1-3 The Seventh Day 4-6 Creation Before Man Was There 7 Man, a Living Being 8-9 Paradise with Man 10-14 A River Flows out of Paradise 15-17 Assignment and Command 18-22 Adam Gets His Wife 23-25 The Unity of Man and Woman
The Seventh Day

1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

On the seventh day God rests from all His work, which is summarized in “the heavens and the earth …, and all their hosts”. “Their hosts” are all living beings that fill the heavens and the earth. God has come to His goal. Therefore He blesses and sanctifies that day.

This rest of God has come to an end through sin. In John 5 the Lord Jesus says: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (Jn 5:1717But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”; cf. Isa 43:24b24“You have bought Me not sweet cane with money,
Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
Rather you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.
). Those who believe in Christ and His work on the cross enter the sabbath rest in a spiritual way (Mt 11:2828“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.).

Yet God will reach His goal with creation also in a literal sense. In the kingdom of peace, when the Lord Jesus reigns, the sabbath rest (Heb 4:99So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.) for creation, for man and for God will be a thousand years long.

Creation Before Man Was There

4This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. 5Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

In verse 44This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. begins again a report of what happened at creation, with the addition of some new details. That is done brief. It is as it were a quick run-up to the actual subject: the human being. It is expressly stated that man is not yet there. That man is the writer’s concern is also evident from the name used for God from verse 44This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven., “LORD God”, Jahwe Elohim, that is the name that indicates His relationship with man.

Man, a Living Being

7Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

This verse describes the special way in which God formed man and made him “a living being” or a living soul. The word ‘formed’ describes the work of an artist. God forms man out of the earth (1Cor 15:47a47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.), because the whole existence of man is connected to the earth. He belongs there (Psa 115:16b16The heavens are the heavens of the LORD,
But the earth He has given to the sons of men.
). But God also connects him with Himself by breathing the breath of life into him. That’s why he stands above the animals. By it man also received an immortal soul.

By breathing in the breath of life, man changes from an outer form into a living being. This also makes him a spiritual being with the ability to serve and follow God.

Paradise with Man

8The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In the midst of all the creation that God has already created for the benefit of man, He makes an exceptionally beautiful part where He places man. ‘Garden’ is literally a ‘garden protected by a fence’. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, uses the word ‘paradise’ in three places as an indication for artistically designed parks (Song 4:1313“Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
With choice fruits, henna with nard plants,
; Ecc 2:55I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees;; Neh 2:88and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go.” And the king granted [them] to me because the good hand of my God [was] on me.).

“Eden” means ‘pleasure’ or ‘highest pleasure’. That is a fitting name for this most beautiful place on earth, where the LORD God places man. It speaks of the abounding goodness of God for man. In a way, Eden is a picture of Israel, when we consider that from that people the Lord Jesus came forth through which the blessing flows to the whole world. He is “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:4242and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”).

Paradise is a pleasure garden, where man may enjoy exuberantly, although with a certain limitation, which is given in verse 1717but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”. This limitation makes paradise at the same time a testing ground for obedience to faith.

The tree of life is explicitly said to be “in the midst of the garden”, while the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is said to be also in paradise. The tree of life shows man that he has no life in himself, but that he depends on “the tree of life”. This also applies to the believer, who has no life in himself, but has it in the Son, the true tree of life. “He who has the Son has the life” (1Jn 5:12a12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.).

The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” teaches man that he must be obedient to Who stands above him in order to enjoy life.

A River Flows out of Paradise

10Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

In the garden flows out a river. It first humidifies paradise. From the garden the river divides into four rivers. The number four is the number of the earth (Rev 7:1a1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.; 20:88and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.). The river is a channel of blessing. Here we see that from the garden the blessing flows out over the whole earth. In the future, in the millennial kingdom of peace, a river of water of life will flow out of the direct presence of God, out of the new temple (Eze 47:11Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.). This river will give life and healing (Eze 47:99It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and [the others] become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.; Rev 22:1-21Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,2in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve [kinds of] fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.).

In these rivers we can see a picture of the refreshing and rich working of God’s Spirit, which is compared with rivers of living water (Jn 7:38-3938He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet [given], because Jesus was not yet glorified.). Thereby the believer can already spiritually enjoy what will soon be generally enjoyed on earth.

Eden is the origin of blessing for the whole earth that receives this blessing, through the river that flows out of Eden, in a fourfold way. That it is an abundant blessing is already apparent from the name of the first tributary. “Pishon” means “free flowing”, “richly flowing”, “overflowing”. This can also be said of God’s blessing for the believer, for He blessed him with “all spiritual blessings in the heavenly [places]” (Eph 1:33Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ,). It says “all” and that really is all. It is all God has been able to think of to give His sons. That can only be rich and abundant.

The Pishon flows “around the whole land of Havilah”. ‘Havilah’ means ‘sand land’. This points to the earthly existence of man. But in that ‘sand land’ “gold” is present, to which is added that this gold is “good”. Connected to the river that flows around it, it is reminiscent of the work of God’s Spirit, through which the believer, who lives in “sand land”, finds God’s Word as a “great spoil” (Psa 119:162162I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.
). God’s Word is more precious than gold (Psa 19:1010They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
; 119:72,12772The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver [pieces].

127Therefore I love Your commandments
Above gold, yes, above fine gold.
). Gold also speaks of the glory of God and of Christ. Through the Spirit that glory is presented to us through God’s Word. That is the ‘good gold’.

In the country Havilah are also “the bdellium and the onyx stone”. Bdellium is reminiscent of the manna (Num 11:77Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.) and therefore of the Lord Jesus as the bread of life (Jn 6:31-3331Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’”32Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.33For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”). The onyx stone appears on the breastplate of the high priest (Exo 28:2020and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree.) and determines us with the Lord Jesus as our High Priest in heaven.

