The Lord God – The Covenant-Maker with Man – GENESIS 2:4-25
Note the change of names from "God" (Elohim) in Gen. 1 to "Lord God" (Yahweh or Jehovah) in Gen. 2 as Scripture now focuses on the climax of God's creation in chapter 1 – man and the Lord's personal relationship to mankind. Thus we as His creatures are called to and able to respond personally to Him both as our Sovereign King (the fear of the Lord- accountability of creature to Creator) and to the One who loves unconditionally and makes covenant with us ("the love of Christ compels me." – 2 Cor. 5:14). The climax of Gen. 2 is the institution of marriage which is a picture of relationship of unity in diversity in the Trinity and ultimately a picture of God's intimate relationship with His people as Husband (Hosea 2:7-23) and Christ and His Bride (Eph. 5:30-32; Rev. 19:6-9). As man and wife keep covenant with each other we reflect to others the committed love and faithfulness that God has for us. This also applies in general to all believers who are called to love each other. Unbelievers recognize Jesus' disciples and thus the Lord by our deeds of love for one another.
In Chapter 1 God brings order and function to the cosmos and now He brings the means (function) of carrying out the blessings to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it and rule…." (Gen 1:28); man and woman to work the ground and procreate and rule the earth (e.g., Adam naming the animals shows his authority).
"The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground ("adamah") and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (or soul KJV). The Hebrew for man (adam) sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for ground (adamah). It is also the name of man – Adam (see Gen. 2:20). It shows our temporal nature apart from God's Spirit. We are "biodegradable" dust and chemicals otherwise. "Breath" (neshawmaw) of life is only used for man and shows man's special condition or God-consciousness and spiritual understanding (1 Cor. 2) in order to know, love and serve God. Yet since the Fall people are born dead (spiritually -Eph. 2:5) and must be born again (John 3:3) by the "inbreathing" of the Holy Spirit to have fellowship with God.
"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it ("abad") and take care of it ("smr")." "Abad" means to serve and generally in the context of serving God (worship) – a priestly role. "Smr" refers to keeping God's commands as seen in the priest's responsibilities (Lev. 8:35) and for God's people to keep his commandments. So Adam and Eve's work was not simply gardening but serving the Lord's Garden (sacred space – like the temple) and beautifying it and expanding it (fill the earth) both through procreation and spiritual reproduction – evangelism and discipleship. "Expanding the invisible geography of the kingdom of God person by person."Yet, all honest work is "priestly work" and can be fulfilling work when it is done to serve and glorify God. (Col. 3:23-24) Thus, "secular" work becomes spiritual when it is done to please and glorify God, and "religious" work becomes secular when it is done to please and glorify self.
"The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable ("corresponding helper"- not a servant) for him. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib (or took part of the man's side) he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." (see vv. 18-22) What Adam saw in Eve he had not seen in any of the animals he had named – a human being like himself created in the image of God with God-consciousness and spiritual understanding.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." For what reason? To become one. There is a spiritual union in a Christian marriage that is stronger than blood-line and thus the need to leave (father and mother), cleave, and become one flesh – 1+1 = 1. This is a composite unity as in the Trinity – unity in diversity.
Not cutting the psychological umbilical cord and not becoming one sexually, emotionally and spiritually are the major issues in marriages. Of course selfishness – ME versus WE – is by far the biggest issue in marriage and all relationships.
"The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." The Fall brought shame and the desire to hide from God and others. Nakedness, though literal, also suggests sinlessness. They felt at ease with each other and had a childlike innocence. Our shame was taken by the Lord on the cross when He "endured the cross, scorning its shame." (Heb. 12:2) "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Rom. 10:11)
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
Thus we as His creatures are called to and able to respond personally to Him as our Sovereign King, the One Who spoke the world into existence and Who made us. The fear of the Lord means accountability of the creature to the Creator. What does the fear of the Lord mean to you? (See 2 Cor. 5:10 -11)
So Adam and Eve's work was not simply gardening but serving the Lord's Garden (sacred space – like the temple) and beautifying it and expanding it (fill the earth) both through procreation and spiritual reproduction – evangelism and discipleship. Do you see yourself as a priest of God (1 Peter 2:9) called to fill the earth with His glory through "Expanding the invisible geography of the kingdom of God person by person." How does this relate to Matt. 28:18-20?
"Secular" work becomes spiritual when it is done to please and glorify God, and "religious" work becomes secular when it is done to please and glorify self. Do you see your work as spiritual? "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Col. 3:23-34)
Discuss the aspect of your marriage being a covenant and how keeping your covenant reflects to others the committed love of God toward us. What can happen if we lose this Biblical perspective?
Scripture memory verse: "The wind (like the breath of God) blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)