As God created the heavens and the earth, He also prepared everything, not only for the support of living things but most importantly, for His ultimate creation: mankind. In this lesson, the passage mainly focuses on the account of the creation and the livelihood of mankind. The narrative shows God’s great love for man by providing his dwelling place and needs, including a wife as his comparable helper. This passage will teach us not only about God’s divine providence for man’s needs, but also His divine guidance over man’s marriage.
Did You Know...?
- Breath of life (2:7): In Hebrew, the word “breath” may have several meanings: 1) Breath—“as a unit of air that passes in and out of the lungs through mouth and nostrils, essential to life (Deut 20:16;
2 Sam 22:16)”; 2) Life—“persons and creatures in a state of animate life (Josh 10:40)”; 3) Spirit—“the inner-most part of a person that can respond to God (Prov 20:27).” [ref]
- “Formed” (2:7): In Hebrew, the word literally means “form, shape, forge, that is to create an object out of existing material or to form an object by artistic, careful design” (2 Kgs 19:25; Isa 43:10, 54:17).
- Eden (2:8): The word in Hebrew means delight or pleasure. The location is probably at the district of Mesopotamia or Assyria (2 Kgs 19:12; Isa 37:12; Ezek 27:23).
- Pishon (2:11): The name means “water poured forth,” “overflowing.” [ref] It may be the river Indus, which surrounds India on the west. [ref]
- Onyx (2:12) is also known as carnelian or lapis lazuli (Ex 25:7;
1 Chr 29:2).” [ref]
- Bdellium (2:12) is known as “Bdellium-gum—an aromatic, transparent, yellowish resin from a tree of the South Arabian peninsula (Num 11:7). However, the Septuagint sees this as a kind of precious stone, a crystal or a dark red stone.” [ref]
- Gihon (2:13): The name literally means “to burst forth or draw forth,” thus it is known as “the Gusher” or “the Bubbler.” The river must have been one of the several rivers which “descend from the eastern mountains to join the Tigris river in the Mesopotamian plain. [ref]
- Cush (2:13) is variously located in Nubia and South Sudan, or spanning the Red Sea. [ref]
- Hiddekel [Tigris-NIV] (2:14) is the famous Assyrian river that flows through modern Iraq.
- Assyria (2:14) is located on the Upper Tigris River in modern Iraq (Gen 10:11). [ref]
- Euphrates (2:14) is a river of Syria which rises in the mountains of Armenia, and southward of Babylon unites with the Tigris, and empties itself into the Persian gulf (Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; Jer 2:18, 13:4–7). [ref]
- “This is now” (2:23): This phrase can also be translated as “now at length”—giving an additional nuance of the long waiting period for a helper comparable to him.
- Woman (2:23): This Hebrew word is the most common word for “female” and “wife” in the Old Testament. It is used here in the sense of “mate” or “wife.” [ref]
- Ashamed (2:25): The Hebrew verb form here may be understood to express reciprocal action. Thus, we may translate verse 25 as “they were not ashamed before one another.”
- The Creation of Man and His Dwelling Place (2:7-14)
- God formed a man (2:7)
- God put the man He formed in Eden (2:8)
- God made every tree grow (2:9)
- Four rivers in the garden of Eden (2:10-14)
- The Work, Instruction and Plan for Man in Eden (2:15-25)
- Man’s work to tend and keep the garden (2:15)
- God’s command regarding man’s food (2:16-17)
- God’s plan to make a helper comparable to man (2:18)
- Man’s work to call the names of all living creatures (2:19-20)
- God made a woman (2:21-22)
- Man and his wife became one flesh (2:23-25)
What were found in the garden of Eden?Hide Answer
1) The man that God had formed (2:7-8),
2) Every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food (2:9),
3) The tree of life (2:9),
4) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:9),
5) A river to water the garden (2:10),
6) Cattle (2:20),
7) Birds of the air (2:20),
8) Every beast of the field (2:20) and
9) A woman (2:22).
