Genesis

Chapter 2



   In the first chapter of Genesis, we have been told the sequence of events that accomplished the creation of the universe in the first verse and from there the creation of life during six days.  Time as seen by God which has nothing to do with our calendar or clocks.   We have also been able to uncover the spiritual values relating to this magnificent undertaking by the Almighty.   The first chapter of creation focuses on the overall creation right down to its completion including Adam and Eve.    The second chapter now reiterates this creation of life particularly mankind.   This, as we will see, has to do with the purpose of God or the reason behind it all.    Chapter two of Genesis now details the creation of mankind spoken of within the first chapter, and begins with the first four verses, reiterating or summarizing chapter one; making it clear it is still the same subject being dealt with.

Gen 2:1-4  

           1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.

          2 And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

          3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

          4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. (NAS)

    Again it should be pointed out that the word day in verse four above, is the Hebrew word "Beyowm", which specifies an undefined period. The Hebrew word "Yome" would be specifying 24 hours or an undefined time period depending on what the word was associated with.   "Beyowm" is using the word "Day" just as we would in English if we were to say "In George Washington’s day" or "The day of the dinosaur," both of which, by the way, would be speaking of two extremely different lengths of time.

    The differences between the words "Yowm" and "Beyowm" are important in understanding that both verses, 2 above, and verse 4 above, are relating to the same time or age.   Therefore, the Bible is not, in anyway, contradicting itself.   However, without this understanding it could lead to confusion.   For instance the translators of the New International Version were confused by this seemingly contradiction of six days lumped into a single day, so in their translation they left the word "Day" out.   The translators of the Good News Version were so confused by it they left the whole verse out.   This semantic confusion can be shown also in verse four.

    The King James Version says "These are the generations of…"

    The Septuagint Version says "This is the genealogy of…"

    The New American Standard renders it "This is the account of…"

    Nonetheless, in spite of semantics and differences of translation the message of the first three chapters of Genesis remains the same. Which is, of course, "This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created…" (NKJV)   The point of the above is to show that God does not rely on semantics or man's translations to get His message across.   As has been said before, God had a purpose behind creating mankind and it on this that the second chapter of Genesis focuses.

Genesis 2:5  

Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

    Is God saying that it never rained on the earth at that time?

    Yes! That is exactly what is being said.   If this sounds strange to you then get a terrarium and you will find that once you have supplied the water and sealed the case, you never have to water the plants inside again.    The earth at that time was sealed inside by the waters that were above the expanse and the waters below the expanse. (Gen 1:6,7)

This is confirmed by the next verse:

Gen 2:6  

But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

    Notice also in verse 5 that "There was no man to cultivate the ground."

    Well, here is the first of the reasons stated for the creation of man. There is a far more important reason, which we shall get to as we go.   Just the same, one of the reasons was to cultivate the earth.   This is also a good place to note that from here on the order of creation is not being stated.   That has already been taken care of in chapter one.   Rather it is a statement of facts relative to mankind.  Verse seven relates directly to verse 5.

                                                              Gen 2:7 

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 soul.
KJV

    Notice it says man became a living soul.  It does not say that he was given a soul as something separate and distinct from the life or nephesh that God breathed into his nostrils.   The word "Soul" in this scripture comes from the Hebrew word "Nephesh". Let us look at that word in Strong’s dictionary.

    5315 nephesh (neh'-fesh);

    From 5314; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental)

    5314 naphash (naw-fash)

    a primitive root, to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon i.e. (figuratively) refreshed ( as if by a current of air)

    In short, God gave this dust or combination of elements the ability to breathe and live.   Adam was given the power to function as a living human being.   Again it is important to note here that God did not give man a separate being or soul but that man became a living being or soul.   Look up the word soul in a concordance and you will find that, amongst many other things, the soul can be eaten by a lion, burned by a fire, cut by a sword, in fact in Ezekiel we learn that a sinful soul dies.

Ezek 18:4  

"Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die. (NAS)

    We will not get into the religious concept that teaches man has an immortal soul here.  In all the Bible the only thing you will find immortal is the Creator God Almighty.  If this interests you, there is a page in the Bible Probe entitled "Immortal soul" which you can read. 

    However, if man had been given an immortal soul in verse 7, as religions claim, it would not only conflict drastically with scriptures in the third chapter of Genesis and the rest of the Word, but, would also be making God a liar in his Word.   For something immortal literally means that it cannot die and the scripture above is God definitely stating that the "Soul that sins will die."

    Nonetheless, now that man has been created, we are told by the Word in Genesis chapter two where this all took place on the earth.

Gen 2:8-9 

8 And the LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

9 And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (NAS)

    If one reads verse 8 carefully, you will see that man was placed in this garden which means the garden was already there when man was created.  Something should also be noted about verse nine.  "God caused to grow every tree…"   The use of tree here is plural from the context of the sentence, which is also pointing out the singularity of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    The Word goes to great pains here to establish exactly where, geographically, this garden was.  Unfortunately, through both the ravages of time and the deluge of the flood, all trace of two of these tributaries, Pishon and Gihon, from the main source or river that supplied the land of Eden, are gone.  Nor, for that matter, do we know that the remaining two, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are following exactly the paths set for them at the time of Adam and Eve. Since this is true of the garden within Eden also, the references to the location of the garden is now mute.   There are many speculations concerning these waterways. However, most all historians place the location of the garden in the area at Mesopotamia.   Most all authorities on languages place the origin of all languages in this area as well.

Gen 2:10-14  

10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.

 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.

12 And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.

 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.

 14 And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. NAS

    The value today of knowing the above verses makes it clear the Garden of Eden was well-watered and well suitable for vegetation.

