THE SABBATH DAY
A great principle of revelation occurs for the first time in this chapter, but it will be found again and again in the Word of God. It is one of the fingerprints of inspiration. It is the law of recurrence or the law of recapitulation. In other words, the Spirit of God, in giving the Word of God, has a practice of stating briefly a series of great facts and truths; then He will come back and take out of the series that which is all–important, and He will elucidate and enlarge upon that particular thing.
He is going to do this now in chapter 2 with the six days of creation which were given in chapter 1. This same principle is seen in the Book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is the interpretation of the Law after forty years of experience with it in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy is not just a repetition of the Law, but rather an interpretation of it. Likewise, we are given not only one but four Gospels. Again and again, this procedure is followed throughout the Word of God.
In chapter 2 that which is lifted out of the six days of creation is that which pertains to man, and we begin with the Sabbath Day.
Thus the heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the host of them.
- This proclaims the fact that when the heavens and the Earth were completed, they were a brilliant array.
And on the seventh day God ended His Work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His Work which He had made.
- It doesn’t mean that God was tired, for He cannot be such [Isa. 40:28]; it simply means that He had finished the work.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His Work which God created and made.
- The Sabbath, or seventh day, or Saturday, the last day of the week, is meant by God to be a Type of the Salvation Rest which one finds in Christ; that’s the reason it was a part of the Ten Commandments.
SUMMARY OF THE FIRST FIVE DAYS OF RESTORATION
Apparently, this vast universe we live in had been here for billions of years, but something happened to the earth and to a great deal of the creation. As a result, God moved in, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep, and there was brought cosmos out of chaos.
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
- We come to what many characterize as a second account of the creation of man. This section, however, is better thought of as a more detailed account of what Genesis 1 described in the format of panorama.
- The phrase these are the generations is a formulaic section-header (compare Genesis 5: 1; 10: 1; 11: 10; 25: 12, 19; 36: 1, 9; 37: 2). This introductory statement carries the sense of “This is what happened concerning . . .”
- A feature of the Bible, first occurring in the verse before us, is the use of the divine name Yahweh; this is traditionally rendered, in small capitals, as LORD in our English Bibles. Previously, God has been called only by the Hebrew name Elohim, a title conveying His transcendence and power. The name Yahweh, on the other hand, emphasizes His eternal existence and covenantal presence with His people. The combined name— seen three times in Genesis 2: 4– 7 and dozens of times elsewhere as “LORD God”— is thus particularly powerful.
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
- The language here suggests that the writer is not looking back to the creation of vegetation in Genesis 1, but rather is previewing the cultivation that will occur in the Garden of Eden and after the fall. Two features lend support for this view.
- First, the phrase herb of the field appears again in Genesis 3: 18 to designate what humanity will eat after the fall.
- Second, whereas the rain anticipated in verse 5 will be a blessing, it is an instrument of judgment in Noah’s day (7: 4).
- These verses thus may set the stage for the more detailed account of man’s creation that follows, which complements the general description in 1: 26, 27.
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
- The exact nature of the mist that rises from the earth is unclear. The underlying Hebrew word occurs in the Old Testament only here and in Job 36: 27, there translated “vapour.” Taken together, the idea may be that of evaporated water that condenses to a liquid state to water the whole face of the ground.
In the first chapter we saw that there was nothing, and then the inorganic came into existence: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The next step in creation was the organic, that is, the creation of life. We saw that in verse 21 where it says that God created great whales and then all animal life. He created animal life, but apparently the plant life had not been destroyed, and at the time of the re–creation, the seed was already in the earth. I would not want to be dogmatic, but this would seem to be the implication here. God has told us very little in this regard. Then man is the next step in the creation. There is actually no natural transition, and evolution cannot bridge the gap that brings us to the appearance of Homo sapiens on the earth. The earth, therefore, was prepared for the coming of man.
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.
- Perhaps the water mixed with dust provides clay the Lord God uses to create man (compare Job 10: 9; 33: 6; Isaiah 45: 9; Romans 9: 21). The sound of the Hebrew word for man, which is Adam (Genesis 2: 19), resembles closely the word for ground. Thus the lofty image of being created in God’s likeness (1: 26) is now tempered with the reality of what constitutes the human body, its humble origin. “The first man is of the earth, earthy” (1 Corinthians 15: 47).
- Some have proposed that for God to breathe the breath of life into the man is to place a tiny portion of God’s very own essence into a human. This is wrong. When 2 Peter 1:4 speaks of being “partakers of the divine nature,” the meaning is that we share in those attributes of God that He grants us as His image bearers (example: 1 Peter 1: 15, 16). No part of our essence as humans is uncreated.
