Genesis 2

1 God is finished with His work of creation. Only in a very few instances to we see God further intervening in history with an act of creation (Exo 17:6, Mat 14:17).
2 God does not get tired in the way that we get tired. The rest God took here was to sit back and enjoy His creation. In a sense, He "stopped to smell the roses."
3 If God sets aside time when He takes a rest of satisfaction, how much more should His creation (after all, even in a perfect condition, we are much less than He).

To "sanctify" means to set apart. The seventh day (now Saturday) was to be a weekly holiday commemorating God's finished work of creation. After Christ came, Christians observe the first day of the week (Sunday) as a weekly holiday commemorating God's finished work of salvation (i.e., Jesus Christ being raised from the dead).

4 This marks the end of the first record of creation. This record may have been written down by God Himself and given to Adam. An excellent explanation of the structure of Genesis is found in Marvin Lubenow's book Bones of contention.

Some people have claimed that the next section gives a different and conflicting account of creation. However, closer examination reveals that is not the case. The next section is probably Adam's written record recounting creation and his earliest days.

Those who protest that writing was not developed until later in human history would have to contend with Gen 5:1. It is reasonable to think that when God created a man with a complete language He could have given him the ability to write as well. It could be contended that man was created with a perfect brain and would not have any problems with "forgetting" anything. While true, another use of writing is to communicate with people without having to speak to them face-to-face or with a messenger. In addition, Adam may have written this account after it became apparent that he would die, and that his descendents would forget the early days either deliberately or because of the corruption of the brain.

5 Some claim that this verse contradicts the previous verses that indicate that plant life was created before man. However, here it appears that specific plants "of the field" are referred to. This might be an idiom referring to farmed fields, as indicated by the phrase "no man to till the ground."

The phrase indicating that there was no rain on the earth is commonly taken to mean that there was no rainfall from the time of creation until the flood.

This and the following verse may be a transition placed between these records by Moses as he edited Genesis. Since what follows is the written record of Adam, and Adam would not have known what rain is, then these two verses would have been added in by the editor, Moses, to help the post-flood people have a glimpse of the past. Moses may have received this information either by another verbal or written source, or as a direct revelation of God.

In the same sense, farms are only necessary with scarcity of resources. In the beginning, there would be no scarcity of water or fertile fields, but after the flood, only a portion of the earth was suitable for growing food. Those that were suitable would have been used exclusively and intensively to grow what was left of edible and desirable plants.

6 While the word "mist" is plausible, some prefer that "streams" should be used. The original word could be translated either way. Both ways are also probably. It is commonly accepted that pre-flood earth was warm and humid. Since there were cycles of daily "coolness," it is possible that large quantities of water would condense as dew each evening, completing the water cycle without the need for rain. However, it is also equally probable that a large number of natural springs were available to irrigate the entire continent.
7 This would then start Adam's written record. The first thing Adam remembers is being created. God probably told him that he was formed from the earth and that God Himself breathed life into him. Adam has "self-realization," in that he recognizes that he is alive. This could be considered a property of having God's image.

One can buy all the chemicals that compose a human body for a relatively small sum of money ("dirt cheap," if you will). What makes us valuable is that we are living beings that bear the image of God.

Life does not come from dust. There is no "spontaneous generation" in the Bible. Life comes from God.

8 The next thing that Adam recalls is being placed in a special garden planted by God Himself. Note that the garden appears to have definite boundaries. What defines a garden is the deliberate arrangement of plants. God did not show this same deliberate arrangement on the rest of the continent. I suspect that God was showing Adam a pattern that would take work to maintain and expand. This would be Adam's job.

As a side note, it would appear that there is "entropy" in the original creation. Entropy is a technical term that describes the tendency of things to go from organized to unorganized in the absence of maintenance. Some creationists contend that entropy did not start until corruption entered the earth through man's sin (Rom 5:12). However, God ordained food to maintain the body, and work was ordained to maintain the garden.

However, it is also known that this entropy would not lead to death and corruption until after sin. Thus, it appears that entropy was present, but controlled in the beginning (see next verse). While entropy was a "randomizing factor" in the beginning, it did not necessarily lead to corruption and death.

9 Perhaps, like the stars, not all trees were equal in beauty and flavor. However, since God created everything good, the garden would have represented the very best of all the trees He had made.

There were also two special trees. One tree is the Tree of Life. This special tree was apparently an antidote to entropy (Gen 3:22), and was continually needed to counter-effect entropy.

