The Seventh Day, God Rests
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
The Creation of Man and Woman
4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. 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 keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 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.”
18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The Story Begins
The Bible is the world’s best-selling book, but it is long and sometimes difficult to understand. These 10 sessions give you a place to start. They are like a high-altitude flight over a range of mountains. You’ll see what the ground looks like and get a good glimpse of the highest peaks. In these sessions you will discover that the whole Bible is one story. It begins in a garden, ends in a city, and all the way through it points us to Jesus Christ.
The first thing Adam knew, he was staring into the face of God.
God had formed his body from the dust of the ground, but it lay there lifeless, like a corpse until God breathed into it. But when God gave Adam the kiss of life, he became a living being (Genesis 2:7) and in his first moment of conscious existence, he knew that His life had come from God.
Of course God is invisible, but right from the beginning of the Bible story, He has been reaching out to make himself known. That’s why He made himself visible to Adam. We call this a theophany, which means an appearance of God in visible form. It was God’s way of creating a relationship.
God introduces Himself as our Creator and therefore our owner. God gives you life and you are of unique value to Him. God chose to bring you into being. He did that on purpose and you will discover that purpose as you get to know the One who created you.
The Garden of Eden
The Bible tells us that “The Lord God had planted a garden in Eden, and there he put the man he had formed took the man and put him in the garden of Eden,” (2:8,15).
We cannot be certain about the garden’s location, but it is important to grasp that it was a real place. It was located near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (2:10-14), which run through modern Iraq.
The important thing is that God prepared a place for Adam and God put him there. He does the same thing for us. The Bible says that God has determined the exact places for all of us to live (Acts 17:6).
The place where God puts you will not be perfect. Even Eden was exposed to the possibility of evil. But there is no better place to be than where God has set you down. You are not where you are by accident but by the plan and the purpose of God.
God gave Adam the responsibility of naming the animals and caring for the garden (Genesis 2:15). Work is a good gift from God, and God took pleasure in what Adam was doing. It may be hard for you to imagine that God would enjoy the documents you prepare, the components you assemble, or the home you create—but He does.
A Marriage Made in Heaven
The Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:18,22)
I’d love to have seen the expression on Adam’s face! I imagine that God appears to Adam and says, “I have someone I want you to meet!” I have no doubt that his jaw dropped wide open. He certainly seems pretty pleased! Adam says, “this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (2:23).
God brought them together. Try to picture that in your mind. The Lord God takes her hand and puts it into Adam’s and says, “here is the partner I have made for you!”
When two people marry, God does in an invisible way what He did for Adam and Eve in the garden. If you are married, try to picture God taking your hand and the hand of your spouse, and joining them together. When you know God has joined you together, it will help you weather the most difficult times.
A Loving Command
God came into the Garden of Eden as a visitor, making Himself known, and cultivating a relationship with the man and the woman. He did not impose Himself on them but gave them the opportunity of choosing a relationship of faith and obedience with Him.
God gave Adam a single command that was, like all His commandments, a wonderful
expression of His love. “You must not eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
God had made everything good, and so good was the only thing that Adam knew. The purpose of God’s command was to keep him from evil.
The Origin of Evil
The Bible does not give us a full explanation of the origin of evil, but it does tell us where it started. Alongside the visible world that we know, God made an invisible creation in heaven filled with angels.
The devil was one of these angels. He became inflated with pride and tried to usurp the position of God (see Isaiah 14:12-14). His rebellion was unsuccessful and led to his being excluded from the presence of God, and cast down to the earth. So right from the beginning of human history, there was an enemy bent on destroying the work of God. His first aim was to introduce the man and the woman to the knowledge of evil.
Recruiting for the Rebellion
Satan came into the garden with the aim of recruiting the human race into his rebellion against God. Spirits are invisible to us, and so when Satan wanted to communicate with the first man and woman, he came in the form of an alluring serpent. He presented himself as a friend and began to question the single commandment God had given.
“Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). If Satan could create confusion in Eve’s mind about what God had said, he would be well on the way to gaining power over her.
Then Satan suggested that God had exaggerated the consequences of sin. “You will not surely die,” he said (3:4). “How could you possibly believe that a simple act of disobedience would lead to something as drastic as death?”
But his third suggestion was the one that tipped the scales for Eve, and for Adam. Satan said, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (3:5).
Adam and Eve decided that they wanted this knowledge of evil. They disobeyed God’s single command and they got what they wanted. We have all lived with it ever since.
Hope in a Curse!
God said to the serpent… Cursed are you. (Genesis 3:14)
When a person or thing is cursed, it is consigned to destruction. So when God cursed the serpent, he was announcing that evil would not stand. When God spoke about a deliverer who would crush the serpent’s head, Adam and Eve must have been overjoyed (3:15).
A Curse Deflected
Then God turned to Adam and said ‘cursed…’ (Genesis 3:17)
Adam must have held his breath. God had cursed the serpent, and now He was looking straight at Adam as He spoke that ominous word again.
Adam must have thought that he would be utterly destroyed, but he was in for a surprise. Instead of saying to Adam “cursed are you,” as He did to the serpent, God said “cursed is the ground because of you” (3:17).
God deflected the curse away from Adam so that it fell on the ground and not on Him directly. God kept His judgment away from Adam, creating room for a future reconciliation. On the day he sinned, Adam discovered the grace and mercy of God. The curse that should have been on him went to another place.
Out of Eden
Our first parents were banished from Eden, where they had known the blessing and presence of God (3:23). Life became a daily struggle in a hostile place, where they were exposed to all kinds of danger from wild animals.
Over time, they would notice lines and wrinkles in their skin. They would experience pain and discover that this death that God had spoken about was a terrible reality that they could not avoid.
God placed Cherubim – angels representing His judgment and holiness – at the entrance to the garden, along with a flaming sword flashing back and forth, barring the way to the tree of life. It must have been a terrifying sight.
The Shattered Sword
Try to imagine yourself standing with Adam and Eve outside Eden, looking back at the angels and the flashing sword of judgment. There’s no way back for you into the presence of God. If you tried, the sword would cut you down.
But as you look, someone comes out from the presence of God, and stands beside you. Then He turns and advances towards the flaming sword. You cringe as you look. The sword is flashing back and forth and you can see what will happen to Him when He gets there. But He keeps walking forward, steadily, relentlessly.
The sword strikes Him—and kills Him. It breaks His body, but in breaking His body, the sword itself is broken. The sword that killed Him lies shattered on the ground. By His death, the way back to the presence and blessing of God is opened.
That’s what happened when Jesus died. The judgment that keeps us out of God’s presence struck him. It was spent and exhausted on Him. The sword of God’s judgement broke itself on Him, and so the way back into God’s blessing is wide open for all who will come.
Pause for Prayer
I acknowledge you are my Creator and owner. I thank you that you have made me in your image. I want to come to know you better.
I recognize that you are the only one who can deliver from the power of evil. I see that the world needs to be delivered from evil, and I acknowledge that I need to be delivered from its power in my own life too.
Thank-you that Jesus Christ has come into the world so that evil will not stand. Thank-you that by His death, He has opened the way back into Your blessing and into Your presence for all who will come. May I be one of these people.
In Jesus name,
- What have you inherited from your parents for which you are thankful?
- What difference does it make if you were created by God or are a product of evolutionary forces? What are the implications of each?
- Can you remember a situation where you felt guilty and genuinely were? How did you deal with your feelings of guilt?
- God desires each of us to regain the life our first parents enjoyed in the garden. What would have to happen to make that possible?