Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 2:7-8 which reads: “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 planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul:
The wordplay in Hebrew — “man” (adam) and “ground” (adamah) — shows man’s close connection with the ground, and underlies Paul’s later teaching that the first Adam was fashioned in a natural body for an earthly existence. The heavenly Son of Man shared in this earthly state in order to secure for fallen man a spiritual body of imperishable glory in the resurrection of the redeemed. The Hebrew here does not say “a living being became man”– man is not formed from preexistent life. Man is differentiated from the animals by bearing the image of God, and he shows his authority over the animals by naming them.
Today’s quote about the Bible is from Thomas Carlyle. He said: “The Bible is the truest utterance that ever came by alphabetic letters from the soul of man, through which, as through a window divinely opened, all men can look into the stillness of eternity, and discern in glimpses their far-distant, long-forgotten home.”
Our topic for today is titled: “The Relationships of Creation (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.
As we enter chapter 2 of Genesis, we find what appears to be a “second creation account.” A careful analysis, however, reveals that this passage is actually a restatement of certain aspects of the original account with amplifying details of certain points. The flow of this section is topical rather than chronological, and the emphasis is on certain relationships within the creation. One reason many people have misunderstood this point is that they have missed the literary indicators: the toledot statement in Genesis 2:4 shows that this so-called creation account is part of a section that also includes Genesis 3 and 4. As such, it describes key relationships of the original creation story, shows how those relationships were broken, and then specifies some of the early consequences of the breaking of those relationships.
We have already observed that humankind had a unique position in the original structure of creation: world management. But clearly one person, or even one couple, could not manage an entire globe. So God established an initial territory where the original man (called Adam, or “the man”) was given responsibility. This management zone was called Eden. The text seems to indicate that in this zone, God provided animal help for Adam (domesticated animals, or the “beasts of the field”). But these animal helpers were inadequate; as the text states, there was no helper suitable for him. At this point, God made Eve, the special helper who seems to have been in the design plan all along (as indicated by Gen. 1:27).
We are not given any information on how the management process worked out in this original world economy. We are not even told how long it lasted. Rather, the writer quickly rushes on to the next critical event, one that has affected the rest of world history. It is important to remember that as we come to the end of Genesis 2, we do not come to the end of the “second creation account.” Rather, we move toward a climax that tells us what happened to God’s creation. What little understanding we have of the original world is primarily derived by inference from the changes that came about as a result of the fall of man.