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 begin chapter 2.
Before we dive into Ch 2 though, just a quick recap of what we covered in the last episode, which was Creaton Day 6
In the last session, we discussed God creating the land mammals. We are told that they reproduce after their “kinds” and so we discussed what is meant by the word “kinds”, that Hebrew word “min”
We also discussed what it means to be created in the image of God, or the “imago dei”.
And then we also mentioned the possibility of humans originally being vegetarian, at least until Noah steps out of the ark.
And that brings us now to Ch 2
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
The heavens and the earth were finished” – Remember, the heavens and the earth here refer to all of physical reality, the universe, what the Greeks would call the cosmos. So to say that they were finished, means, I think, that the created order was now completed, there was no more physical structure needed to support human beings or other created life
God “rested”? Does God have to rest like we do because he was tired from all His creation? Of course not. God is not a physical being like we are!
The Hebrew word used here for “rest” is “shavat”. It is spelled with the same three Hebrew letters that spell shabbat, which is the Hebrew word for Sabbath. This does not mean rest in the way we typically think of it. This has to do with God ceasing His work on the 7th day
Perhaps a better translation of this verse should have been “and on the 7th day God ceased” from all His work
I want to make one side-note observation here. If we look at the fossil record, there is a history of many different species coming into existence before the human era. We discussed earlier the Cambrian Explosion, which saw all of these new animal body plans emerge in a geological instant, with no pre-cursers, and no explanation. That is when God was creating. But after humans, we see virtually no new species, no real speciation events.
That may sound insignificant, or “what’s the big deal about that”. But I think it is a significant observation, because science has no real answer for why new species suddenly stopped appearing. But the Bible gives us a real clue right here. It is because God ceased from his creative acts after creating humans. Before humans, lots of new species. After humans, virtually none
God ceased, or rested , on the 7th day, and made it holy. Interesting that God here is establishing a pattern of 6 and 1. 6 days of work, 1 day of rest.
God established a pattern of 6 days working for humans, 1 day of rest. And also, for the land, 6 years of working the land, 1 year of allowing it to lie fallow.
Because, as it turns out, that 6 in 1 also worked very well for the land. One of the ways you kept pests under control and helped prevent pest epidemics was to allow the land to lie fallow for one year out of seven, essentially starving out the pests.
Today that is not as necessary since we have pesticides to control pests
Did you know, that experiments were conducted in Russia and France for about 12 years in each country. France back in the late 1700s to about 1805, and Russia from about 1930ish to 1940
What they tried to do was to alter the 6 in 1 pattern. They did this in an attempt to de-Christianize society, as well as increase productivity.
The French Republic changed the calendar to consist of 3 weeks of 10 days each. Citizens were required to work 9 consecutive days with one day off. SO work 9, off 1.
The Soviet calendar attempted 5 and 6 day work weeks, with rotating rest days during those weeks.
Both of these calendars were abandoned when it became clear that they resulted in less productivity
Last word on this 6 and 1, or 7 day pattern. The division of time into 7 days seems totally arbitrary. What I mean is that, when considering time, think about it. A day corresponds to one complete rotation of earth on it’s axis. A month corresponds to one complete cycle of the moon’s phases. But a week corresponds to nothing. It seems unnatural and arbitrary.
But perhaps that is the point. When we observe the shabbat, the sabbath, we are acknowledging the God who ordained it, the God who created the universe, and who transcends nature
V4- 6–These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground
“These are the generations of heaven and earth” – simply means ‘Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created”
“In the “day” that God made heaven and earth”, meaning, in the day that God created everything! Here is another example of the Hebrew word for day “yom” being used to mean more than a literal 24-hour period. Since creation took six days, “day” here cannot mean one literal 24-hour period. If you try and force “day” here to mean one literal 24-hour period, then you are saying that God created everything in only one 24-hour period, which clearly contradicts scripture. The point here is that ‘day” cannot mean a 24-hour period of time, but rather, an indeterminate amount of time.
V5-6 here are describing the planet prior to Adam being created. It is amazing that this description lines up with how scientists describe the formation of planet earth. A mist going up is literally true!
What we have here is a very simple description of the fact that prior to humans, the earth was formed, and as it cooled, due to many factors that I will not get into here, a mist went up, and then returned to earth in the form of rain. We touched on this in an earlier episode when we covered Creation Day 2, and the beginning of the water cycle.
Some commentators will interpret this as describing a mist that went up in the Garden, or even to underground streams.
