2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
(Genesis 2:1-25 NIV)
In Genesis chapter 1, we saw God at work through the Creation story. God designed everything – the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, people, even time itself. God then spoke all His creation into existence.
As we begin chapter 2, we see God declaring His creation complete, and celebrating that completion with a day of rest. Moses tells us that God blessed that seventh day and made it holy, a day for God to enjoy His creation. In return, this day was also a day for God’s creation to spend time with and enjoy Him.
The rest of chapter 2 is a recounting of chapter 1, the creation story. Moses zooms in on the focal point of the chapter – humanity. God had designed land, plants, animals, and water, and had designed them all with the need for a caretaker – humans, people.
This caretaking, these tasks to be done – is work. Work with a good connotation, with intrinsic value, with dignity, honor, and respect. God called work good, as He modeled it after what He had done in Creation.
As Moses recounts the creation story, he also includes God’s establishment of boundaries for humanity. We saw God establish boundaries for light and darkness, earth and sky, water and dry land during the first three days of creation (1:3-13).
With these boundaries in place for humanity, God also gave the ability for humans to choose – to obey or not. God did not create people as robots, to dutifully serve Him with no opportunity to choose. Rather, He created humans with the ability to reason and think and the freedom to love and have joy and share it with others. And that ability to choose is what brings God glory – when we intentionally honor Him and spend time with Him and obey His commands and precepts. God knew it was a risk to give people the ability to choose – and He knew it was worth the risk to allow us to make those choices. Yes, we could disobey (and do); the flip side of that is that we can also choose to honor and obey our Creator – and that brings God great joy and blessing.
Notice for the first time that God declared something “not good” (v. 18). In this part of the story, our minds immediately jump to the place where God creates Eve as a companion for Adam. But on closer examination, we see God first looking for a companion for Adam in all the birds and animals that He had created and had asked Adam to name.
While animals can be wonderful pets, here’s the dilemma… how can a human rule over something (chapter 1, verse 26) and at the same time be its equal as a partner? The Hebrew word for “helper” is not a subservient role as many try to make it out to be. Rather, a better depiction might be “sustainer beside another”. Thus, no animal can be ruled over and be co-ruler at the same time. So God created Eve to fulfill the role of co-ruler, the sustainer beside Adam.
We see the partnership of Adam and Eve, with Adam graciously receiving Eve as God’s gift to him, as co-heir and co-ruler of God’s creation, with God performing the first marriage ceremony.
Moses ends the chapter with his commentary about marriage being a “one flesh” partnership. God designed us as humans to not be alone. Do we have to be married to not be alone? No. God’s point? We are made to live in community with other humans. And the most intimate of relationship and community is found in that first marriage, just as God has co-creator and relational community in the Trinity (Father – Son – Holy Spirit).
We are truly formed in God’s image – we are fearfully and wonderfully made, aren’t we?