30/12/18 Genesis 2:1-17 “A Paradise in Eden”
Genesis 2:1 – Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
That is, all creation was finished (accomplished) in the way described in the previous chapter. It is an affirmation that what was recorded in Ch.1 was a true and accurate portrayal of events.
host – tsaba’ [that which goes forth (including to war); host (of army; angels; of sun, moons and stars; of whole creation) Translated “hosts” in Lord God of hosts which then may be seen as God being in total authority over all creation, noting that authority is derived from “author” which is a synonym for “creator”. That is, the creation of the universe means the creator has authority over the universe.
Genesis 2:2 – 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.
rested – ceased; rested from labour.
Not all work but the specific work of creation. And He wasn’t needing a rest, either.
Isaiah 40:28 – Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding.
That these had to be literal days is well-supported by the 4th commandment.
Exodus 20:8-11 – 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the Lord thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 11For [in] six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Some allegedly ancient manuscripts have changed “seventh” to “sixth” day, considering that the work was completed on the 6th day, yet ending the work on the 7th day does not necessarily assume that a work has been committed on the 7th day.
Genesis 2:3 – 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.
Blessing implies that something good has been given. That is, the 7th day has been given that good may result from it. The sabbath is first mentioned in Exodus 16:23, not long before the sabbath was proclaimed law in the 10 commandments (Exodus 20). The keeping of the sabbath was a sign that they were God’s people, and that it was God who had set them apart as His special (meant-to-be-holy) people.
Exodus 31:13 – Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the Lord that doth sanctify you.
Thus the giving of the sabbath day to Israel was to be a blessing for them.
Israel was God’s nation and thus the sabbath rest was applied to them. There is no indication that this rest was to be observed by law by any other nation.
The sabbath is also used to signify the final eternal rest awaiting all God’s people.
Hebrews 4:9 – There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
[where “rest” is sabbatismos (keeping the Sabbath; the future rest for God’s people) This term is only found once, in this place in the NT.]
Genesis 2:4 – 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,
Lord God – Yᵉhovah ‘elohiym In the original KJV this is written LORD (all capitals) God, where LORD (all capitals) is the name Yehovah, a term that Barnes says “denotes that he alone has his being of himself, and that he gives being to all creatures and things”, and Pulpit says “Jehovah may be regarded as the proper Personal name of God.”
generations – descendants; results; proceedings; generations; genealogies; one’s contemporaries; course of history including creation; begetting or account of heaven. The word can signify the bringing forth of things from another, something that follows on from something before it; successions by descent. It can mean that these are the times when these events occurred, that is, the period in the garden of Eden.
Translated “generations” 38 times, “birth” once.
Exodus 28:10 – Six of their names on one stone, and [the other] six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
in the day – or “at the time (that the Lord God made ….)”
Genesis 2:5 – And every plant (or shrub) 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.
Literally it is probably saying that before every plant was in the ground and before every herb grew ….. Probably before plant life was created, it was not possible for it to live, to survive and grow, for there was no rain yet and no man had been available to cultivate the ground to make it suitable (sufficiently fertile) for plants to grow.
a man – ‘adam (Also Vs 7, 8, 15, 16)
Genesis 2:6 – But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
But because plants needed water to grow, God caused a mist (water vapour) to come up from the earth to water the whole surface of the ground (that is, the land mass as opposed to the sea). This solves the problem of no rain yet in Vs 5 above. The first record of rain is in Genesis 7:4 followed by the flood.
Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man (‘adam) became a living soul.
And because the survival of these plants also apparently required man as well (Vs 5 above), God created man, thus fulfilling the requirements of the plant life on earth as noted in Vs 5 above.
Man was formed (fashioned) out of dust from the ground. The funeral service says “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” yet isn’t in the Bible. It comes from the Book of Common Prayer and is probably taken from today’s verse plus the following:
Genesis 3:19 – In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.
