Genesis Chapter two: Man and Woman

Man and Woman Married in the Garden

This Bible study may be lengthy, but as I read through it over and over again, I didn't feel like I could eliminate any more information. There is plenty more I could add, but that would not be convenient to the Bible study group we have Sunday evenings. I usually teach, asking questions and looking closely at the Scripture verses for about 50 minutes. The text itself only takes about 5 to 10 minutes of reading. For anyone who would take the time to read this lengthy post, just know that the study of man and woman in the Garden from Genesis chapter two, really is enormously beneficial to our faith. Especially for helping us understand better what a fall they took when they chose to listen to the serpent and eat from the forbidden fruit in Genesis chapter three.

And now, enjoy God's amazing Design for man and woman at your own delight:

Verses 1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

What is so significant about the seventh day? What did God do on the seventh day? It says, "all the host" of the heavens and earth were finished, and that "God rested from all his work that he had done in creation" on the seventh day. Was God tired, so that he needed to rest and take a break? No way! God never sleeps. He doesn't ever get weary (Psalm 121:3-4). So how did He rest? It says twice that God "finished" all the work of creation, and twice that He "rested" from his work that He had done in creation. So the rest God spoke of was not to recover energy, but He was resting from His work and no longer creating anything. It was all finished in six days, and now the seventh day marks it as being complete. This is why we have seven day weeks. And when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, He set apart Saturday as the Sabbath, because He said, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." (Exodus 20:11). The Christian finds true rest in Christ alone - in Him we find the fulfillment of man's Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:1-13). Those who enter God's rest, rest from their own works, yet whoever does not believe is cursed and will never find rest (Hebrews 3:11-12).

Verse 4

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

This is sort of a summary verse. It leads into the next verses that describe some of the things God did when He prepared the garden and put man in it. So we are backing up in time here, back to the six days of creation, here described as "in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens." This was before the day God rested from His work...

Verses 5-6

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up - for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist [a spring] was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground -

What was not yet in the land or field? What was missing from the garden? Here it is telling us that this was before there were any field shrubs and small plants for man to cultivate and grow in the ground (such as wheat, barley, oats, and other types of food that we grow on farms in fields). And the reason it gives for this, is that "God had not caused it to rain on the land." There was also a key figure missing from the scene. Man had not been created yet, but we see God setting the stage for man's appearance. There was also a "mist" (and here the translators put the word "spring" in the footnote, because the original word means "flow"). So what could have been a spring instead of a mist, or more literally "flow," was going up from the land... and what was it doing? [It was "watering the whole face of the ground"]. It seems to me that this gives us the idea that there was a flow of water running up from the earth, and as it flowed out across the land, it caused everything to be watered all over the ground. Water was just flowing over all of the land and watering it abundantly. Psalm 104 confirms this when it says about creation, "You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills;..." (Psalm 104:10). So this water would have caused the garden to be beautiful and lush. It was literally Paradise.

Verse 7

then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

What did God form? From what did He form the man? How did the man become a living creature? This verse makes it very clear that God is the source of life. It is the "breath of the Almighty" that gives life (Job 33:4). Otherwise, how do you explain life? Scientists are still trying to figure out how amino acids formed billions of years ago to become living cells. I read a news article [http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070822_gm_life_origins.html] that asked the question to a bunch of the world's leading scientists about where life originated. All of them gave fancy answers in scientific language for "We don't know." Some suggested that maybe life originated on another planet and came here by an asteroid. But that leaves another question of "How did life originate on that other planet?" None of the scientists knew the answer. Some basically said that it would take a miracle for life to begin, yet they didn't know if they would ever learn what that miracle was. You know what... they aren't ever going to figure it out, not unless they can acknowledge that God is the one who makes things live.

Notice again how God made the man come to life - He "breathed into his nostrils the breath of [air?]... no, the breath of life." What is this "breath of life"? It seems to me that this is the spirit in man that makes him a living being. Without the breath of life, man would be a lump of flesh formed out of dirt. But God took a lump of dirt, formed it into human flesh, and then breathed life into the man. This is more than making the man of living cells. There are living cells in every living creature, in our brains, in our skin, making up every part of our bodies. This is probably more than that, and may also refer to what makes the man conscious, not just a well built functional body. Job 33:4 says, "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life."

And the man became a living what? [A creature]. Man is a creature, which means that he is a creation of God. Since God is the Creator of man, then man belongs to God. God is the one who determines what is right and wrong for man, man does not determine for himself. This is very important for us to realize about ourselves.

