Let's begin our study of The Beginnings of Man Woman, and the Garden, and specifically The Beginning of Man, and of the establishment of a personal relationship between God and humans, by reading the following Scripture verses, Genesis 2:4-7, and as usual compare them with other translations.
4. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.
5. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
6. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
7. Then the Lord God formed man of dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
In verse 4 we see the beginning of a new relationship with God. It is expressed in the name, Lord God.
In the Hebrew, the word for Lord is not pronounced or written, except in Scripture, because of the holiness of the name.
In the phonetic translation it is Yahweh Elohim.
The key is the name "Yahweh", or perhaps more correctly "Yah-veh", or in English it is most often translated Lord, or Jehovah.
The name Yahweh can mean, the active, or self-existent One, since the word is connected with the verb meaning "to be". Note Exodus 3:14 when God responds to Moses' question about His name.
14. And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you."'
The Amplified, New International, and Revised Standard translations are all as the above New American Standard Version, but the King James reads, "I AM THAT I AM". All of the translations carry with them an ever-present, or ever-existent meaning to the expressed meaning of the name; however, the translations are from the verb "to be" and not from God's name, Lord.
This is the first time in Scripture that this name appears. Because of the language change to a flowing style, and a change in the order of events, from that of the previous verses' matter-of-fact style, it leads some commentators to conclude that this writing is from a different tradition.
Another meaning attached to the name "Yahweh" is Israel's Savior and Redeemer, their Messiah. See Exodus 6:6-8.
6. "Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
7. 'Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8. 'And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession, I am the Lord."'
We see several things in these three verses about the Lord:
He is God, and since there is only one God, the Lord (Yah-veh) and God (Elohim) are One.
The One who delivered Israel and will in the future deliver all believers is the Lord, and God, and He is also Messiah, Jesus Christ, in the spirit of the meaning.
And since the Lord is Jesus Christ, when we see the name "Lord" (Yah-veh) in the Hebrew Testament, we can also see the presence of the preincarnate Christ, which makes our understanding of Scripture that much easier.
The name Yahweh appears 6,823 times in the Hebrew (Old) Testament.
The name is especially associated with God's holiness and mercy. See Leviticus 11:44-45.
44. 'For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.
45. 'For I am the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be holy for I am holy.' "
Sometimes the mistake we make as "believing" Christians, is that we associate the characteristics of love and mercy with Jesus Christ, but we fail to remember His holiness. So, if we truly believe, we should also desire to be holy, as He is holy.
In Genesis 6:3-7, we see the Lord's holiness emphasized in His hatred of sin, yet it is still coupled with mercy.
3. Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."
4. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children of them. These were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
5. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
7. And the Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."
In the light of this statement, and our understanding of the nature of our Lord, it would be wise for us to take a very close look at our own society, and note that it isn't too far from this one, and truly seek Him before it's too late.
In Isaiah 53 we see this mercy and love for man in His gracious provision of redemption, through His willingly offering up Himself, to pay the price of our sin.
As we begin these verses in Genesis 2, we see a recapping of some of the creation events, but this time with the emphasis on Man, for whom this book was written. God has already told us the order of creation in Genesis 1:3-1:31.
In these verses He shows us how He relates that creation to Mankind.
In Genesis 1: 12, we saw the creation of all plant life during the third day. Here in verse 5 we see that it had not yet begun to grow, even though it has been created.
In the second part of verse 5 we see the explanation, "For the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground".
Note specifically the "mankind direction" of God's creation.
The first thing that God does to remedy this situation of the non-growth of His plant creation is to cause a mist to rise from the earth to water the ground (verse 6).
Note that there is still no rain, yet the ground is being watered.
The next thing God does to remedy the conditions stated in verse 5 is to make Man.
Remember our discussion on the word "create" back in Genesis 1:1? We discussed three words:
- "baw-raw", which relates to creating from something that was non-existent, in other words, something that God created;
- "aw-sawh", which means to make from something that already exists, which both humans and God can do;
- and "y'tsehr", which means to form, or make, as both God and humans can do.
Here in verse 7, we see the word "y'tsehr" used. God formed man of the dust of the ground. He modeled us as a potter models clay into a pot.
For better insight into the spiritual significance of this forming of God, see Romans 9:19-29.
19. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?
20. On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say back to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?
21. Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?
22. What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
23. And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
24. even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
25. As He says also in Hosea, "I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,' And her who was not beloved, 'Beloved.' "
26. "And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God."
27. And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;
28. for the Lord will execute His word upon the earth, thoroughly and quickly."
29. And just as Isaiah foretold,
"Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity,
We would have become as Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah."
Once the potter has molded or formed his work, he puts it into a kiln to fire it. This makes his work permanently set. It can no longer be resoftened and reformed. If it isn't right after it is fired, he has to throw it away. We are God's workmanship. Once we are hardened by the fires of the worldly kiln, we have removed God's ability to continue to model us into the person He wants us to be. We must remain pliable by continually seeking to be in God's will. And, we need to remember that God's will is expresses in the goodness of His creation, where there was no death for either humans or other animals, for all ate the plant food that God had created for them.
In Genesis 2:7, we also see the term "neh-fesh khah-yah" (living soul) to describe man's condition. This is the same term used with the creation of the animals in Genesis 1:21 and 24.
Remember, however, that in Genesis 1:26, it says that only Man was created in the image of God. This is the key difference between man and animals. Just in case this relationship between God and His creation causes a misunderstanding of the awareness of all of God's creation to Him, see Romans 8:18-25. Also take specific note of verse 22.
18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19. For the anxious longings of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
If we are honest with ourselves, and truly recognize the extent of evil in this world, then we should also understand that the the sons and daughters of God have not been revealed sufficiently to make a positive difference in the world, or they have failed to do so.
20. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it in hope,
21. that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
To be a child of God, we must be like those who are in heaven, like those who cause no suffering or death, and like those who do not accept or condone such activities around them as we do here on this earth.
22. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
"Waiting eagerly for our adoption..."; a statement that should cause a chill to run up and down the spine, for it clearly tells us that we are not presently considered as true sons and daughters of God, and that we are not in the image of God. We need to look to that future intent of God, and do our best to live that way in the here and now.
24. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?
25. But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
We need to keep ourselves moistened with the love and compassion of God, that He can remold us into the living soul He always wanted us to be. It is only in our resurrection that we once again return to being in the image of God.
As we will see later in our study, the fall of Man brought about death, and with death is decay of both the physical and the spiritual life of the ones subject to this decay, and thus, we corrupted the earth, as we see it today. But God still cares very much for His whole creation, and desired it all to be restored as He made it. In this we are to hope in faith, and work.
Next, we shall see the kind of habitation that God truly desired all of us to have.
1. The New Oxford Annotated Bible With The Apocrypha, (New York, Oxford University Press, 1977), Genesis 2.4b-3.24n.