Either way, in the verses we are reminded that there was a time when the earth had no water cycle, and that prior to God planting the garden, it was watered by streams, or perhaps a mist
7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
This is one of those verses, again, that we could literally spend a month on, doing a deep-dive into all sorts of different studies and ramifications
But for our purposes here, I am going to just make a few comments
First off, “God formed man from the “dust of the ground”. It is interesting to note that you are, in fact, made of elements that can literally be found in the dirt. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, several other trace elements.
I don’t remember who said it, maybe J. Vernon Mghee, but they said that if you boiled us down and separted us into our chemical elements, and then sold those elements, we would be worth about $2.98!:)
But just putting these elements together does not give life. It simply gives you a physical body, the hardware, so to speak. The software though, well, that is a completely different story! That requires something much different. That requires intelligence, information, coding, etc. Life, as we discussed earlier, requires something more, and in this case, it was the breath of life from God.
So even though Adam had a physical body, it is not until after God breathed into him the breath of life that he became a living soul
God will soon remind Adam that he is in fact made of dust, when he tells him in Ch 3:19 that as part of his punishment “till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;for you are dust, and to dust you shall return”
Again, I am not going to do a deep dive into this right now, but I want to at least mention what some people believe about this verse. About the creation of Adam. Some Christians, who are Theistic Evolutionists, accept the theory of evolution as far as it explains the rise of humans, meaning they believe what science teaches about Darwinism and macro-evolution. IOW, monkeys to man, or from the zoo to you
They believe God created humans like the Bible says, but that evolution was the mechanism God used to do it. Specifically, they believe God created hominid creatures who, when they had evolved enough, God then breathed into them the breath of life, giving them their human quality. IOW, once evolution had produced a human body, then God implanted the Imago Dei, or the image of God, thus creating humans
If you are interested in learning more about Theistic Evolution, or Evolutionary Creationism as they are now referring to it now,, I recommend picking up a book written by Francis Collins called The Language of God. In the book, he basically argues that DNA and the information contained in it proves creation and prior intelligence. Collins is the current Director of the NIH, the National Institute of Health. He has served in that capacity under Presidents Obama and Trump. He is a Christian. He believes in and has accepted Jesus as his savior.
For the record, I don’t personally believe in Theistic Evolution, but I understand why some Christians do. For me, it is not a question of ‘Could God have done it that way?” God could have done it anyway He wanted. The question is “How DID God do it?”I am planning on recording a video discussing Theistic Evolution at some point so that I can go into more specifics. For now, I just want you to be aware of that perspective, but I will just leave it there
8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Garden” – comes froma Hebrew root meaning “to be enclosed, fenced off, protected”
Eden – the likely meaning of the Hebrew term “Eden” actually means “pleasure or, delight”.
So what we have is an area that appears to be closed off and protected that was very pleasurable and delightful. And of course, that is what we all think of when we hear about the Garden of Eden. But long term, isn’t this what we think of when we think about Heaven?
God “placed” Adam in the garden. How is that Adam came to be in the garden to begin with? God placed him there. God’s placement of Adam in the garden suggests that man was meant for fellowship with God in this protected, closed off, pleasurable area. And it wasn’t a result of Adams doing. It was God’s doing. It wasn’t man reaching out for and crying out to God. It was God who created man and set up the perfect environment for fellowship.
After Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden, can you imagine how they must have felt? Apart from the guilt and shame, they probably felt like castaways, strangers in a foreign land. They are leaving Eden and heading out into the real world! For Christians, this is the way we sometimes feel in the world today. This world offers temporary power, position, money, fame, fortune, celebrity. And whether we ever achieve any of those things or not, we sometimes find ourselves longing to feel close to God, near Him and in a right relationship with Him, and that is completely opposite of what the world offers
C. S. Lewis once wrote that “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
V8, “God planted a garden in Eden, in the east”. East? East of what? East of where? So do we have any idea exactly where Eden was? Of course, there are all sorts of conjectures, and speculations, and maybe there is no way to be certain.
Moses, the author of Genesis, spent much of his time in Canaan, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think Moses considered Eden to be east of modern day Israel. I will discuss one possibility for the location of Eden in the next session.
I am also going to temporarily defer any discussion about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I want to wait until we get to the point of Adam and Eve eating from the tree before getting into that discussion
Also in the next session, we will look at God’s creation of Eve
Listen, if you have a friend or family member you think may be interetsed in a different sort of Bible study, please consider telling them about this podcast.
I hope you will join me for the next session as we wrap up chapter 2. Until then, thank you so much for listening, and God bless.