The name of the second river is “Gihon”, which means ‘breakthrough’. This river flows through “the whole land of Cusj”. ‘Cusj’ means ‘dark colored’ or ‘black’. This is reminiscent of man in the blackness of his sins on whom the Spirit of God works to bless him. No one is excluded from this activity of God’s Spirit.

The third river is called “Tigris”, which means ‘arrow’ or ‘fast arrow’. This river flows east of Assyria. Assyria reveals himself in Scripture as a rebel against God and the enemy of God’s people (Isa 10:5,125Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,
12So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, [He will say], “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”
). But also to this hostile people comes the grace of God in a drastically fast manner (Isa 19:23-2523In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.24In that day Israel will be the third [party] with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth,25whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”).

The fourth river is called “Euphrates”, which means ‘lovely’ or ‘sweat water’. Where it flows, is not mentioned here. The Euphrates will be the north-eastern border of Israel in the kingdom of peace (Gen 15:1818On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
). This again determines us with the general blessing that God has for every human being and for the whole earth. In order to participate in it, repentance and faith are necessary, but the call to participate may be made to all people, without exception.

Assignment and Command

15Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

The LORD God puts man in the garden to enjoy all that He has made for him. The word for “put” has to do with peace. God puts man in the rest of paradise. He is also given the assignment to cultivate garden and to keep it.

God gives man only one command: He shall not eat from only one tree. By keeping this commandment, he can show that he is obedient to God. By doing so he recognizes God as his Superior. It is also the condition to continue to enjoy the blessing. Obedience is for man in all times, even now, the condition to be blessed.

Adam Gets His Wife

18Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought [them] to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

Before Adam feels the lack of his wife (verse 20b20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.), God has already expressed the intention to give her to him (verse 1818Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”). Adam gives the animals names. A name expresses the character of the animal. This shows the deep insight Adam has in God’s works.

The word “helper” is not a derogatory expression for the woman. God Himself is also called “Help” (Psa 33:2020Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
; 70:55But I am afflicted and needy;
Hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay.
; 115:99O Israel, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield.
). That she is “suitable to him” or literally “as one opposite to him” means that she is also created in the image of God (Gen 1:2727God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.).

Then God Adam gives his wife. God does not do this by forming Eve out of the dust of the earth just like Adam. Then she would be independent of Adam. He forms Eve from Adam. He does not do this out of his head, for she is not his superior. Nor does he make her out of his feet, for she is not his slave. He forms her from His side. She is therefore a man of equal value, standing beside him. She is his “opposite”, as it literally says.

To be able to give Adam his wife, God puts him in a deep sleep, a death-sleep. Here we have a beautiful picture of the way in which the Lord Jesus received the church as His wife. That is through His death on the cross (Eph 5:2525Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,).

By forming Adam first and then Eve, God establishes the order of precedence that He wants to see maintained in creation. With this He determines that the man is the head of creation and also of the woman. Paul draws that conclusion unambiguously in his first letter to the Corinthians and his first letter to Timothy, while also indicating the purpose for which the woman was created (1Cor 11:8-98For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;9for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.; 1Tim 2:11-1311A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.13For it was Adam who was first created, [and] then Eve.).

The Unity of Man and Woman

23The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Adam recognizes his wife as taken from him and given to him. The conclusion of this action of God is given in verse 2424For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh., which we see in the words “for this reason” at the beginning of that verse. The words of Scripture are not open to any other interpretation. God establishes the monogamous marriage between a man and a woman. It is also the only form of living together between people that is established and recognized by God.

The Lord Jesus refers to this when He is asked a snare question about marriage: “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created [them] from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate”” (Mt 19:4-64And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created [them] from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”). Paul also refers to this beginning to prove that fornication is not permitted under any circumstances (1Cor 6:1616Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body [with her]? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.”). Just as the account of creation exposes every different theory of origin, the institution of marriage exposes every other form of living together as false and reprehensible.

Marriage is a picture of the connection between Christ and the church. We find the proof of this in the third time that verse 2424For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. is quoted in the New Testament (Eph 5:31-3231For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.). Therefore, any other form of living together is not only disobedience to the Word of God, but also a lowering of the glory of Christ. The latter is always the aim of the enemy, satan. Because for the Christian the glory of Christ is above all else, he will honor marriage (Heb 13:44Marriage [is to be held] in honor among all, and the [marriage] bed [is to be] undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.).

The fact that they are “both naked” and were not ashamed indicates that there is no shadow over their connection. They deal openly with each other and with the LORD God. This is more than just the fact that there are two undressed people here. It also shows two people between whom is nothing that should not be there. They have nothing to hide from each other. They see the other as he and she is and show themselves as they are.

Some practical comments in this respect. I read in the newspaper that a terrorist had been arrested who had been able to hide from her husband and her child that she was a terrorist all the time she was married. She led a double life. Unfortunately, it is so, that in some marriages also a kind of double life is lived. That does not have to be as extreme as with this terrorist, but sometimes husband and wife live alongside each other. Some people hide a lot for each other.

If that is the case with you, show yourself ‘naked’ to your partner, that is to say: tell the other person everything that concerns you, everything that you want to dedicate yourself to. Share that with each other, be open towards each other. It should not be the case that a woman has to guess what her husband is doing, what is going on in him. The same applies the other way around. Otherwise it may be that after a while, if it has taken long enough for each other to play hide-and-seek, one is confronted with the hard reality on a shocking way: the other leaves.

Therefore, open yourself up to the other and listen when the other person opens up for you. You will be amazed by the results. No one has ever regretted opening up to another. On the contrary, the sigh is: ‘If only I had done it before.’

Read more