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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

March 18, 2015

Genesis 2:1-23

  1. In our last two studies we shared the day/age interpretation of Genesis 1. This interpretation flows perfectly with the biblical text and takes into account all the scientific knowledge that we have today. This view perfectly connects the dots, when we begin to eliminate traditional views that were never based on good biblical scholarship. The reality is that the church often perpetuates myths and fables that are not really supported by the scriptures themselves. This is a hard pill to swallow, but if we are going to be honest we must face these facts and seek a true knowledge of God. We cannot declare that God is eternal, everlasting and the Ancient of Days and then force an interpretation that God sat quietly for billions of years and just decided to create something in the last 6000 years as some theologians try to claim. The day/age interpretation also allows us to see the spiritual message that God is declaring. God sees us in the chaos of sin, he removes the blinders off of our spiritual eyes so the light of Christ can shine in, this light then activates the life flowing power of the Spirit of God to flow in our lives causing us to produce fruit of good works. The six days or ages of creation display God’s greatness and his creativity. After this he declares his creation to be very good.

  2. Chapter 2:1-3. The scriptures say that God rests on the Seventh Day. God is at rest in the sense that He is no longer creating. The seventh day is an ongoing period. Although God continues His providential work of preserving and governing His creation, the seventh day is a period of indeterminate length, this is evidence that the other creation days are not 24-hour periods. The seventh day lacks the concluding “evening/morning” refrain found in the narratives of the other creation days. This indicates God’s Sabbath rest is ongoing. Since God’s Sabbath rest is unending, the seventh day must be unending. The New Testament confirms the seventh day of God’s rest is an ongoing reality. For example in Hebrews, God invites us, present tense, to join Him in His Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:3-5). The English translation of Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and earth...” makes make it sound as though God created everything within the confines of six calendar-days. However, the preposition “in” does not appear in the original Hebrew.Rather, the verse is more correctly translated, “For six yôms the LORD made...” The addition of “in” originated with the King James Version translation and “played a significant role in the advocacy of the creation days being completed within 144 hours (6x24).”When the verse is correctly translated, it is clear the creation “days” could have been long time periods. The reference to the Sabbath in Exodus 20 seems to refer to the pattern of “days,” not their duration. The emphasis is on the pattern of work and rest, a ratio of six to one, not on the length of the creation days. Exodus 20:9 addresses the work-week of humans (seven 24-hour days); Exodus 20:11 addresses the work-week of God (seven time periods). Thus, as Hebrew scholar Gleason Archer notes: “By no means does this [Exodus 20:9-11] demonstrate that 24-hour intervals were involved in the first six ‘days,’ any more than the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles proves that the wilderness wanderings under Moses occupied only eight days.” In Leviticus 25:4 the pattern of one out of seven is duplicated with six years of planting the land and one year of “Sabbath rest for the land.” The Sabbath year or the seventh year is not a 24 hour period. ”This further demonstrates the analogy of our Sabbath to God’s Sabbath does not demand that the creation “week” consisted of seven 24-hour days. Beloved we are now in the seventh day and that is why Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” God blessed the seventh day or the seventh age and called it Holy. It is Holy because it is supposed to be a time that all of God’s creation declare his glory. See Psalms 19:1-3, and Romans 1:20-23.

  3. Background on the next few verses. Genesis 1 is the account of the creation of the universe and life on planet earth as it happened in chronological sequence. Genesis 2 is simply an expanded explanation of the events that occurred at the end of the sixth creation day - when God created human beings. Genesis one provides virtually no details about the creation of human beings (other than the idea that humans were created in the image of God). Contrary to what many "scholars" have reported, Genesis two is not a retelling of Genesis one. How can we determine this to be true? First, we should examine the overall context. Genesis two is considerably different in regard to the emphasis of the content. Genesis one dedicates 4 verses (13%) to the creation of humans, beginning with verse 26. However, Genesis two dedicates 19 verses (76%) to the creation of humans, beginning with verse 7. Actually, since there are no real chapter breaks in the original Hebrew manuscripts, the story of the creation of humans continues throughout chapter 3 (another 24 verses). Obviously, the emphasis of the two "versions" is quite different. Part of the problem understanding this passage is because of the poor choice of English words in the common translations. The Hebrew word erets can be translated as "earth" (meaning global) or "land" (referring to a local geographical area). In the Old Testament, erets almost always refers to local geography and not the planet as a whole. We need to examine the context to determine whether erets refers to the entire earth or only a portion of it. For a book that is dedicated to the relationship between humans and God, four verses seems like a rather poor explanation for the creation of God's preeminent creature. This is because Genesis one was never intended to stand apart from Genesis 2 and 3. Genesis 2 describes God's preparation of a specific location on earth (Eden) for habitation by the first human beings. Part of the confusion results from our English translations, which use the term "earth" when the Hebrew would better be translated "land." I can remember my first year in college and a professor was trying to say that the bible had two creation accounts and it contradicted itself. Of course she was trying to sway people away from the faith. I argued with her that the Genesis 2 account is just giving more info on the Genesis 1 account. She tried to argue that that was not so simply because she had an English version that said “earth” and not “land.” Even today we use the word earth to mean soil. Even our bibles we have printed today continue to use the traditional words that are not always intellectually honest with the Hebrew language, but consistent with the traditions of men.

  4. Verses 4-14. The writer of Genesis 2 is quickly summarizing the creation of humankind that happened on the sixth day/age. The writer makes it clear that God created vegetation, especially food prior to forming the first man, once that food was in place to sustain the man, God created man out of the dust or soil of the earth and breathes life into him. This breath is not the kind of breath we know of but more like giving us a soul. I personally think this breath of life is creating us in the image of God. Once the man is created and the garden is ready, God places the man, created in his image, in the Garden. The Man has all that he needs in the garden. There are trees that were good to look at and trees that had fruit that were good to eat. Notice that the writer says that there were plenty of trees that had good fruit and looked good. The writer is setting the scene for the next chapter concerning the temptation of the fruit. In the center of the garden are two trees, the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge good and evil. Both trees are in the center. We are told that a river flows and waters the garden and from the garden it splits into four other rivers. In all, there are three other place names mentioned along with four rivers. The first other place name is Havilah, which is thought to be near the Caspian Sea. The second is Cush, which is thought to be a location in Southern Egypt or Ethiopia. The third is Assyria, which constitutes modern Iraq and Iran. Of the four rivers described in the text, only two are definitively identifiable. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run through Iraq and Iran. All the events of Genesis 2 occur in Eden, which is bounded by the three other locations, putting it within the Mesopotamian flood plain. The narrative continues with descriptions of creation events. Adam was placed in the garden to cultivate it. Adam is told he can eat from any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

  5. Verses 18-23. God decides that it is not good for man to be alone, so God first has the animals that were already created come to the man to see what he would name them. The man named the animals and sent them on their way. Notice the naming process was really a process to see what would be a suitable companion. None was found. So God caused the man to sleep and while he slept God formed a suitable companion from the man using his ribs. Instead of forming the woman separately from the man out of some dust, God creates the woman from the man he already made. Scientifically we see this in that women have only X chromosomes and men have X and Y. Notice after the man wakes up he sees the woman and declares that she is like him in bone and flesh. She is made like him, and she compliments him. Don’t pick an animal pick a mate.

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