differ from the New Testament that suggests man has a soul and is not a soul.  Some of the problem here stems from the difference between Hebrew thought and Greek thought.


The Hebrew word "nephish" is translated as "soul" in the KJV and "being" in the NIV.  "Nephesh" simply means "breath" or "wind".  "Nephesh" is clearly a non-physical word.  That being said, Adam was created a physical being.  There is no logic in thinking that once God created Adam a physical being, he then turned him into a spiritual being as the word "nephish" means.  Adam was still a physical being.  I believe God created Adam as a physical being with a spiritual component in him that came about when He breathed into him.


I will make one more point concerning this topic.  If you look up the word "nephish" in any concordance, you'll note that in many cases it's used in the New Testament sense.  That is, it is used as man having a soul, not being a soul.  So, at this point, the argument that man is a soul breaks down, even in the Old Testament.  See Exodus 30:15, Leviticus 16:29, 23:27, and Joshua 23:14 as examples.           


Verse 8 says that "the Lord God planted a garden in the east, Eden …"  The Hebrew word translated as "Eden" means "delight or pleasure."  Obviously this Garden was a pleasure to be in.  This is where God put man.  I don't believe the word "man" here should be interpreted generically, meaning mankind, that would suggest Adam and Eve.  It is quite clear from verses farther along that Eve was not yet created.  God put Adam in the garden. Verse 15 specifically says that.


In verse 9 we see that God planted all kinds of trees in this garden that were both pleasing to the eye and good to eat the fruit thereof.  Fruit trees for Food is obvious, but these trees were nice to look at.  I assume they might well have been flowering trees.  Thos we see something about creation, or what some call nature, it is good to look at and pleasing to the eye.  Creation should be something to behold, to paint, to photograph.  Creation should be pleasing to the eye, and that's partly why God created it as He did.  There's just one problem, and we'll see the details of that in the next chapter.  All of creation fell when man sinned.   Therefore creation is not what it once was, and what it once was we really don't know.  I see the new earth as seen in Revelation as possibly returning to a pre-fall earth, or maybe even better than that.


Something you might want to think about is to compare Genesis 1 and 2 with the last chapters of the book of Revelation.  At this point in the Genesis account you have a perfect earth, yet on this perfect earth is a special place of pleasure called the Garden of Eden. It appears to me that this might well have been a place where man would commune with God, a special place, a temple so to speak.  I'd like to compare the Garden of Eden the New Jerusalem at the end of Revelation.  This to is a special place on the new earth, a place where people commune with God, a temple so to speak.  This tells us something we see throughout Scripture, and that is, God wants to live among us.  Even though He is spirit he wants to live among us and He does that by His presence in a special place. It's my thinking that on the new earth we will experience the presence of God in a special place in the New Jerusalem.  We will also see Jesus as well.     


In verse 10 we note that a river provided water for the garden.  The river actually began in the Garden of Eden and from there divided into four streams.  Water is basic to all life, human included.  That might well be because prior to the creation of the earth, there might have simply been water in the universe and nothing else, which we've talked about earlier because of what Peter said in 2 Peter 3:5. 


Verses 11 through  15 state the names of the four tributaries that find its head waters in the garden.  Because of the names and locations of these rivers many have tried to figure out where the Garden of Eden was located.  Most feel it was in southern Iraq but that can't be definitive.  The difficulty is that we're not sure if the river's location are in terms of Moses day when he wrote Genesis or in terms of when Genesis 2 actually took place.  If it is the later, then the flood of Noah's time could have changed all the river systems around. If that was the case, then we have not much of an idea of the location of the Garden of Eden.


Verse 15 tells us that the Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden "so he could work it and take care of it."  This may sound surprising to some, but man was meant to work before he fell.  God wanted man to work, but this work was different before the fall than it was after.   After he worked by the sweat of his brow.  Before, he probably worked as God worked, and in my thinking, worked effortlessly.  Work was meant to be a joy.  If you remember, God told man to subdue the earth, take responsibility for the earth.  This was the work we see man doing here in the garden. 