Genesis 18:27 – And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which [am but] dust and ashes:
Job 30:19 – He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 – All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
the breath – breath; spirit; breath (of God, or other breathing creature); spirit (of man).
life – chay [life (noun)]
living – chay [living, alive (adjective)]
soul – soul; life; creature; person; appetite; mind; living being; desire; emotion; passion.
And as a result man became a living soul, a creature with life. Man has never been able to replicate this step of creation, ever. All creatures would only be flesh and blood, but it took that breath of life to cause every one of them to live.
1 Corinthians 15:45 – And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.
Genesis 2:8 – And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man (‘adam) whom he had formed.
Eden – Pleasure. Sometimes termed “Paradise” – Paradise ultimately comes from an Iranian word that the Greeks modified into paradeisos, meaning "enclosed park." In Hellenistic Greek, "paradeisos" was also used in the Septuagint - an early Greek translation of Jewish scriptures - in reference to the Garden of Eden. Early Christian writers also used "paradeisos" for both Heaven and for the place where righteous souls await resurrection. These senses of "paradeisos" entered into Late Latin as paradisus, and then into Anglo-French (and later, Middle English) as "paradis." Though originally used in theological senses in English, "paradise" has also come to refer to more earthly states and places of delight as well. (Merriam-Webster)
Ellicott says Paradise is “a Persian name for an enclosed park, such as the kings of Persia used for hunting”.
Thus God planted (or established) a garden (or enclosure, which relates to the meaning of “Paradise”) to the east in Eden. Here He placed man whom He had formed (or fashioned). The dwelling place of man was to be part of an area known as “Pleasure” (Eden).
It is clear that this establishing of the enclosure must have taken place during the 6 days of creation, ready for man when he was to be created. Today’s passage is therefore discussing “the generations” of God’s creation, that is, filling in extra information on the bare bones outline of the act of creation in Ch.1.
Genesis 2:9 – 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.
It appears that originally the pleasures of man were associated with plant life, in particular, ones that looked attractive (pleasant to look at) and good for food (clearly a high priority for man unfettered by all the desires that modern life can bring). Of most importance (because it is given a name first) is the tree of life. Note that man’s return to “Paradise" (or heaven) will also include renewed access to the tree of life.
But not all was necessarily good in Paradise, for also within this enclosed garden was a sinister tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In Vs 17 below God commands man not to eat of this tree (the fruit, that is), for in that day which he ate of it he would surely die. And, that tree was apparently very accessible to Adam and Eve. Logically, if man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he could then eat of the tree of life and still live, even though he would die (by punishment), which would then be illogical for this would oppose God’s penalty of death for sin. Therefore, eating of the wrong tree would have to then exclude eating of the right tree!
Why did God place this tree where man could be tempted? Calvinists maintain that man has no free will to choose between good and evil. If so, what would be the point of tempting man when he had no capability to decide what he would do? Clearly God intended man to be tempted such that he had to decide one way or the other. Any other reasoning is completely illogical. Why provide a choice but give man no alternative? Therefore, logically, Adam and Eve had to have been given a choice.
Genesis 2:10 – And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
This river came from Eden, not necessarily from the enclosed garden, although it apparently went to the garden and clearly continued on further from there. While the mist (vapour) that came up from the ground may have continued to water the plants (Vs 6 above), apparently more water was necessary for full irrigation of the plants and trees in the enclosed garden.
This initial river then split into 4 rivers which must have flowed in four different directions. The Euphrates is one of these 4 rivers, and possibly the Tigris is another. (The Indus and Nile are sometimes suggested as the remaining 2 rivers.) The Euphrates and Tigris join up near the top of the Persian Gulf. This has led some to think that this is where the garden was. However, the rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) come together at this point, while in Genesis 2 the one single river then divides into 4 other rivers. The water flow in one is the opposite direction to the other, so such thinking is merely conjecture.
Genesis 2:11 – The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold;
Pison – increase.
Havilah – circle
gold – as a precious metal, a measure of weight; of its brilliance, splendour. From a root word meaning to shimmer (with brightness or glowing).
