Thank you for once again joining me in our study through the book of Genesis. I am your host, Randy Duncan, and in this episode, we will complete chapter 2.
But before we begin, just a quip recap of what we covered in the last episode
Last time, we began Chapter 2. and discussed God’s resting, or ceasing, His work of creation on the 7th day.
We also discussed the creation of Adam, that he was made from the dust of the earth, and that all the elements necessary to create a human are literally found in the dirt, but that there was also something more required, which was the breath of life from God
And then finally, we discussed the Garden of Eden.
Lots to cover this episode to wrap-up this chapter, so let’s jump right in
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
Now I mentioned in the last episode that I would discuss one possible location for the Garden of Eden
Again, there are all sorts of speculation and debate about this
Verses 10-14 mention 4 rivers – the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates.
Now, we are very familiar with the Tigris and the Euphrates, as they are still active rivers today. We know exactly where they are located. The two rivers have their sources within 50 miles of each other in Turkey and travel through Syria and Iraq to the head of the Persian Gulf.
But satellite imagery reveals the dry beds of two other rivers that once flowed into the Persian Gulf region.
If researchers are correct, and the Persian Gulf area was mostly dry at that time, all four rivers would have come together in the southeastern part of what is now under the Persian Gulf. And so I would offer this, beneath the Persian Gulf, as at least a reasonable candidate for the location of Eden
Now I do want to mention one other thing about Eden. Some people believe that Eden was the state or conditions all over the earth. IOW, earth was a paradise. In an earlier episode I mentioned that some people believe in the Canaopy Theory, and that the canopy of water covering the planet was what allowed for this paradise setting over the entire planet.
But, apart from the physics not allowing for that, there are a couple of clues in scripture that indicate this was not the case, and that Eden was limited to one geographical location
Scipture tells us that Adam lived both inside and outside the garden. The Bible also teaches that God planted a garden ‘in the East”, and then placed Adam there. And then finally, later on, we will see Cain banished to the land of Nod, which was, where?… East of Eden. So Eden appears to be a specific place, with specific conditions that did not exist over the entire planet
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Once again, notice that God placed Adam in the Garden, which means he was not created in the garden
Some people think that if Adam and Eve hadn’t blown it, that we would all still be living in paradise, not having to work, laying around all day, playing Call of Duty on our Xbox and Playstations, eating Little Debbies
But that is not the case. First of all, every person since Adam and Eve has also blown it, and that includes you. That includes me. So don’t blame Adam.
Second of all, notice that scripture says that God placed him in the garden of Eden to what?…” to work it and to keep it”. So even in the garden of Eden, Adam had work to do, he had a job. He wasn’t meant to just wander around aimlessly
There are commentators who mention that this phrase “to take care of it” entails guarding the garden against Satan’s encroachment. As priest and guardian of the garden, Adam and Eve should have driven Satan out of the garden, instead, he drives them out
And when you do a word study, there is definitely some merit to this view, as the Hebrew verbs “to work it and take care of it” are more frequently associated with religious service and priestly functions
As I mentioned in the last episode I think, I am going to wait to have a discussion of the tree of knowledge of good and evil until the next chapter. But I will point out one thing here. It seems like a lot of times, many of us focus on the few things that God prohibits, rather than the many things He allows. Rather than enjoying all of the things we do have, we focus on the things we don’t have. Here we see God telling Adam that he could eat of every tree of the garden…except one! IOW, everything here is for you, and out of all I have provided, just this one thing is prohibited. And we will see in the next chapter that this one thing is what will be focused on.
Also, “In the day you eat of it you will surely die” .The phrase “In the day” is a way the Hebrew conveys our English word “when”. So what is being communicated is “when you eat of it you shall surely die”. But it does not suggest that the events described will take place within the next 24 hours. IOW, it doesn’t mean that as soon as you eat of it you are going to drop dead.
When it reads, “You will surely die”, it is referring to the eventual outcome of the behavior. The sentence will be passed. IOW, ‘When you eat of it, you will be sentenced to death, and therefore doomed to die. Death will be a certainty. “
Some people also believe that even though Adam and Eve did not immediately die physically, they immediately died spiritually, they were separated from God, and they would eventually die physcially as well
The Etz Hayim commentary explains it this way. “You will have to live with the knowledge that one day you will die, which is a burden of awareness that no other creature bears”. That is an interesting thought, because the reality is, only us humans have the capacity to ponder our own mortality, our own pending death, and the possibility of life after death.
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
Interesting that everything thus far God has pronounced as “good”. Loneliness is the first thing that God pointed out was not good.
But Adam was not alone. He enjoyed a relationship with God. So what God is acknowledging here is that even though God is essential, we also need the companionship of other people
I will come back to the word used here in V18 as ‘helper”. But first, let me touch on one other thing. Remember, Genesis chapter 1 says that man and woman were created on day 6. So, we are still reading about events that occurred on day 6.
And there is quite a list of events that occur between the creation of Adam and the creation of Eve. It is difficult to believe that all of these events occurred on only one day. Which means, again, the definition for “day” “yom” probably doesn’t mean a literal 24-hour period.
For example, God has Adam working and keeping the garden.How long do you suppose God had Adam doing that? Just a few hours? Anyone that has worked and maintained a garden knows that is not the case. Even if you put Miracle Grow on it, it is stil lgoing to take more than a few hours.
Next, God has Adam name the animals. How long do you suppose that took? A couple more hours? I don’t think so.
