Last week in Genesis 1, we saw God as the Creator. Chapter 2 we see God as a gardener, a surgeon, and a matchmaker. He takes three different roles from that of being a Creator. But we need to scoot back because chapter two is a focusing in on some of the same ground in chapter one and we ended last week at just the right place in chapter one. We want to take you back to verse 24 of chapter 1, the sixth day of creation where God said:"Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle [or those that are the domestic beasts that can be tamed by man] and creeping thing and beast [the wild animal that typically isn't tamed] of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. And God made the beast of the according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
It would seem that according to what we just read that all of these biological lives, these creatures, including man as we'll see in the following verses, were created on the sixth day of creation. But with this in view, we have a problem. If we were to venture on a weekend to the typical natural history museum, we might see a sign. I've noticed these signs in a lot of places where they've determined the age of the world as being so old using their dating methods and it changes from place to place and year to year and scientific community to scientific community. But I've seen the sign that would say: Dinosaurs ruled the earth, reigned over the earth, for 140 million years. But they suddenly became extinct 60 million years before man was on the earth. Well we have a problem because Genesis would indicate that man and beast were created the same day. And I would categorize dinosaur as being part of the beasts that were made. We know there were dinosaurs—there's ample evidence everywhere. The problem is that we find some of the fossils in the horizontal strata placed vertically that cover several strata. As if they were there for several different years.
We'll get to that when we get to chapter six through chapter eleven, the flood. But the problem is if God created dinosaurs and man the same day, is the Bible wrong or are the signs wrong? If you were to take a little trip about an hour south of Ft. Worth, Texas to a little town called Glen Rose, Texas, they made some interesting discoveries. They made it their first; they've even made some in New Mexico. But the one in Glen Rose, Texas is a little river called the Pulaxey River and they have hardened limestone layering on a portion of the river where they have found dinosaur footprints embedded in the limestone and well-preserved. They've measured them, they've categorized them, they've taken pictures of them, placed them in scientific journals. Well, after they did that, they then discovered a little further down the same river, footprints of man in the same area with footprints of dinosaurs. It was an interesting find, to say the least. It caused a real ruckus in the scientific community. In fact, some tried to cover it up and dismiss it instantly. But many pointed out the fact that you have evidence of man and dinosaur living together. So it would seem, according to such finds, that the signs are wrong.
So on this day, the sixth day, God created beast and then, verse 26, “Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Notice the word God. Same word that we find in verse 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It's the Hebrew word elohim. Now just a note about that word. It's a common word in the Old Testament for God. It's a plural noun; a plural noun but singular in meaning. “Im," in Hebrew, is the male plural form. “Ot," would be a female plural. “It's a plural noun as if to read “gods." However, it is singular in usage. Did you notice the construction? “God said let Us make man in Our image." And then it doesn't say, 'So They created man in Their image." But it says 'So God created man in His own image." We have a hint, even in Genesis 1, of the Trinity. Because who else is God speaking to when He said, 'Let Us make man in Our image'? He's not speaking to angels. Angels didn't create anything. They were created by God. They were part of the Creation.
God is speaking to Himself. This is inter-Trinitarian communication. This is the Father and the Son and the Spirit having a little convening together. Let Us make man in Our image. And Elohim did. But notice the He—singular pronoun. Made man in His image. So we have a hint of the Trinity. Now the Bible states clearly and it's very clear in the Old Testament, the unique One nature or the Oneness of God. Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" So many people get confused when they find other verses that seem to speak of the Trinity, or the triune nature of God. How can that be? It sounds impossible. If the Bible is so avid with the oneness of God, yet Christians teach the triune nature of God? It's simply because the Bible teaches the triune nature of God.