The Pison goes around (encompasses) like a circle the land of Havilah (or encompasses the land of Havilah which is like a circuit or circle) where there is gold (which could mean the precious metal, or it could mean the land shimmered like gold). Some refer to Havilah as sandy desert country.
Havilah is mentioned in 3 other passages: Genesis 10:7; 10:29; 25:18, where all may refer to lands around what was known as Arabia. Especially note
Genesis 25:18 – And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that [is] before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: [and] he died in the presence of all his brethren.
Genesis 2:12 – And the gold of that land [is] good: there [is] bdellium and the onyx stone.
This verse does appear to demonstrate that the gold is real gold rather than having the appearance of gold.
bdellium – a semi-transparent resin from trees growing in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and sub-saharan Africa.
onyx stone – probably onyx, chrysoprasus, beryl, or malachite. Onyx is a variety of layered chalcedony occurring in many different shades.
Genesis 2:13 – And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
Gihon – bursting forth.
Ethiopia – Kuwsh (or Cush)
While Cush is today known as Ethiopia, it originally signified the southern half of Arabia, which meant it would have extended from Ethiopia to the Red Sea and further. In fact, it could indicate the Nile River. Apparently it was later on that Cush was more specifically associated with the area known as Abyssinia which is an ancient name for Ethiopia.
Genesis 2:14 – 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.
Hiddekel – rapid This name apparently derives from the Greek form of the Persian “Tigra” and is generally assumed to be the Tigris River. It goes toward the east (or the front) of Assyria. The Tigris actually flowed up through Assur and Nineveh. The name Assyria is derived from its capital Assur. The word ‘Ashshuwr can be translated Assur, but is used for Assyria in most of its occurrences in the OT.
Euphrates – fruitfulness The Euphrates is often referred to as “the River” (Exodus 23:31) as is the Nile (Exodus 1:22); the Nile is also referred to as “the river of Egypt” (1 Kings 8:65). Likewise, the Mediterranean was generally referred to as “the sea”.
Genesis 2:15 – And the Lord God took the man (‘adam), and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
And Yehovah God took Adam and caused him to remain (stay; live) in the enclosed garden of Eden so that he could dress (work in; labour in) it and to take charge of it (care for it; keep, preserve, protect it).
While man was to have dominion over the earth and to subdue it, this enclosed garden was man’s particular task, to keep and maintain it as required. This is man’s home for the time being, with the wider world something man would probably venture out into when needed to subdue and dominate. In a way this may be also a picture of heaven – that in eternity we might not be just sitting there (like harpers harping on our harps!) or throwing our crowns in the air, etc. No doubt we’ll be expected to work, to look after our responsibility – our own enclosed area that we’ll be given, whether it be a mansion, room, apartment, farmlet etc – who knows what it’ll be.
Genesis 2:16 – And the Lord God commanded the man (‘adam), saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
God commanded (gave orders; commissioned; appointed; laid charge upon) the man (Adam), telling him that he could freely eat of any of all the trees in the garden. Note that Vs 17 below adds the one exception to this rule: that he wasn’t to eat of that forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:17 – 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.
thou shalt surely die – muwth (die; be killed; be executed; be put to death as a penalty; die prematurely)
For if Adam (and Eve included, obviously) ate of that forbidden tree, then he would surely be given the death penalty. But, why is it that Adam actually lived for 930 years, supposedly after he and Eve sinned? The answer is as it is today, that we are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), spiritually dead, while physically still alive. It will be when people physically die that they will discover for certain whether or not they are spiritually dead as well. And, while the blood of animals was spilled for their sins, Adam and Eve could still live under the atoning covering of the blood.
It wasn’t the fruit that was deadly, either, for had they but disobeyed God in any other way they still would have committed the same sin: rebellion against God. It was the choice to disobey God that defined their sin, not what that actual rebellious action was. All God did was to provide a means by which man had to choose this day whom he would obey, and man had to make that choice of his own free will. Just as some angels fell and others remained serving God, every person in heaven will be there because he or she has chosen to be there through obedience to God. No-one will be there (or not there) because God has chosen for them on their behalf.
