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Importance of this subject matter – what does it really matter how you interpret the opening chapters of Genesis?

Jer. 10:6-16

Relationship between Chaps. 1 and 2:

– Chap. 1 is an Overview – covers the entire first week of creation – by the end of the chapter you have both Adam and Eve created and God resting on the seventh day.

– Chap. 2 is a Flashback – focusing in on the details of Day 6.

Problem passage is vv.4-6 – what is being said here?

Parunak: The creation narrative is a successive zooming in to the central theme:

[illustration: Google Earth application]

• 1:1, (celestial) heavens and earth

• 1:2-2:3, zoom in on “earth” to see it furnished and populated

• 2:4-3:24, zoom in on second half of sixth day to see man created.

Very specific details given by our Creator; no mystery how He wants us to interpret these opening chapters.

Griffith Thomas: In the first chapter man comes at the end as the crown of creation; here he comes at the commencement as the starting-point of human history.

Our culture has undermined purpose of unique Roles of Man and Woman and role of Marriage and the Family – not understanding and submitting to God’s design



A. (:4) The Title Statement (Heading) of Initial Creation

“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.”

2 Important structural distinctives that indicate we are starting a new section here:

1) toledot – “these are the generations” – repeated 10 times in Genesis to mark off new sections

Chiastic structure of vs. 4:

Heavens and earth

When they were created

In the day that the LORD God made

Earth and heaven

Takes us back to 1:1 —

2) The switch in the name that Moses uses to refer to God marks 2:4 as beginning a new section:

R. Kent Hughes: Up to this point in the story, Moses has used only one designation for God, the name Elohim. . . the appropriate word for the majestic portrayal of God as creator of the universe, signifying omnipotent deity. (used it five times seven – the number for perfection = 35 times) – the perfect creation of the perfect Creator

But now at 2:4 (where chapter 2 should actually begin), the name for God switches to Yahweh-Elohim, “the LORD God” as our translations have it. Here to the end of chap. 4; Yahweh is the personal covenant name of God who relates to and redeems his people; combining both names yields the Creator and Covenant-Redeemer

Griffith Thomas: So far from this usage being a proof of different documents, there are, on the contrary, clear indications that they are used with precision and spiritual meaning.

B. (:5-6) The Condition of the Land Without Man

1. (:5a) Devoid of Small Shrubs and fragile plants

“Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth,

and no plant of the field had yet sprouted,”

Day 3 of creation does not include small shrubs and plants that are mentioned here as not yet on the earth until after man had been created and probably not until after the Fall??

Parunak: The point is not that there were no plants, but that two specific types were lacking.

Plant of the field.—Lit. “shrub,” cf. Gen 21:15, the woody desert plants. These are inedible plants, and must be cleared from the land before one can cultivate it.

Herb of the field.—These are edible plants from cultivated ground, including the grains.

These two categories anticipate the judgment in 3:18, in which “thorns and thistles” (corresponding to the “shrub of the field”) appear in judgment for man’s sin, and he must eat plants that require deliberate cultivation, the “herb of the field.” Before the fall, people did not have to work for their food, but ate fruit that grew of its own accord on trees. Afterward, they had to contend with weeds and rely on plants that require diligent cultivation.

2. (:5b) Pre-Rain Environment

“for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth;”

Therefore no weeds and thorns

Was there no rain until Noah’s Flood??

To demand that rain didn’t happen until after the Flood from this passage has no more logical support than to claim, from the passage, that no one farmed until after the Flood.

Donald DeYoung: If the earth did not experience rain before the Flood, then Noah’s ark-building must have appeared especially foolish to his critics. Likewise, the faith of Noah described in Hebrews 11:7 was especially strong. Noah was warned about things not seen, which is perhaps a further indication that rain was not part of humanity’s early experience. Even with this accumulated evidence, a final authoritative answer to this question of pre-Flood rain is not known (Donald B. DeYoung, Weather and The Bible, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1992, pp. 112,113).