Now you're never going to get your mind fully around that. It's one of the imponderables of Scripture. Just when you think you've got it by some clever analogy, like an apple or an egg or water, you realize the more you study it, it vanishes from the ability to comprehend. It is not impossible and some of these illustrations can be helpful, but they are limited. For example, time can exist in three different dimensions. It can be yesterday, it can be today, and it can be tomorrow—just depends on what reference you're speaking from. All at the same time. Water can exist in ice and in vapor and in fluid. If you've ever been at a cold lake in Alaska and the sun shines on it and you see that vapor hovering above the lake and yet there's ice at the surface on the edge of the lake but there's liquid in the middle. It's water—all of it. But existing in three states. The Bible teaches that there is one God existing in three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It's sort of inexplicable, but here it just appears. God, Elohim, said, Let Us make man in Our image. So God created man in His own image.
Male and female He created them. What does it mean to be in the image of God? Well, here are a couple of hints. We're different from animals. You're different from your dog or your cat—very different. I hope you realize that. I know you might love your puppy, I just got a new puppy, and I love that little puppy. But I realize it's not a human, it is a dog. It might do little things in response to my voice and I think, 'Oh, look what it's doing, it's thinking this.' It's probably not. It doesn't have the ability to share the communicable attributes with God like you and I. We can reason, we're rational creatures—most of the time. We have the ability to apply intellect and reason and research and come to conclusions. Logical thoughts attached to other thoughts. Animals can't do that. Also, we are tri-partite in our being. We're composed of three: body, soul, and spirit, the Bible tells us (1 Thessalonians 5, Paul prays that God would sanctify us completely, body, soul, and spirit until the coming of Jesus Christ.) Not just body and soul; not just flesh and conscious life, but body, soul, and spirit. Having three natures similar to that of God. We are in the image of God; we're a reflection of God. But, here's something else you should know. That elevates us certainly when you think of that. We are a reflection of God but the reflection has gotten dimmer. We are a faint reflection of our Creator. This is not what God originally intended. These wrinkles? That's not what God originally had in mind. Now if you don't have any, just wait and you'll get some. This whole degenerative process? We reflect God certainly; we're in His image. But the image is faint.
If you want to see what God fully intended, look at Jesus Christ. Perfect. Flawless. Sinless. Now one day we will be restored and we will definitely fully reflect the idea that God had from the beginning. “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth [I think we've done a pretty good job of that] and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Now we see man has a unique relationship to the universe that God made. To subdue it. To have dominion over it. Now this verse is sort of like the magna carta for scientific research and development: God is giving us the permission to find out and harness the potential; get a handle on it and use it for your benefit; subdue it, harness it, find out what I put in it. There's a great proverb that says: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and yet the glory of kings to find it out." God has put so much in His creation, but as we apply our minds to finding out how we can harness energy, and how we can build a comfortable dwelling place and transport ourselves. All of that is part of the image of God and subduing the Creation that God has given to us.
“And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so." In the beginning, it would seem that you and I were created, or mankind was created, to eat only vegetables. The beasts of the field and man that were created were herbivores. However, before you get carried away on that, in Genesis 9, God says to man to eat of the flesh of the beasts of the field. But here He says, I've made everything around you. He wanted there to be a population of these animals to grow and then, later on, we'll be able to subdue even them after the flood. But this brings up something my mom used to tell me all the time: Son, make sure you eat your vegetables. And oh how I hated it, until I discovered the Bible says it's a good thing to eat your vegetables. And one of the reasons, perhaps, we're less and less in the image of God, is some of the stuff we put in our bodies. I'm not going to get on a tangent about it, but just by the stuff we process and eat, it's so crazy and filled with such weird chemicals and we can contract now so many different kinds of diseases and strains of them. The more we live, the less we are in that image. So if you are what you eat, my goodness—what are we? A greasy French fry, perhaps.
