Genesis 2

 

 

1 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of

them.” Thus the heavens and the earth were finished. Literally, and

finished were the heavens and the earth, the emphatic position being

occupied by the verb. With the creation of man upon the sixth day the

Divine Artificer’s labors were brought to a termination, and His work to a

completion. The two ideas of cessation and perfection are embraced in the

import of calais. Not simply had Elohim paused in His activity, but the

Divine idea of His universe had been realized. The finished world was a

cosmos, arranged, ornamented, and filled with organized, sentient, and

rational beings, with plants, animals, and man; and now the resplendent

fabric shone before Him a magnificent success — “lo! very good.” This

appears to be by no means obscurely hinted at in the appended clause, and

all the host of them, which suggests the picture of a military armament

arranged in marching order. Tsebaam, derived from tsaba, to go forth as a

soldier or to join together for service, and applied to the angels (στρατία

οὐράνιοςstratia ouraniosheavenly host -  Luke 2:13; I Kings 22:19;

II Chronicles 18:18;  Psalm 148:2) and to the celestial bodies (δύναμεις

τῶν οὐρανῶνdunameis ton ouranonpowers of the heavens - Matthew

24:29. Isaiah 34:4; 40:26; Daniel 8:10), here includes, by Zeugma, the

material heavens and earth with the angelic and human races (compare

Nehemiah 9:6). If the primary signification of the root be splendor, glory,

like tsavah, to come forth or shine out as a star, then will the Septuagint

and the Vulgate be correct in translating πᾶςκόσμος αὐτῶν – pas ho

kosmos autonall their vast array - and omnis ornatus eorum, the

conception being that when the heavens and the earth were completed

they were a brilliant army.

 

2 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made;

and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had

made.”  And on the seventh day God (Elohim) ended His work which

He had made. To avert the possibility of imagining that any portion of the

seventh day was consumed in working, which the English version seems to

favor, the Septuagint, the Samaritan, and Syriac versions insert the sixth day in

the text instead of the seventh. Calvin, Drusius, Le Clerc, Rosenmüller, and

Kalisch translate had finished. Others understand the sense to be declared

the work to be finished, while Baumgarten and Delitzsch regard the resting

as included in the completion of the work, and Von Bohlen thinks “the

language is not quite precise.” But calah followed by rain signifies to

cease from prosecuting any work (Exodus 34:33; I Samuel 10:13;

Ezekiel 43:23), and this was, negatively, the aspect of that sabbatic rest

into which the Creator entered. And He rested on the seventh day from

all His work which He had made. Shavath, the primary idea of which is to

sit still, depicts Elohim as desisting from His creative labors, and assuming a

posture of quiescent repose. The expression is a pure anthropomorphism.

“He who fainteth not, neither is weary” (Isaiah 40:28), can be

conceived of neither as resting nor as needing rest through either

exhaustion or fatigue. Cessation from previous occupation is all that is

implied in the figure, and is quite compatible with continuous activity in

other directions.  John 5:17 represents the Father as working from that

period onward in the preservation and redemption of that world which by

His preceding labors He had created and made.

 

3 “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in

it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.”

And God blessed the seventh day. The blessing (compare ch.1:22, 28) of the

seventh day implied:

 

1. That it was thereby declared to be the special object of the Divine favor.

2. That it was thenceforth to be a day or epoch of blessing for His creation.

3. That it was to be invested with a permanence which did not belong to

the other six days — every one of which passed away and gave place to a

successor.

 

And sanctified it. Literally, declared it holy, or set it apart for holy purposes.

As afterwards Mount Sinai was sanctified (Exodus 19:23), or, for the time

being, invested with a sacred character as the residence of God; and Aaron

and his sons were sanctified, or consecrated to the priestly office (Exodus 29:44);

and the year of Jubilee was sanctified, or devoted to the purposes of religion

(Leviticus 25:10), so here was the seventh day sanctified, or instituted in the

interests of holiness, and as such proclaimed to be a holy day. Because that in it

He had rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Literally, created to make, the exact import of which has been variously

explained. The τῶν ἤρξατοθεός ποιῆσαι -  ton aerxato ho Theos poiaesai

His work which He had created and made - of the Septuagint is obviously

incorrect. Calvin, Ainsworth, Bush, et alii take the second verb emphatice,

as intensifying the action of the first, and conveying the idea of a perfect

creation. Kalisch, Alford, and others explain the second as epexegetic of

the first, as in the similar phrases, “spoke, saying, literally, spoke to speak”

(Exodus 6:10), and “labored to do” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Onkelos,

the Vulgate (quod Dens creavit ut faceret), Calvin, Tayler Lewis, &c.

understand the infinitive in a relic sense, as expressive of the purpose for

which the heavens and the earth were at first created, viz., that by the six

days’ work they might be fashioned into a cosmos. It has been observed

that the usual concluding formula is not appended to the record of the

seventh day, and the reason has perhaps been declared by Augustine: “Dies

autem septimus sine vespera eat, nee habet occasum, quia sanctificasti eum

ad permansionem sempiternam” (‘Confess.,’ 13:36). But now what was

this seventh day which received Elohim’s benediction? On the principle of

interpretation applied to the creative days, this must be regarded as a

period of indefinite duration, compounding to the human era of both

Scripture and geology. But other Scriptures (Exodus 20:8; 23:12;

Deuteronomy 5:12, &c.) show that the Hebrews were enjoined by God

to observe a seventh day rest in imitation of Himself. There are also

indications that sabbatic observance was not unknown to the patriarchs

(ch.29:27-28), to the antediluvians (ch.8:6-12), and to

Cain and Abel (ch.4:3). Profane history likewise vouches for the

veracity of the statement of Josephus, that “there is not any city of the

Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither

our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come” (‘Contra

Apionem,’ 2:40). The ancient Persians, Indians, and Germans esteemed the

number seven as sacred. By the Greeks and Phoenicians a sacred character

was ascribed to the seventh day. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians,

and other nations of antiquity were acquainted with the hebdomadal (weekly)

division of time. Travelers have detected traces of it among the African and

American aborigines. To account for its existence among nations so widely

apart, both chronologically and geographically, recourse has been had to

some violent hypotheses; as, e.g., to the number of the primary planets

known to the ancients (Humboldt), the division of a lunar month into four

nearly equal periods of seven days (Ideler, Baden Powell, &c.), Jewish

example (Josephus). Its true genesis, however, must be sought for in the

primitive observance of a seventh day rest in accordance with Divine

appointment. Precisely as we reason that the early and widespread

prevalence of sacrifice can only be explained by an authoritative revelation

to the first parents of the human family of such a mode of worship, so do

we conclude that a seventh day sabbath must have been prescribed to man

in Eden. The question then arises, Is this sabbath also referred to in the

Mosaic record of the seventh day? The popular belief is that the institution

of the weekly sabbath alone is the subject spoken of in the opening verses

of the present chapter; and the language of Exodus 20:11 may at first

sight appear to warrant this conclusion. A more careful consideration of

the phraseology employed by Moses, however, shows that in the mind of

the Hebrew lawgiver there existed a distinction between God’s seventh day

and man’s sabbath, and that, instead of identifying the two, he meant to

teach that the first was the reason of the second; as thus — “In six days

God made.... and rested on the seventh day; where fore God blessed the

(weekly) sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Here it is commonly assumed that

the words are exactly parallel to those in v. 3, and that the

sabbath in Exodus corresponds to the seventh day of Genesis. But this is

open to debate. The seventh day which God blessed in Eden was the first

day of human life, and not the seventh day; and it is certain that God did

not rest from His labors on man’s seventh day, but on man’s first. We feel

inclined then to hold with Luther that in v.3 Moses says

nothing about man’s day, and that the seventh day which received the

Divine benediction was God’s own great aeonian period of sabbatic rest.

At the same time, for the reasons above specified, believing that a weekly

sabbath was prescribed to man from the beginning, we have no difficulty

in assenting to the words of Tayler Lewis: “‘And God blessed the seventh

day.’ Which seventh day, the greater or the less, the Divine or the human,

the aeonian or the astronomical? Both, is the easy answer; both, as

commencing at the same time, so far as the one connects with astronomical

time; both, as the greater including the less; both, as being (the one as

represented, the other as typically representing) the same essence and

idea.” It does not appear necessary to refute the idea that the weekly

sabbath had no existence till the giving of the law, and that it is only here

proleptically referred to by Moses. In addition to the above-mentioned

historical testimonies to the antiquity of the Sabbath, the Fifth Tablet in the

Chaldean Creation Series, after referring to the fourth day’s work,

proceeds:

 

            “On the seventh day he appointed a holy day,

            And to cease from all business he commanded.

            Then arose the sun in the horizon of heaven in (glory).”

 

thus apparently affirming that, in the opinion of the early Babylonians, the

institution of the sabbath was coeval with the creation. (Vid. ‘Records of

the Past,’ vol. 9. p. 117.)

 

 

                                    Rest and Light (vs. 1-3)

 

The finished heavens and earth and their host prepare the day of rest. God

ended His work as an interchange of darkness and light.

 

  • THE REST OF THE SABBATH IS NOT INACTION, BUT THE

            CESSATION FROM THE LOWER ORDER OF WORK FOE THE

            HIGHER. The idea of the first proclamation seems to be that creation was

            perfectly adjusted through the six days into a settled harmony which puts

            heaven and earth in their abiding relation to one another.

 

  • THEN THERE IS NO MORE SAID OF EVENING AND MORNING.

            The seventh day is only light. God’s rest is complacency in His works. The

            blessing on the seventh day which hallowed it is the blessing on that which

            the day represents — perfect peace between heaven and earth, God

            satisfied in His creation, and inviting His intelligent creatures to enter into

            his rest by communion with Him. It seems quite unnecessary to vindicate

            such a sanctification of the seventh day from the insinuations of critics that

            it was a late addition made by the Jewish legislator to support the fourth

            commandment. In that case the whole cosmogony must be renounced.

            Such an observance of a day of rest seems a natural antecedent to the

            patriarchal as well as the Mosaic economy. We have already intimated that

            the whole account of creation is placed at the commencement of revelation

            because it has a bearing upon the positive ordinances of religion. It is not

            either a scientific or poetic sketch of the universe; it is the broad,

            fundamental outline of a System of religious truth connected with a body

            of Divine commandments. The sabbath is thus described in its original

            breadth. The sanctification of it is:

 

Ø      Negative. It is separation from the lower conditions of work, which in

                        the case of man are the characteristics of days which are sinful days —

                        days of toil and conflict, of darkness and light mingled.

 

Ø      Positive. It is the restful enjoyment of a higher life, a life which is not

                        laboring after emancipation from bondage, but perfect with a glorious

                        liberty; the true day, “sacred, high, eternal noon,” God and man

                        rejoicing m one another, the creature reflecting the glory of the Creator..

 

 

The Two Sabbaths: The Divine and the Human (v. 3)

 

  • THE SABBATH OF GOD. A period of:

 

Ø      Cessation from toil, or discontinuance of those world-making

operations which had occupied the six preceding days (Hebrews 4:4).

