Genesis 2: In the Beginning Prt. 2

Posted: January 7, 2011 in Devotionals

Genesis 1 introduces us to God and paints us a picture of his incredible power. He creates with mere words. The sun, the moon, the stars….Jupiter…He did that! Crazy power. Then we get to chapter 2 and we read something that doesn’t seem to make much sense. Genesis 2:7 tells us that after God finished the work of creating everything…”…he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.”

Wait a minute….is God sleepy? Just a second ago he’s doing amazing things like making Antarctica and the Milky Way and Mount Everest….now he’s taking a nap? Not at all. This picture of God resting is rich with meaning. We’ll see more of that meaning as we travel through the Bible. For now, in the immediate context this mention of rest tells us that God intends to have a close relationship and fellowship with man on the earth.

In literature that was written around the time Moses wrote the book of Genesis, people would write about gods resting in association with the building of a temple or a sanctuary. So, when Moses writes of God resting he’s letting us know that God plans to make his dwelling place with man (for a sneak peek see Revelation 21:1-5).

Then we get an up close look at the creation of man. The story now zooms in on the 6th day. God makes man out of some dirt…but man is more than dirt….God breathes life into him and he becomes alive. We get this glimpse of God being personally and intimately involved in the creation of human beings. Like you would shape a cookie or a horse out of play-dough…God made a human being. A human being with value and worth and dignity….made in his image.

After creating man….God makes a garden and places the man in it. Genesis 2:9 tells us that this garden was full of trees that were nice to look at and grew good stuff to eat. And of all the trees in this garden, the text zooms in on two. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I know….it’s sounds like something out of a Tolkien novel, but this is real. These two trees will play a key role in the next chapter. But for now…we learn that this land where the man was placed by God was like a paradise. Lots of trees, lots of rivers and lots of precious stones (gold and onyx….etc)

Again here we learn something about God…we learn that he is kind and good and that he provides. He doesn’t just drop the man in the garden and have him fend for himself. He gives him a nice little setup. But this doesn’t mean that man just gets to bum around or prop his feet up on a rock and sleep all day. No. God puts him to work.

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

                                                                                                                                              Genesis 2:15

Now contrary to what you might think…God’s putting the man to work didn’t all of a sudden ruin this paradise of a garden he was in. It’s not like if you were enjoying a nice summer vacation or some holiday time and then you get a call from your boss saying you have to work. Most of us would hate that. But here in Genesis 2 work is portrayed as a good thing. It’s part of what we were made to do. It’s part of what it means for us to be created in the image of God. Almost immediately in Genesis 1, what do we see God doing? Working. So, it should come as no surprise that when he makes man (who is made in his image) he puts him to work. Work…like everything else God created was good.

God provides a good life for the man he creates. He gives him food and good things to keep busy with and he also gives him a prohibition…something that is off limits. God tells the man that he’s allowed to eat from all of the trees in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And in verse 17 we see the price that was to be paid if the man didn’t listen. Genesis 2:17 says,

“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Whoa! Seems like a pretty harsh punishment just for eating some fruit off a tree. But here, we learn a couple more things about God: 1) When he prohibits us from doing something or having something, it’s not because he’s mean or doesn’t want us to enjoy life, it’s because He’s loves us and he wants what’s best for us. Think about it…who knows what’s best for us better than the God who made us. 2) There are severe consequences for not listening to what God tells us. Ultimately, disobeying God leads to death.

Chapter 2 concludes, with God once again taking care of the man and looking out for him. God notices that of all the things that he’s made…there is one thing that is not good. The man is alone. So what does God do? He makes a companion/ helper for him….woman. Someone who fits him perfectly. They were both innocent and happy. Naked and unashamed the text says (Genesis 2:25). Everything was literally all good….


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