Chapter two begins with a description of the first Sabbath day.
Genesis 2:1–3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 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. 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.”
I believe the establishment of the Sabbath was important for two main reasons.
1. To establish a “type” for use in communicating to man concerning God’s plan of redemption.
2. To establish the importance of rest after work—both for the land and for men and animals that work the land.
As we continue in chapter two, we are given a few more details regarding the creation week.
Genesis 2:5–6 “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. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”
Though the wording is a bit difficult, it seems that God had prepared a mist to water the face of the ground before filling it with vegetation. There was no cycle of rain, snow, sleet, etc. It would seem that the earth was of uniform conditions and temperature at this time.
This is also the first time that the phrase “the LORD God” was used as the Creator’s title. The Hebrew states “Jehovah Elohim,” the self-existent, eternal divine being. The term Jehovah is the term that was most holy and sacred to the Jews. The word God placed an emphasis on His strength and power and position as righteous judge.
Now we are given more detail concerning the creation of man.
Genesis 2:7 “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.”
Note that the LORD God “formed” man of the dust of the ground. This pictures God as a potter working to “squeeze into shape” (from the Hebrew) the form that He wants out of the clay. After shaping the man to His liking, He then breathes into his nostrils the breath of life. I personally believe that this was imparting to man the whole of life—both spiritual and physical. We know today that the human body is an intricate, complex creation that gives testimony to an awesome, amazing, powerful Creator.
This verse emphasizes that God took special care in the creation of man. He is paying attention to the details. When He breathed into man, He was filling man with a part of Himself. This breath from God made man unique from the rest of the living creation; it gave us a soul. When Adam sinned, it was spiritual death that was experienced immediately. He lost the indwelling Spirit of God, the source of spiritual life.
Next we are told that God had prepared a special garden for man to live in and take care of that is identified as “eastward in Eden.” In that garden there was only one tree that God commanded the man not to eat its fruit—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:16–17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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.”
The consequences for disobeying God’s one command—“you will surely die.”
Several questions and/or observations now come to mind. God evidently created man with an innate language and the ability to communicate using that language.
Why did God forbid man anything if everything was good? God never intended us to be robots. The only way He could be glorified by and enjoy fellowship with us as His creation was to allow us to exercise choice. There is no love without choice.
What did Adam understand death to be? I am sure God would have explained it to him in some way for it to be a valid deterrent to disobedience.
The name of the forbidden tree is revealing—“the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Adam was placed in an environment that God had pronounced to be very good. As long as Adam remained in fellowship with God through obedience, he would know nothing different. When, however, he chose to disobey God, he became aware of something that was not good; he was made aware of evil.
God had given Adam the privilege of naming all the animals. In the process Adam realized that he was alone, and God determined that was not good for Adam, and He created woman.
Genesis 2:21-23 “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; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 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.”
Adam knew that God had taken a part of him to make woman. I think this is emphasizing the truth that the bond between a man and his wife is to be strong and intimate. In fact God looks upon a married couple as one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
I’ve heard a famous quote many times throughout the years, but I don’t know who originated it: “Woman was not made out of man’s head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him.”