Never since the close of the creative week has God interfered to

fundamentally rearrange the material structure of the globe. The

Deluge produced no alteration on the constitution of nature. Nor

is there evidence that any new species have been added to its

living creatures.

 

Ø      Holy delight. On the seventh day Elohim rested and was” refreshed”

(Exodus 31:17); which refreshment consisted partly in the

satisfaction He experienced in beholding the cosmos — a satisfaction

prefigured and anticipated by the solemn pauses intervening at the

end of each creative day, accompanied by the “good,” “lo! very good,”

of Divine approbation; and partly in the pleasure with which He

contemplated the peculiar work of blessing His creation which lay

before Hhim, a work which also had its foreshadowing in the

benedictions pronounced on the living creatures of

the fifth day, and on man on the sixth.

 

Ø      Beneficent activity. Even man, unless where his intellectual and moral

faculties are dormant, finds it difficult to rest in indolence and inactivity.

Absence of motion, with complete negation of effort, may constitute the

refreshment of the physical system. The mind seeks its rest in change of

occupation. Still less can the supreme Intelligence, who is pure Spirit, rest

in absolute inaction; only the Divine energy is now directed towards the

happiness of His creatures (Psalm 145:9). Having finished His creative

labors, what else could Elohim do but outpour His own blessedness upon

His creatures, in proportion to their capacities to receive it? His nature as

God necessitated such communication of good to His creatures (Psalm

34:8; James 1:5, 17). The capacities of His creatures for such blessing

required it. Hence God’s rest may be said to have been man’s birthright.

He was created in that rest, as the sphere of his existence.

 

Ø      Continuous duration. That which secures its perpetuity is the Divine

resolution to bless it, i.e. constitute it an era of blessing for man, and in

particular to sanctify it, or devote it to the interests of holiness. And in

this Divine determination lies the pledge of mans salvation. Without it

God’s rest might have been broken into by man s sin, and the era of

blessing ended. But, because of it, man’s sin could not change the

character of God’s seventh day, so as to prevent it from dropping

down gifts and exercising holy influences on the creature for whose

sake it was appointed.  The security of the world as a cosmos may also

be said to be involved in the permanence of God’s sabbath. So long

as it continues nothing shall occur to resolve the present goodly

framework of this globe into another lightless, formless, lifeless

chaos, at least until the Divine purpose with the human race

HAS BEEN FULFILLED!

 

  • THE SABBATH OF MAN.

 

Ø      Of Divine institution (Exodus 20:8; Leviticus 19:30; Psalm 118:24).

That God had a right to enact a weekly sabbath for man is implied

in His relation to man as Creator and Lawgiver. For man, therefore, to

withhold the seventh portion of his time is to be guilty of disobedience

against God as a moral Governor, ingratitude towards God as Creator

and Preserver, robbery of God as the original Proprietor of both man’s

powers and time’s days. (Man is thus like the panhandler, who

approached a man and asked for money.  The man had only seven

dollars.  He gave the panhandler six of them, and as he turned to

walk away, the panhandler hit him in the head and took the seventh.

CY – 2014)  As an institution of God’s appointing, the sabbath

deserves our honor and esteem. To neglect to render this God counts

a sin (Isaiah 58:13-14).

 

Ø      Of sacred character. Among the Israelites its sanctity was to be

recognized by abstinence from bodily labor (Exodus 20:10; 34:21)

and holy convocations (Leviticus 23:3). That this was the manner of its

observance prior to the giving of the law may be judged from the

regulations concerning the manna (Exodus 16:22). That from the

beginning it was a day of rest and religious worship may be reasonably

inferred. That it was so used by Christ and His apostles the Gospels

attest (Luke 4:16). That the same character was held to attach to the

first day of the week after Christ’s resurrection may be deduced from

the practice of the apostolic Church (Acts 20:7). The sanctity of the

sabbath may be profaned, positively, by prosecuting one’s ordinary

labors in its hours (Isaiah 58:13; Jeremiah 17:24); negatively, by

neglecting to devote them to Divine worship and spiritual improvement

(Ezekiel 44:24).  Christianity has not obliterated the distinction between

the sabbath and the other days of the week; not even by elevating them

to the position of holy days. An attempt to equalize the seven days

always results in the degradation of the seventh, never in the elevation

of the other six.

 

Ø      Of beneficent design (Mark 2:27). The sabbath is adapted to the wants

of man physically, intellectually, socially, politically. Innumerable

facts and testimonies establish the beneficial influence of a seventh day’s

rest from toil upon the manual laborer, the professional thinker, the social

fabric, the body politic, in respect of health, wealth, strength, happiness.

It is, however, chiefly man’s elevation as a religious being at which it

aims. In the paradisiacal state it was designed to hedge him round and,

if possible, prevent his fall; since the tragedy in Eden it has been seeking

his reinstatement in that purity from which he fell.

 

Ø      Of permanent obligation. Implied in the terms of its institution, its

permanence would not be affected by the abolition of the Decalogue. The

Decalogue presupposed its previous appointment. Christianity takes it up,

just as Judaism took it up, as one of God’s existing ordinances for the

good of man, and seeks through it to bring its higher influences to bear on

man, just as Judaism sought, through it, to operate with its inferior agency.

Till it merges in the rest of which it is a shadow by the accomplishment

of its grand design, it must abide.

 

  • THE CONNECTION OF THE TWO. God’s rest is:

 

Ø      The reason of man’s sabbath. The Almighty could have no higher reason

for enjoining a seventh day’s rest upon His creature than that by so resting

that creature would be like Himself.

 

Ø      The pattern of man’s sabbath. As God worked through six of His days

and rested on the seventh, so should man toil through six of his days and

rest on the seventh. As God did all His work in the six creative days, so

should all man’s labor be performed in the six days of the week. As God

employs His rest in contemplation of His finished work and in blessing

His creature man, so should man devote his sabbath to pious meditation

on his past life and to a believing reception of God’s gifts of grace and

salvation.

 

Ø      The life of man’s sabbath. Whatever blessing comes to man on his

weekly day of rest has its primal fountain in the rest of God. As man

himself is God’s image, so is man’s sabbath the image of God’s rest;

and as man lives and moves and has his being in God, so does man’s

sabbath live and move and have its being in God’s rest.

 

Ø      The end of man’s sabbath. The reinstatement of man in God’s rest is the

purpose at which man’s sabbath aims, the goal towards which it is

tending.  God’s rest remains on high (Hebrews 4:9), drawing men

towards it.  Man’s weekly sabbath will ultimately lose itself m God s

eternal rest.

 

 

            The Generations of the Heavens and of the Earth

                                    (vs. 4 – ch. 4:26)

 

The subject handled in the present section is the primeval history of man

in his paradisiacal state of innocence, his temptation and fall, and his

subsequent development, in two diverging lines, of faith and unbelief,

holiness and sin. On the ground of certain obvious, well-defined, and

readily-explained characteristics which distinguish this from the preceding

portion of the narrative, it is usual with the higher criticism to allege

diversity of authorship; and, indeed, these same characteristics, magnified

by misapplied ingenuity into insoluble contradictions, are the chief buttress

of the documentary hypothesis of some. Now the hypothesis that Moses, in the

composition of the Pentateuch, and of this Book of Origins in particular, made

use of existing documents that may have descended from a remote antiquity is,

a prioir, neither incredible nor impossible; but, on the contrary, is extremely

probable, and may be held as admitted; only the alleged peculiarities of the

different portions of the narrative do not justify the reckless confidence

with which it has been resolved by many. The occurrence of the

name Jehovah Elohim, instead of simply Elohim, as in the preceding

section, is the chief peculiarity of the present portion of the narrative, so far

as style and language are concerned; its alleged irreconcilable differences

in subject-matter are skillfully and succinctly put by Kalisch. “In the first

cosmogony vegetation is immediately produced by the will of God; in the

second its existence is made dependent on rain and mists and the

agricultural labors: in the first the earth emerges from the waters, and is,

therefore, saturated with moisture; in the second it appears dry, sterile, and

sandy: in the first man and his wife are created together; in the second the

wife is formed later, and from a part of man: in the former man bears the

image of God, and is made ruler of the whole earth; in the latter his earth-

formed body is only animated by the breath of life, and he is placed in Eden

to cultivate and to guard it: in the former the birds and beasts are created

before man; in the latter man before birds and beasts.” For a reply to these

“insoluble contradictions,” which, though “too obvious to be overlooked

or denied,” are mostly, if not solely, due to a false exegesis and a

misapprehension of the guiding purpose of the writer, see the Exposition

following, which attempts no “artificial solution” such as Kalisch

deprecates, and proposes no ingenious reconciliation of essentially

opposing statements, but simply shows that, when naturally and literally

interpreted, the narrative is free from those internal antagonisms which a

‘microscopic criticism imagines it has detected in it. The internal unity of

the present writing, or second document, as it is called, is apparent. The

internecine struggle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the

serpent, which the fratricidal act of Cain inaugurated (ch. 4.), is the

legitimate and necessary outcome of the sin and the grace revealed in Eden

(ch. 3.), while the melancholy story of the temptation and the fall

presupposes the paradisiacal innocence of the first pair (here). Thus

homogeneous in itself, it likewise connects with, the preceding section

through v.25, which, as a monograph on man, supplies a more

detailed account of his creation than is given in the narrative of the six

days’ work, and, by depicting man’s settlement in Eden as a place of trial,

prepares the way for the subsequent recital of his seduction and sin, and of

his consequent expulsion from the garden.

 

4 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they

were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the

heavens,”  These are the generations is the usual heading for the different

sections into which the Book of Genesis is divided (ch.5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27;

25:12, 19; 36:1; 37:2). Misled by the Septuagint, who render toldoth by βίβλος

γενέσεωςhae biblos geneseosthe history of the generations - Ranks, Title,

Havernick, Tuch, Ewald, and Stahelin disconnect the entire verse from the second

section, which says nothing about the origination of the heavens and the earth,

and append it to the preceding, in which their creation is described. Ilgen

improves on their suggestion by transferring it to the commencement of

Genesis 1., as an appropriate superscription. Dreschler, Vaihingel Bohlen,

Oehler, Macdonald, et alii divide the verse into two clauses, and annex the

former to what precedes, commencing the ensuing narrative with the latter.