How did God provide for man’s needs in the garden of Eden?
In what ways has God provided for you?
How did God make and form man? See also Genesis 1:26 and 2:7.Hide Answer
1) He made man in the image and likeness of God (1:26),
2) He formed man from the dust of the ground (2:7),
3) He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living being (2:7).
How was the process similar to the forming of cattle, birds, and beasts?Hide Answer
How was it different?Hide Answer
God gave His breath of life to only the man. And unlike the animals, the man became a living being because of the breath of life that was breathed by God into him. In addition, only man is created in the image and likeness of God.
What were man’s responsibilities in the garden of Eden.Hide Answer
Man was to tend and keep the garden and also to give names to all livestock, to the birds of the air and to every beast of the field (2:15, 19, 20). Considering that there are over two million known species today we can imagine how much work was involved. [ref]
What can we learn about God’s expectations of man in terms of his responsibilities? See also
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11.Hide Answer
God did not put man in the garden of Eden so that he could simply eat from the trees, rest and do nothing. He wanted man to tend and keep it. In other words, not just to eat but man also needed to work. Similarly, today we should not walk in idleness (not working) because food is for those who are willing to work (2 Thess 3:10-11).
What kind of work has God given to you:
- in the family:
- in the society:
- in the church:
- in the family:
- in the society:
- in the church:
Why did God breathe the breath of life into man?Hide Answer
God breathed the breath of life into man to make him a living being (2:7).
How does God “breathe” His “life” into believers today? Compare with Jn 6:63, 20:22; Rom 8:6, 11;
2 Cor 3:6.Hide Answer
Just as God breathed into Adam the breath of life so that he could become a living being, today God also gives us the promised Holy Spirit that will make us live spiritually (Jn 6:63). When Jesus was on earth, He breathed on the disciples and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22). The promised Holy Spirit is also given today to those who ask, and He will enables us to put to death our carnal desires and He will renew us spiritually unto eternal life (Rom 8:6, 11;
2 Cor 3:6).
What was the tree of life? See also Genesis 3:22.Hide Answer
The tree of life was one of the trees that God put in the midst of the garden of Eden (2:9). According to Genesis 3:22 whoever ate the fruit from the tree of life would live forever.
What was the tree of knowledge of good and evil? See also Genesis 3:5, 22.Hide Answer
As the name of the tree indicated, one who ate from the tree would have the knowledge of good and evil (3:5, 22).
What was the purpose of a river going out of Eden?Hide Answer
Verse 10 states that the purpose was to water the garden. Most likely the same river was also used to give water to the inhabitants of the garden of Eden: mankind, the livestock, beasts, birds, and all kinds of tree in the garden.
Where did the four rivers flow to?Hide Answer
1) The first river, Pishon, flowed to the whole land of Havilah (2:11),
2) The second river, Gihon, flowed to the whole land of Cush (2:13),
3) The third river, Hiddekel, also known as Tigris, flowed to the east of Assyria (2:14),
4) and the fourth river, Euphrates, presumably flowed southward of Babylon until it united with Tigris.
What pleasant and good things were found inside and around Eden?Hide Answer
The Lord God had given:
1) every tree that was pleasant to the sight (2:9),
2) every tree that was good for food (2:9),
3) the tree of life so that man could live forever (2:9),
4) rivers that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, Cush and other areas (2:10-14),
5) good gold and other precious stones (2:12).
What are the “pleasant and good” things that you have received from the Lord?
What kinds of trees could be eaten by man in the garden of Eden?Hide Answer
Verse 16 says that man may freely eat of every tree that God had planted inside the garden, either tree yielding seed or tree yielding fruit (1:29), including the tree of life. But the tree of knowledge of good and evil could not be eaten at all (2:17).
What would happen if man eats of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?Hide Answer
In the day man ate from it, he would surely die (2:17).