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. Seven times in this chapter God says, after He makes something, it's good, it's good, and it's good. Now to sum it up: it's very good. That's important to remember because soon this will be in contrast to the very first time God says something isn't good. He says things are good; this is what I want, this is what I intended. And then in chapter two, we'll discover something isn't good. “Indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
Now we come to chapter two. And some people think that chapter two is actually a conflicting story with chapter one. Do you know there are some that believe that chapter one was written by one author and chapter two was written by a different author and both are the Creation story, both of these characters didn't know each other, and they're in conflict with each other. Not so. They're in harmony with each other. This is what it is: chapter one is the wide-angle lens view, chapter two is the zoom lens view. Chapter one shows you the scope of all of the days of creation, all of the things God made from the luminaries in the sky, the heavens and the earth and now it zooms in on God's crowning creation. His most important creation: mankind. In chapter two, human history begins. The Genesis of humanity is talked about, focused on, in chapter two of Genesis. And because of that, you're going to view in just a minute, a different title for God. It's going to be very important to you. As chapter one discusses Elohim, chapter two will give God a different title because of this.
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Don't get the idea that six days of work made God really tired and He needed a rest. He's just fatigued and God comes home and goes, Wow that was hard, I need a break. It simply means God rested because there were no more things to do. Nothing else to make. Everything was completed. In fact, the word 'seventh,' and it appears three times in these verses for emphasis, the word seventh comes from the Hebrew root that means to be full or to be completed. On the seventh day, everything was done. God's purposes in creation were fulfilled. He had nothing left to do as far as creation was concerned. So it was the seventh day; it was full, it was completed. So God rested.
I mentioned the word 'seventh' is mentioned three times in these verses. Some people have read Genesis, the creation story in the first few chapters, and mistakenly confused it with some of the Babylonian narratives of creation called the Babylonian Cosmogony. And they've said, 'Well, there are a lot of similarities between Genesis and the Babylonian record of creation. Therefore, these things all must be myth or perhaps Genesis borrowed it from the Babylonians." I couldn't disagree more. The fact of the matter is, the imprint of God's creation was so fresh upon all of the cultures at that time, it would naturally show up in a number of sources and it does. And so there would be similarities, you would anticipate that. But the further that these cultures got from the original, from the truth, from the moment of creation especially and things were added and made up, they weren't preserved like the truth of Scripture, you would also expect to see some differences. And though there are similarities between Babylonian, as well as other narratives, and the Genesis account, there are a lot of differences as well. Huge differences. The sun and the stars were worshipped by the Babylonians and the Egyptians. They thought that the stars and the moon, the planets, ruled the life and determined life upon the earth. Hence, the zodiac. And astrology was developed.
But Genesis says that the universe was created around man by God around God's crowning creation, man. Something else: in the Babylonian account, the seventh day of the week is considered unlucky. Day seven of the month, day fourteen, day nineteen, day twenty-one, and day twenty-eight are all considered unlucky days according to the Babylonians. But the seventh day especially. But according to Genesis, that superstition is absent. God blessed it, God made it holy. It's a day of refreshment, not this superstitious fear like, 'Uh-oh. It's the seventh day.' Sort of like Friday the thirteenth. It's the seventh day—set apart and blessed by God.
And He sanctified it, verse three, “because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." I want you to notice something. It will be important later on when we go through the Jewish Sabbath. God gives Adam no command to keep the seventh day here. He will give it later on to the children of Israel; it will be part of the Law of Moses as part of the Covenant, the external sign of the Covenant God has with the Jewish people. But He gives Adam no command to keep the seventh day. Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man; man was not made for the Sabbath. However, God did create a day, and it is a biblical pattern, to enjoy a full day of rest. Now the pattern in Judaism, and I actually love it, is you work six days and you're off one day. In America, it's a five-day work week and then you're off, supposedly, two days, Saturday and Sunday. In Europe, you work four days and you're off three days. But I think six and one is a better pattern because I rarely have met people who legitimately take two full days off.
I know what's it's like; it's hard for me to slow down. Sundays when I come home after three messages, I start working in the yard. It's how I'm built—I can't just lie down and take a nap. But if you could just spend one day in cruise mode doing nothing, no responsibilities, you'd be happier, I believe. I think you'd live longer, you'd be healthier. And so since we're in the image of God, it makes sense that part of the likeness bearing the image of God is that when we finish our work week we rest for one day. Now I'm preaching to myself even as I say this. But this would be good and it is a biblical pattern.