All of these proposals are, however, rendered unnecessary by simply

observing that toldoth (from yaladh, to bear, to beget; hence begettings,

procreations, evolutions, developments) does not describe the antecedents,

but the consequents, of either thing or Person (Rosen., Keil, Kalisch). The

toldoth of Noah are not the genealogical list of the patriarch’s ancestry, but

the tabulated register of his posterity; and so the generations of the

heavens and the earth refer not to their original production (Gesenius),

but to their onward movements from creation downwards (Keil). Hence

with no incongruity, but with singular propriety, the first half of the present

verse, ending with the words when they were created, literally, in their

creation, stands at the commencement of the section in which the forward

progression of the universe is traced. The point of departure in this

subsequent evolution of the material heavens and earth is further specified

as being in the day that the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim) made the earth

and the heavens; not the heavens and the earth, which would have

signified the universe (compare on ch.1:1), and carried back the writer’s

thought to the initial act of creation; but the earth and the atmospheric

firmament, which indicates the period embracing the second and (possibly)

the third creative days as the terminus aguo of the generations to be

forthwith recorded. Then it was that the heavens and the earth in their

development took a clear and decided step forward in the direction of man

and the human family (was it in the appearance of vegetation?); and in this

thought perhaps will be found the key to the significance of the new name

for the Divine Being which is used exclusively throughout the present

section — Jehovah Elohim. From the frequency of its use, and the

circumstance that it never has the article, Jehovah may be regarded as the

proper personal name of God. Either falsely interpreting Exodus 20:7

and Leviticus 24:11, or following some ancient superstition (mysterious

names of deities were used generally in the East; the Egyptian Hermes had

a name which (Cic. ‘de Natura Deorum,’ 8, 16) durst not be uttered:

Furst), the later Hebrews invested this nomen tetra-grammaton with such

sanctity that it might not be pronounced (Philo, Vit. Mosis, 3:519, 529).

Accordingly, it was their custom to write it in the sacred text with the

vowel points of Adonai, or, if that preceded, Elohim. Hence considerable

doubt now exists as to its correct pronunciation. Etymologically viewed it

is a future form of havah, an old form of hayah; uncertainty as to what

future has occasioned many different suggestions as to what constituted its

primitive vocalization. According to the evidence which scholars have

collected, the choice lies between:

 

(1) Jahveh

(2) Yehveh or Yeheveh and

(3) Jehovah

 

Perhaps the preponderance of authority inclines to the first; but the

common punctuation is not so indefensible as some writers allege.

Gesenius admits that it more satisfactorily accounts for the abbreviated

syllables יִהו and יו than the pronunciation which he himself favors.

Murphy thinks that the substitution of Adonai for Jehovah was facilitated

by the agreement of their vowel points. The locus classicus for its

signification is Exodus 3:14, in which God defines Himself as “I am that

I am,” and commands Moses to tell the children of Israel that Ehyeh had

sent him. Hengstenberg and Keil conclude that absolute self-existence is

the essential idea represented by the name (compare Exodus 3:14; ὤν

ho on – the One -  Septuagint, Revelation 1:4, 8; ὥν καὶἠν καὶ

ἐρχόμενοςho hon kia ho aen kai ho erchomenoswhich is, which was,

and which is to come; the one One Being and the One, He was, and the

One, One coming -  vd. Furst, ‘Lex. sub nora.’). Baumgarten and Delitzsch,

laying stress on its future form, regard it as = the Becoming One, with

reference to the revelation, rather than the essence, of the Divine nature.

Macdonald, from the circumstance that it was not used till after the fall,

discovers a pointing forward to Jehovah as ἐρχόμενος - ho erchomenos

One coming - in connection with redemption.  Others, deriving from a

hiphil future, take it as denoting He who causes to be, the Fulfiller,”

and find in this an explanation of Exodus 6:3. May not all these ideas be

more or less involved in the fullness of the Divine name? As distinguished

from Elohim, Deus omnipotens, the mighty One, Jehovah is the absolute,

self-existent One, who manifests Himself to man, and, in particular, enters

into distinct covenant engagements for His redemption, which He in due time

fulfils. In the present section the names are conjoined partly to identify Jehovah

with Elohim, and partly because the subject of which it treats is the history of man.

 

5 “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every

herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused

it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.”

And every plant of the field before it was (literally, not yet)

in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew (literally, had not

yet sprouted). Following the Septuagint, the English Version suggests an

intention on the writer’s part to emphasize the fact that the vegetation of

the globe — here comprehended under the general terms, shiah, shrub, and

eseb, herb was not a natural production, but, equally with the great

earth and heavens, was the creation of Jehovah Elohim — a rendering

which has the sanction of Taylor Lewis; whereas the writer’s object clearly

is to depict the appearance of the earth at the time when the man-ward

development of the heavens and the earth began. Then not a single plant

was in the ground, not a green blade was visible. The land, newly sprung

from the waters, was one desolate region of bleak, bare lava-hills and

extensive mud-flats. Up to that point the absence of vegetation is

accounted for by the circumstance that the presently existing atmospheric

conditions of the globe had not then been established, for the Lord God

had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and the ordinary agricultural

operations on which its production was afterwards to depend had not then

been begun, and there was not a man to till the ground.

 

6 “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole

face of the ground.”  The dry land having been separated from the

waters, and the atmospheric ocean uplifted above them both, vaporous

exhalations began to ascend to the aerial regions, and to return again in the

shape of rain upon the ground. Jehovah thus caused it to rain upon the

ground, and so prepared it for the vegetation which, in obedience to the

Almighty fiat, sprung up at the close of the third day, although the writer

does not mention its appearance, but leaves it to be inferred from the

preceding section. That soon after its emergence from the waters the land

should be “dry, sterile, and sandy” will not be thought remarkable if we

remember the highly igneous condition of our planet at the time when the

dry land was up-heaved and the waters gathered into the subsiding valleys.

Nothing would more naturally follow that event than the steaming up of

vapors to float in the aerial sea. In fact, the rapidity with which evaporation

would be carried on would very speedily leave the newly-formed land hard

and dry, baked and caked into a crust, till the atmosphere, becoming

overcharged with aqueous vapor, returned it in the shape of rain. To talk of

insuperable difficulty and manifest dissonance where everything is clear,

natural, and harmonious is to speak at random, and betrays an anxiety to

create contradictions rather than to solve them.

 

7 “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 soul.”  And the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim) formed man of the dust

of the ground. Literally, dust from the ground. Here, again, Bleek,

Kalisch, and the theologians of their school discover contrariety between

this account of man’s creation and that which has been given in the

preceding chapter. In that man is represented as having been created .by

the Divine word, in the Divine image, and male and female simultaneously;

whereas in this his creation is exhibited as a painful process of elaboration

from the clay by the hand of God, who works it like a potter (asah; Septuagint,

πλάσσω plasso - form), and, after having first constructed man, by a

subsequent operation forms woman. But the first account does not assert that

Adam and Eve were created together, and gives no details of the formation of

either. These are supplied by the present narrative, which, beginning with

the construction of his body from the fine dust of the ground, designedly

represents it as an evolution or development of the material universe, and

ends by setting it before us as animated by the breath of God, reserving for

later treatment the mode of Eve’s production, when the circumstances that

led to it have been described. And (the Lord God) breathed into his

nostrils the breath of life. Literally, the breath of lives. “The formation of

man from the dust and the breathing of the breath of life must not be

understood in a mechanical sense, as if God first of all constructed a human

figure from the dust” (still less does it admit of the idea that man’s physical

nature was evolved from the lower animals), “and then, by breathing His

breath of life into the clod of earth which He had shaped into the form of a

man, made it into a living being. The words are to be understood

θεοπρεπῶςtheoprepos.  By an act of Divine omnipotence man arose from

the dust; and in the same moment in which the dust, by virtue of creative

omnipotence, shaped itself into a human form, it was pervaded by the

Divine breath of life, and created a living being, so that we cannot say the

body was earlier than the soul. And man became a living

soul. Nephesh chayyah, in ch. 1:21, 30, is employed to designate

the lower animals. Describing a being animated by a ψυχή - psuche -  or life

principle, it does not necessarily imply that the basis of the life principle in man

and the inferior animals is the same. The distinction between the two appears

from the difference in the mode of their creations. The beasts arose at the

almighty fiat completed beings, every one a nephesh chayyah. The origin

of their soul was coincident with that of their corporeality, and their life

was merely the individualization of the universal life with which all matter

was filled at the beginning by the Spirit of God. Man received his life from

a distinct act of Divine inbreathing; certainly not an inbreathing

of atmospheric air, but an inflatus (inflation) from the Ruach Elohim, or

Spirit of God, a communication from the whole personality of the

Godhead. In effect man was thereby constituted a nephesh chayyah, like

the lower animals; but in him the life principle conferred a personality

which was wanting in them. Thus there is no real contradiction, scarcely

even an “apparent dissonance,” between the two accounts of man’s

creation. The second exhibits the foundation of that likeness to God and

world-dominion ascribed to him in the first.

 

 

            The First Man (v. 7)

 

  • MADE FROM THE DUST. This does not imply that in the composition

of humanity there is nothing but particles of dust, or “molecules of matter.”

Simply it designs to state that the point of departure in man s creation was

the soil out of which all other living creatures were produced; that, so to

speak, man was constructed from beneath upwards, the Divine Artificer

proceeding with his creation in the same ascending scale of activity that

had been observed in the production of the rest of the universe — first the

material body, and then the immaterial soul; and that, so far as the former

is concerned, man is wholly and solely of the earth, earthy, — an assertion

which the researches of chemistry and physiology abundantly confirm, —

the elements of organized bodies being the same as those which constitute

the inorganic world, viz., carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, lime, iron,

sulfur, and phosphorus. The statement is fitted to impress man with

thoughts:

 

Ø      Of his lowly origin. While the Scripture in general labors to imbue his

mind with correct ideas of his obscure nativity, comparing him to a wind,

to a vapor, to a flower, to the beasts, to a worm, the sentiment of Moses

takes him lower yet for his birthplace — to the dust of the ground, above

which the wind blows, from which the vapors rise, on which the flowers

bloom, across which the beasts roam, out of which the worm creeps.

 

Ø      Of his essential frailty. Being composed of little particles of dust, held

together by what science calls “organization,” but Holy Writ designates

the power of God, it requires but the loosening of God’s hand, as it were,

for the framework of his body, so wondrously fashioned, so delicately

carved, so finely articulated, so firmly knit, to resolve itself into a heap

of dust

 

Ø      Of his final destiny. Every mundane thing returns to the place whence it

proceeded (Ecclesiastes 1:5, 7). The vapors climb into the sky, but

descend again upon the hills, and seek the plains. The flowers bloom, but,

after dispensing their fragrance, shed their leaves upon the earth. The

young lions, that, as it were, are sprung from the soil, find a grave at last

within their forest dens. As it is with the flowers and the beasts, so is it

also with man. “All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again”

 (Ecclesiastes 3:18, 20; Job 10:9; Psalm 103:14).

 

Lessons:

 

Ø      Humility of spirit (Job 4:19; Psalm 144:3-4; Isaiah 51:1).

Ø      Care for the body — protecting its frailty from injury (Leviticus

19:28) and its materiality from mastery (Romans 12:1;

I Corinthians 6:13; I Thessalonians 4:4).

Ø      Preparation for death (Psalm 39:4; 90:12).

 

 

·         FASHIONED BY THE HAND OF GOD. Made from the dust, the

first man neither sprung from the slime of matter, according to naturalism,

nor was evolved from pantheism, but  was specifically formed by Divine

creative power. This marked the first degree of man’s superiority over

other living creatures. Deriving existence, equally with man, from the

creative power of God, it is not said of them that  they were “formed”

by God. Let this remind man:

 

Ø      Of the Divine origin of the body. If the physical structures of the

      lower organisms display such admirable proportions and striking

      adaptations as to evince the action of Divine intelligence, much

      more may a Creator’s hand be recognized in the form and symmetry,

      proportion and adjustment of the human body. An examination of

      the hand, eye, or brain, of the muscular or nervous systems,

      instinctively awakens the devout feelings of the Psalmist: “I will

      praise Thee, O Lord; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

      (Psalm 139:14).