The Hebrew word that is translated  "take care of" actually means "to watch over," as "to guard."  One might wonder why the Garden of Eden might need someone to guard.  Well, the answer might be simple.  Satan was around.  Adam needed to watch over and guard the garden from satan, but of course, he failed in this task. 


It's somewhat speculative, but one might wonder how the serpent, that's satan who was indwelt in the serpent, got in the garden.  I wonder if Adam actually let the serpent in the garden that he was supposed to guard.


In verses 16 through 17 we see the second recorded command that God gave man.  The first command was to take responsibility for the earth and subdue it, along with multiplying and filling the earth with people.  This second command is different from the first command because there is a penalty involved if not obeyed.  God commanded man by saying, "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 surely die." 


There is much to say about this command.  The first thing to note is that the command was given to Adam, and to Adam alone.  Eve was not yet created.  This is partly why Paul says that it was Eve who was deceived by satan (1 Timothy 2:14).  He does not say Adam was deceived.  The command was given to Adam directly from God.  Adam would have, or probably related this command to Eve.  So, Eve got it second hand and was deceived into sinning by satan.  Adam simply disobeyed.   He knew the command. He knew what He was doing.  He had the direct knowledge that possibly Eve did not have.


God's command begins with words of freedom and liberation.  He just doesn't say, "don't eat…"   He says "you are free…"   I believe God wanted to stress the freedom man had.  Man was created with great liberty and freedom, probably with more freedom than what we know.   There was just one thing, just one thing man wasn't free to eat.  That's not much.  You wouldn't think that would be a problem. 


The one tree in the garden that man could not eat from was "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."   Some people, more liberal scholars, and now some Emergent Church theologians suggest this is all picture language and that the tree isn't really a tree but only symbolized what God wanted Adam to know.  I believe it was a tree. 


The tree, if eaten from would provide the knowledge of what was good and what was evil.  This says a few things about good and evil.  It first says that evil was already present in the universe before Adam was given this command.  We know from our vantage point that satan had already sinned, and therefore sin already existed before Adam was created and placed in the garden.


At this point you might ask, "why did God plant the tree in the garden in the first place?"   It might make sense from a human standpoint that it would be better if the tree wasn't there.  If it wasn't there, there would be no temptation to eat from it. Merely putting the tree in the Garden might be classified as a temptation, but we know that God does not tempt man with evil (James 1:13).  I'm not sure we know the definitive answer to this question, but I do have some ideas.  Evil already existed in the spirit world.  In this spirit world where God exists we know little of, especially prior to Genesis 1.  It appears to me that all of the material creation of Genesis 1 has more to do with the relationship between God and satan than what is written.  Creation, and man unparticular would be the battle ground between God and satan, a battle that had already been in existence.  That's why the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the garden.  That's why satan was allowed in the garden.  That's why Paul speaks of our salvation as being since before the foundation of the world.  Man's fall was in the plan of God, and the redeeming of man from his fall was also in the plan of God prior to creation.   


When you think about the conversation that God and  satan had concerning Job, you have a bit of a hint about this battle.  God actually brought the subject of righteous Job up to satan.  God asked satan if he had given Job any consideration.  God placed in the mind of satan to tempt Job and to make his life miserable.  The same type of thing might well have taken place prior to creation when God was thinking of making mankind.  Thus both the tree and satan were allowed in the Garden of Eden. 


The fall of man and his subsequent salvation was predetermined before the foundation of the earth.  That's why the New Testament speaks of such salvation as being in the mind of God before creation.  It is thus clear that it was God's will for the tree of good and evil to be in the garden.  It was also His will that man should have free will.  It was also His will that satan was allowed to tempt Eve.  And it was God's will, even with free choice that man would eat from the tree.  The salvation of man has everything to do with the fall of satan and final destruction in the Lake of Fire.  So I believe as Job was pointed out to satan by God, Eve might have been pointed out by God as well.  The fall of man may have more to do with satan than what we might think.  The fall of man might have more to do with the spiritual realm and a former rebellion among the angels than what we might think.          


