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Genesis: God’s Book of Beginnings (2)

SUMMARY OF THE CHAPTER 2

This chapter declares creation’s completion (v1-3), and expands on the methods and results of those six days of God’s creative work. It does not record a separate work of creation; it adds information to the details given in chapter one.

Though man was also made from the dust of the ground, he was uniquely created in God’s image. The record states, “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (2:7). Thus, he was made with spiritual capacities, upright in righteousness and holiness with an innate knowledge of God.

God called on Adam to name the animals, as he had given him dominion over the animal world. God created Adam first, then created Eve from out of Adam’s rib. This declares the oneness between a man and his wife. God made them male and female for companionship and procreation, and the union of one man and one woman to be the model of marriage in all generations.

Key Verse: “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” (Verse 7).

The reference to man’s creation from the dust of the ground clearly declares that Adam and Eve came into existence as a result of God’s direct creation. They did not descend from a previous civilization. God’s act of breathing into man’s nostrils the breath of life reveals that man’s nature is also spiritual and that he possesses an eternal soul. This expands on the fact stated in chapter one, that man was to be created in God’s likeness.

Observations on this chapter

Further confirmation is added to the record found in Genesis chapter one that God finished the work of creation in six days. See the word “finished” (2:1), and the word “generations” (2:4). The Hebrew term TOLEDOTH translated, “generations” in our English Bible, is repeated ten times in Genesis with great significance, so much so it can be taken as an outline of the book. The term is consistently used for “a commencement of the historical development.” Note also that the work of creation is spoken of in the past tense, “when they were created” (2:4). The work was done, and done perfectly. Thus, the statements in chapter two build on the clear statement of creation’s completion found in chapter one, “And God saw everything that he had made and, behold it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26).

The processes of direct creation were over at the end of the sixth day. The things that are observable in the world by geologists today no longer reflect the miracle of God’s creative power at work during the creation week. This doctrine of direct creation rules out any form of evolution either of the earth, the animals, plant life or human life. Uniformitarianism – the theory that present-day observable processes have been at work consistently throughout the ages is refuted right here in the Genesis record.

The clear statements contained in chapter two, verses four and five, declare that no new species of plants have been added to those created by God during the first week of creation. Rather, the reality is that, due to the entrance of death upon the world at the time of Adam’s fall, and due to the devastation of the world- wide flood that came upon the world in Noah’s time, there has been a loss of species of birds, animals and fish, not an increase.

Man’s creation from the dust of the ground rules out any notion that man evolved from a prior civilization, or that God used genetic information from a prior species (2:7). Adam truly was the first man. His DNA was newly created from the earth, not borrowed from any form of previous life. The Genesis record gives a thorough and exclusive perspective on man’s origin. It is opposed to the modern evolutionary view that man evolved from lower orders of life.

Man received his life directly from God. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of he ground…” (2:7). Because He is eternally self-existent, God alone has life in Himself.

All life, therefore, comes from Him. This special act of God breathing into the nostrils of Adam did more than inflate his lungs. God also imparted spiritual life to Adam so that He was given an eternal soul. While animals have breath, the Bible makes no reference to God breathing into their nostrils, nor of them becoming living souls.

“The high origin and the admirable serviceableness of the soul of man, takes its rise from the breath of heaven, and is produced by it. It was not made of the earth, as the body was; it is a pity then that it should cleave to the earth, and mind earthly things. It came immediately from God; he gave it to be put into the body (Ecclesiastes 12:7) …when our Lord Jesus anointed the blind man’s eyes with clay perhaps he intimated that it was he who at first formed man out of the clay; and when, He breathed on his disciples, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, He intimated that it was He who at first breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. He that made the soul is alone able to new-make it.”
Matthew Henry

The garden of Eden as described (2:8 – 17) with its four rivers is no longer in existence. Since God judged the world by a world-wide flood, none of these rivers with their original topography remain. The source of these waters was not from rain. At that time, the earth was watered by a mist (2:6).

God’s covenant with Adam forbade him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:17). This was a test of Adam’s obedience. While the covenant is stated in the negative, warning of death for disobedience, it necessarily included a promise of life for obedience. If Adam had obeyed, he would have lived. This covenant arrangement was made with Adam before Eve was created, so it was made with Adam alone as the head of a covenant. This was a test of Adam’s love toward God. Although it was a covenant of works, Adam was capable of perfect obedience, for he had perfect knowledge of God and was created with a nature disposed to love and serve Him. Having freewill, however, he was also capable of disobeying. As a free moral agent, Adam was created to freely offer loyalty and love to his Creator voluntarily.

The institution of marriage is based upon God’s special work of creation. Eve was created out of Adam’s side. Being formed out of his nature they were one flesh. Adam’s own statement, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (2:24), shows that God instituted marriage upon this pattern. God’s design for marriage is the union of one man and one woman. While it is possible that the animal creation was directly created in large numbers, Adam and Eve were the only first pair, and all humanity descended from them. In further proof of this truth, the Genesis record states that Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).

Application: How does this apply to me?

You are not only created by God, you are created with spiritual faculties that determine what is moral versus immoral. You have a never-dying soul and you must give account to your Creator. The first and great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind…” (Luke 10:27). This is the basis of God’s call to worship and to serve Him. Christians must defend the institution of Biblical marriage. Any sexual relationship outside of the union of one man and one woman in a covenant of marriage is contrary to God’s law of creation is sinful behaviour (Romans 1:26 – 32).

Things to do in light of this study

  1. Memorize Chapter 2:7
  2. Be alert to the rebellious world-view that promotes evolutionary theories. Remember that they are only man’s theories. Only God was present during the week of creation and He has given us His record of events in the book of Genesis.
  3. Study the solid evidence for direct creation, such as intelligent design that is visible all around us – from bacteria under the microscope to the human body, or the planets in the universe.
  4. Read the gospels and look for Christ’s teaching about direct creation? E.g. Mark 13:19.
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Ian Goligher

By Ian Goligher

Rev. Ian Goligher is the pastor of Cloverdale FPC, Vancouver, BC. He was Editor of Current from 2014 to 2019.