GENESIS 2, Creation version 2.0
Bible Background: Genesis 1 and 2 offer different and complementary stories of how God created the heavens and the earth and humankind. Chapter 1 lifts up the goodness and good order of God’s creation. Chapter 2 gives a much more personal “hands-on” account of God making man and woman and placing them in the Garden of Eden, “to till and keep it”.
Going Deeper: 1. There’s a word-play in the Hebrew: adam (human) is made out of adama (soil). The man doesn’t have a ‘name’ yet in chapter 2, but this is where his name comes from. The writer describes the “breath of life” that God breathes into adam.
2. We call this scene “the Garden of Eden”, and it is a wonderful mystery! We can identify two of the rivers named: Tigris and Euphrates (modern day Turkey/Iraq/Syria). But what is this “tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” And, why can’t the man eat of it? We can only speculate. (This is not an apple tree, as depicted by many artists.)
3. There is one ‘problem’. In v.18 God notes “it is not good that the man should be alone,” so God forms the animals to be companions to the man. The man assists with this process by naming all the animals. Yet the perfect partner for the man hasn’t been found. So God forms woman (with a contribution from the man!) and the man is overwhelmed with joy!
4. V.24 gives a quick blessing on the sexual and spiritual union of husband and wife. V.25’s reference to their nakedness is less of a statement about bodies or birthday suits and more of the Hebrew way of saying “they were perfectly fit for each other, emotionally and physically. Their relationship was just right!”
5. One thing that this story of creation makes clear is that God made humans to be in close relationship with God, with each other, and with the rest of creation. Good and healthy relationships in all these areas is an ongoing human struggle (see Gen. 3!). Read the news any day. Let us humbly remember that sin is a summary for all the things that exist that are not the way God intended.
Prayer: God, you have made us and all creation and placed us on this earth to care for it, and for one another. Give us the grace, the wisdom, and the will to be good stewards of our own bodies, minds, and lives; and to be good stewards of your creation, by which you sustain the whole human race. Amen.