Another thing we know is that Adam did not know the difference between good and evil.  All was good for him.  This point raises some questions.  Does this mean that Adam only did good, and that he could do no evil.  Or, does it mean that all things that Adam did was good, weather evil or not?  That is to say, that some things that Adam  might have done were considered evil, but since he did not know they were evil, they weren't evil for him.  This might be a possibility.  I'm not saying this dogmatically.  But the one reason why I'd suggest that there might be some validity to the second question is that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they knew they were naked.  Obviously nakedness before they sinned was okay, but after they sinned it wasn't okay.  Before they sinned being naked was no problem.  It was only natural.  But as soon as they sinned, they understood that their nakedness that once was a blessing was wrong. So in the eyes of God, maybe their nakedness was wrong, but God did not want them to experience this as being wrong.  If they did not know it was wrong, then they were innocent.


The last phrase of the command is, "when you eat it, you will surely die."  God doesn't say, "if you eat", He says, "when you eat."   You might not be able to build an argument on words such as "if" or "when", but there might be a possibility that God was saying in this command that "you Adam will eat from the tree." 


The result of disobeying God's command was "death."   God said, "you will surely die."  There would be no way around this.  Death was a result of disobedience.  God could not have made it more clearer than that. Since death was a result of disobedience, it is clear that man was created not to die, but to live forever on the earth.  And that is what will happen when the new heavens and earth come into existence after the thousand years of Christ's rule on earth.  But for Adam, he was meant to live forever in a land of paradise. 


We know that Adam and Eve disobeyed.  We also know that they did not die immediately, but they did eventually die.  Eventually physical death came to both Adam and Eve, and all that came after them.  But I don't believe that physical death is the only thin man experienced because of their disobedience to God.  They experienced a spiritual death which we will see later.  They hid from God, suggesting to me that a wall had been built between them and God.  Adam was afraid of God.  Adam and Eve died spiritually.   Beyond spiritual death was relational or social death.  I believe Adam and Eves relationship was effected as well.  They discovered that they were both naked and felt compelled to clothe themselves.  Prior to this they enjoyed each others nakedness, but that was lost for good.  Adam also blamed Eve for their disobedience that shows a social problem between them. 


It is clear to me that Adam and Eve died physically, spiritually, and socially.  Man also lost something within him that provided a sense of peace and security.  We see that turmoil entered the heart of man, as seen in the first murder when Cain killed Abel.


Death and decay had entered the whole material universe at this point.  We will see later that the first animal died to cover man's nakedness.  We'll see the death of the earth as it was cursed.  Paul,  in Roman's 8 :18 to 21 tells us that all creation is eagerly waiting the day when it will be liberated from death and decay.   Death also entered into the realm of God.  Because of Adam's sin, God became man in Jesus and died as a man.  Death is seen in all sorts of ways, not just physical death of the human race.   


At this point, in verse 18 God said that it was not good for man to live alone since he had no helper in life.  God might well have been thinking about man in comparison to Himself. God was plural as seen in the word "Elohim."  Adam needed someone to be with him.  We will talk more about this in verse 20. 


In verses 19 and 20 we see some of the work that man had to do.  God told man to name all of the animals, and so he did just that.  We note again that there is a distinction between "livestock" and "beasts of the fields."  We're not exactly sure why animals are so designated into these two groups, but as said earlier, the livestock might have been pets, or possibly they got milk from these cattle.  I don't believe that pre fall man killed animals for food.  That clearly came after the flood.  See Genesis 9, 1 through 5.  Or, it might be possible that the livestock needed special care.  Maybe the wild animals could live on their own but livestock needed help. 


