Our passage today is Genesis 2:4-25.
There is an overlap between Genesis 1 and 2. We were reading about the creation of universe but today we are concentrating on the creation of human beings. We touched on this yesterday (1:26-30), so the bulk of chapter 2 is a retelling with more information of the events of the sixth day (1:24-31). As with the chapter 1, we could spend a month looking at the content here but I’ve limited it to a few points;
- The Lord God. We see the creator as the ‘Lord God’ eleven times in this section. Previously he was ‘God’ from the Hebrew ‘Elohim’. This is a name that speaks of God’s great power. In Chapter 1 we read; ‘And God said…’ he imposed his order on the chaos. In 2:4 he is ‘Yahweh Elohim’ (Lord God). This is the first time in scripture we read of ‘Yahweh’, it occurs 5,786 times in the Old Testament and it is God’s personal covenant name. it shows that the God of great power is also the God who relates to human beings.
- From the dust of the ground. It isn’t saying that God made the first man as a sort of Morph figure would be made of play dough. It means that God used the materials found on earth to form a man. It’s possible to work out the value of the oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen. Calcium and phosphorus etc. in your body and it adds up to a few pounds but God took ordinary things and made something extraordinary.
- The breath of life. Only God can give life, scientist can play about with living cells and do amazing things but they cannot create a living thing. Human beings are different from animals in many ways but crucially, the life we have is different in that we can relate to God.
- Planted a garden. God prepared a place for the man. He gave him responsibilities; to work the ground, take care of it (2:15) and to rule over creation under God (1:28). There were boundaries as well; he was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
- It is not good. After the repetition of chapter 1 it seems strange that God should see something in his beautiful creation that wasn’t good but there it is in verse 18. ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’. This reveals a wonderful truth; we are not made to be alone. God is a relational being; he dwells eternally in a beautiful relationship of Father, Son and Spirit and as we are made in his image, it isn’t surprising that we do not cope well with loneliness. We are not all called to be married, Jesus wasn’t and Paul it seems was single, but we are called to live in meaningful relationships. That’s where the church should come in.
- A helper suitable for him. I’ve heard people say that because the woman was a ‘helper’ for the man, there is some sort of implied inferiority. I’m happy to say that is definitely not the case. The Hebrew word used here is; ‘ezer’ and it is found 19 times elsewhere in the Old Testament. In the vast majority of times (15), it is used to describe God himself;
“My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.” (Exodus 18:4)
“He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword” (Deuteronomy 33:29)
“You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.” (Psalm 70:5)
There are many more examples but it’s clear the word caries no implied inferiority. In chapter 1 we saw that God created male and female in his image (1:27) and blessed both male and female and called them both to rule;
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (1:28)
- They felt no shame. There is a lovely innocence here. Man and woman in relationship with God and with each other, in the place where God had placed them.
When the first light brightened the dark
Before the breaking of the human heart
There was You and there was me
Innocence was all I knew
‘Cause all I had to know was You
We were running underneath the trees
I wanna see you face to face
Where being in your arms is the permanent state
I want it like it was back then
I wanna be in Eden (Eden – Phil Wickham)