3. (:5c) Lacking the Cultivation that Man Would Provide

“and there was no man to cultivate the ground.”

Therefore no edible plants for food

4. (:6) Irrigated by Underground Springs

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

Hughes: picture is of subterranean springs rising up from the ground and watering the arid earth.

State of no rain persisted for some time until the Flood

C. (:7) The Creation of Man

1. (:7a) Material Used in Creation of Man = Dust

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground,”

Careful design at a point in time by a purposeful Creator – not chance mutations over billions of years

Play on words in the Hebrew – formed the man (ha adam) of dust from the ground (ha adama)

Parunak: God “formed man.” The verb describes the work of a potter. This event is thus the root of the picture throughout scripture of God as a sovereign potter, forming people and their histories according to his will.

• Isaiah: God protests that he has the right of a potter over his people, 29:16; 45:9; and ultimately they confess it to be so, 64:8

• Jer 18:1-10, his right to punish or to withdraw punishment

• Rom 9:20-24, of God’s sovereign election of people and nations.

– Gen. 3:19 – “you are dust and to dust you shall return”

No room for evolution of mankind here; you are not going to become an ape when you die; you are returning from whence you have come = dust

Apostle Paul understood this concept of being nothing but clay pots designed by the Potter – we have this treasure in earthen vessels – all glory must go to God, the Creator; no room for pride or boasting; if we understand our origins we will have proper humility

2. (:7b) The Source of Life

“and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;”

Very personal – some intimations here of what distinguishes man from the other animals –

The image and likeness of God – as specified in chap. 1

3. (:7c) The Resulting Human Species

“and man became a living being.” [Argument – vs “living soul”

Same expression used of the fish = living creatures (1:20)

Not breathing the divine likeness into a living being (e.g. an evolved member of the ape family);

But causing inanimate dust to become a living being.

Parunak: occurs 9x in the OT, and all other cases are with reference to animals [1:20 “moving creature that hath life,” 1:24; 2:19; 9:12,15,16 “living creature,” 1:30 “life,” Ezek 47:9 “thing that liveth”]. Moses here makes no special point distinguishing man from the animals; rather, he identifies them as both alive, in contrast with the plants.

1 Cor. 15:39 – “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.”



A. (:8) Summary of the Creation of the Garden of Eden

1. Its Origin

“And the LORD God planted a garden”

Master Carpenter is also the Master Gardener

2. Its Orientation

“toward the east, in Eden;”

This is from the perspective of Moses who was in Sinai; in modern Iraq

Parunak: Take the construction in the sense “facing east,” which the AV fits nicely. The point is not that the Garden is located east of where the writer is, but that its entrance was toward the east, conformable with 3:24.

Eden = delight

It was luxurious

3. Its Objective

“and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”

To be the idyllic environment where man could live and rule and prosper and enjoy fellowship with His Creator

B. (:9-14) Details of the Idyllic Environment – the Trees and the Rivers

1. (:9) The Trees

a. All the Trees

“And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is

pleasing to the sight and good for food;

Griffith Thomas: The two elements of man’s home call for our attention – the characteristics of beauty (“pleasant to the sight”), and utility (“good for food”).

b. Two Trees in Particular

“the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,

and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

2. (:10-14) The Rivers

“Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden;

and from there it divided and became four rivers.”

Hughes: Adam was in paradise! The presence of a great river flowing from Eden is indicative of the life-giving presence of God (cf. Psalm 46: and Ezekiel 47:1-12)

Pattern: the name .. .

It flows …

a. (:11-12) River of Pishon

“The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.”

b. (:13) River of Gihon

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

c. (:14a) River of Tigris

“And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria.”

d. (:14b) River of Euphrates

“And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

So important and prominent a river that you do not need the whole pattern of name … and it flows …

Parunak: So what is the point of this description?

• The garden is well watered. The presence of a continual river makes rain unnecessary, and life much more certain.

• The references to gold, bdellium, and precious stones reminds us of the tabernacle, and emphasizes the role of Eden as a sanctuary.

