Year of the Bible – Genesis 2:4-25

Year of the Bible - Season of Advent - Genesis 2

 

 

 

And they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:25

Genesis 2:4-25 (2:4-9, 15-25)

The telling of stories in the Hebrew Bible is circular – it usually tells the big story, then turns back and tells parts of the larger story in smaller stories, giving us greater detail. Beginning with 2:4, God, speaking through Moses, tells us how Adam and Eve were made, it tells us about the Garden of Eden and man’s purpose in being placed there, and it tells the story of the creation of woman from man – of Eve from Adam. Although the story is simple, it speaks theological volumes when we break it down into parts. How God went about forming man into His image is more clearly related. God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. In every step, every action, God recalls how man is the image of God. We look to our own bodies for an example of what God is – just as we are “alive”, so God is a living being. As we “exist”, though we once did not exist, so God always has existed, always lived, always had qualities and attributes that were essentially and connected to His “being.” The text goes on to tell us that God “planted” a garden. Here now we see that God takes creation and cultivates it. God is a steward, a creator, but also a gardener, one who takes and produces fruit by giving care and attention to what he has cultivated. So also, being made in the image of God, we are to be stewards, cultivators of the earth, makers of gardens (that is, we have been given jobs, “vocations,” to which God has called us to do His work). We are to produce fruit through our stewardship. This is a reflection of God Himself, for He is the gardener that desires to produce the fruits of good works in us, works according to the commandments and flowing out of a love for God. Furthermore, the text tells us that there were rivers that flowed out of Eden. The changes that have come upon the earth in the flood probably wiped out all evidence of the Garden of Eden, but it was the source of four great rivers. This was the womb of mankind. And in that Garden God put two trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of one of those trees. Was God tempting man? Was God putting a stumbling block in front of man? A little closer look will reveal that God was actually giving Adam and Eve a device for knowing IF or WHEN they had sinned, a knowledge they would only need to have should they have sinned. In the beginning, pure innocence was enough. Innocence knows God and Truth without knowing evil, much like children can be innocent about sin, but at the same time know what IS good and right. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (representing the Law) was placed in the Garden of Eden should Adam and Eve fall into sin. God placed that tree in the garden and attached His command of Law to it so that sin, should it happen, would be compelled to violate the Law’s prohibition. In other words, had Adam and Eve sinned they would have eaten of the Tree and this would become the means for knowing that they had sinned. The original state of man, living in righteousness, innocence and blessedness was as natural as life itself. But since it was lost and this loss is passed down to the nature of all mankind, it was necessary for God to send His Son into the world as our Savior from guilt and the condemnation of the Law. God wants us to live in innocence once again. But how can this come to be? What was the promise?

Questions – Genesis 2:4-25

  1. What do we mean when we say the Bible tells stories in circles?
  2. Who wrote the Book of Genesis?
  3. What is meant when we say that man was made in the image of God?
  4. What does God want to do to us, like a farmer tending a garden?
  5. What did God forbid Adam and Eve to do?
  6. For what reason did God give them the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
  7. What is the ideal “state” that God would have us be in, something we see in little children? Explain.
Year of the Bible – Advent Week Three | Tuesday | Genesis 2:4-25 – © John W. Fiene