Genesis 2
Genesis 2 Kingcomments Bible Studies

The Seventh Day

On the seventh day God rests from all His work, which is summarized in “the heavens and the earth …, and all their hosts”. “Their hosts” are all living beings that fill the heavens and the earth. God has come to His goal. Therefore He blesses and sanctifies that day.

This rest of God has come to an end through sin. In John 5 the Lord Jesus says: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (Jn 5:17; cf. Isa 43:24b). Those who believe in Christ and His work on the cross enter the sabbath rest in a spiritual way (Mt 11:28).

Yet God will reach His goal with creation also in a literal sense. In the realm of peace, when the Lord Jesus reigns, the sabbath rest (Heb 4:9) for creation, for man and for God will last for 1,000 years.

Creation Before Man Was There

In Gen 2:4 begins again a report of what happened at creation, with the addition of some new details. That is done brief. It is as it were a quick run-up to the actual subject: the human being. It is expressly stated that man is not yet there. That man is the writer’s concern is also evident from the name used for God from Gen 2:4, “LORD God”, Jahwe Elohim, that is the name that indicates His relationship with man.

Man Becomes a Living Being

This verse describes the special way in which God formed man and made him “a living being” or a living soul. The word ‘formed’ describes the work of an artist. God forms man out of the earth (1Cor 15:47a), because the whole existence of man is connected to the earth. He belongs there (Psa 115:16b). But God also connects him with Himself by breathing the breath of life into him. That’s why he stands above the animals. By it man also received an immortal soul.

By breathing in the breath of life, man changes from an outer form into a living being. This also makes him a spiritual being with the ability to serve and follow God.

Paradise with Man

In the midst of all the creation that God has already created for the benefit of man, He makes an exceptionally beautiful part where He places man. ‘Garden’ is literally a ‘garden protected by a fence’. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, uses the word ‘paradise’ in three places as an indication for artistically designed parks (Song 4:13 [orchard=paradise]; Ecc 2:5 [parks=paradise]; Neh 2:8 [forest=paradise]).

“Eden” means ‘pleasure’ or ‘highest pleasure’. That is a good name for this most beautiful place on earth, where the LORD God places man. It speaks of the abounding goodness of God for man. In a way, Eden is a picture of Israel, when we consider that from that people the Lord Jesus came forth through which the blessing flows to the whole world. He is “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42).

Paradise is a pleasure garden, where man may enjoy exuberantly, although with a certain limitation, which is given in Gen 2:17. This limitation makes paradise at the same time a testing ground for obedience to faith.

The tree of life is explicitly said to be “in the midst of the garden”, while the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is said to be also in paradise. The tree of life shows man that he has no life in himself, but that he depends on “the tree of life”. This also applies to the believer, who has no life in himself, but has it in the Son, the true tree of life. “He who has the Son has the life” (1Jn 5:12a).

The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” teaches man that he must be obedient to One Who stands above him in order to enjoy life.

A River Flows out of Paradise

A river flows out of Eden. It first waters the garden. From the garden the river divides and becomes four rivers. The number four is the number of the earth (Rev 7:1a; Rev 20:8). The river is a channel of blessing. Here we see that from the garden the blessing flows out over the whole earth. In the future, in the millennial realm of peace, a river of water of life will flow out of the direct presence of God, out of the new temple (Eze 47:1). This river will give freshness and life (Eze 47:9; Rev 22:1-2).

In these rivers we can see a picture of the refreshing and rich working of God’s Spirit, which is compared with rivers of living water (Jn 7:38-39). Thereby the believer can already spiritually enjoy what will soon be generally enjoyed on earth.

Eden is the origin of blessing for the whole earth that receives this blessing, through the river that flows out of Eden, in a fourfold way. That it is an abundant blessing is already apparent from the name of the first tributary. “Pishon” means “free flowing”, “richly flowing”, “overflowing”. This can also be said of God’s blessing for the believer, for He blessed him with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ” (Eph 1:3). It says “every” and that really is everything. It is everything God could have thought of to give His sons. That can only be rich and abundant.

The Pishon flows “around the whole land of Havilah”. ‘Havilah’ means ‘sand land’. This points to the earthly existence of man. But in that ‘sand land’ is “gold”, to which is added that this gold is “good”. Connected to the river that flows around it, it is reminiscent of the work of God’s Spirit, through which the believer, who lives in “sand land”, finds God’s Word as a “great spoil” (Psa 119:162). God’s Word is more precious than gold (Psa 19:10; Psa 119:72; 127). Gold also speaks of the glory of God and of Christ. Through the Spirit that glory is presented to us through God’s Word. That is the ‘good gold’.

In the country Havilah are also “the bdellium and the onyx stone”. Bdellium is reminiscent of the manna (Num 11:7) and therefore of the Lord Jesus as the bread of life (Jn 6:31-33). The onyx stone appears on the breastplate of the high priest (Exo 28:20) and determines us by the Lord Jesus as our High Priest in heaven.

