Genesis 2 – The Value of Us

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THEME: God’s intention for an intimate relationship with mankind

Chapter Summary

Text: Genesis 2 (ESV) (NIV) (KJV)

Recognizing his day of rest as a marker of a completed creation, God blesses the seventh day, making it holy.

(Looking back on the days of creation, mankind’s sixth day formation is now more intimately described.)

A purposeless dust, watered by a mist coming up from the ground, covered the face of the earth. From this dust, God formed man, breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. God charged man with the duty of working the dust, aided by the rain He would call forth from the sky as a replacement for the mist, to grow food in it.  Setting apart a special garden in the east called Eden, God sent the man to live there. The plants, which the man would prosper in the ground, were brought forth as sources of food and comfort. Most notable of these plants were the tree of life, which was set in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which the man was instructed not to eat lest he die. A river which watered the garden flowed out of Eden, dividing into the four rivers of the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates. The Pishon flowed around Havilah where gold, bdellium, and onyx stone are found. The Gihon flowed around the land of Cush, and the Tigris flowed east of Assyria. Though man was given purpose in his work and comfort in his surroundings, God noticed it was not good for him to be alone. Calling forth the animals, God instructed the man to name them, intending for the man to notice that he had no companion who was like him but different. After naming the animals, God put the man into a deep sleep and took a rib from his body. From this rib, God formed a companion for the man, and the man named this companion woman, for she had come out of him. Man and woman were purposed by God to be one, complete in each other through their differences, and they lived in the garden both naked but unaware and, therefore, unashamed.

Initial Questions

  1. What is the significance of man being formed out of dust by God, and life being breathed into him when everything else God created was spoken/commanded into existence?
    • (source) The way God chose to make man illustrates the intimate relationship He desires with us. Man was made uniquely in being formed by God when all else was spoken into existence. This highlights man’s importance and value. Concurrently, dust suggests lowliness, as it is a humble substance compared to that of gold. The breath of God then, not the dust, is man’s glory. Formed out of such a fragile substance, mankind is dependent on God for life (Genesis 3:19). Therefore, we owe Him our praise.
  2. Where is the Garden of Eden?
    • (source) Genesis 2 uses recognizable names which lead us to assume that the placement of the Garden of Eden was in the middle eastern area known today as the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley. The flood (Genesis 6 – 9), however, would have wiped out the Garden of Eden and significantly changed the landscape by eroding the land surface and redepositing those sediments in new locations. Noah and his family, upon leaving the Ark, would have assigned familiar names to the new rivers and places. God placed an angel at the entrance of Eden to keep pre-flood men from entering after Adam and Eve were cast out (Genesis 3). The flood wiping out the garden makes that precaution unnecessary today, as it is unlikely that the garden survived.
  3. What is the significance of woman being formed from man’s rib?
    • (source) The characteristics of femininity were hidden in man, and God brought these characteristics out so that the expressions of both man and woman would have equal prominence in the world. God knew that the world, and man, needed both man and woman working together as intimate allies. One without the other is incomplete. God desired neither voice to be hidden, so He made the two forms of expression into equal companions. The rib protects the heart, which is illustrative of the woman’s emotional expression.

Noteworthy

*These notes come from Bob Deffinbaugh’s study on Genesis 2 at Bible.org
*Any other notes are marked with a “source” link, taking you to the original text
  • We think of paradise as relaxation and escape, but God thinks of it as a place of work within the provision. We should then envision Heaven as the satisfaction of Christian desire, not every desire.
  • We were created in God’s image and made distinct from other creation. We were last and what creation built up to.
  • Since we can make moral decisions, we were charged with ruling over creation.
  • Not until after the fall, were animals given as food to mankind. This suggests that when Christ returns to rule we will return to life before the fall. Our current consumption of meat then, is symbolic of the coming redemption through the blood of Christ.
  • There is no inferiority between man and woman, as they compliment each other.
  • God is helping mankind find his redemption through the savior who came from woman.
  • Everything and everyone is a source of blessing and value, if they are in the Lord. No-one is better than the other, as we are all from dust.

Recap

  1. Creation built up to mankind, who was made uniquely with the breath of God, illustrating how God desires an intimate relationship with us.
  2. We have not found the Garden of Eden because it would have washed away in the flood.
  3. Man and woman are of equal value, each having been created to lend their voice to the fulfillment of the duty of managing creation.
  4. All people are of equal value, each of us being made from dust.
  5. Our glory is not in the dust that we were made from, but in God’s breath of life. Fragile, we are completely dependent on God and, therefore, owe Him our praise.

God’s Grace Shown in Genesis Ch. 2

*Grace – the free and undeserved love of God

God made man uniquely, forming him out of dust, rather than speaking him into existence, and then breathing life into him. God then made woman as a companion to man, giving both of their expressions equal merit. Further extending his grace, God placed mankind in charge of his creation, and purposed them in the paradise of Eden.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for giving me purpose; thank you for entrusting me with the duty of managing your creation. Further, thank you Lord for the gift of my expression. Please teach me to glorify you through my unique attributes. Thank you Lord for the expression of those who are like me but different. Please teach me to value their attributes and understand that without their expression I am not whole.  You, Lord, are owed my praise. I was no more than dust before you breathed life into me. Your breath is my glory. I know that at times I fall short by assigning different values to all those you love uniquely. Please forgive me, and know that I value our intimate relationship, eagerly awaiting the day I will join you in paradise. Amen.

Next
Genesis Ch. 3
The Fall of Man

Back
Genesis Ch. 1
The Creation Account

Link to study on the rest of the chapters in Genesis

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