 

Ø      Of the Divine estimate of the body. Shown by the personal care and

                        attention which God devoted to its construction, since He designed

                        it to be the noblest of His works, the shrine of an immortal spirit,

                        a prophecy and type of the body of His Son, in the fullness of the

                        times to be prepared by another special act of creation (Psalm 40:6;

                                                Hebrews 10:8). This estimate He has in many ways confirmed: by

                        abundantly and generously sustaining it, although a partner in the

                        spirit’s sin (ch.1:29; 9:3); guarding its life with the strictest

                        and severest penalties (ibid. vs.5-6); taking it into union with Himself,

                        in the person of His Son (Hebrews 2:6); redeeming it, as well as the

                        soul it enshrines, through His Son’s blood (Romans 8:21, 28); and

                        constituting it, as well as the immaterial spirit, a partaker of resurrection

                        glory (I  Corinthians 15:42).

 

            Learn :

 

Ø      The true nobility of man’s descent, and the duty of walking worthy of it.

Ø      The high value of the body, and the consequent obligation of neither

                        dishonoring nor abusing it.

 

  • ANIMATED BY THE BREATH OF LIFE. The second degree of

            man’s superiority to the lower animals. Like them, a living soul, his life is

            different from theirs:

 

Ø      In its nature. Theirs was a portion of that common life principle which

                        God has been pleased to communicate to matter; his a direct afflatus

                        from the personality of God.

 

Ø      In its impartation. Theirs was bestowed directly and immediately by the

                        fiat of omnipotence; his conveyed into his material framework by a

                        special Divine operation.

 

Ø      In its effect. Theirs constituted them “living souls;” his conferred on him

                        personality. Theirs made them creatures having life; his caused him to

                        become a spirit having life. Theirs left them wholly mortal; his

                        transformed him into an immortal (Ecclesiastes 3:21).

 

            Let man consider:

 

Ø      That his body is a temple of the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 6:19).

Ø      That his spirit is the creation and the gift of God (Ecclesiastes 12:7;

                                                Isaiah 57:16; Zechariah 12:1).

Ø      That with both it becomes him to glorify his Divine Creator

      (I Corinthians 6:20).

 

 

                                    Man the Living Soul.  (vs. 4-7)

 

  • Life is a Divine bestowment.

 

  • Dust which is Divinely inspired is no longer mere dust; the true life is

            neither groveling on the earth, nor so much away from the earth as to be

            no longer the life of a living soul.

 

  • The creature who is last formed, and for whom all other things wait and

            are prepared, is made to be the interpreter of all, and the glory of God in them.

 

 

8 “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there

He put the man whom He had formed.”  In accordance with a well-known

characteristic of Hebrew composition, the writer, having carried his subject forward

to a convenient place of rest, now reverts to a point of time in the six days antecedent

to man’s appearance on the earth. In anticipation of his arrival, it was needful

that a suitable abode should be prepared for his reception. Accordingly,

having already mentioned the creation of plants, trees, and flowers, the

narrative proceeds to describe the construction of Adam’s early home.

And the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim) planted i.e. specially prepared

a garden (gan, a place protected by a fence, from ganan, to cover;

hence a garden: compare Deuteronomy 2:10; I Kings 21:2; Isaiah 51:3;

Septuagint, παράδεισοςparadeisosparadise - Vulgate, paradisus;

whence English, paradise, Luke 23:43) eastward (mekedem, literally, from

the front quarter, not — ἀπο ἀρχῆςapo archaes - from the beginning,   

Aquila; ἐν πρῶτοιςen protois - Theodotion; a principio, Vulgate, —

but in the region lying towards the east of Palestine – Septuagint - κατ ἀνατολὰς

 kat anatolas - eastward ) in (not in the east of Eden”) Eden (delight; Greek

ἡδονή - haedonae -  compare Hedenesh, or Heden, the birthplace of Zoroaster

Kalisch). The word is not merely descriptive of the beauty and fertility of the

garden (paradisus voluptatis, Vulgate of. παράδεισος της τρυφηςparadeisos taes

truphaes -  Garden of Eden before them - Septuagint (Joel 2:3). On the ground of

possessing similar qualities, other districts and places were subsequently

termed Edens: compare II Kings 19:12; Isaiah 37:12; 51:3; Ezekiel 27:23;

Amos 1:5), but likewise indicates its locality, which is afterwards

more exactly defined (vs. 10, 14). In the mean time it is simply noted

that, this enchanting paradise having been specially prepared by Jehovah,

there He put the man (Adam) whom He had formed.

 

 

                                                The Garden of Eden (v. 8)

 

  • A SCENE OF BEAUTY. Whether situated in Armenia or Babylonia

            (see Exposition), it was a fair spot in a sunny region of delights (Eden).

            This beauty was:

 

Ø      Luxuriant. Milton has lavished all the wealth of his creative genius in

      an attempt to depict “the happy rural seat of the first pair” (Paradise

      Lost - bk. 4.). Yet it is questionable if even he has succeeded in

      reproducing the gorgeous spectacle, the endlessly diversified

      assortment of lovely forms and radiant colors that seemed to

      compress “in narrow room nature’s whole wealth,” entitling Eden

      to be characterized as “a heaven on earth.”

 

Ø      Divinely prepared. Jehovah Elohim caused it to spring up and bloom

                        before the wondering eye of man. All the world’s beauty is of God.

                        The flowers and the herbs and the trees have all their symmetry and

                        loveliness from Him. God clothes the lilies of the field; the raiment,

                        outshining the glory of royal Solomon, in which they are decked is

                        of His making. If nature be the loom in which it is woven, he is the

                        all-wise ὑφάντης  - huphantaesor Weaver by whom its wondrous

                        mechanism is guided and energized. Let us rejoice in the earth’s

                        beauty, and THANK GOD FOR IT!

 

Ø      Exceptional. We are scarcely warranted, even by ch.3:17, to

                        suppose that, prior to the fall, the whole world was a paradise. Rather,

                        geologic revelations give us reason to believe that from the first the

                        earth was prepared for the reception of a sinful race, death and

                        deformity having been in the world anterior to man’s arrival upon

                        the scene, and that the Edenic home was what the Bible says it was –

                        a fair spot, specially planted and fenced about, for the temporary

                        residence of the innocent pair, who were ultimately, as

                        transgressors, to be driven forth to dwell upon a soil which was

                        cursed because of sin. Let it humble us to think that the earth is

                        not a paradise SOLELY BECAUSE OF HUMAN SIN!

 

Ø      Prophetic. Besides being a picture of what the world would have been,

                        had it been prepared for a sinless race, it was also a foreshadowing of

                        the renovated earth when sin shall be no more, when “this land that

                        was desolate shall have become like the garden of Eden.” (Ezekiel

                        36:35)  Let it stimulate our hope and assist our faith to anticipate the

                        palingenesia (rebirth; re-creation) of the future, when this sterile and

                        disordered world shall be refitted with bloom and beauty. (II Peter

                        3:13)

 

  • A SPHERE OF WORK. Adam’s work was:

 

Ø      God-assigned. So in a very real sense is every man’s life occupation

                        appointed by God. “To every man his work” is the law of God’s world

                        as well as of Christ’s kingdom. This thought should dignify “the trivial

                        round, the common task,” and enable us, “whether we eat or drink, or

                        whatsoever we do, to do all to the glory of God.”  (I Corinthians 10:31)

 

Ø      Pleasant. And so should all work be, whether arduous or easy,

                        especially to a Christian. To be sure, Adam’s work was light and easy in

                        comparison with that which afterwards became his lot, and that which

                        now constitutes ours. But even these would be joyous and exhilarating

                        if performed by the free spirit of love, instead of, as they often are, by

                        the unwilling hands of bondmen.

 

Ø      Necessary. Even in a state of innocence it was impossible that man

      could be suffered to live in indolence; his endowments and capacities

      were fitted for activity. His happiness and safety (against temptation)

      required him to be employed. (Much of America’s sin in the 21st

      Century, like Sodom, can be attributed to idleness!  Ezekiel 16:49 –

      CY – 2015)  And if God who made him was ever working, why

      should he be idle? The same arguments forbid idleness today.

      Christianity with emphasis condemns it. “If a man will not work,

      neither shall he eat.”  (II Thessalonians 3:10)  (Not so in America

      I saw a young woman with two young children check out groceries

      tonight – November 16, 2015 – which I would estimate to have

      been at least $40, but after producing a card – the total came to

      less that $3.  I fought my musings and tried not to judge, but now

      three hours later and working on this, I carry out the judgment? –

      CY – 2015) 

 

  • AN ABODE OF INNOCENCE. This abode was:

 

Ø      Suitable. It was not suitable for sinners, just as the world outside

      would not have been adapted for a pair who were sinless; but it

      was peculiarly appropriate for their innocence. He who appointeth

      to all men the bounds of their habitation (Acts 17:26) always locates

      men in spheres that are exactly suited to their natures and needs.

 

Ø      Provisional. Their possession of it was contingent on their remaining

                        sinless. If their souls continued pure, their homes would continue fair.

                        It is man’s own sin that defaces the beauty and mars the happiness

                        of man’s home. When men find themselves in positions that are not

                        compatible with their happiness and usefulness, it is sin that has

                        placed them there.

 

Ø      Quickly lost. How long they continued innocent is useless to conjecture,

                        though probably it was not long. More important is it to observe that not

                        much was required to deprive them of their lovely home — one act of

                        disobedience! See the danger of even ONE SIN!

 

Ø      Ultimately recoverable. This truth was taught by the stationing of the

                        cherubim at its gate (q.v.).  Revelation 22 tells us it has been regained

                        for us by Christ, and will in the end be bestowed on us.

 

  • A HOME OF HAPPINESS.

 

Ø      Everything was absent that might mar man’s felicity. No sin, no error,

                        no sorrow.

 

Ø      Everything was present that could minister to his enjoyment. There was

                        ample gratification for all the different parts of his complex nature.

 

o       For his bodily senses, the fair scenes, melodious sounds, crystal

                                    streams, and luscious fruits of the garden.

o       For his mental powers, the study of the works of God.

o       For his social affections, a loving and lovely partner.

o       For his spiritual nature, God. To reproduce the happiness of

      Eden, so far as that is possible in a sinful world, there is needed:

§         communion with a gracious God;

§         the felicity of a loving and a pious home;

§         the joy of life:

ü      physical,

ü      intellectual,

ü      moral.

 

  • A PLACE OF PROBATION. This probation was:

 

Ø      Necessary. Virtue that stands only because it has never been assaulted

      is, to say the least of it, not of the highest kind. Unless man had been

                        subjected to trial it might have remained dubious whether he obeyed of

                        free choice or from mechanical necessity.

 

Ø      Easy. The specific commandment which Adam was required to observe

                        was not severe in its terms. The limitations it prescribed were of the

                        smallest possible description — abstinence from only one tree.