Verses 8-9

And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

What did the LORD God plant? Where did He plant this garden? [God planted the garden in Eden, in the east - this would have been somewhere in the Middle East.] What was the purpose of this garden that God planted? ["...and there he put the man whom he had formed." The Paradise garden was man's original home.] What was in the garden? [Remember that God made a spring to flow with water everywhere, so this garden was well-watered, lush, very beautiful. There were trees there. Trees that were "pleasant to the sight and good for food." Also there were two trees in the midst of the garden - "the tree of life" and "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."]

These next verses tell us a little about what the garden in Eden was like...

Verses 10-14

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

What flowed out of Eden, and what was it doing? Here we learn of this flowing river that watered the garden in Eden. It divided into these four rivers: 1) the Pishon, where the best gold in the world was found, as well as other precious stones and gems; 2) the Gihon, which flowed all around the land of Cush; 3) the Tigris, which was east of Assyria; and 4) the Euphrates (the Tigris and Euphrates in our time runs through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf in Kuwait). These four rivers all started from the river in Eden where the garden was. Together they cover a lot of land, probably all of what we now call the Middle East.

Verse 15

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

What did the LORD do with the man in verse 15? What job did He give the man to do? So we see that God originally designed man to be a gardener, to do work, to care for the garden that He made for the man to enjoy. God first prepared the garden, then He made the man and put him in the garden to do what God had designed him to do.

Verses 16-17

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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."

What was the command that God gave to the man? God has always given commands from the beginning. He does not give suggestions, or advice. No, God is not like us, all authority belongs to Him as the Almighty Creator. So He gave the command that the man "may surely eat of every tree in the garden." He commanded the man to freely eat (in Hebrew it says, "eat eat," with the repetition emphasizing that he may freely and surely eat of all the trees to his enjoyment).

But that was not where the command ended. What was he not allowed to eat? What would happen in the day he ate? God said that of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "you shall not eat." That is a direct, clear and negative command. So here is this tree, the one tree God forbids man to eat from. No big deal... right? The man had all kinds of other gorgeous looking trees to eat from. And so God told him why he must not eat from this tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the reason was "for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." And what is death? It is to be separated from the source of life. Death is the opposite of living. If the man ate from this tree, he would be cut off from the life that God had breathed into his nostrils, and so he would perish. So death is the fate of all who disobey God's commands, "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23a). Death was absolutely sure for disobedience to God's commandment. So the command implies that he would keep living if he did not eat of that one tree.

Verses 18-20

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

What did God say "is not good"? What was God going to make for him? God said he would make a suitable helper for Adam, so God brought all the animals and birds to Adam and had him name them. But God also showed him something: Among all the animals, was there a single one like him? Adam was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27). None of the animals were made like him. None of them could correspond to Adam, since he was a human and they were not. There was no suitable helper found for the man. Adam was missing his mate, his "helper fit for him."

Verses 21-22

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

The LORD God had just shown man all the animals and the man gave them names, however, none of the animals were fit to be his helper in the garden. So what did God do with the man? God operated on Adam! He anesthetized him, so the man was knocked out - in a deep sleep. Adam didn't feel a thing while God cut him open. And what did God take out of him? He took one of his ribs (or in Hebrew it could mean "side"), so God took flesh and bone from Adam and fashioned a woman from it. God also healed Adam like a skillful surgeon, closing up his wound with flesh. So here we see God operating on the man, he takes some flesh and bone from his side, heals the wound, and then fashions from it a woman for the man. (This was not only the first operation, but the first miraculous healing we read about in Scripture - and what God made from Adam's side was certainly a real miracle!) It then says He "brought her to the man." Can you imagine Adam's reaction when he saw this woman?

I can... look what he said next:

Verse 23

Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

This was the first love poem in the world... and it was about a woman! I think Adam was a bit excited to name this new creature of God. He called her Woman, which in Hebrew is similar to the word for Man (Hebrew: 'Ish and 'Ishah, sometimes literally 'husband' and 'wife'). Why did he call her Woman? It says, "because she was taken out of Man." She was literally close to his heart. God made woman in a very special way. Instead of forming her from the dust of the ground as He did with all the animals as well as the man, God fashioned her from the very flesh and bone that came from Adam's side. He made her for the man. She came from him, and only together with her was he complete. They were literally of the same flesh and bone. It's as if Adam was saying, "This is the part of me that was missing... here she is at last!" ["At last..." after he had waited a whole day without her :)]

In the sense of being of the same 'flesh and bone', man and woman are both created equal as counterparts. Do you understand what that means? Does saying they are 'created equal' mean that they both can bear children? If not, then what does it mean? Does it mean they are both the same physically? Does it mean they were both created to fulfill the same roles? No, no, no. The answer is, they are created equal in their humanity and value before God, but not in their purpose and function. Do you know what the words "counterpart" or "complimentary" mean? It means they are two different parts that fit together to make a whole. That is how God created man and woman, to both fit together as one, to both compliment each other in perfect union. That is also the meaning of marriage as we'll find out...