The last phrase of verse 20 says, "but for man, there was no suitable helper for Adam."   Here's the picture.   Adam had just named all the animals, and I'm presuming they were male and female.  He saw all these couplings of male and female animals and might have noticed that he had no partners as the animals had. He had no helper. 


Inherent in the Hebrew word that is translated as "helper" is the thought that man needed someone who could stand along side of him and provide him with help, or aid him in the things he needed to do.  We need to note here that Eve was created as a helper for Adam.  Adam was not created for Eve.  This is not socially correct in our day when woman are not seen in this light, but as Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:13 and 1 Corinthians 11:8, there is a measure of subjection the woman is placed in terms of her relationship with her husband.  Of course all this has been torn apart in the fall.  Conflict has entered into the husband and wife relationship that was never meant to be.  The sinfulness of both husband and wife has caused this once harmonious relationship to suffer.  Though Eve was subject to Adam in one way or another, there was love and compassion and no selfishness from either. 


In verses 21 and  22 we see that God put Adam into a deep sleep.  At that point God took a "rib" out of Adam and created "woman" from this rib.  The word "rib" might not be the most accurate word to use, but it is suitable for most translations.  The Hebrew word for rib simply means "side."   Woman came from man's side, just where from his side might be debatable.  But one thing is not debatable, or so I think, and that is the reason why woman came from man's side, and not his feet or anywhere else.  I believe woman came from man's side because she was meant to be "alongside" of her husband, as a helper, or co-worker.  We see something here.  Even though woman was made for man and not man for woman, woman has a certain equality with man because she stands with or beside him, and not under him.  She came from his side, and not his foot.


The last phrase of verse 23 is that God brought woman to man.  It's probably beyond our imagination to know just how or what Adam thought and felt at that moment.  I'm sure he was pleased and overwhelmed.  The one thing we know Adam said was that "she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh and would be called woman since she was taken from man."   This woman was a part of this man.  Because of this, there was a union between man and woman that would not be seen between male and female animals.  As far as we know, male and female animals were created separately.  That is most likely why they have multiple mates, but not so with man and woman.  Eve was created specifically for Adam.  She came from Adam, and therefore Adam and Eve were meant to be perfectly united in all aspects of life, something that was destroyed in the fall. 


Jesus spoke of verse 24 in Matthew 19.  It is for this reason, because woman was taken from man, that men and women would leave their father and mother to be joined in one flesh with each other, and I mean one man to one woman for one whole lifetime.  Once again, when verse 24 says, "for this reason",  the reason why God instituted marriage was because woman came from man, and in one real sense of the word woman would return to man in marriage.


The woman became to be known as Eve.  "Eve" means "life."  Eve's name thus suggests that she is the giver of life, that is human life.   


Verse 24 says, "for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh". The Greek word "dabaq" that is translated as "united" here means "to glue".  The marriage of a man to one female wife as seen in creation was to be permanent.  They were to be glued together for life.  The reason for this is because, as I've said,  woman came from man.  Adam said that the woman God created for him "was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh", and it was for this reason why a man should be blued to his wife.  In other words, man wanted back what God had taken from him.  It's important to know that this Greek word here plainly suggests that marriage was meant to be forever.  Divorce was not considered when God created man and woman.


Verse 25 says "that the man and woman were both naked, and they felt no shame."  We alluded to this earlier.  Did they experience no shame because even though it was shameful, they did not know it was shameful?  This is a hard question to answer.  Whatever the case, they did not experience any shame before the fall, but it is clear they did after the fall, after they sinned.  Sin disrupted the pleasure of men and woman experiencing nakedness without shame.  In my thinking, the whole sexual relationship between husband and wife took a real hit at the fall.  What we experience now, as pleasurable as it may be, is nothing like it was meant to be. 


One last thought before we leave this chapter.  Men and women experienced no shame from their nakedness before the fall, but they did after the fall.  As time goes on, it appears that men and woman are losing any sense of shame concerning nakedness. 


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