While Genesis 1 summarizes Creation, Genesis 2 takes a behind-the-scenes look at a very pivotal part of the work created on day six. The author presses rewind and looks at the significance of how God created the unceasingly, stubborn race known as Mankind. While Genesis 1 describes Elohim the Creator, when his work with mankind is revisited, a subtle English shift takes place with major Hebrew implications.
Instead of God creating Adam, the LORD God creates Adam. In many translations, you might read the word “Lord” with every letter capitalized. This word is not the simple Adonai meaining “Lord,” this word is Yahweh. This is the name that God designates to himself when Moses later asks him how he should describe him to Pharaoh. “I am who I am.” Only when the shift happens from universal creation to the creation of mankind is Yahweh mentioned. This shows that there is a God over all, but there is a LORD in relationship with some.
While God spoke everything else into existence, he “made” man (Gen. 1:26). God formed man out of the dust from the ground like a potter skillfully shaping and molding a vessel to his liking.
His hands, matted with dusty earth, shapes this man to be a specific image-bearer.
Man is made in the image of God. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). God was very original when he made the constellations, supernovas, plateaus, waterfalls, clouds, pine trees, eagles, dolphins, ostriches, and flying squirrels. But, when it came to the design canvas for man, God used a template. He created man in the very image and likeness of God himself. With this image, man was given special prominence and accompanying responsibility.
Man had dominion over the rest of created beings (Gen. 1:26). As a loving God, he provided Adam with the most lush and perfect living environment in his new homestead, the Garden of Eden which was planted by none other than God himself (Gen. 2:8). God gave this “Adam” (Hebrew meaning “man”) a specific, time-consuming task to name all the animal races (Gen. 2:19).
In this garden, God provided Adam with unending produce that would satisfy his hunger. This garden, untainted by any type of defect or sickness, contained numerous trees full of ripe food to eat. Among these trees stood two very special trees. In one section of the garden, God placed the tree of life, and in another location, God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). While Adam had free reign to eat as much as he wanted to in the garden, God severely warned him to abstain him from eating from the tree of knowledge of good an evil or else he would surely die (Gen. 2:17).
In the early stages of this relationship, God and Adam were close. Adam experienced a level of intimacy in the Garden that no other human has ever fully experienced. There was no sin. There was no separation. There was no Fall, curse, or corrupt nature. God strolled through the Garden that Adam tilled. We are talking face to face, eye to eye, life to life interaction.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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