The name of the second river is “Gihon”, which means ‘breakthrough’. This river flows through “the whole land of Cusj”. ‘Cusj’ means ‘dark colored’ or ‘black’. This is reminiscent of man in the blackness of his sins on whom the Spirit of God works to bless him. No one is excluded from this activity of God’s Spirit.

The third river is called “Tigris”, which means ‘arrow’ or ‘like an arrow’. This river flows east of Assyria. Assyria reveals himself in Scripture as a rebel against God and the enemy of God’s people (Isa 10:5; 12). But also to this hostile people comes the grace of God fast like an arrow (Isa 19:23-25).

The fourth river is called “Euphrates”, which means ‘sweetly’ or ‘sweet water’. Where it flows, is not mentioned here. The Euphrates will be the north-eastern border of Israel in the realm of peace (Gen 15:18). This again determines us by the general blessing that God has for every human being and for the whole earth. In order to participate in it, repentance and faith are necessary, but the call to participate may be made to all people, without exception.

Task and Commandment

The LORD God puts man in the garden to enjoy all that He has made for him. The word for “put” has to do with peace. God puts man in the rest of paradise. He is also given the task to cultivate the garden and to keep it.

God gives man only one commandment: He shall not eat from only one tree. By keeping this commandment, he can show that he is obedient to God. By doing so he recognizes God as his Superior. It is also the condition to continue to enjoy the blessing. Obedience is for man in all times, even now, the condition to be blessed.

Adam Gets His Wife

Before Adam feels the lack of his wife (Gen 2:20b), God has already expressed the purpose to give her to him (Gen 2:18). Adam gives the animals names. A name expresses the character of the animal. This shows the deep insight Adam has in God’s works.

The word “helper” is not a derogatory expression for the woman. God Himself is also called “help” (Psa 33:20; Psa 70:5; Psa 115:9). That she is “suitable to him” or literally “as one opposite him” means that she is also created in the image of God (Gen 1:27).

Then God gives Adam his wife. God does not do this by forming Eve out of the dust of the earth just like Adam. Then she would be independent of Adam. He forms Eve from Adam. He does not do this out of his head, for she is not his superior. Nor does he make her out of his feet, for she is not his slave. He forms her from his side. She is therefore someone of equal value, standing beside him. She is his “opposite”, as it literally says.

To be able to give Adam his wife, God puts him in a deep sleep, a death-sleep. Here we have a beautiful picture of the way in which the Lord Jesus received the church as His wife. That is through His death on the cross (Eph 5:25).

By forming Adam first and then Eve, God establishes the rank order that He wants to see maintained in creation. With this He determines that the man is the head of creation and also of the woman. Paul draws that conclusion unambiguously in his first letter to the Corinthians and his first letter to Timothy, while also indicating the purpose for which the woman was created (1Cor 11:8-9; 1Tim 2:11-13).

The Unity of Man and Woman

Adam recognizes his wife as taken from him and given to him. The conclusion of this action of God is given in Gen 2:24, which we see in the words “for this reason” at the beginning of that verse. The words of Scripture are not open to any other interpretation. God establishes the monogamous marriage between a man and a woman. It is also the only form of living together between people that is established and acknowledged by God.

The Lord Jesus refers to this when He is asked a snare question about marriage: “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created [them] from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate”” (Mt 19:4-6). Paul also refers to this beginning to prove that immorality is not permitted under any circumstances (1Cor 6:16). Just as the account of creation exposes every different theory of origin, the institution of marriage exposes every other form of living together as false and reprehensible.

Marriage is a picture of the connection between Christ and the church. We find the proof of this in the third time that Gen 2:24 is quoted in the New Testament (Eph 5:31-32). Therefore, any other form of living together is not only disobedience to the Word of God, but also a lowering of the glory of Christ. The latter is always the aim of the enemy, satan. Because for the Christian the glory of Christ is above all else, he will honor marriage (Heb 13:4).

The fact that they are “both naked” and were not ashamed indicates that there is no shadow over their connection. They deal openly with each other and with the LORD God. This is more than just the fact that here are two undressed people together. It also shows two people between whom is nothing that should not be there. They have nothing to hide from each other. They see the other as he and she is and show themselves as they are.

Some practical comments in this respect. I read in the newspaper that a terrorist had been arrested who had been able to hide from her husband and her child that she was a terrorist all the time she was married. She led a double life. Unfortunately, it is so, that in some marriages also a kind of double life is lived. That does not have to be as extreme as with this terrorist, but sometimes husband and wife live side by side each living their own life. Some people hide a lot from each other.

If that is the case with you, show yourself ‘naked’ to your partner, that is to say: tell the other person everything that concerns you, everything that you want to commit to. Share that with each other, be open toward each other. It should not be so that a woman has to guess what her husband is doing, what is going on in him. The same applies the other way around. Otherwise it may be that after a while, if it has taken long enough for each other to play hide-and-seek, one is confronted with the hard reality on a shocking way: the other leaves.

Therefore, open yourself up to the other and listen when the other person opens up for you. You will be amazed by the results. No one has ever regretted opening up to the other. On the contrary, the sigh is: ‘If only I had done it before.’

© 2023 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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