                        (“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, BUT”- ch. 2:16-17)

 

Ø      Gracious. Instead of periling the immortality of Adam and his posterity

                        upon every single act of their lives, He suspended it upon the observance,

                        doubtless for only a short space of time, of one easily-obeyed precept,

                        which he had the strongest possible inducement to obey. If he maintained

                        his integrity, not only would his own holiness and happiness be confirmed,

                        but those of his descendants would be secured; while if he failed, he

                        would involve not himself alone, but all succeeding generations in the

                        sweep of a terrific penalty:

 

o       the clearness with which that penalty was made known,

o       the certainty of its execution, and

o       the severity of its  inflictions,

 

                        were PROOFS OF THE GRACE OF GOD towards His creature man!

 

9 “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that

is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in

the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and

evil.”  And out of the ground made the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim)

to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight — literally, lovely to see;

i.e. beautiful in form and color — and good for food. In the preparation of

man’s pristine abode respect was had to ornamentation as well as utility.

Every species of vegetation that could minister to his corporeal necessities

was provided. Flowers, trees, and shrubs regaled his senses with their

fragrance, pleased his eye with their exquisite forms and enchanting colors,

and gratified his palate with their luscious fruits. Hence the garden of the

Lord became the highest ideal of earthly excellence (Isaiah 51:3). In

particular it was distinguished by the presence of two trees, which

occupied a central position among its multifarious productions. The tree of

life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good

and evil. That these were not two separate trees, but only one tree

distinguished by different names, has been maintained, though with no

weightier reason than the statement of Eve in ch.3:3. The opinion

that classes of trees, and not individual trees, are meant by the phrases

“tree of life” and “tree of knowledge,” is precluded by the language of

Jehovah Elohim in v.17 and ch.3:24. As regards their significance,

consistency requires that they should both be explained on the same

principle. This, accordingly, disposes of the idea that the tree of life

(literally, the tree of the lives: of. ξύλον τῆς ζωῆςxulon taes zoaes

 Tree of Life; the wood of the life - Revelation 2:7; 20:19) is simply a

Hebraism for a living tree, as by no sort of ingenuity can the tree of

knowledge be transformed into a knowing tree. It likewise militates

against the notion that the two trees were styled from the peculiar

effects of their fruits, the one conferring physical immortality on Adam’s

body, the other imparting moral and intellectual intuitions to his soul (Josephus).

But even if the life-giving properties of the one tree could be demonstrated from

ch.3:24, proof would still be required with regard to the other,

that the mere physical processes of manducation and digestion could be

followed by results so immaterial as those of “rousing the slumbering

intellect, teaching reason to reflect, and enabling the judgment to

distinguish between moral good and moral evil. Besides, if this

was the immediate effect of eating the forbidden fruit, it is difficult to

perceive either why it should have been prohibited to our first parents at

all, it being “for their good to have their wits sharpened” (Willet); or in

what respect they suffered loss through listening to the tempter, and did

not rather gain (Rabbi Moses); or wherein, being destitute of both

intellectual and moral discernment, they could be regarded as either guilty

of transgression or responsible for obedience. Incapacity to know good and

evil may be a characteristic of unconscious childhood and unreflecting

youth (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:15-16; Jonah 4:11), or of

debilitated age (II Samuel 19:36), but is not conceivable in the case of

one who was created in God’s image, invested with world-dominion, and

himself constituted the subject of moral government. Unless, therefore,

with ancient Gnostics and modem Hegelians, we view the entire story of

the probation as an allegorical representation of the necessary intellectual

and ethical development of human nature, we must believe that Adam was

acquainted with the idea of moral distinctions from the first. Hence the

conclusion seems to force itself upon our minds that the first man was

possessed of both immortality and knowledge irrespective altogether of the

trees, and that the tree character which belonged to these trees was

symbolical or sacramental, suggestive of the conditions under which he

was placed in Eden. “Arbori autem vitae nomen indidit, non quod vitam

homini conferrer, qua jam ante praeditus erat; sod ut symbolum ac

memoriale esset vitae divinitus acceptae” (Calvin). For a further exposition

of the exact significance of these trees see below on vs. 16-17.

 

10 “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence

it was parted, and became into four heads.” The precise locality of Eden is

indicated by its relation to the great watercourses of the region. And a river

(literally, a flowing water, applicable to large oceanic floods — Job 22:16;

Psalm 24:2; 46:5; Jonah 2:4 — as well as to narrow streams) went out (literally,

going out) of Eden to water the garden. To conclude from this that the river

had its source within the limits of the garden is to infer more than the

premises will warrant. Nothing more is implied in the language than that a

great watercourse proceeded through the district of Eden, and served to

irrigate the soil. Probably it intersected the garden, thus occasioning its

remarkable fecundity and beauty. And from thence (i.e. either on

emerging from which, or, taking מן in its secondary sense, outside of, or at

a distance from which) it was parted (literally, divided itself), and became

into four heads. Roshim, from rosh, that which is highest; either principal

waters, arms or branches, or beginnings of rivers, indicating the sources of

the streams. If the second of these interpretations be adopted, Eden must be

looked for in a spot where some great flowing water is subdivided into

four separate streams; if the former be regarded as the proper exegesis,

then any great river which is first formed by the junction of two streams,

and afterwards disperses its waters in two different directions, will meet the

requirements of the case.

 

 

                        The Tree of Life and the Water of Life (vs. 9-10)

 

These two features of Eden claim special attention.

 

  • THEIR RECURRRNCE IN SCRIPTURE. They link the paradise of

            unfallen man to that of redeemed man. Actual channels of life and blessing,

            they were also figures of that salvation which the history of the world was

            gradually to unfold. But sin came, and death; present possession was lost.

            What remained was the promise of a Savior.  (ch. 3:15)  We pass over much

            of preparation for His coming: the selection of a people; the care of God for

            His vineyard; the ordinances and services foreshadowing the gospel. Then a

            time of trouble: Jerusalem a desolation; the people in captivity; the temple

            destroyed; the ark gone; sacrifices at an end. “Where is now thy God?”

            Where thy hope? Such the state of the world when a vision given to

            Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1-12), reproducing the imagery of Eden, but

            adapted to the need of fallen man. Again we have the stream; now specially

            to heal. Its source the mercy-seat (compare ibid. ch. 43:1-7; 47:1;

                        Revelation 22:1). (I highly recommend Ezekiel 47 - Spurgeon Sermon –

            Waters to Swim In – this web site – CY – 2015)  And the trees; not different

            from the tree of life (ibid. ch.47:12: “It shall bring forth new fruit”); varied

            manifestations of grace; for food and for medicine. But observe, the vision is of

            a coming dispensation. Again a space. Our Savior’s earthly ministry over. The

            Church is struggling on. The work committed to weak hands; the treasure

            in earthen vessels. But before the volume of revelation closed, the same

            symbols are shown in vision to John (Revelation 22:1-2). The

            river of water of life” (compare “living water,” John 4:10), and the tree

            whose fruit and leaves are for food and healing. Meanwhile our Lord had

            said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.”

            (Matthew 5:6)  A link to connect this with ch. 2  is Revelation 2:7 (compare

            also ibid. ch.12:11). And again, the word used for “tree” in all these

            passages is that used for the cross in Galatians 3:13 and I Peter 2:24.

 

  • THEIR SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE. The tree with its fruit and

            leaves are the manifestation of Christ to the soul:

 

Ø      to sinners pardon,

Ø      to the weak support and guidance,

Ø      to saints communion.

 

And the stream is the gospel (the four-parted river in Eden has been likened to the four

Gospels), spreading throughout the world, bringing healing, light, and life;

enabling men to rejoice in hope. But mark, the drops of which that stream

is composed are living men. The gospel spreads from heart to heart, and

from lip to lip (compare John 7:38). Forming part of that healing flood are

preachers of the gospel in every place and way; and thinkers contending for

the faith; and men mighty in prayer; and those whose loving, useful lives

set forth Christ; and the sick silently preaching patience; and the child in his

little ministry. There is helping work for all. The Lord hath need of all. To

each one the question comes, ART THOU PART OF THAT STREAM?   Hast

thou realized the stream of mercy, the gift of salvation for thine own need? And

cans, thou look at the many still unhealed and be content to do nothing?

Thou couldst not cause the stream to flow; but it is thine to press the

living water” upon others, to help to save others Art thou doing this? Is

there not within the circle of thy daily life some one in grief whom

Christian sympathy may help, some anxious one whom a word of faith may

strengthen, some undecided one who may be influenced? There is thy

work. Let the reality of Christ’s gift and His charge to thee so fill thy heart

that real longing may lead to earnest prayer; then a way will be opened.

 

11 “The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the

whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;”  12 “And the gold of that

land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.”

The name of the first (river is) Pishon, or “the fullflowing.”

This is the first of those marks by which the river, when

discovered, must be identified. It was palpably a broad-bosomed stream. A

second is derived from the region through which it flows. That is it which

compasseth (not necessarily surrounding, but skirting in a circular or

circuitous fashion — Numbers 21:4; Judges 11:8) the whole land

of Havilah. Havilah itself is described by three of its productions. Where

there is gold. I.e. it is a gold-producing country. And the gold of that

land is good. Of the purest quality and largest quantity. There also is

bdellium. Literally bedo-lach, which the manna was declared to resemble

(Numbers 11:7). The Septuagint, supposing it to be aprecious stone, translate it

by by ἄνθραξ  - anthrax – aromatic resin -in the present passage, and by

κρυστάλλος krustallosbdellium -  in Numbers 11:7 — a view supported

by the Jewish Rabbis and Gesenius. The majority of modern interpreters espouse

the opinion of Josephus, that it was an odorous and costly gum indigenous

to India, Arabia, Babylonia, and Bactriana. The third production is the onyx

(shoham, from a root signifying to be pale or delicate in color, like the

finger-nails), variously conjectured to be the beryl, onyx, sardonyx, sardius,

or emerald. From this description it appears that Havilah must be sought

for among the gold-producing countries of Asia. Now among the sons of

Joktan or primitive Arabs (ch. 10:29) — “whose dwelling was

from Mesha, as thou goest, unto Sephar, a mount of the east” — are Ophir

and Havilah, whence Gesenius concludes that India, including Arabia, is

meant. Other countries have their advocates, such as Arabia Felix, Susiana,

Colchis, &c.; and other rivers, such as the Ganges (Josephus, Eusebius),

the Phasis (Reland, Jahn, Rosenmüller, Winer), the Indus (Schulthess,

Kalisch).

 

13 “And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that

compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.”  And the name of the second is the

Gihon, or “the bursting,” from גֵּיחַ, to break forth. “Deep-flowing,”  T. Lewis

renders it, connecting it with ὡκεανός hokeanosocean -  and identifying it

with Homer's βαθυῥῤόος Ωκεανός bathurroos Okeanos – deep-flowing ocean??.

The same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia (Cush).