Verse four: “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground"
I promised you that in chapter two there would be a new name for God that would appear. And it does. Notice in verse four, it says, “in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." The term Lord is the Hebrew tetragrammaton. I'm going to explain it. The tetragrammaton typically pronounced, YAHWEH or JEHOVAH in some older Bibles comes from four Hebrew letters, hence tetragrammaton. We would say, they're Y, H, VH, or WH. And we typically pronounce it, Yahweh. We don't know how it was pronounced because we only have those consonants. And we've lost the pronunciation, I'll explain why. But the Hebrew tetragrammaton is in Hebrew “YAHVEH, YAHWEH…" We don't exactly know. We've lost the pronunciation. But that is the Hebrew word here for the word Lord. Anytime you see in your Bible, in the Old Testament, capital LORD, it is that tetragrammaton, the word, and let's just call it, YAHWEH.
Now here's why it's used here. Elohim is God's name for His transcendence and power over creation. In relationship to being the Creator, He is Elohim, the Mighty God. In His relationship to history, especially history of His people, the Covenant people, He uses the Covenant name Yahweh. That's very important. When Moses was commissioned by God to go to the children of Israel. You remember the story? And Moses said, 'Well, who I am I going to say sent me? They're going to ask what's God's name? If God told you to be here, what's His name?' Exodus chapter three, God says: I AM THAT I AM. Tell them that I AM has sent you to them for this is My name forever and a memorial to all generations."
The little tetragrammaton, or Yahweh, is the first person form of the Hebrew word HAIAH, which means “to be." And I AM THAT I AM, or I AM, simply means God is the Self-existent One. He doesn't depend on anybody else for life. He's the Self-existent One; He's the only non-contingent Being in the universe. Everything else is dependent, contingent upon God. But God is non-contingent, non-dependent. He's the Self-existent One; He's the uncaused cause. Also, the term Yahweh speaks of God's eternal nature, not I WAS THAT I WAS but I AM. He's always faithful, He's always available. All of the characteristics that embody Him are part of His eternal nature. So, you have Elohim, God's relationship to His creation. You have Yahweh, God's relationship in history, especially His covenant name to His people.
Remember how I said we don't know how it's pronounced? That's unusual because, even though Hebrew is made up of consonants and vowels are simply put there by little marks above and below it so we know how to pronounce the vowels; we've lost the pronunciation of the name of God because, according to Jewish tradition, God's name is so holy it should never be uttered by human lips. So they have substituted the tetragrammaton and the pronunciation Yahweh, for a different term. They've put in a different term that's not even there in the Hebrew text, the term Adonai. And so the Jewish people when they come to this will either say Adonai or they will say Hashem, which means 'the Name,' and if they write God they won't write God, they'll put G-D, if they're writing it in English. Because they feel God's name is holy, it's ineffable, it's unpronounceable—we shouldn't tarnish it. But we do have the tetragrammaton and we'll refer to it as Yahweh as we go through. Make sense?
“For the Lord had not caused it to rain on the ground, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist when up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground." God had His own automated watering system. His own sprinkler system over the earth to keep it lush. It's hard to know exactly what this means; I can only take a stab at it. There are some creationists, evangelical Christians who come from the scientific community, who believe that this was a canopy. As I mentioned last week, that covered the whole earth. Molecules of water vapors were suspended in the edge of the atmosphere that produced a greenhouse effect, a hothouse effect, keeping everything around the world an even temperature, restricting mass air movements, creating a lush environment worldwide. There were no barren deserts, there were no polar icecaps. And that was the environment. No rain at all, just this mist that went up and this very wet environment. And so, some believe that the rain didn't come until the judgment of God upon the earth and God used the waters in that canopy above the earth as well as the waters in the earth to cause the water on the earth to accumulate rapidly. So God broke up the canopy, brought it down in the form of rain, the canopy has now since vanished. But what some of these scientists will tell you is that this was one of the contributing factors for people living so long on the earth—that canopy.
