“This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day [at the time] that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. 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 being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.” Genesis 2:4-8.
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Genesis 2:15-17.
As stated in the last post, Genesis 2:4 is actually where this chapter should have begun, since the previous verses Genesis 2:1-3 finishes up the creation week narrative of Genesis chapter 1.
Another thing of importance is that Genesis 2:4-25 falls under what is called the Law of Recurrence, which means that chapter 1 outlines the creation of all things and then chapter 2 goes back over the creation narrative and adds details to certain events such as the creation of man. Only certain aspects of this chapter will be considered, so a number of verses will be skipped over.
Consider carefully then the words in verse 7 above; “God formed man of the dust of the ground”, just as He did the animals, however God breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life.
He did not do this to the animals, thereby giving man the highest place on earth being made in the form and image of God.
The animals have souls and a body, but man has soul, body and a spirit, there is an eternal part of man breathed into his nostrils by God Himself which has been passed on to every human being since.
Animals are important to the earth because they keep nature in balance, just as God has intended from the beginning.
They are important because God gave mankind authority over them, and with that authority comes the responsibility to care for their welfare.
This responsibility extends to animal husbandry and to the humane care and slaughtering of animals for food. Christians have absolutely no right to treat animals cruelly or to slaughter them in anything less than as quick and as painless a manner possible. They are not a commodity.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear; while we have a responsibility to care for animals, there is not one animal, one herd, or one genus, of animal that is more important than the soul of just one man.
That does not mean that it was wrong for men to hang a horse thief, to shoot cattle rustlers, or to fight to the death for their farm, ranch, livestock, or home against Vikings, Tartars, Muslims, Nazis, or communists who tried to take things by force of arms.
It does mean that saving whales does not take precedent over the killing of babies in whom God has breathed the breath of life. We have lost our way when we think abortion on demand is in any way right or moral.
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend [cultivate] and keep it.” Genesis 2:15.
Here is an important fact, man was meant to work, even in the garden of Eden.
It is easy to overlook this and assume that Adam was put into a paradise where he would just lounge around, go swimming, and eat all day, but he was given work to do.
Granted there were no weeds, hot sun, or drought to contend with, that all came after the fall, but it must have entailed some kind of work which brought about a sense of satisfaction.
I would imagine this satisfaction was even to the point of saying to God, “Father, come here, you have just got to see what I did today!” Odd to think of is it not; the little creator proudly showing the Great Creator what he has done with His creation.
All legitimate work is pleasing to the Lord and we can do it with thanksgiving (whether we particularly like our job or not).
“Servants [employees], obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong which he has done, and there is no partiality.” Colossians 3:22-25.
The last sentence, verse 25 above, has been included to remind us that if an employee slacks off or does something malicious because they hate their job, or the employer is unjust in their dealings with the employee; God will punish the one who does evil.
A couple of hundred years ago in England a genius came up with the idea to take a box filled with gears, a revolution counter, and a crank that had a predetermined load on it; these make-work machines were then installed in prison cells.
The prisoners were then expected to crank out so many revolutions before breakfast, so many for lunch, and so many for dinner. The end result was that when the prisoners were released into society, they refused to work at all.
God has created man with the intent that he should work, and man needs to feel as though his work accomplishes something, even if it is making license plates.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Genesis 2:16-17.
The garden was full of trees of every kind of edible fruit, but this one was special, Adam was not to eat of it. Personally, I do not think that there was anything significant about this tree.
Folklore has it to be an apple tree (interesting that Apple Computer’s logo is an apple with a bite taken out of it); another thought is that it was an orange. It really does not matter. The commandment is quite specific and simple to remember, “…you shall not eat”!
It would not be surprising if Adam could have picked one of the fruit and used it for a baseball, or taken some of the sweet smelling blossoms home with him, even sawed off a limb and made a piece of furniture, but, “…you shall not eat”
Silly illustrations, but they are to show how specific God was in this case, but to eat, such perfidy.
“…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17b.
Adam lived a total of 930 years; how can God say that on the day that he ate of it he would die, when he clearly did not.
But did he? Adam died instantly, spiritually as did Eve.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” Romans 5:12.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1-7.
Adam fell and died spiritually and passed that spiritual death to all who are born of him. If he and Eve had not repented of their sin and turned back to God they would have physically died in their sin, just as every man and woman will do if they do not turn to Christ as their Savior and lay their sins upon Him.
To die in one’s sin means they will begin an eternity separated from God in hell, and then on Judgment Day they will suffer the second death and be cast into the lake of fire, never again to see good.
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18-20.
Again, we see God doing something in a roundabout way instead of just doing what He intended all along.
The reason for this is that He is showing Adam, and us that we are so different from the animal kingdom that it cannot be said that there are any who are comparable to us.
Humans were given to humans for comfort, care, friendship and the like. And yes, if one is handicapped, single, alone, old and alone, or isolated, a dog, a cat, or some such domestic animal is good for companionship under such circumstances. There are always good reasons to have a pet.
A dog for instance can take away fear of the dark, guard you when you sleep or are most vulnerable, alert you to dangers like fire, and eat your steak if you leave it unattended.
There are instances where cats have also cared for their owners in spectacular ways. You may have seen a clip on the internet of a dog stalking a small child, then grabbing him by the leg and dragging him off. The family cat came out of nowhere laid into the dog immediately and sent him running, even chased him a little ways.
Animals are God’s amazing gift to us; yet I would still prefer to have a woman holding and caressing her husband (or the husband the wife) rather than the family pet.
Who knows, some marriages might last longer if men and women were to make holding hands, embracing, hugging, or caressing an arm or a cheek in private a habit. Whatever brings peace to your hearts.
“Let your fountain [your issue, children] be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” Proverbs 5:18-20.
Eve, Mother of All Living, Genesis 2:4-20 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 6-20-14, updated on 9-16-21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.