Also, if we skip down to verse 23, when Adam sees Eve for the first time, his response is “at last”, bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. IOW, somebody like me!
But the English translation doesn’t quite capture the full expression of Adam here. What he says when he sees Eve is actually more emphatic. The word in Hebrew is “happa’am”, which means “at long last”, you know, “finally”!
This expression doesn’t seem to come from someone who has just been alone at work for this one day. This seems to come from someone who has been alone for quite a while. The point being, again, is that all of this seems to point to the 6th “day”, being a longer period of time than just a 24-hour period
20 2nd half of V20…But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
So let’s talk about this word ”helper”. Some skeptics and non-believers point to this verse and point out that God is misogynistic, that God is prejudiced against women, because here the woman is just a sidekick, a little helper for Adam. That is completely wrong-headed, and betrays their lack of understanding about this verse
That word translated as “helper” here, is the Hebrew word “ezer” (Ay-zer). And it does mean help, or aid. But 80 times in the OT, the root for this word refers to military assistance, an ally. Someone who is essential to assure victory. So Eve is by no means just a trusty sidekick here.
We mentioned that God had Adam by himself for a while. How long we are not sure. All we know is that his response was “at long last”. Why do you think God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time?
I don’t think we should be too dogmatic about the reasons, but I do think one of the reaons may have been to teach Adam that he was unique in all of creation
Adam could appreciate all of creation. He could admire the beauty and awe of the heavens, enjoy working the garden, enjoy forming relationships with the animals. But he would learn that he was unique from all of creation. He would come to understand that he was spiritual, that he was created with the breath of life from God, and in the image of God. But that he had no one to share it with, no one that could relate to him on his level. He would experience lonliness. And so when he sees Eve, he says, “at long last, finally! God waits until Adam is prepared to appreciate the gift of woman
Someone who is his opposite, but his equal. Someone who would be his ally. Someone he could finally relate to on his own level. Someone who would complete him. The Hebrew is clear, Eve was Adam’s equal.
I have sometimes wondered how long Adam was alone in this sense, without Eve. And what it must have been like for Adam the first time he saw Eve. I think it is hard for us to imagine just how truly emotional that must have been.
Just think how emotional it is going to be when we, as Adam exclaimed, finally, at long last, get to be reunited with our loved ones in heaven who we have not seen in such a long time!
V21- So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh”
So many of us are very familiar with this part of the story. God takes a rib from Adam and makes Eve. But there are some who believe that is not necessarily what we believe it to be. Meaning some believe that God did not take a whole rib from Adam, that all he took was a sample, or a portion, of a rib, a biopsy, from Adam’s side. And then used that to create Eve.
The word translated here as “rib” is the Hebrew word “sela”, which means a part, or a portion of the side of something. It is actually an architectural term, meaning the curved part of the side of something . So we don’t know for certain whether it was a whole rib, a portion of a rib, or how large or small it was.
But most contemporary scholars agree that it does not necessarily mean rib, and should be translated as “and God took from one of Adam’s sides and then he closed the skin over it”
Also, nothing in the text says that God used only that sample to create Eve. But it does imply that the portion taken from Adam at least played a significant role.
We know from modern genetics that even a small portion of a tissue would have the needed human DNA blueprint.
The reality is that God could have created Eve in any manner he wanted to. So why this way? One interesting verse is found in 1 Corinthinas 11:11-12, which reads:
In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman.
This describes an interdependent and equal relationship
Matthew Henry wrote that “Woman is 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 by him, and near his heart to be loved by him”
To all of you men out there, I want to point out an observation here. Notice that during creation week, God’s creations grew progressively more complicated. Each creation was sort of a level above the prior creation. So for example, we started with just the structure, the universe, planets, stars, and such. Moved to form plant life, then birds and sea creatures, then on to land mammals, then finally Adam. But what is the culmination of God’s creation? Woman. And guys, I am going to just leave that one there for you!
Last thought on this. Scripture tells us that Adam is a figure of Christ. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 5 that Adam was a type of the one who was to come, referring to Christ. Now he is referring primarily to condemnation entering into the world through one man’s sin, but, through one man’s righteousness, justification and life are made available to all men. Sin and death entered through Adam, forgiveness and life enter through Christ
There are some who also see Adam being put to sleep, having Eve his bride, being taken from his side, as a figure, or foreshadowing, of Christ. Think about it, Adam is put to “sleep”, which is a way the scripture often refers to those who have died, and then he suffers a wound in his side to pay for his bride, and then is woken back up. Just as Christ died, suffered a wound in his side to pay for his bride, the church, that is, you and , and then is resurrected!
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
“Naked and not ashamed”, or as we say in East TN, “Nekkid”.
Two primary thoughts on this. First, the traditional view here is that Adam and Eve had nothing to hide from each other. They had no shame, no guilt. They were secure in themselves and in one another.
The alternate view suggests that this is a description of childlike innocence, and that they were simply unaware of their sexuality and saw no need for clothes
We will discuss more in the next chapter regarding their level of innocence prior to the Fall when we discuss the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
So this will wrap up our study of Chapter 2. Next up, chapter 3, which will see the introduction of Satan, the Fall, banishment from the garden, and more. I can almost guarantee you, you will hear some thoughts in Chapter 3 you may have never heard before. Trust me, you don’t want to miss chapter 3!
As always, thank you for joining me. Please share this podcast with a friend, family member, church member, anyone you think could benefit. Until next time, as Paul says, “let the peace of God rule in your hearts, and “let the word of Christ dwell in you”.