Because what the canopy did was restrict ultra-violet radiation which causes sunburn. Remember I told you about the electromagnetic spectrum, visible and invisible photon radiation and in the visible light spectrum, you've got some of the shorter, high energy wavelengths that are violet some of the lower energy wavelengths, that's the red hues. But then there's invisible energy, invisible radiation. And part of that, in the electromagnetic spectrum, the UV, the ultraviolet, you can't see it. But it's high energy, it's very short wavelength, it penetrates. Unless it's attenuated, or stopped, by something. And so it is thought by these scientists that the canopy attenuated that intense ultraviolet radiation that causes skin damage and promotes aging and that is one of the factors that contributed to man living 700, 800, 900 years.
But you do notice that as soon as the flood happens on the earth that man's age drops dramatically from that point on. You read about it even in the Scripture. Now not everybody agrees with that. Some believe the canopy theory is fraught with difficulties, there's more problems posed by it than problems it's solved, and this is just a vapor of moisture in the air, it's still present today and God used it for a special purpose at that time. I can't debate either way, both are plausible, I'm not a scientist, as you know, I'm just a pastor. So a mist went up from the earth—God had a cool watering system on the whole face of the ground.
Verse seven: “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 being." What a scene! God created mankind, now the author is focusing in on this special, crowning creation of God, humanity. This inanimate corpse and then God breathing breath into the nostrils. I do want you to notice the word 'formed.' YASSAR is the Hebrew word. It means to mold or to shape. But it means to mold or to shape carefully. It's a word often used in ancient times in this language to speak of an artist making something beautiful; an expression. Here's what you need to know: the earth is not only a designer planet, it's a disposable planet. I know I'm preaching in an era when that is not popular. It is a disposable planet. God created it and God will uncreate it. God will destroy it—the Bible says that. It was created by God to fulfill His purposes in redemption. In the history of man, the genealogies of man, the plan of man announced through the Scriptures, the coming of Christ, and then eventually, He'll rule and reign over those who are devoted to Christ, He'll destroy this earth and the heavens and create a new heavens and a new earth. It's a disposable planet.
I can prove that. Before you go to bed tonight, read the book of Revelation. If you think we've destroyed the planet, wait till you see what God does with it. Of course now He has the right to do it. We're to be caretakers over it; to subdue it and have dominion over it doesn't mean to trash it. We're to mine it, but not be careless about it. I do believe we have a stewardship over it. But do understand this is a disposable planet for God's redemptive purpose. God fashioned man creatively and carefully and out of love—like an artist would make an expression. And He breathed into his nostrils the breath.
The term breath, the term wind, and the term spirit you discover in Hebrew have the same Hebrew word- RUACH. Wind, spirit, breath—same word. In the New Testament, same thing: wind, breath, spirit, in the Greek, is PNEUMA. So God breathed, God invigorated man with His Spirit and man became a living being. The Lord planted a garden eastward in Eden and there He put the man whom he had formed. Now I'm often asked, 'Where was the Garden of Eden?' Well, we're dealing here, and you'll see some names in a minute and ask where they'd be, but we're dealing with pre-flood geography and to deluvian geography and that has changed. The earth looks different. There were no barren deserts at that time, there sure are now. There were no polar icecaps then, there are now. And names change. Or, I should say, names are borrowed. What is called a Pishon back then may be called Pishon elsewhere. Or you'll read about Gihon, there's a Gihon spring in Jerusalem. But it probably wasn't Jerusalem because it mentions the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It was probably somewhere in the Mesopotamia river delta; that's the best guess I can give you as it were it is.