Under the impression that the African Cush was meant, the Alexandrine

Jews discovered the Gihon in the Nile.  But Cush, it is now known, describes

the entire region between Arabia and the Nile, and in particular the southern

district of the former lying between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Hence

Tayler Lewis finds the Gihon in the ocean water sweeping round the south coast

of Arabia.  Murphy detects the name Kush in the words Caucasus and Caspian,

and, looking for the site of Eden about the sources of the Euphrates and the

Tigris in Armenia, thinks the Gihon may have been the leading stream

flowing into the Caspian.

 

14 “And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth

toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.”

And the name of the third river is the, Hiddekel, or “the

darting,” from חַד and דֶּקֶל, a sharp and swift arrow, referring to its

rapidity. It is unanimously agreed that this must be identified with the

Tigris; in the present language of the Persians designated tir, which

signifies an arrow. It is styled in Aramaic diglath or diglah. That is it

which goeth towards the east of Assyria. Its identity is thus placed

beyond a question. And the fourth river is Euphrates, or “the sweet,’

from an unused root, parath, signifying to be sweet, referring to the sweet

and pleasant taste of its waters (Jeremiah 2:18). Further description of

this great water was unnecessary, being universally known to the Hebrews

as “the great river” (Deuteronomy 1:7; Daniel 10:4), and “the river”

par excellence (Exodus 23:31-33; Isaiah 7:20). The river still bears its

early name. In the cuneiform inscriptions deciphered by Rawlinson it is

called “Ufrata.” Recurring now to the site of Eden, it must be admitted

that, notwithstanding this description, the whole question is involved in

uncertainty. The two solutions of the problem that hive the greatest claim

on our attention are:

 

(1) that which places Eden near the head of the Persian Gulf, and

(2) that which looks for it in Armenia.

 

The latter is favored by the close proximity to that region of the sources of both

the Euphrates and the Tigris; but, on the other hand, it is hampered by the difficulty

of discovering other two rivers that will correspond with the Gihon and the Pison,

and the almost certainty that Cush and Havilah are to be sought for in the vicinity

of the Persian Gulf. The former is supported by this last consideration, that Cush

and Havilah are not remote from the locality, though it too has its encumbrances.

It seems to reverse the idea of לֺיּעֵא, which according to Le Clerc indicates the

direction of the stream. Then its advocates, no more than the supporters of the

alternate theory, are agreed upon the Gihon and the Pison: Calvin finding them

in the two principal mouths of the Euphrates and the Tigris, which Sir

Charles Lyell declares to be of comparatively recent formation; Kalisch

identifying them with the Indus and the Nile; and Taylor Lewis regarding

them as the two sides of the Persian Gulf. Sir H. Rawlinson, from a study

of the Assyrian texts, has pointed out the coincidence of the Babylonian

region of Karduniyas or Garduniyas with the Eden of the Bible; and the

late George Smith finds in its four rivers, Euphrates, Tigris, Surappi, and

Ukui, its known fertility, and its name, Gandunu, so similar to Ganeden

(the garden of Eden), “considerations all tending towards the view that it is

the paradise of Genesis” (‘Chald. Genesis,’ pp. 3-305).

 

15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of

Eden to dress it and to keep it.”  Having prepared the garden for man’s

reception, the Lord God took the man. Not physically lifting him up and

putting him down in the garden, but simply exerting an influence upon him

which induced him, in the exercise of his free agency, to go. He went in

consequence of a secret impulse or an open command of his Maker. And put him

into the garden; literally, caused him to rest in it as an abode of happiness

and peace. To dress it. I.e. to till, cultivate, and work it. This would

almost seem to hint that the aurea aetas of classical poetry was but a

dream — a reminiscence of Eden, perhaps, but idealized. Even the plants,

flowers, and trees of Eden stood in need of cultivation from the hand of

man, and would speedily have degenerated without his attention. And to

keep it. Neither were the animals all so peaceful and domesticated that

Adam did not need to fence his garden against their depredations.

Doubtless there is here too an ominous hint of the existence of that greater

adversary against whom he was appointed to watch.

 

16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of

the garden thou mayest freely eat:  17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of

good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof

thou shalt surely die.” And Jehovah Elohim commanded the man (Adam),

saying. Whether or not these were the first words listened to by man, they clearly

presuppose the person to whom they were addressed to have had the power of

understanding language, i.e. of interpreting vocal sounds, and representing to his

own mind the conceptions or ideas of which they were the signs, a degree of

intellectual development altogether incompatible with modern evolution theories.

They likewise assume the pre-existence of a moral nature which could recognize

the distinction between thou shalt and thou shalt not.” Of every tree of

the garden thou mayest freely eat; literally, eating, thou shalt eat. Adam,

it thus appears, was permitted to partake of the tree of life; not, however,

as a means of either conferring or preserving immortality, which was

already his by Divine gift, and the only method of conserving which

recognized by the narrative was abstaining from the tree of knowledge; but

as a symbol and guarantee of that immortality with which he had been

endowed, and which would continue to be his so long as he maintained his

personal integrity. This, of course, by the very terms of his existence, he

was under obligation to do, apart altogether from any specific enactment

which God might enjoin. As a moral being, he had the law written on his

conscience. But, as if to give a visible embodiment to that law, and at the

same time to test his allegiance to his Maker’s will, which is the kernel of

all true obedience, an injunction was laid upon him of a positive description

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat

of it. Speculations as to what kind of tree it was, whether a vine, a fig, or

an apple tree, are more curious than profitable. There is no reason to

suppose that any noxious or lethiferous (deadly; lethal) properties resided in its

fruit. The death that was to follow on transgression was to spring from the eating,

and not from the fruit; from the sinful act, and not from the creature, which

in itself was good. The prohibition laid on Adam was for the time being a

summary of the Divine law. Hence the tree was a sign and symbol of what

that law required. And in this, doubtless, lies the explanation of its name. It

was a concrete representation of THAT FUNDAMENTAL DISTINCTION

BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG, DUTY AND SIN, which lies at the basis

of all responsibility. It interpreted for the first pair those great moral intuitions

which had been implanted in their natures, and by which it was intended they

should REGULATE THEIR LIVES!  Thus it was for them a tree of the

knowledge of good and evil. It brought out that knowledge which they already

possessed into the clear light of definite conviction and precept, connecting it

at the same time with the Divine will as its source and with themselves as its end.

Further, it was an intelligible declaration of the duty which that knowledge

of good and evil imposed upon them. Through its penalty it likewise

indicated both the good which would be reaped by obedience and the evil

which would follow on transgression. For in the day that thou eatest

thereof thou shalt surely die; literally, dying, thou shalt die. That this

involved death physical, or the dissolution of the body, is indicated by the

sentence pronounced on Adam after he had fallen (ch.3:19). That

the sentence was not immediately executed does not disprove its reality. It

only suggests that its suspension may have been due to some Divine

interposition. Yet universal experience attests that permanent escape from

its execution is impossible. In the case of Adam it was thus far put in force

on the instant, that henceforth he ceased to be IMMORTAL.   As prior to his fall

his immortality was sure, being authenticated for him by the tree of life, so

now, subsequent to that catastrophe, his mortality was certain. This, more

than immediateness, is what the language implies. For the complete

theological significance of this penalty see ch. 3:19.  ( I once read in a

Billy Graham column which appeared in our local paper that Adam’s

sin was:

 

  1. an immediate spiritual death
  2. a gradual physical death, and
  3. unless atoned, an eternal death!  CY – 2015)

 

 

                                    Man’s First Dwelling-Place (vs. 8-17)

 

The description of Eden commences an entirely new stage in the record.

We are now entering upon the history of humanity as such.

 

  • The first fact in that history is a state of “PLEASANTNESS.” The

            garden is planted by God. The trees are adapted to human life, to support

            it, to gratify it; and in the midst of the garden the two trees which represent

            the two most important facts with which revelation is about to deal, viz.,

            immortality and sin.

 

  • OUTSPREAD BLESSING. The river breaks into four fountains,

            whose description carries us over enormous regions of the world. It is the

            river which went out of Eden to water the garden; so that the conception

            before us is that of an abode of man specially prepared of God, not

            identical with Eden in extent, but in character; and the picture is carried

            out, as it were, by the channels of the out-flowing streams, which bear the

            Eden life with them over the surface of the earth, so that the general effect

            of the whole is a prophecy of blessing. Eden-like beauty, and pleasantness,

            over the whole extent of the world.

 

  • THE PREPARED GARDEN WAITED FOR ITS INHABITANT.

            And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden”

            (literally, made him to rest in the garden) to dress it and to keep it.”

            Perhaps the simplest view of these words is the most significant. Man is led

            into a life of pleasantness, with only such demands upon him as it will be

            no burden to meet; and in that life of pure happiness and free activity he is

            made conscious, not of mere dependence upon his Creator for existence,

            not of laws hanging over him like threatening swords, but of a Divine

            commandment which at once gave liberty and restrained it, which

            surrounded the one tree of knowledge of good and evil with its circle of

            prohibition, not as an arbitrary test of obedience, but as a Divine

            proclamation of eternal righteousness. “Evil is death.” “Thou shalt not eat

            of it,” for this reason, that “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt

            surely die.” It is not a subjection of a new-made creature to a test. It would

            be a harsh demand to make of Adam, unless he understood that it was

            founded on the nature of things.

 

  • THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE TREE OF DEATH STAND

            TOGETHER in the midst of the garden. They hold the same position still

            in every sphere of human existence. But the book of Divine grace, as it

            teaches us how the sin-stricken, dying world is restored to a paradise of

            Divine blessedness, reveals at the last, in the vision of the Christian seer,

            only the tree of life beside the water of life; the evil cast out, and the death

            which it brought with it, and the new-made inhabitants taking freely of

            the pleasures which are forevermore.”

 

18 “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be

alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  In anticipation of the ensuing

narrative of the temptation and the fall, the historian, having depicted man’s

settlement in Eden, advances to complete his dramatis personae by the introduction

upon the scene of the animals and woman. In the preliminary creation record

(ch. 1:27) it is simply stated that God created man, male and female; there is a

complete absence of details as to the Divine modus operandi in the execution of

these, His last and greatest works. It is one object, among others, of the

second portion of the history to supply those details. With regard to man

(Adam), an account of his formation, at once minute and exhaustive, has

been given in the preceding vs. 7-17; now, with like attention to

antecedent and concomitant circumstances and events, the sacred penman

adds a description of the time, reason, manner, and result of the formation

of woman. And the Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone.

While the animals were produced either in swarms (as the fishes) or in pairs

(as the birds and beasts), man was created as an individual; his partner, by a

subsequent operation of creative power, being produced from himself for:

 

 (1) mutual society and comfort,

(2) the propagation of the race,

(3) the increase and generation of the Church of God, and

(4) the promised seed of the woman.