There is also the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is important to note that it is a tree of knowledge, not a tree of evil. This is not to say that knowledge is evil itself, but Adam and Eve would later gain knowledge of evil through disobedience regarding this tree.

It is commonly thought that this tree was an apple tree, but this is unlikely. The Latin word for "evil" is also the same word used for "apple." Thus, the Latin translation would have sounded like an apple tree, but obviously one with a bad reputation.

We can not tell if this tree was a unique species or not. Regardless of whether it was common or not, God designated it as a special tree, and Adam and Eve would recognize it as a special tree.

Both these trees would have been destroyed in the Flood. However, God will plant another Tree of Life in the Last Day (Rev 2:7, Rev 22:2, 14).

10 The river flowing out of Eden was immense. It probably had one or several large springs feeding it. Large rivers are often feared today, but in the Garden, there was not treat of death or violence. The river split into four rivers either within the garden or upon exiting the garden. What follows is a brief description of pre-flood geography. None of these landmarks exists today.

Adam and Eve were not necessarily restricted to the garden. They would have been free to explore the entire continent, but the garden would have been their home. We often travel today, but there is something special about the place we call home.

The word "Eden" probably means "pleasure" or "delight. The word used in the Septuagint for "garden" is the basis for the word "paradise" (Wycliffe).

11 Precious metals and stones were probably not desired until after the fall. Some people believe that early humans would not know how to do "technical" processes like smelting, but the Bible states otherwise (Gen 4:22). This should not be surprising, since God made man with a perfect brain. In fact, early man may have been much more creative and inventive than modern man is. We can innovate further only because we have such accumulated knowledge.

However, the gist is that gold only became valuable because people began to value created things more than they valued following a knowing God.

12 Good here may mean that it was easy to find, easier to refine (i.e., more pure), and in large quantities.
14 Again, these names refer to the original geography, and not modern geography.
15 Man's original job was to tend the Garden (Gen 2:5). One of our primary characteristics is the desire and need to work. Many people who can not or will not work suffer from lower self-esteem.

Work was part of God's original design, and was intended for our good. The curse following the Fall made work difficult, boring, and unpleasant. Fortunately, even in our present state we can find work that suits our individual personalities, which makes work less difficult or even enjoyable for us.

16 God had planted the Garden with those trees that people could eat from (Gen 1:29, Gen 2:9). He reminds Adam of this, and places a condition on this freedom in the next verse.

Note that God spoke to Adam before He created Eve. It would be Adam's responsibility to inform Eve of this command God had given him. It does appear that Adam told her about it (accurately, we presume), but she either misunderstood, or simply got confused by the tempter's questions in Gen 3:1-6.

17 Again, the tree itself did not necessarily have some chemical or mystical power that enabled man to know what evil was. Evil (or sin) is anything that goes against what God commanded. Sin has two effects. First, it changes the man in that he desires things that are less than godly. Secondly, it separates man from God. Separation occurs because God is pure good. Any deviation from good must necessarily be evil. Evil can not stand in the presence of God, and thus must be separated or be destroyed. Since God is the origin of life, sin separates the man from life, and then the man "dies" spiritually.

However, after Adam sinned he was also separated from the tree of life. Therefore, while separation from God causes immediate spiritual death, the resulting separation from God's provision causes a much slower and painful physical death.

God wants to have a loving relationship with His creation. Love is a choice, and for love to exist people must be given a choice not to love. In our relationship with God, our love is expressed through obedience (Exo 20:6, John 14:23-24).

18 One of man's characteristics as image bearers of God is the desire for relationships. In the beginning, Adam and God would have had a perfect relationship, but there was apparently still a need for Adam to have a human companion.

Perhaps Adam needed a companion with a visible body. Even today, many people want God to appear visibly to confirm His existence. While it is clear that God often had audible dialogue with Adam and Eve, there is no mention of a physical appearance (theophany). It is also clear that God did not always make His presence physically known. We know that God sees everything and remains in intimate contact with His creation, but it is also clear that during the special times of audible dialogue that God would give physical clues to his presence. In the absence of these physical clues, Adam may have felt "loneliness" or a longing for companionship that he could see, hear, and touch.

Since this is the sixth day, it appears God is being pro-active in preventing this loneliness from occurring. God also knew that the companion would have to be like Adam, but God wanted Adam to recognize his need for a companion like himself. Thus, God has Adam review all the types of animals to show that none of them would be sufficient for a partner. Many people today keep animals as pets. While they can be wonderful to have around, a pet can not fulfill our needs for intimate communication and relationships. Animals can also serve to make our labor easier (e.g., oxen pulling a plow), but people need others like themselves to plan, coordinate, and execute work effectively.