I remember when somebody told me when I first moved to New Mexico, they said, 'I'm going to Cuba for the weekend.' And I remember my reaction, 'You can't go to Cuba for the weekend, it's a restricted country!' They said, 'No! Cuba, New Mexico!' I said I didn't know there was one. Or when a couple said to me, 'Hey, we're going to Las Vegas for the weekend.' I said, 'Oh man, I don't know if you should, you should couple hours. Las Vegas, New Mexico!' Well, we renamed things after other names. And so names after the flood were, no doubt, borrowed by Noah, Shem, and the others, for post-deluvian geography. Just keep that in mind.
“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Every now and then I run into a well-meaning humanist who wants to tell me that man is just a product of his environment and if man was placed in a perfect environment he would be a good person. There is some truth to that; we are certainly, in part, the sum of how we were raised and our environment. We think based on how we were treated, etcetera. But this was the perfect the environment, this Eden, this paradise that we read about. And yet man rebelled; because man had choice. Now later on toward the end of time, we read about it in the book of Revelation, for a thousand years Satan will be bound. So there won't be the devil. But after the thousand years is up, he is released and there's a huge rebellion that takes place—after the millennium, after a perfect environment, after a thousand years of a perfect environment there'll be a huge rebellion. So all those people that said, 'Well man is just a product of his environment…' Wait a minute. It's going to be another Eden for a thousand years; it'll be a perfect paradise. But mankind then will sin because there's depravity, there's evil within the heart of man. It's not the environment; it's the heart.
'Well why are there wars and tragedies, murders? Is it the environment?' Sometimes. But the Bible tells us that every person is born with a bent toward evil because of what Adam did in chapter three. A constitutional change happened at the moment Eve and Adam surrendered to the suggestion of Satan in chapter three. I came across something years ago and I've kept it. It was from the Minnesota Crime Commission. They gave a partial reason for the rise in the crime rate:
Every baby starts life as a little savage. He's completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it: his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toy, his uncle's watch. If you're a parent, you know this to be true. Deny these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which would be murderous were he not so helpless. But if permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy given free rein to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist.
Now that is a group of people that understood what the Bible clearly teaches: the depravity of human nature. We are as bad off as we can possibly be because of what we'll read about in the next chapter—if we ever get to it. But what I want you to notice in verse nine is something called the tree of life. Notice it because you won't see it again—until Revelation 22. Oh, you will see it again. You yourself will see it. Revelation 22: In the New Jerusalem, and I saw in the midst of this street and on either side of the river the tree of life, John said, bearing twelve kinds of fruit. And each tree bearing fruit according to its month and the leaves were for the healing of the nations. So it shows up as a tribute to God's creation there in the book of Revelation and the new heaven and the new earth and the new Jerusalem. It was a real tree; it was a real place.
“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon [we don't know where that is; some have guessed it's the Indus river, others have said it's the Ganges river, others have said it's a river in Arabia, others have said it's a river in Mesopotamia—so you can take your pick]; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah [so you got a clue now], where there is gold [some believe Havilah is the ancient name of southwest Arabia]. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush [now because Cush was a biblical name later on for Ethiopia, some believe this is the Nile pre-flood as one of the rivers. But again, we're dealing with anti-deluvian geography; it's hard to really be precise]. The name of the third river is Hiddekel [that's another name for the Tigris River]; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria [that's relatively the same]. The fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it [and the word keep means literally to enslave it; to enslave creation in a positive sense, to tap its potential, to discover what can be done by mining chemicals and harnessing energy and making things for the betterment of human life]. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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."
People have a problem right here. They say, 'Why did God put a monkey wrench in the machinery? Everything was perfect and He had to let people have choice, free choice. If God could have eliminated free choice—problem solved.' No, not really. Because if you don't have free choice, you have robots. If you don't have volition, you have automatons. You program them. Would you really feel loved if you pull a string on a doll and the doll says, 'I love you.' Do you go, 'Oh, yes! I'm fulfilled, I'm satisfied—I need nothing else.' You need therapy if you believe that. There's no way to have a world where people have genuine freedom unless they have the potential to sin. You can't have free will without that potential. And if you don't have free will and you don't have that potential to go either way then you don't have a world that would ever understand love which is the highest value. There has to be freedom, and that freedom comes with risks and that risk is the potential or the potentiality to disobey, to sin. There had to be, for there to be a loving God, volition had to be part of the game.
