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Genesis Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris:

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

finished. The strong emphasis in these verses on the completion of all of God's creating and making activity is a clear refutation of both ancient evolutionary pantheism and modern evolutionary materialism, which seek to explain the origin and development of all things in terms of natural processes and laws innate to the universe. Creation is complete, not continuing (except in miracles, of course; if evolution takes place at all, it would require continuing miraculous intervention in the present laws of nature).

Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

ended His work. This statement of completed creation anticipates the modern scientific laws of thermodynamics. The First Law states essentially the same truth: the universe is not now being created but is being conserved, with neither matter nor energy being created or destroyed. On the Second Law (the universal law of increasing disorder) see note on Genesis 3:17 and note on Genesis 1:1.

Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

sanctified it. God's “rest” on the seventh day is not continuing; the verb is in the past tense—“rested,” not “is resting.” His blessing and hallowing of the seventh day could not apply to this present age of sin and death, but only to the “very good” world He had just completed.

Nevertheless, this “hallowing” of every seventh day was for man's benefit (Mark 2:27), and was obviously intended as a permanent human institution, not controlled by the heavenly bodies which mark days, months, seasons and years, but by the physical and spiritual need of all men for a weekly day of rest and worship, in thankfulness for God's great gift of creation and (later) for His even greater gift of salvation. The Sabbath (literally “rest”) day was incorporated in the Mosaic covenant with Israel in a special way, but its use preceded Israel and will continue eternally (Isaiah 66:23). However, the emphasis is on a “seventh” day, not necessarily Saturday. Since Christ's resurrection, in fact, most Christians have identified their weekly cycle as centering on the first day of the week. The age-long, worldwide observance of the “week” is not contingent on the movements of the sun and moon (like the day, the month and the year) but rather is mute testimony to its primeval establishment as a memorial of God's literal seven-day creation week.

Genesis 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

generations. “Generations” (Hebrew toledoth) is the word from which the book of Genesis gets its name. In the Septuagint it is rendered by the Greek genesis, which in Matthew 1:1 is translated “generation.” This is the first occurrence of the formula which marks the key subdivisions of the book: “These are the generations of .... ” The others are at Genesis 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:19; 36:1, 9; 37:2.

In all except this first one, the name of a specific patriarch is attached. Parallels with the terminology of the ancient Babylonian tablets indicate that these names are actually the signatures of the original writers of the particular tablets. That is, each of these primeval patriarchs kept the narrative records of his own generations, inscribing them on stone or clay tablets, then appending his name at the end, when he was ready to turn over the tablets and the task of writing the toledoth to the next in line. They eventually came down into Moses' possession, who wrote the last section of Genesis (Genesis 37:3ff), obtaining the information from “the sons of Jacob” (Exodus 1:1), as well as organizing and editing all the rest under divine inspiration, so that the entire collection finally became, in effect, the first of the five books of Moses. Since the first tablet (Genesis 1:1-2:4a) tells of events prior to the existence of any witness to record them, God Himself either wrote this section directly or specifically revealed it to Adam. It describes the generations of no person, therefore, but rather those of the cosmos itself.

in the day. As per the ancient Babylonian practice, the next tablet, beginning at Genesis 2:4b, keys in to the previous one by a phrase which both associates with the preceding histories and initiates the new narrative. The “day” of this verse does not necessarily refer to the entire creation week, as day-age theory advocates allege. It more likely refers to the first day of that week, when God created the earth and the heavens, as just stated in Genesis 2:4a, then proceeded also to “make” them through the rest of the six days.

Genesis 2:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

before it grew. This statement clearly teaches the fact of a mature creation, or creation of apparent age. The first plants did not grow from seeds, but were created full grown.

rain upon the earth. The primeval hydrological cycle was subterranean rather than atmospheric (see note on Genesis 1:7), the absence of rain being a consequence of the water vapor above the firmament and the uniform temperature which it maintained over the earth. Rain today is dependent on the global circulation of the atmosphere, transporting water evaporated from the ocean inland to condense and precipitate on the lands. This circulation is driven by worldwide temperature differences in the atmosphere and would be impossible with the global warmth sustained by the canopy.