 

Accordingly, Jehovah Elohim, for whom (seeing that His nature is to

dispense happiness to His creatures) no more than for Adam would it have

been good that man, being what he was, should remain alone, said, I will

provide a help meet for him; literally, an helper, as over against him, i.e.

corresponding to him, βοηθὸν κατ αὐτόν boaethon kat autonhelper for

him -  v. 20, ὅμοιος αὐτῷ, - homoios auto – suitable for him; like him - Septuagint

The expression indicates that the forthcoming helper was to be of similar

nature to the man himself, corresponding by way of supplement to the

incompleteness of his lonely being, and in every way adapted to be his copartner

and companion. All that Adam’s nature demanded for its

completion, physically, intellectually, socially, was to be included in this

altera ego who was soon to stand by his side. Thus in man s need, and

woman’s power to satisfy that need, is laid the foundation for the Divine

institution of marriage, which was afterwards prescribed not for the first

pair alone, BUT FOR ALL THEIR POSTERITY!  (Thus the import for

modern same-sex marriages which are left out in this!  CY – 2015)

 

19 “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the

field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to

see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every

living creature, that was the name thereof.” And out of the ground the

Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air. To

allege that the Creator’s purpose to provide a helpmeet for Adam seeks

realization through the production of the animals proceeds upon a

misapprehension of the proper nexus which binds the thoughts of the

historian, and a want of attention to the peculiar structure of Hebrew

composition, besides exhibiting Jehovah Elohim in the character of an

empiric who only tentatively discovers the sort of partner that is suitable

for man. It is not the time, but simply the fact, of the creation of the

animals that the historian records. The Vav. consec. does not necessarily

involve time-succession, but is frequently employed to indicate thought

sequence (compare v.8; I Kings 2:13, &c.). The verb (pret.) may also quite

legitimately be rendered “had formed.” Our modern style of

expressing the Semitic writer’s thought would be this — ‘And God

brought to Adam the beasts which he had formed. It is thus

unnecessary to defend the record from a charge of inconsistency with the

previous section, by supposing this to be the account of a second creation

of animals in the district of Eden. Another so-called contradiction, that the

present narrative takes no account of the creation of aquatic animals, is

disposed of by observing that the writer only notices that those animals

which were brought to Adam had been previously formed by God from the

ground, and were thus in the line of the onward evolutions of the heavens

and the earth which led up to man.  As to why the fishes were not brought

into the garden, if other reason is required besides that of physical

impossibility, the ingenuity of Keil suggests that these were not so nearly

related to Adam as the fowls and the beasts, which, besides, were the

animals specially ordained for his service. And brought them (literally,

brought; not necessarily all the animals in Eden, but specimens of them)

unto Adam. We agree with Willet in believing that “neither did Adam

gather together the cattle as a shepherd doth his sheep, nor did the angels

muster them, nor the animals come themselves, and, passing by, while he

sat on some elevation, bow their heads at his resplendent appearance; nor

were Adam’s eyes so illuminate that he beheld them all in their places — all

which,” says he, “are but men’s conceits; but that through the secret

influence of God upon their natures they were assembled round the inmate

of paradise, as afterwards they were collected in the ark. The reasons for

this particular action on the part of God were manifold; one of them being

stated in the words which follow — to see what he would call them;

literally, to them. Already man had received from God his first lesson in the

exercise of speech, in the naming of the trees and the imposition of the

prohibition. This was his second — the opportunity afforded him of using

for himself that gift of language and reason with which he had been

endowed. In this it is implied that man was created with the faculty of

speech, the distinct gift of articulate and rational utterance, and the

capacity of attaching words to ideas, though it also seems to infer that the

evolution of a language was for him, as it is for the individual yet, a matter

of gradual development. Another reason was to manifest his sovereignty or

lordship over the inferior creation. And whatsoever Adam (literally, the

man) called every living creature (i.e. that was brought to him), that was

the name thereof. That is to say, it not only met the Divine approbation as

exactly suitable to the nature of the creature, and thus was a striking

attestation of the intelligence and wisdom of the first man, but it likewise

adhered to the creature as a name which had been assigned by its master.

 

20 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and

to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an

help meet for him.”  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of

the air, and to every beast of the field. The portrait here delineated of the

first man is something widely different from that of an infantile savage

slowly groping his way towards the possession of articulate speech and

intelligible language by imitation of the sounds of animals. Speech and

language both spring full-formed, though not completely matured, from the

primus homo of the Bible. As to the names that Adam gave the animals,

with Calvin we need not doubt that they were founded on the best of

reasons, though what they were it is impossible to discover, as it is not

absolutely certain that Adam spoke in Hebrew. But for Adam there was

not found an help meet for him. This was the chief reason for assembling

the creatures. It was meant to reveal his loneliness. The longing for a

partner was already deeply seated in his nature, and the survey of the

animals, coming to him probably in pairs, could not fail to intensify that

secret hunger of his soul, and perhaps evoke it into conscious operation.

 

21 “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he

slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead

thereof;”  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,

and he slept. This was clearly not a sleep of weariness or fatigue, in

consequence of arduous labors undergone, but a supernatural slumber,

which, however, may have been super-induced upon the natural condition

of repose. Lightfoot, following the Septuagint who translate tardemah (deep

sleep) by ecstasy, ἔκστασιςekstasistrance -  imagines that the whole scene

of Eve’s creation was presented to Adam’s imagination in a Divinely-inspired

dream, which has at least the countenance of Job 4:13 Such a

supposition, however, is not required to account for Adam’s recognition of

his bride. There is more of aptness in the observation of Lange, that in the

deep sleep of Adam we have an echo of the creative evenings that

preceded the Divine activity. And he took one of his

ribs (tsela = something bent, from tesala, to incline; hence a rib), and

closed up the flesh (literally, flesh) instead thereof. Whether Adam was

created with a superfluous rib, or his body was mutilated by the abstraction

of a rib, is a question for the curious. In the first, Calvin finds nothing

“which is not in accordance with Divine providence,” while he favors the

latter conjecture, and thinks that Adam got a rich compensation — “quum

se integrum vidit in uxore, qui prius tantum dimidius erat.” Luther inclines

to think that Adam’s language in v. 23 implies that not the bare rib, but

the rib with the accompanying flesh, was extracted.

 

22 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a

woman, and brought her unto the man.” And the rib, which the Lord God had

taken from man, made He (literally, builded into; aedificavit, Vulgate; ὠκοδόμησεν -

okodomaesenmade (rib) into -  Septuagint) a woman. The peculiar phraseology

employed to describe the formation of Adam s partner has been understood as

referring to the physical configuration of woman s body, which is broadest towards

the middle (Lyra); to the incompleteness of Adam’s being, which was like an

unfinished building until Eve was formed (Calvin); to the part of the female

in building up the family (Delitzsch, Macdonald), to the building up of the

Church, of which she was designed to be a type (Bonar); — yet it may be

doubted if there is not as much truth in the remark that by the many words

used in the generation of mankind, as creating (ch.1:27), making

(ch. 1:26), forming and inspiring (v.7 here), and now building, Moses

would set forth this wondrous workmanship for which the

Psalmist so laudeth God,  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” - Psalm 139:14.

And brought her unto the man. I.e. led, conducted, and presented her to Adam.

The word implies the solemn bestowment of her in the bonds of the marriage

covenant, which is hence called the covenant of God (Proverbs 2:17);

implying that He is the Author of this sacred institution. Jesus said, “What

therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  (Mark 10:9)

On awaking from his slumber Adam at once recognized the Divine intention,

and joyfully welcomed his bride.

 

 

                                                The First Marriage (v. 22)

 

  • THE LONELY MAN.

 

Ø      Nobly born. Sprung from the soil, yet descended from above. Fashioned

                        of the dust, yet inspired by a celestial breath. Allied to the beasts, yet the

                        offspring of God.

 

Ø      Comfortably placed. His native country a sunny region of delights

                        (Eden, v.8); his home a beautiful and fertile garden (ch. 3:5);

                        his supplies of the amplest possible description (ch.1:30; v. 16);

                        his occupation light and pleasant (v.15);  his restrictions slight

                        and trivial (ibid. v.17); his privileges large (v.16).

 

Ø      Richly endowed. With immortality (v. 17), intelligence (v.19),

      social capacities and instincts (v.18), the faculty of speech (v.20).

 

Ø      Highly exalted. As God’s offspring, he was invested with world

      dominion (ch. 1:28; Psalm 8:6), symbolized in his naming of

                        the creatures (v.20). Yet:

 

Ø      Essentially alone. Not as entirely bereft of companionship, having on

      the one hand the society of Jehovah Elohim, and on the other the

      presence of the animals; but in neither the Creator nor the creatures

      could he find his other self — his counterpart and complement, his

      consort and companion. On the one hand Jehovah Elohim was too high,

      while on the other the creatures were too low, for such partnership as

      Adam’s nature craved. And so Adam dwelt in solitude apart from both.

      “But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

 

  • THE PROVIDED PARTNER.

 

Ø      Divinely fashioned (v. 22).

 

o       Woman was the last of God’s creative works; presumably,

      therefore, she was the best. “Eve’s being made after Adam

      puts an honor upon that sex as the glory of the man (I Corinthians

      11:7). If man is the head, she is the crown — a crown to her

      husband, the crown of the visible creation” (Matthew Henry).

 

o       Woman was not made till everything was in the highest

      state of readiness for her reception. Before her creation,

      not only must there be a home for her reception, provision

      for her maintenance, and servants to attend upon her

      bidding; there must likewise be a husband that feels the

      need of her sweet society, that longs for her coming, and

                                    that can appreciate her worth. Hence he who seeks a

                                    partner should first find a house in which to lodge her,

                                    the means to support her, but specially the love wherewith

                                    to cherish her.

 

o       Woman was formed out of finer and more precious material

      than man, being constructed of a rib taken from his side.

      “The man was dust refined, but the woman was dust double

      refined, one remove further from the earth” (Matthew Henry).

      This was not because of any supposed excellence residing in

      the matter of a human body. It was designed to indicate

                                    woman’s unity with man as part of himself, and woman’s

                                    claim upon man for affection and protection. She was made

                                    of a rib taken from his side — “not made out of his head, to

                                    rule over him; nor out of his feet, to be trampled on by him;

                                    but out of his side, to be equal with him; under his arm, to be

                                    protected; and near his heart, to be beloved” (Matthew Henry).

 

o       Woman was constructed with the greatest possible care. The

      entire operation was carried through, not only under God’s

      immediate superintendence, but exclusively by God’s own hand.

      Adam neither saw, knew, nor took part in the work. God cast

      him into a deep sleep, “that no room might be left to imagine that

      he had herein directed the Spirit of the Lord, or been his

      counselor” (Matthew Henry). Then by God’s own hand Adam’s

      side was opened, a rib extracted, the flesh closed in its stead, and

      finally, the rib thus removed from Adam’s side —

 

                                    “Under His forming hands a creature grew,

                                    Man like, but different sex; so lovely fair,

                                    That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now

                                    Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained,

                                    And in her looks;  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

                                    Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,

                                    In every gesture dignity and love”

                                                (Milton, ‘Par. Lost,’ Bin 8:469).

 

Ø      Divinely presented (v. 22). “The Lord brought her unto the man.”

      Wherein we have exemplified the three great causes of marriage.:

 

o       The father’s consent, in God’s giving.

o       The woman’s consent, in Eve’s coming. This was no forced

      marriage; the woman comes freely.

o       The man’s consent, in Adam’s receiving. ‘And Adam said, This

      is at last bone of my bone (Hughes). And without these human

      marriages are sinfully contracted. Love for the bride is one of

      the signs which God vouchsafes of His approval of a marriage;

      the bride’s affection for the bridegroom is another; while a third

      is the approbation and the blessing of the parents of both.