A helper is not someone who is "lower" than the one being helped (after all, God helps us all the time). The type of work relationship indicated would be similar to what we might call a coworker. Coworkers do not work for one another; they work for their boss. Coworkers do not own one another and they are not allowed to mistreat one another. Adam and Eve were created as equals, and only after the Fall was Adam assigned the role of leadership (Gen 3:16).

19 God had created the birds the previous day and the land animals earlier in the morning. God probably made all these creatures in the same region, and there is no need for a "special" creation here as some have supposed. This is a statement that God created them and they were waiting nearby to be named.

In naming the animals, Adam demonstrates his language ability and creativity. It also showed that he had dominion over the animals, to name them whatever he pleased. These names were undoubtedly passed on to his descendents.

20 Some people object that naming so many animals would have been impossible for Adam to do in a single day. However, there are a few pertinent points to consider: Adam had a perfect brain and extensive creativity. Only three major divisions of creatures were named: cattle, birds, and beasts of the field. This would exclude fish and insects ("creeping things"). Another point is that we do not know how Adam grouped the creatures. Perhaps the objection is justified if we demand that Adam develop a Linnaeus chart in one day, however this can not be done here. Groups could have been quite large (i.e., singing birds, large birds, dogs, bovines, etc.). The idea is that you do not need to examine a whole lot of cattle to determine if one would be suitable as a companion or not. Finally, the variety of animals within a species we see today most likely did not exist then. For instance, today there are hundreds of forms of dogs, wolves, etc., but it is likely that these all came from one "dog kind."

Thus, by giving Adam credit for thinking ability, and presenting a scenario with reduced numbers of creatures; it should not be considered so amazing that Adam could perform such a feat.

The important result of all this is that Adam did not find a companion that was suitable for his needs as fellow worker for physical and mental companionship.

In some cultures, husbands treat their animals better than their wives. This verse clearly indicates that there is no suitable substitute for a wife.

21 God, the creator, then does His first act of manipulating His creation. Here God becomes the first surgeon, and the first genetic engineer. God administers anesthesia (no doubt supernatural), opened his side, removed a piece of flesh and a bone, closed the wound, and later revived him.
22 In the meantime, God used a miraculous process to increase the biomass of the flesh, formed it into a woman, altered (or recreated) the genetic material, and finally gave her the same breath of life.

Eve was the only creation not taken directly from the earth.

In a sense, Adam was the first creature to give birth and the only man to give birth (1 Cor 11:8-12).

23 Adam then names his wife. He recognizes her as part of himself. In English, "man" and "woman" are similar. In the original language, these terms are also similar. As emphasized before, man and woman are equally created as image bearers of God (Gen 1:27). There are differences between the two, but both were created to have a relationship with God and other people.
24 Now an explanation of marriage is given. In retrospect, Adam (or Moses) explains the morality of marriage in respect to God's original plan. Jesus uses this reference in defending the sanctity of marriage (Mat 19:4-6). Paul uses this verse to help explain the relationship between God and His Church (Eph 5:31).

It is also noted that a man and his wife form a new family unit, and should separate themselves from their parents. This need not be a regretful situation. The man and wife need to be separated to focus on their own relationship. The parents should not try to interfere with a marriage or attempt to come between the man and his wife. The man and wife should also not be a burden on their parents. They need to support themselves and their children. This does not preclude helping parents in need (Mark 7:11).

Adam and Eve were literally "one flesh" because God formed Adam's flesh into Eve. Now that they were physically separate people, the institution of "marriage" is what keeps them united as one.

25 In the absence of sin, there is no guilt. It is not clear why or how sin made nakedness shameful for us. Between married couples, nakedness is an intimate exposure and sharing of the entire physical body. This should not overshadow the even more important need for married couples to expose and share their mental self as well.

God often parallels marriage between a man and woman to our relationship with Him. We can not hide anything from God, even if we want to. However, the only way we can have an intimate relationship with God is if we appear before God spiritually naked.

One explanation is the possibility that Adam and Eve were originally clothed with "Shekinah glory." This refers to the light or glowing that surrounds God when He appears in a theophany. This glory effectively hides Him from the eyes of sinful men (this is done for mercy, since a sinful man looking upon God would die - Deu 18:16). In the same way, Adam and Eve may have had God's glory covering their bodies. The only explicit example of this is the glow that appeared on Moses' face after his face-to-face talks with God (Exo 34:35).