Genesis 2:6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

mist. The “mist” was not a river, as some writers think. The Hebrew word simply means water vapor (compare Job 36:27); it refers merely to the local daily cycle of evaporation and condensation occasioned by the day/night temperature cycle.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

dust of the ground. Man's body was formed out of the “elements of the earth,” the same materials (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc.) from which both plants and the bodies of the animals had been formed (Genesis 1:12, 24). This unity of physical composition is a fact of modern science thus long anticipated by Scripture.

breath of life. Though animals also possess the “breath” (Hebrew neshama— Genesis 7:22) and the “soul” (Hebrew nephesh — Genesis 1:24), man's breath (same word as “spirit”) and soul were imparted to him by God directly, rather than indirectly, as imparted to the animals.

living soul. Evolution is again refuted at this point. If man's body had been derived from an animal's body by any kind of evolutionary process, he would already have possessed the nephesh, rather than “becoming a living soul” when God gave him the breath of life.

Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Eden. Eden was evidently a region somewhere east of where Adam first received consciousness, so that he could watch as God “planted” a beautiful garden there for his home. Though this was to be his base, he was actually instructed to “subdue” and “rule” the whole earth (Genesis 1:26-28). This verse is a summary, with Genesis 2:9-14 going back to give more details concerning Adam's home.

Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

tree of life. The “tree of life” was an actual tree, with real fruit (note Genesis 3:22; Revelation 22:2) whose properties would have enabled even mortal men to live indefinitely. Though modern scientists may have difficulty in determining the nature of such a remarkable food, they also have been unable so far even to determine the basic physiological cause of aging and death. Thus it is impossible to say scientifically that no chemical substance could exist which might stabilize all metabolic processes and thereby prevent aging.

tree of knowledge. The same cautions apply to any discussions of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which likewise was genuinely physical. It is conceivable that the fruit contained substances capable of catalyzing physiological decay processes in the body, perhaps affecting even the genetic system. Whether or not this was the case, a “knowledge” of evil would necessarily follow its eating, since evil is fundamentally merely rejection of God's Word. Man had abundant knowledge of good already, since everything God had made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but disobedience would itself constitute an experimental knowledge of evil.

Genesis 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

out of Eden. The geography described in these verses obviously corresponds to nothing in the present world, although some of the names sound familiar. The Noahic Flood was so cataclysmic in its effects (note 2 Peter 3:6) that the primeval geography was obliterated, with the post-Flood continents and oceans completely different.

The similarity of certain names (e.g., Ethiopia, Euphrates) is best explained in terms of the ascription by Noah or his sons of these names to postdiluvian features which reminded them of antediluvian geographic features, just as the explorers of America often gave European names to American sites.

four heads. The rivers described in this section could not have derived their waters from rainfall (Genesis 2:5), and so must have been fed by artesian springs, or controlled fountains from the great deep. This implies a network of subterranean pressurized reservoirs and channels fed from the primeval seas and energized by the earth's internal heat (see notes on Genesis 1:9, 10).

Genesis 2:11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

Genesis 2:12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

is good. The present tense in which this description is written indicates it to be an eyewitness account, and thus most likely a record originally from Adam himself. However, the past tense in Genesis 2:10 “went”) may suggest that, at the time when Adam actually wrote it, the garden of Eden was no longer there.

bdellium. The “bdellium” was evidently a precious gum, likened to the bread from heaven sent to the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 11:7).

Genesis 2:13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

Genesis 2:14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

keep it. The ideal world, both before the entrance of sin and after the removal of sin (see Revelation 22:3), is not one of idleness and frolic, but one of serious activity and service. Adam was placed in an ideal environment and circumstances, so he had no excuse for rejecting God's love and authority.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

not eat of it. For true fellowship with God (having been created in His image), man must be free to reject that fellowship. The restriction imposed here by God is the simplest, most straightforward test that could be devised for determining man's volitional response to God's love. There was only one minor restraint placed on Adam's freedom and, with an abundance of delicious fruit of all types available, there was no justification for his desiring the one forbidden fruit. Nevertheless, he did have a choice, and so was a free moral agent, capable of accepting or rejecting God's will.

die. “Thou shalt surely die” could be rendered, “Dying, thou shalt die!” In the very day that he would experimentally come to “know evil,” through disobeying God's Word, he would die spiritually, being separated from God's direct fellowship. Adam would also begin to die physically, with the initiation of decay processes in his body which would ultimately cause his physical death.

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

meet for him. The events described here all took place on the sixth day of the creation week, after which God pronounced all