- On first reading, this phrase may lead one to believe that it is at this point that the first human receives that element of his nature that sets him apart from the animals: the soul. But the original language behind the translation became a living soul is identical in the descriptions of other creatures in Genesis 1: 20, 24, 30; 2: 19). We are indeed a combination of physical and spiritual (Matthew 10: 28), but that fact cannot be established from this verse.
And the LORD God planted a Garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.
- It was actually planted before Adam was created; the area is believed by some Scholars to be the site where the city of Babylon would ultimately be built.
- The Garden of Eden was to be the home place of man.
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- These are beautiful trees.
- These are every fruit tree imaginable, even those which bear nuts.
- This tree evidently contained a type of fruit; 3:22 says as much! The Tree of Life had the power of so renewing man’s physical energies that his body, though formed of the dust of the ground and, therefore, naturally mortal, would, by its continual use, live on forever; Christ is now to us the “Tree of Life” [Rev. 2:7; 22:2]; and the “Bread of Life” [Jn. 6:48, 51]).
- The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil presents the tree of death.
And a river went out of Eden to water the Garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
- This means four rivers.
The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
- Pison is believed to be the “Ganges” river.
- The whole land of Havilah, where there is gold is believed to be India.
And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
- Verses 11 and 12 present the first mention in the Bible of the precious metal, gold; it is mentioned last in the Bible as it refers to the main thoroughfare of the New Jerusalem, in which we are told is “pure gold” [Rev. 21:21]).
And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
- Gihon is believed to be the Nile river.
And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
- Hiddekel is believed to be the Tigris river. These rivers at the present time have their sources far apart. The explanation, no doubt, lies in the flood, which altered the topography of the Earth.
- The headwaters of the first two were drastically changed, while the last two remain basically the same.
- In fact, it is believed that the Garden of Eden may have been located, as stated, at the joining of the Tigris and Euphrates, which is the site of ancient Babylon.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
- This man had dominion, and the forces of nature responded at his beck and call.
CONDITION PLACED ON MAN
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the Garden you may freely eat:
- As stated, before the Fall, man was vegetarian.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
- As for the “evil,” that was obvious; however, it is the “good” on this tree that deceives much of the world; the “good” speaks of religion; the definition of religion pertains to a system devised by men in order to bring about Salvation, to reach God, or to better oneself in some way; because it is devised by man, it is unacceptable to God; God’s answer to the dilemma of the human race is “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” [I Cor. 1:23]):
- This speaks of spiritual death, which is separation from God; let it be understood that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not the cause of Adam’s Fall; it was a failure to heed and obey the Word of God, which is the cause of every single failure; spiritual death ultimately brought on physical death, and has, in fact, filled the world with death, all because of the Fall of man.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
- The phrase “and God saw that it was good” appears at various stages of His creative work (Genesis 1: 10 , 12 , 18 , 21 , 25). The assessment of the creation as “very good” concludes the entire account (Genesis 1: 31). However, we now learn of a situation that is not good: the fact that the man should be alone. So God determines that He will make him an help meet for him. The word meet in this context carries with it the idea of “appropriate.” Therefore the help to be provided for the man is someone who will serve as an appropriate companion.
- Thus something of the purpose for the creation of woman is already hinted at even before her creation takes place. She will complete the man, helping him become what he would not be capable of becoming were he to remain alone.
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
- The line out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field reflects what has already occurred on the sixth day of creation (see Genesis 1: 24 , 25 ). While the waters are said to have brought forth the various sea creatures and birds on the fifth day ( 1: 20 ), all creatures are made from the ground or dust as noted in Psalm 104: 29 (see last week’s lesson). The man himself also has been formed “of the dust of the ground” by the Lord God ( Genesis 2: 7 ).
- But now we come to new information: all of the creatures that God has made are brought before Adam for naming by the man. We wonder if this naming procedure includes each and every subcategory of creature “after his kind” ( Genesis 1: 25 ). Some think that that would take too long for a single day, so they propose that Adam names only the broader categories of animals and birds rather than the much more numerous subcategories.
- It is noteworthy that this verse includes the first time in the Genesis account that the name Adam appears. In the Hebrew text, the word Adam is actually the same as that which is translated “the man” in Genesis 2: 18 (the Hebrew language has no capital letters to designate proper names). Of perhaps greater significance at this time is the fact that the name Adam comes from the Hebrew word meaning “ground” in Genesis 2: 7 . This calls attention to the material from which he is created.
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
- Adam proceeds to name the various creatures. But in the process a sobering truth dawns: although they come from the ground as he does, none is quite like him. For Adam there was not found an help meet for him . Thus the state of being alone, which God has already said is “not good” for the man, is recognized by the man himself. Perhaps we have been wondering to this point why God doesn’t just name all the creatures himself. This may be the reason : having Adam do the naming allows him to come to his own conclusion regarding his need.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.
- God now acts to address the man’s incompleteness. This is a multi-step process, the first of which is for God to cause a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.