There will be no heavenly lottery, no random selection of those who will be privileged to go to heaven (whether they want to or not). Note that random selection is the same as unconditional election! If the calvinists are right, the calvinist God has run a spiritual lottery (random selection) to choose his elect. But God uses foreknowledge to determine His elect (1 Peter 1:2) which defines the calvinist claims as lies.
Why would God provide a choice when there would be no effective choice anyway? If the election is unconditional (calvinist teaching), why bother going through the charade of giving man the choice between good and evil, but also making it impossible for man to choose!
Boettner (whom calvinists inexplicably like to quote) says: And since the plan of redemption is thus traced back into eternity, the plan to permit man to fall into the sin from which he was thus to be redeemed must also extend back into eternity; otherwise there would have been no occasion for redemption. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Boettner P 172)
That is, because God had planned from the very beginning to redeem man from his sin, then God must also plan for man to sin as well, or else the redemption would have been wasted if man didn’t actually sin!
“Yet God in no way compelled man to fall. He simply withheld that undeserved constraining grace with which Adam would infallibly not have fallen, which grace He was under no obligation to bestow. In respect to himself, Adam might have stood had he so chosen; but in respect to God it was certain that he would fall. He acted as freely as if there had been no decree, and yet as infallibly as if there had been no liberty.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Boettner P 173)
That is, the calvinist God did not make man fall; he just prevented Adam from not falling. The calvinist God was under no obligation to give Adam any help in not falling, thus causing Adam to infallibly fall. If God had given Adam help in not falling, Adam would not have fallen. Adam fell because God did not give him any means of not falling, yet Adam had total freedom to choose not to fall. (??)
This is absolute rubbish to anyone with even the slightest amount of ability to think. If the calvinist God throws you over the cliff, will you fly or will you crash to the ground? Well, that depends upon whether he gave you wings before he threw you over the edge! The calvinist God has caused all mankind to sin (according to their doctrines), so all must be cast down to their deaths. After all, the calvinists do claim that their God has the perfect right to execute all mankind for their sins, so isn’t the calvinist God so gracious for permitting some to live?!! After all, no-one has the right to live. (Of course, they fail to explain that all people are thrown over that cliff because the calvinist God has firstly decreed that all should so absolutely sin that not one is able to even choose salvation unless God first regenerates him! Then when he so graciously “saves” some, they testify of the infinite grace of their God. But, what about all those poor ones whom God commits to sin without any grace whatsoever?)
So, the calvinist God throws all people off the cliff, but slips a pair of wings on a privileged few who will then fly, not because they have chosen to, not because they are any better than the others, but because the calvinist God doesn’t wish to appear too much of a cruel ogre.
The calvinist God effectively throws all mankind over the cliff, and then orders them all to fly. However, he only gives wings to his chosen ones. All those who crash to the ground should have flown, yet God withheld from them that with which they could have flown, that which could have made them fly if God had so chosen. Truly the calvinist (or reform) God of Boettner is the devil himself! And, this is the worst part, that it is entirely man’s fault that God didn’t give him wings in the first place!
Boettner also says in that same section: The mere fact that God fore-saw the fall is sufficient proof that He did not expect man to glorify Him by continuing in a state of holiness. ……. God's decree does not take away man's liberty; and in the fall Adam freely exercised the natural emotions of his will. ….. In unmistakably clear language Adam was warned that if he did eat of the fruit he would certainly die. He was thus placed under a pure test of obedience, since the eating would not in itself have been either morally right or wrong. Obedience is here set up as the virtue which, in the rational creature, is, as it were, the mother and guardian of all the others.
But how can man glorify God through obedience when man is prevented by God from doing so? What liberty did Adam have? Did he have any freedom to choose to fly? Was it indeed Adam’s will that God should hold back that constraining grace? Truly this is evil doctrine.