“But in the day that you eat you will surely die. And the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him." Men, I want you to think of the Garden of Eden for just a moment. It's a dream world. It's what every guy would love. Lots of land, lush vegetation—you never have to take care of it. No taxes. No mortgage. No smog. You got the ideal job. All you have to do is wake up and look at animals and decide what you're going to name them. Unrestricted fellowship with God every afternoon in the cool of the day. What else could you want? What could be better than that? Well God looked at it and said, 'Something's not right. I'm looking at this guy—I made him—not good.' Not saying that what God had done wasn't good, but God realized that it wasn't complete. It was like a North Pole without a South Pole. He was out of balance; he was out of whack. It's not good that man should be alone. Companionship was needed, and all of the animals, even man's best friend the dog, weren't enough. Couldn't fulfill him. It's not good that man should be alone. I will make a helper comparable to him.
Now gals. I recognize in reading that term, you're not flattered. You look at that and go, 'Helper? Is that what I am? Is that all I am, his helper?' I mean, how would you feel if your husband said, 'I'd like you to meet my helper.' Wouldn't go over very well, would it? Sort of like, 'My assistant.' It doesn't sound what it really is intended to sound like in this translation. It sort of sounds like an assistant, like, 'I take you as my lawfully wedded wife, to cook and to launder, to have and to fold…" However, understand something. The word 'helper' in Hebrew is the same word God used to describe Himself. Psalm 46: The Lord is our refuge and our strength, a present help in times of trouble. The same exact Hebrew word used there for God is used for this gal.
Not saying she is like God, but saying that she will help him—he needed all the help he could get according to God. And that's how I feel I was before I got married; I needed help. A lot of help. A helper comparable or something that completes him, something that balances him out. The idea is that of polarity, as I mentioned, the poles together.
“Out of the ground the Lord God formed very beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name." Now something about the name Adam. Adam is the Hebrew word for man, but Adam comes from another Hebrew word “adama" which is the Hebrew word for earth. We would call Adam, literally, “dusty." This was Dusty and Mrs. Dusty. Adama means red, like the earth. The flow of blood is in him—not like the plants. This is something that has a different color cast to it: Adam. Something about names: here Adam is named something that resembles one of the colors in the earth and you notice in the Bible when people name their children they will often name them according to the circumstances of their birth or something they wish those children would embody. But often circumstances that happen at the birth, or here at the creation, they'll get named that. So probably when Adam started naming animals, he looked at certain features and he looked at certain characteristics and named it accordingly.
We don't know what language he used; we don't know what names he used. Of course, if he used English and we know he didn't do that (at least, I don't think he did), then we would wonder, maybe at first you know, Adam was very creative and he named the first ones like 'hippopotamus, rhinoceros"—you know, many syllables. But then as the day wore on, he got a little tired, “Dog. Cat." Anyway, I don't know—I try to imagine it. That couldn't be it.
“So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him." None of those animals could complete him. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man."
A little boy heard this story in his Sunday School class and it really made an impact on him. Later on that Sunday after lunch he felt a pain in his side and he was in his bedroom doubled over and he shouted out, “Help! I think I'm having a woman!" The word for rib literally means his side, or a portion of his side. Just generically the side; doesn't have to be the rib bone. There's a beautiful little story that Matthew Henry, the great commentator, used to tell. And he was quoting the Jewish sages. It goes like this:
Woman was not taken from man's head to be above him. She was not taken from man's foot to be walked on by him. But she was taken from his side to be equal to him. From under his arm to be protected by him and near to his heart to be loved by him.