- The Hebrew word rendered deep sleep is used in two other places where the Lord acts in a literal, physical way on individuals: regarding Abram in Genesis 15: 12 (lesson 6 ), and regarding Saul and his companions in 1 Samuel 26: 12. (Other uses of this word are found in Job 4: 13 ; 33: 15 ; Proverbs 19: 15 ; and Isaiah 29: 10 .) It is during this divinely induced anesthesia that the Lord proceeds to the next two steps: removing one of Adam’s ribs, then closing the flesh.
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
- This very brief account of God’s creation of a woman raises a question: why create the woman from the man’s rib? Many have suggested a special symbolism: woman is made from the “side” of the man so that she will be neither “above” him nor “beneath” him, but always by his side to encourage him. The Bible is silent regarding such symbolism. Scripture simply pulls back the curtain on this very sacred moment, gives us a quick glimpse of what happens, and then closes the curtain. We would not know of this account at all had not God chosen to reveal it to us.
- The primary point behind the description of the woman’s creation seems to be the special care that God takes to solve the man’s incompleteness. The woman is not created from the dust of the ground as was the man; rather, she is created from the man. The psychological importance of this fact is revealed in the next verse.
And Adam 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.
- When Adam awakens from his surgery, the recovery time is apparently very brief. He beholds in amazement the new individual before him and immediately understands that she is not like any of the creatures he has previously seen and named. The phrase This is now is somewhat difficult to translate from Hebrew into smooth English that will fit with the rest of the sentence. Literally it reads, “This is the time.” Perhaps an exclamation such as “At last!” fits the setting.
- Adam acknowledges what makes God’s newest creation unique: she is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. Adam is aware of the procedure he has just undergone. But rather than feel like he is “missing something” (a rib), he experiences a sense of completeness. His feeling of being alone has been remedied. He clearly sees a special individual before him— one with whom he senses a genuine kinship.
- Adam then proceeds to “name” this new creation , just as he has previously named the creatures brought before him: She shall be called Woman. Earlier we noted that the Hebrew words for ground and Adam (or the man) are drawn from the same noun. Here, however, a different word for man is used by Adam when he says of the woman that she was taken out of Man. The word for man that is related to the word ground will not do here, for this new individual has not come from the ground as Adam has . Since she has been taken out of Man, her designation, Woman, is taken out of the different word for man that Adam uses (in fact, it is the feminine form of that word).
- We should note at this point that the name Adam gives his new companion is really more of a description that recognizes what distinguishes her from the other residents in the Garden of Eden. Adam will not actually name her Eve until later, after the fall ( Genesis 3: 20 ). Out of all the designations that Adam has assigned on this sixth day, we can be sure that woman will be the one he will cherish most!
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
- Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, and that fact raises a question about this verse : is Moses quoting Adam here, or is this Moses’ own inspired commentary? Being the first human, Adam never has the experience of leaving his father and mother, thus suggesting that this is Moses’ commentary. Of course, the Holy Spirit could inspire Adam to make this statement, but it is probably better to see the words as those of Moses.
- Three significant stages in a marriage relationship are set forth in this verse. The first is that a man [shall] leave his father and his mother. Marriage involves the creation of a new bond; this is a bond with one’s spouse, a bond that supersedes any close ties with parents . This does not mean that no further involvement occurs with the parents ; the idea, rather, is that the parental bond is no longer the most significant relationship in the lives of the husband and wife.
- Second, the man is to cleave unto his wife. The Hebrew word translated as cleave means “cling to” or “stick to .” It implies an especially tight bonding or loyalty. That is why the first step of fully leaving father and mother must be made. Marriage counselors can attest to the fact that many problems in marriages occur because loyalty to one or both parents continues to trump loyalty to one’s spouse.
- The third step is a result of the cleaving: the husband and wife become one flesh. This speaks primarily to the unity that is to characterize marriage in the sight of God . That oneness is rooted in the process by which woman was created. God actually did make two out of one by creating woman from man’s rib; two then become one in marriage. The intimacy that this creates certainly includes the sexual relationship, but it cannot be limited to that. True intimacy means a sharing of every aspect of life lest the oneness be compromised.
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
- This is an interesting way to conclude this account. The issue of nakedness has not been mentioned thus far, but it will become a critical issue in the next chapter of Genesis, where Adam and Eve’s disobedience is recorded. One of the consequences of their sin will be recognizing their nakedness and covering themselves ( Genesis 3: 7 ).
- At this point, however, innocence characterizes the relationship between the first man and the first woman. The fact that their nakedness produces no sense of shame reflects not only that innocence but also the degree of intimacy between them. When sin intrudes, their innocence will depart. Their intimacy will be damaged badly, as shown by Adam’s attempt to blame his wife, in whom he had originally expressed delight ( Genesis 3: 12 , next week’s lesson).
I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,
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