Verse 24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

This verse is about marriage. Marriage is given by God as a picture of His love for His elect Church. Paul said in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage is a profound mystery which refers to Christ and the church, so this is very important in God's design.

What does it say a man shall leave? To leave father and mother is to be separated from them. From childhood on up, a son is united to his parents and family. What does he do when he leaves them? He leaves them to "hold fast to his wife." To hold fast, means he clings to her. They stick together like glue. What do they become? That glue forms a bond between them and they become "one flesh." This means they are no longer two, but one in body. They are united, completed, and fulfilled with each other. This is the way God designed marriage. They cling to each other for life, holding fast.

When Jesus was asked whether it is okay to divorce after being married, this was his answer: "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:4-6). So Jesus claimed that Genesis 2:24 are God's words, God said "the two shall become one flesh." That is the way God made man and woman for each other in marriage. Any other way is to sin against God. We break God's will for man and woman when we try to "hook up" apart from "holding fast" to one wife or husband. This is also why homosexuality, and all other sexual sin is clearly an act of rebellion against God's good design for man and woman in marriage.

Marriage was created to communicate God's love for His church (see Ephesians 5:22-33). Christ loves His bride, His people, the Church. He came to her from Heaven, leaving His Father in Heaven to get a hold on her. He took her pain on Himself, her sorrows, her evil sin was placed on His shoulders to carry. He suffered and died for her upon the cross. He loved her to the death. (He loved his Church more than Romeo loved Juliet). He died and rose again, so that as Ephesians 5 says, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to Himself in splendor [that means magnificent, glorious beauty], without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27). He gave her His engagement ring of the gift of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). This is to guarantee that Jesus will come back to her at the appointed time, and will rescue her from this evil world, and will take her to be with Himself forever in a perfect bond of Heavenly delight and love that far surpasses what earthly marriage can only dimly represent. Paul said, "This mystery is profound, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church."

We don't have time to talk more about Biblical manhood and womanhood and the different roles they have together, but let's end by looking closer at the last verse:

Verse 25

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

What were the man and his wife dressed like? Were they ashamed? What did they have to be ashamed of?

What was there to be ashamed of? They were stripped down to the skin, and they were not ashamed. They had nothing to be ashamed of. What is shame? Shame is what we feel when we have done something seriously wrong and feel guilty. Shame is a testimony against us that we have guilt, sin, that we are unclean, defiled and unholy. Adam and Eve were together in the garden, God had united them together in marriage, and they were not ashamed. There was no sin, and so there was no reason to be ashamed. God created marriage, and everything God created was good.

(In our day, sin has corrupted the world and everything in it since Adam and Eve fell, but sin has especially corrupted sexuality and marriage). Hebrews 13:4 says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." And you know that we are all guilty, since Jesus said that to look with lustful intent is adulterous and immoral (Matthew 5:28). But you know what, the Bible promises that for those who are saved and rescued by the blood of Jesus, all their shame is removed and God is pleased to give them far more than what Adam and Eve experienced in the garden. I'm not kidding; some of us here may not live long enough to get married. We often imagine it, thinking it is going to be so good, but like I've shared before, I know someone who died at age 23. Others die at 18, 20, 21, some die at 15 or 16. None of us is guaranteed a fulfilled life here on earth, since we are all sinners and deserve to die (Rom. 6:23). The only reason we enjoy any life on earth at all is because of God's abundant mercies. But know this, Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to him [to Christ] are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." That is our hope, that in looking to Jesus, our shame is removed at the cross, death is defeated at the empty tomb, and Christ is going to return to give those who are saved an eternal inheritance with Him, experiencing the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. And although marriage is a picture of that, it cannot ultimately satisfy, since it is a relationship tainted by sin. But those who are saved, are satisfied forever. We all want to be married, but do we all want to live eternally in joyful communion with the living God? Ask yourself that.