 

  • THE WEDDED PAIR.

 

Ø      Married by God. “God is the best maker of marriages” (Shakespeare).

                        Nay, unless God unites there is no real marriage, but only an unhallowed

                        connection, legitimized by man’s laws, it may be, BUT NOT

                        SANCTIONED BY GOD’S!  As this wedding was of God’s arranging,

                        so likewise was it of His celebrating. What celestial benedictions were

                        out-breathed upon the young and innocent pair, as they stood there before

                        their Maker, radiant in beauty, tremulous with joy, full of adoration, we

                        are left to imagine. Happy they whose nuptials are first sanctioned and

                        then CELEBRATED BY THE LIVING GOD!

 

Ø      United in love. This first marriage was certainly something more than a

                        social or a civil contract; something other than a union of convenience

                        or a diplomatic alliance; something vastly different from a legalized

                        coenobium.  It was the realization of what our Laureate pictures as

                        the ideal marriage:

 

                                                                        “Each fulfils

                                    Defect in each, and always thought in thought,

                                    Purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow,

                                    The single, pure, and perfect animal;

                                    The two-cell d heart beating, with one full stroke,

                                    Life” (Tennyson’s ‘Princess,’ 7.)

 

 

Ø      Clothed in innocence. Never had bridal pair so beautiful and radiant

                        apparel. The unclothed bodies of our first parents we can imagine were

                        enswathed in ethereal and transfiguring light; in their case the outshining

                        of their holy souls, which, as yet, were the undimmed and unmarred

                        image of their Maker, capable of receiving and reflecting His glory.

                        Alas, never bridal pair has stood in robes so fair!

 

o       The beauty of holiness,

o       the luster of innocence,

o       the radiance of purity

 

                        have departed from the souls of men.  Never till we stand in the

                        celestial Eden, where they neither marry nor are given in marriage,

                        will garments of such incomparable splendor be ours.  Meantime, let

                        us thank God there is a spotless raiment in which our guilty

                        souls MAY BE ARRAYED,  and in which it were well that every

                        bridal pair were decked. Happy they who, when they enter into

                        married life, can say, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul

                        shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the

                         garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of

                        righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with

                        ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.”

                        (Isaiah 61:10)

 

Ø      Housed in paradise. United by the hand of God, they began their

                        married life in Eden.

 

                                    “And there these twain upon the skirts of time

                                    Sat side by side, full summ’d in all their powers,

                                    Dispensing harvest, sowing the to-be.

                                    Self-reverent each, and reverencing each;

                                    Distinct in individualities,

                                    But like each other, ev’n as those who love”

                                                            (Tennyson’s ‘Princess,’ 7.)

 

And so may any wedded pair be housed in Eden who, putting on the Lord

Jesus Christ, fill their home, however humble, with the light of love.

 

23 “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my

flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

And Adam said. Either as being possessed, while in a sinless

state, of a power of intuitive perception which has been lost through the

fall, or as speaking under Divine inspiration (vide Matthew 19:4-6).

This now. Literally, this tread, step, or stroke, meaning either this time,

looking back to the previous review of the animal creation, as if he wished

to say, At last one has come who is suitable to be my partner (Calvin); or,

less probably, looking forward to the ordinary mode of woman’s

production, this time she is supernaturally formed (Bush). “The thrice

repeated this is characteristic. It vividly points to the woman on whom, in

joyful astonishment, the man’s eye now rests with the full power of first

love” (Delitzsch). Instinctively he recognizes her relation to himself. Bone

of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. The language is expressive at once of

woman’s derivation from man (γυνὴ ἐξ ἀνδρός  - gunae ex andros

woman out of the man - I Corinthians 11:8,12) and likeness to man. The first

of these implies her subordination or subjection to man, or man’s headship over

woman (ibid. v.3), which Adam immediately proceeds to assert by assigning to her

a name; the second is embodied in the name which she receives. She (literally, to this)

shall be called Woman (isha, i.e. maness, from ish, man.  Compare Greek, ἀνδρίς

andris - (Symmachus), from ἀνήρanaerman; husband; fellow -Latin, virago, virae

 (old Latin), from vir; English, woman (womb-man, Anglo-Saxon), from man;

German, manninn, from mann; Sanscrit, hart, from nara; Ethiopic, beesith, from

beesi), because she (this) was taken from Man. Ish, the name given by Adam to

himself in contradistinction to his spouse, is interpreted as significant of man’s

authority, or of his social nature; but its exact etymology is involved in obscurity.

Its relation to Adham is the same as that of vir to homo and ἀνήρ to ἄνθρωπος

anthropos man..

 

24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto

his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” There is nothing in the use of such terms as

father and mother, or in the fact that the sentiment is prophetic, to prevent

the words from being regarded as a continuation of Adam’s speech,

although, on the other hand, the statement of Christ (Matthew 19:5)

does not preclude the possibility of Moses being their author; but whether

uttered by the first husband or by the historian, they must be viewed as an

inspired declaration of the law of marriage. Its basis (fundamental reason and

predisposing cause) they affirm to be:

 

(1) the original relationship of man and woman, on the platform of creation; and

(2) the marriage union effected between the first pair.

 

Its nature they explain to be:

 

(1) a forsaking (on the part of the woman as well as the man) of father and

mother — not filially, in respect of duty, but locally, in respect of

habitation, and comparatively, in respect of affection; and

(2) a cleaving unto his wife, in a conjugium corporis atque animce. Its

result is stated in the words which follow: and they shall be one flesh

(literally, into one flesh; εἰς σάρκα μίανeis sarka mianbe one flesh –

Matthew 19:5 - Septuagint).  The language points to a unity of persons, and

not simply to a conjunction of bodies, or a community of interests, or even a

reciprocity of affections.  Malachi 2:15 and Christ (Matthew 19:5) explain this

verse as teaching the indissoluble character of marriage and condemning

the practice of polygamy.

 

25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

And they were both naked. Not partially, but completely destitute of clothing.

Diodorus Siculus and Plato both mention nakedness as a feature of the golden age

and a characteristic of the first men (vide Rosenmüller, Scholia in love), The man

and his wife. The first pair of human beings are henceforth recognized in their

relationship to one another as husband and wife. And they were not ashamed.

Not because they were wholly uncultivated and their moral insight undeveloped;

but because their souls were arrayed in purity, and their bodies were made holy

through the spirit which animated them. “They were naked, but yet they were not so.

Their bodies were the clothing of their internal glory; and their internal glory was the

clothing of their nakedness” (Delitzsch). It is not surprising that the primeval history

of mankind should have left its impress upon the current of tradition. The

Assyrian tablets that relate to man are so fragmentary and mutilated that

they can scarcely be rendered intelligible. So far as they have been

deciphered, the first appears on its obverse side “to give the speech of the

Deity to the newly-created pair (man and woman), instructing them in their

duties,” in which can be detected a reference’ to something which is eaten

by the stomach, to the duty of daily invocation of the Deity, to the danger

of leaving God’s fear, in which alone they can be holy, and to the propriety

of trusting only a friend; and on its reverse what resembles a discourse to

the first woman on her duties, in which occur the words, “With the lord of

thy beauty thou shalt be faithful: to do evil thou shalt not approach him”

(‘Chaldean Genesis,’ pp. 78-80). The Persian legend describes Meschia and

Meschiane, the first parents of our race, as living in purity and innocence,

and in the enjoyment of happiness which Ormuzd promised to render

perpetual if they persevered in virtue. But Ahriman, an evil demon (Dev),

suddenly appeared in the form of a serpent, and gave them of the fruit of a

wonderful tree. The literature of the Hindoos distinguishes four ages of

the world, in the first of which Justice, in the form of a bull, kept herself

firm on her four feet; when Virtue reigned, no good which the mortals

possessed was mixed with baseness, and man, free from disease, saw all his

wishes accomplished, and attained an age of 400 years. The Chinese also

have their age of happy men, living in abundance of food, and surrounded

by the peaceful beasts (‘Kalisch on Genesis,’ p. 87). In the Zendavesta,

Yima, the first Iranic king, lives in a secluded spot, where he and his people

enjoy uninterrupted happiness, in a region free from sin, folly, violence,

poverty, deformity. The Teutonic Eddas have a glimpse of the same truth

in their magnificent drinking halls, glittering with burnished gold, where the

primeval race enjoyed a life of perpetual festivity. Traces of a similar belief

are found among the Thibetans, Mongolians, Cingalese, and others

(Rawlinson’sHist. Illustrations of Scripture,’ p. 10). The Western

traditions are familiar to scholars in the pages of Hesiod, who speaks of the

golden age when men were like the gods, free from labors, troubles, cares,

and all evils in general; when the earth yielded her fruits spontaneously, and

when men were beloved by the gods, with whom they held uninterrupted

communion (Hesiod, ‘Opera et Dies,’ 90). And of Ovid, who adds to this

picture the element of moral goodness as a characteristic of the aurea

aetas (‘Metam.,’ 1:89). Macrobius (‘Somn. Scipionis,’ 2:10) also depicts

this period as one in which reigned simplicitas mali nescia et adhuc

astutiae inexperta (Maedonald, ‘Creation and the Fall,’ p. 147). These

coincidences affect the originality of the Hebrew writings as little as the

frequent resemblance of Mosaic and heathen laws. They teach us that all

such narratives have a common source; that they are reminiscences of

primeval traditions modified by the different nations in accordance with

their individual culture

 

 

                                    The True Life of Man (vs. 18-25)

 

The commencement of human society.  First we see man surrounded by

cattle, fowl, and beast of the field, which were brought to him by God as to

their lord and ruler, that he might name them as from himself. “What he

called every living creature was the name thereof.” Nothing could better

represent the organization of the earthly life upon the basis of man’s

supremacy. But there is no helpmeet for man (“as before him,” the

reflection of himself) in all the lower creation.

 

  • HUMAN SOCIETY MUST SPRING OUT OF SOMETHING

            HIGHER THAN ANIMAL LIFE AND MAN’S MERE EARTHLY

            POSITION. The deep sleep, the Divine manipulation of man’s fleshly

            frame, the formation of the new creature, not out of the ground, but out of

            man, the exclamation of Adam, This is another self, my bone and my flesh,

            therefore she shall be called woman, because so closely akin to man — all

            this, whatever physical interpretation we give to it, represents the fact that

            companionship, family life, man’s interaction with his fellow, all the

            relations which spring from the fleshly unity of the race, are of the most

            sacred character. As they are from God, and specially of God’s

            appointment, so they should be for God.

 

  • There, in home life, torn off, as it were, from the larger sphere, that it

            may be THE NEW BEGINNING OF THE NEW WORLD TO US, should

            be the special recognition of God, the family altar, the house of man a

            house of God.

 

  • The Divine beginning of human life is the foundation on which we

            build up society. THE RELATIONS OF THE SEXES WILL BE PUREST

            AND NOBLEST the more the heart of man unfolds itself in the element of

            the heavenly love.

 

 

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