What message does God’s command about the tree of knowledge of good and evil convey?Hide Answer
The prohibition to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil indicates that man has a boundary. In other words, man needs to be clearly aware of who he is, that he is created and not the Creator. He was given the freedom to freely eat of any of the tree inside the garden, including the freedom to freely eat from the tree of life that would make man live forever, and he was also given the authority over other creatures. Nevertheless, as part of God’s creation, man must unconditionally heed and obey the command that was given by his Maker and Creator, who put him in the garden and provided all his basic necessities.
When you feel that God’s commands are too harsh or even do not make any sense, what motivates you to continue to obey them?
Why is it not good for man to be alone? See Ecclesiastes 4:11, 12.Hide Answer
The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that being alone means one may feel cold, overpowered and broken. Being alone also means there is no helper around to give support. Therefore, it is better to have company so that when one feels cold, overpowered, and broken, one—along with his company—can keep warm, withstand and not quickly broken.
How did God create the first woman?Hide Answer
God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place (2:21). Then He formed the rib into a woman (2:22).
Why did God create the woman?Hide Answer
So that man not only could have a companion (2:18), but could also have a helper comparable to him (2:20).
From the creation of man and woman, what can we learn about the relationship and relative status of husband and wife?Hide Answer
1) The husband is incomplete without his wife (2:18), and
2) The wife is given to the husband not just as a companion but also as a helper comparable to him. Being comparable means that she is neither higher nor lower than her husband, but is one with him (2:20).
How did Adam find his comparable helper?Hide Answer
God brought her to him (2:22).
What does it teach us about the process in finding a life companionship? See Genesis 24:12-16.Hide Answer
When we look at how God prepared a companion for man, we see that God is involved even from the beginning of the process. God knew what kind of woman and helper was comparable to Adam. He saw Adam’s needs even before Adam was aware of them and took the initiative to make the preparation for him. God’s preparation of a comparable helper is seen again in the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 24:12-16). God already prepared for Isaac a comparable helper even before he was aware of it. Though today each one of us may have different ways and processes in meeting our spouses, God knows each of our needs and prepares our comparable helpers. Therefore, we ought to put this matter in prayer and seek God’s guidance, just as Abraham’s servant did when he was on his journey to take a wife for Isaac.
What was man’s reaction when God brought the woman to him?Hide Answer
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” This shows that man finally met a helper comparable to him (2:23).
What will the man do after he meets his comparable helper?Hide Answer
1) He shall leave his father and mother,
2) He shall be joined (hold fast [ESV]) to his wife, and
3) They shall become one flesh (2:24).
What does verse 24 teach us about marriage?Hide Answer
According to verse 24, marriage is the joining between a man and his wife and they shall become one flesh. To be joined with his wife, man must leave his father and mother—a condition which requires man to be independent emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually.
The phrase “be joined” may also be translated as “cling,” which gives a sense of appreciation, gratitude, thanks to God for having a comparable helper. Furthermore, when referring to the first marriage in the Genesis account, the Lord Jesus taught that what God has joined together, “let not man separate” (Mt 19:5, 6). In other words, marriage is a divine union and therefore, divorce is not permissible in the eyes of God. When a man is joined to his wife, the two of them are no longer two separate beings; rather they are considered as one flesh in front of God.
Moreover, becoming one flesh shows two people are united as one. Though the two different persons are from different backgrounds and upbringing, the two will become one in mind, purpose and hope. Referring to the first marriage established by the Lord in the Genesis account, the apostle Paul explains further the meaning of “becoming one flesh.” He admonishes us that, as one flesh, husbands “ought to love their own wives as their own bodies.” In other words, husbands must love their wives just as they love themselves. Here, the act of loving includes nourishing and cherishing their wives. Likewise, wives should “submit to [their] own husbands” and subject “to their own husbands in everything” (Eph 5:22-31). Thus, “becoming one flesh” means that the husband loves his wife and the wife respects her husband (Eph 5:33).
What was the condition of man and his wife in the garden of Eden?Hide Answer
They were naked but they were not ashamed before one another (2:25).
What are the things that make us feel ashamed?