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Bible: What Does Genesis 2 Teach Us About the Creation of Mankind?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Enjoying the Creation


The Meaning of the Word "Toledoth"

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Yahweh Elohim Creates Mankind

God "Rests" on the Seventh Day

God finishes creating the universe in six days, and then He “rests” on the seventh (vv. 1-2).

[The “host” appears to refer to the stars, not to angels here.

In addition, God’s resting does not signify that He needed to sit down because He was tired; He simply ceased creating after the sixth day because He had finished everything He wished to do, and He desired to enjoy what He had done].

He also “blesses” the seventh, setting it apart as a day of rest—an example He desired humankind to emulate (v. 3).

Toledoth: Generations, History

Verse 4 contains the word toledoth, generations, (translated “history”); the term appears ten more times in the book, each time heading units of material that discuss events in the lives of famous personages.

[Only here does toledoth conclude an account, that of Yahweh Elohim’s creation of the heavens and the earth].

This verse intimates that He created the essentials during the first two, twenty-four hour days; He did not take an epoch to call the universe into being (cf. Gen. 1:1-8).

[Therefore, the term yom here does not mean a twenty-four hour day, but expresses a general period.

Only contextual evidence in a given passage can determine whether the length of that period will exceed a “normal” Earth day].

Mist, No Rain Yet

This creation takes place before plant growth transpired (day three; cf. Gen. 1:11).

Rain first descends during Noah’s time; Yahweh Elohim uses mist to water the plants beginning on day three (vv. 5-6).

Picking up where he left off at the end of verse five (the mention of humanity) [v. 5], the author records Yahweh Elohim’s fashioning of this composite being from dust (v. 7).

[Verse 4 also introduces the Name of God: Yahweh. Cf. Exodus 3 for more details about the significance of His Name].

Yahweh Elohim does everything for the man: He plants a garden in Eden (v. 8a), relocates him there (v. 8b), and makes beautiful fruit-bearing trees grow, including “the tree of life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (v. 9).

[Apparently, God made Adam outside of Eden (cf. 3:23).

The tree of life appears again in the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:2].

A river waters the garden; beyond the borders of Eden, it splits into four heads—Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel (Tigris), and Euphrates—skirting or encircling lands later named Havilah, Cush, and Assyria (vv. 10-14).

[A “pure river of water of life” will also flow in the New Jerusalem.]

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil


Adam and Eve


The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Now Yahweh Elohim commences a deeper relationship with the man by placing him in charge of the Garden’s cultivation (v. 15) and forbidding him to eat the fruit of one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—, putting him under pain of “death” if he disobeyed His command (vv. 16-17).

Knowing the man’s need for help, the LORD God enhances the latter’s life by deciding to make him a suitable companion (v. 18).

[Did God bring animals to Adam to see if one of them would be a “helper comparable to him,” or merely for Adam to name them?

Since an omniscient Creator would know that none would match him, He must have brought them to the man because Adam needed to learn this fact].

By naming the beasts that God brings to him, Adam (first time named) proves his superior rank over them all (vv. 19-20).

Hebrew for "Man"

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Building Eve for Adam

The LORD God "Builds" Eve

Finally, Yahweh Elohim makes (lit. built) an ishshah for his ish by taking one of Adam’s ribs from him while he is under divine “anesthesia,” fashioning it into his mate, and bringing her to him so that he could name her (vv. 21-23).

[It is interesting that Adam “names” the woman.

Since the act of naming something signifies one’s superior status to it, does Adam’s naming the woman signify that here?

The author also parenthetically inserts a moral principle here: a newly married man must “leave and cleave” in order to become “one flesh” with his wife (v. 24)].

At this wonderful stage in Man’s history, Adam and Eve see each other naked, and it causes them no shame (v. 25).

© 2012 glynch1


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