Beautiful. A portion of his side and God made the woman and God brought the woman to the man. Now I'll tell you another quick story. There's a story that says that Adam, when he saw Eve, was blown away. She was so beautiful and so different and so soft and just, WOW. And so he had a conversation with God later on that day, after getting to know her: “God, You made her so beautiful and so soft and tender and… WOW. Why did you make her so beautiful and so…? WOW." And God said, “So that you would love her." “Oh, yeah. Well, that worked." And then he got a little bit closer, “But God, why did you make her so stupid?" And God said, “So she would love you." Now that's not in the biblical account. I think I heard that at a Men's Rally somewhere.
Truth is, Adam and Eve were different from each other. Male and female. And one of the great things in a relationship is to enjoy the differences. Don't let them go away. It's those differences, and a lot of people in our culture try to make light and minimize the differences between a man and a woman, why? When there are so many differences? My wife and I have a lot of characteristics that are the same but we're very different. Our thermostats are different. When I get in a car, I like to turn on the A/C—she shuts hers off, she likes it warmer. And that's just the beginning. It's those differences, though, that shape us and mold us. God knew what you needed and the gift of God to give you someone different than yourself, which is what caused you two to be attracted to each other in the beginning were your differences, capitalize on them. Let God work on you through those differences. You've got some rough edges; let Him work on those rough edges by that mate. Accept her; accept him, as a gift that God made. And that's the idea here. He brought her to the man.
“And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh [maybe he was tongue-tied]; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." It renders the Hebrew, but it misses the emotion. The Living Bible captures the emotion, though it doesn't capture all the nuances of the Hebrew: “When God brought the woman to the man, Adam said, 'This is it!'" As if to say, 'I get it. This is the one. This is the true companion that I've been waiting for."
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Leaving; cleaving; weaving. The relationship must begin by severing one relationship so as to solidify another relationship. I know some children that never leave their father or mother. Always on the phone talking about everything or needing a financial fix for everything. I understand we all need a little bit of help and when it says, 'Leave your father and mother' it doesn't mean abandon them; it means the relationship changes. One of the best gifts you can give your children is to let them go, release them. My father-in-law gave me a gift early in our marriage when my wife, we were having a problem, and she called her dad to get advice. The first thing he said is, “I won't talk to you unless you tell me you've talked to Skip about this first and he's given permission to talk to me about this." Well, I applaud that. That's the way it should be. He understood this principal; there's a leaving, a severing.
Then there's a cleaving; be joined to. The idea is permanence. The idea is two people will come together and make a commitment and a determination to be together permanently. It could be translated 'welded together.' Bound inextricably together. Now does that mean that in a marriage there is never a reason for a couple to be separated? No, the Bible doesn't teach that. The Bible teaches there's one reason and that is adultery. And that is the only reason. The idea is permanence. And I'll ask you this: do you know of any divorce where the people aren't damaged? You can't take something that's welded together, or glued, and separate it without damage. So the idea is permanence. If you were to glue two pieces of paper together and let it dry and then in a week, 'I changed my mind. I want those two papers separate again.' So now you go about trying to separate the glue from the paper. Could you do it and have the paper look and be the same in constitution as before? No. Impossible. So God's idea of a relationship is that, when formed, it's an ongoing, permanent bond and then the leaving and the cleaving is the basis for the weaving the one flesh.
You see, one flesh isn't an instant procedure—it's a lifelong process. To take a guy who throws his socks in the sink and is as messy as a gopher and a woman who irons paper napkins and bring them together? To weave those two lives doesn't happen easily in a week. It takes a lifetime. But I have to tell you something about that process: you're in for the ride of your life. So many changes will occur if you're committed to that. I think this little section here is the best counseling anywhere. Just this verse.
“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." That's because they had arrived at true intimacy. They were naked and not ashamed. And it's more than just physical; there was a psychological vulnerability, a trust, where they could completely be themselves and hide nothing and there was no fear of reprisal. That's the idea. And they enjoyed that intimacy until sin enters the relationship and then they seek to hide from one another and from God.