Gen 2:15  

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. NAS

    It is more than evident from the narrative so far, that man was favored with the best the earth could produce.  That man had been given a job to do which was to cultivate the earth.  It is also evident from the next verses that right from the top, he had but one command to follow.

Gen 2:16-17  

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;

17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." (NAS)

    There are a number of things to be noted about the above scriptures.  First, it was not a request or a suggestion by God that Adam refrain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.   It was a command!  "And the Lord God commanded the man saying…"

    Second, this had nothing to do with the food value of the tree for we are told in verse 9 that all the trees "Were good for food".   So, we are not speaking of something poisonous by the tree itself to the physical body, dietetically.

    Since this is the case, the result of death for disobeying this command of God must have come from some other source.   Which, of course it did, and we will go into that in detail in chapter three of Genesis, but the point here is death was not from a physical reaction to the fruit of this forbidden tree.

    Physical death resulted from a spiritual action, in the form of a curse by God, against both the physical earth and Adam and Eve.  We will learn about this in chapter three of Genesis.  This is mentioned because various religions have come up with a theory that it was Adam and Eve’s soul that died that day.

    It would also have meant that their lives would have ceased that same day because, as we have learned, their "being, soul," or "Nephesh" literally means the ability to live.   If that Nephesh had been taken back by God at that time, then the flesh of their bodies would have returned to the dust they came from. Now we know this did not happen, at that time, because Gen 5:5 tells us Adam lived to be 930 years old.

    The truth is even though Adam lived for 930 years he did not live one full day as far as God was concerned for 2 Peter 3: 8 tells us a thousand years are but a day to God.  Therefore in the eyes of God Adam although 930 years old died the day he was born.  It is also interesting that God allowed him to live almost the full day.

    There is also something that should be noted here about the two trees.  One the tree of life, and two the tree of knowledge of good and evil, is that God put them in the midst of the garden for very specific reasons. The tree of life is self-explanatory.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil was there for two reasons.   1. The enlightenment of man!   2. As a spiritual test!   Not only for man but also for his whole heavenly host of angels.

Deut 13:3  you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. (NIV)

    God tests everything! He even tested His only begotten Son, Christ.   Why?  Because built into all, Christ, man and angel are the freedom to choose, or what is referred to as free will.   However, the main reason for the tree of knowledge of good and evil was to allow mankind to understand what evil was.   It is not wrong to know what evil is.   But, it most certainly is wrong, to do evil. In other words, this tree was there for a specific purpose that was good, not evil.   The Septuagint Version of the Bible one of the oldest versions known states this verse in a much clearer manner.

Gen 2:17 

but from this tree that you may know good and evil, you must not eat of it…" (Septuagint Version)

    Notice "...That you may know…" This tree was not there as a trap or a temptation.   The tree of knowledge of Good and Evil was there for the righteous reason of supplying man with the knowledge of the difference between good and evil.

    Why then, did God command that man should not touch this tree?    Simply put, it was because God knew that man was not yet ready for this information.   Mankind, at this point in creation, had not yet learned to control his actions concerning right and wrong.   This will also be verified in chapter three of Genesis.   In fact, in all of mankind’s long history of wars, murder, and mayhem, he has still not learned to control his actions in regard to doing what is right or what is wrong.

    Also, it should be noted here, that the command, "don’t eat this fruit or you will die" was the end of the discussion by God.  There were no ifs, ands or buts about it.   The next verse takes us into a different topic as if punctuating the importance of obeying that command.

Gen 2:18  

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." (NAS)

    God explains why man was given a helper. He also points out in the next verse that man was created with dominion over all the beasts of the earth.

Gen 2:19  

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought {them} to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. (NAS)

    Actually, the NIV makes verse 19 easier to understand in context.    It states the above verse as "Now the LORD God had formed…"

    Again, the order of creation is not being stressed here but the relationship of man to earth and earth to man, and the difference of man as God saw him from the rest of the creatures on the planet.

Gen 2:20  

And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. (NAS)

    The Septuagint Version renders the above as "…But for Adam there was not found a helper like himself."

Gen 2:21-22  

21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.

22  And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib, which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (NAS)

    Again, the Septuagint Version is a little more explicit about this passage and fills in a bit more information on the topic:

Gen 2:21-22

21 Then God brought an ecstasy upon Adam and caused him to sleep, and took one of his ribs and filled up flesh instead thereof.

22 And God built up the rib, which He took from Adam, into a woman, and brought her to Adam. (Septuagint Version)

    This was the final act of God in creation of the creatures of the earth.   It was now complete with everything reproducing, just as the Bible says, after its own kind.   Now within that context, a white cat and a black cat can produce a gray cat, a big cat, a small cat, a fast cat, a fat cat, and every kind of cat one could imagine. However, no matter what kind of cat is reproduced, they always remain cats. That is a provable fact, not theory. Also, something else stands out in all this with the creation of Eve as a mate for Adam.   God established the family of man, along with marriage.

Gen 2:23  

And the man 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." (NAS)

    The Septuagint says, "…was taken out of HER man." This is a bit more descriptive in relation to the next verse:

                                                               Gen 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. KJV

    It is clear from the above verses that marriage, which produces a family, is the intent and purpose behind mankind, along with the duty of having dominion over the earth and cultivating it.  Why is this being said?  Husband and wife become one flesh.   Now does a man and woman literally become one flesh?   No, in spite of the fact this was true in the case of Adam and Eve because she was built up from one of his ribs. Still, a man and a woman that marry produce children that are of one flesh from both the father and the mother. This, of course, is the physical side of it all.

    The spiritual side goes even deeper and is more promising than merely a life on earth.   This all reveals itself through the rest of the Word although at this point in the Bible it is only hinted at.   That hint comes from the next verse:

Gen 2:25  

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (NAS)



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