C. (:15-17) Placement of Man in the Garden with Abundant Provision and One Prohibition

1. (:15) God’s Placement of Man in the Garden with a Specific Commission

“Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”

Importance of Work – Man was designed to work; work was not a consequence of the Fall; expression of man’s creativity; part of the way in which man worshiped God

2. (:16) God’s Provision for Man

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,

‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;’”

Generous and abundant gift of nourishing food from God –

Remember: no eating of meat until after the Fall [probably heretical to say that this is the one good thing that came from the Fall]

3. (:17) God’s Prohibition for Man

“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.”

Hughes: the temptation was to seek wisdom without reference to the word of God. It was an act of moral autonomy – deciding what is right without reference to God’s revealed will. This is confirmed by Ezekiel 28 which tells how the King of Tyre was expelled from Eden for his pride — “I did it my way” is the dirge of death



A. (:18) The Divine Plan for the Creation of Woman

1. (:18a) Sense of Incompleteness Recognized by God

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;’”

This statement should leap out at you – up to this time, everything proclaimed as good!

Not good in the sense of incomplete

2. (:18b) Solution

“I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

B. (:19-22) The Divine Execution of the Plan

1. (:19-20) Sense of Incompleteness Recognized by Adam

“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. 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.”

This is not a new creation of animals – just a reminder of what God had already done – now the added revelation that Adam was given the privilege and responsibility of naming all of them –

The Ultimate Taxologist –

Parunak: Recall also that naming is an act of authority, as we saw in ch. 1. There God named the products of the first three days, but holds off on the animals, so that the human as his representative can exercise that authority. Thus the naming establishes man’s superiority over the animals; we now have God > man > animals.

David Thompson: 8 ways a wife can help her husband:

– Pray for him

– Prepare good things for him; that’s what God did for Israel – nice home; good meal

– Promote him

– Be a Partner to him

– Protect him – spot things that are dangerous for him

– Prosper him –

– Pleasure him

– Praise him

2. (:21-22) Solution

“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. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”

Whitcomb: God functioned first as an anaesthesiologist and then as a surgeon

Matthew Henry: not made out of his head to top him, not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved

Both men and women have 24 ribs, twelve on each side. God created Eve with a full set of ribs and their children on down had a full set.

Voddie Baucham: God established male headship here – before the Fall

o The woman was made after the man

o The woman was made for the man

o The woman was made from the man

o The woman was brought to the man

o The woman was named by the man

o Sin of one man Adam = male headship

C. (:23-25) Celebration of God’s Design

1. (:23) Celebration of Woman

“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.’”

1 Cor. 11 – the woman originates from the man – 4 different types of humanity

– Vast majority of mankind – born from a man and woman union

– Jesus Christ – virgin Mother; no human father

– Eve – made from Adam

– Adam – made from dust of the earth – not just God breathing into an already living organism (some member of the ape family) His divine likeness; you came from dust and you will return to dust – not returning to being some type of animal

2. (:24) Celebration of Marriage

“For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother,

and shall cleave to his wife;

and they shall become one flesh.”

Not required to physically leave the living compound … but in sense of emotional loyalty and the creation of a new household unit where the husband is the head of the home

You would think that this reference would be to the wife leaving her parents; But Husband taking on tremendous responsibility here

3. (:25) Celebration of Innocence

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

MacArthur: With no knowledge of evil before the Fall, even nakedness was shameless and innocent. They found their complete gratification in the joy of their one union and their service to God. With no inward principle of evil to work on, the solicitation to sin had to come from without and it did.


We will never function properly as Man and Woman if we don’t understand God’s purposes in Creation – if we don’t understand what is involved in being made in the image and likeness of God.

We will never function properly in Marriage and in the Family if we don’t understand God’s purposes in Creation. What does it mean for Eve to be created as a helper suitable for Adam?

We will never properly anticipate the Paradise that God is preparing for His children right now unless we understand the idyllic environment of the Garden of Eden.

Genesis is the Book of Beginnings; it is foundational to how we relate to God and how we relate to others.