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Bible Commentaries

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Genesis 2

 

 

Introduction

Toledoth I (Genesis 2:4)

This chapter is a further elaboration of the revelation of God regarding the creation. It must be rejected as irresponsible, unreasonable, and unbelievably poor exegesis to make this chapter in any manner a "contradictory" account of the creation narrative of the previous chapter. There is in this chapter a continuation of exactly the same pattern observable in the first, where, for example, Days 4,5, and 6 are in each case elaborations of that phase of creation presented in Days 1,2, and 3, respectively. (See notes above.) It is most logical and fully in keeping with the unity of the entire book, therefore, to find here in Genesis 2 an elaboration of what was revealed in Genesis 1. In addition to this, the author of Genesis (whom we believe is Moses) precisely and dramatically introduced the chapter in Genesis 2:4 as the [~toledowth] of the heavens and the earth, meaning not their beginning but the developments that followed after their creation. This term, [~toledowth], is used ten times in the Book of Genesis, setting off what may be received as an accurate outline of the whole book; and in every instance, this word signifies "following developments."

Biblical critics are acutely aware of this, and in a vain and ridiculous effort to get rid of the mandatory deductions required by such facts, have moved Genesis 2:4 to the head of Genesis 1, making it a title of the creation narrative. Men must must be endowed with infinite gullibility to be taken in by such arrogant and arbitrary devices.

Thus, this chapter is not another and contradictory account of creation, but a review of certain phases of creation, with respect to a new focus of interest, namely that of humanity. It must be viewed as supplementary information to what is already revealed in the preceding chapter. This change of focus is specified in Genesis 2:4b, where the shift from the "heavens and the earth" occurs in the words, "the earth and the heavens."


Verse 1

"And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."

Here is a summary of the first chapter, suggesting the beginning of another epoch about to be related. We simply find it incredibly naive and stupid to believe that Moses would then immediately have moved to incorporate into this narrative a contradictory account of what was just related. Nor does the critical speculation that some editor, redactor, or other such imaginable agent, could intelligently have done such a thing, be received as possible.


Verse 2

"And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

It is not stated here that God rested from all activity, but that He rested from creation, "the work which he had made," an expression twice repeated. This has no reference whatever to the Jewish sabbath. This does not refer to the days of the week, but to the days of the creation. This day of God's rest is still going on (Hebrews 4:4-6,11), and will obviously continue until the Final Judgment. There was no command here for man to rest, no revelation whatever to Adam or his posterity suggesting or commanding the observance of any such thing as the Jewish sabbath. "The thing under consideration here is not the Jewish sabbath, but the creation sabbath."[1] "On the seventh day God finished ..." As for the problem which is alleged from any implication here that part of God's work was performed on the seventh day, it is easily resolved by understanding the thought to be that "God declared to be finished" His work on the seventh day. The verb here may also be translated, "had finished,"[2] according to John Calvin and many other distinguished scholars. We do not see any problem at all with this. As a matter of fact, God is still working, as indicated by John 5:17; and, therefore, what is undoubtedly meant is that God rested from the particular work of creation already mentioned in Genesis 1. As Jamieson noted:

"No permanent change has ever since been made in the course of the world; no new species of animals have been formed; no law of nature repealed or added to. They could have been finished in a moment as well as six days; but the work of creation was gradual for the instruction of man."[3]


Verse 3

"And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it; because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made."

Note that here also, the specific thing from which it is stated that God rested is the work of creation, a fact which is manifest enough in the fact that the creation is not still going on. There is also no mention here of "evening and morning," as indicating the close of the seventh day, for it is still in progress.

All efforts to associate the creation sabbath with the Jewish sabbath should be resisted. The sabbath that God blessed was the first day of Adam's life, not the seventh; and there is no indication whatever that Adam ever heard of a sabbath. The sabbath was made known, not to Adam, but to Moses (Nehemiah 9:13-14); and the reason for the Jewish observance of the sabbath given to them was not because God rested on the creation sabbath, but "the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt" (Deuteronomy 5:15). The sabbath was never a sign between God and all men, but, "It is a sign between me (God) and the children of Israel" (Exodus 31:17).


Verse 4

"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven."

The Hebrew word rendered "generations of the heavens and the earth," [~toledowth], is the recurring introduction to the various sections of the Book of Genesis that follow. The word introduces ten sections of Genesis:

The ten toledoths are the following:

  1. Genesis 2:4-4:26, the [~toledowth] of the heavens and the earth;
  2. Genesis 5:1-6:8, the [~toledowth] of Adam;
  3. Genesis 6:9-9:29, the [~toledowth] of Noah;
  4. Genesis 10:1-11:9, the [~toledowth] of the sons of Noah;
  5. Genesis 11:10-26, the [~toledowth] of the sons of Shem;
  6. Genesis 11:27-25:11, the [~toledowth] of Terah;
  7. Genesis 25:12-18, the [~toledowth] of Ishmael;
  8. Genesis 25:19-35:29, the [~toledowth] of Isaac;
  9. Genesis 36:1-37:1, the [~toledowth] of Esau;
  10. Genesis 37:2-50:26, the [~toledowth] of Jacob.[4]

In all of these uses of [~toledowth], not one of them deals with the creation of what stands at the head of it, but with the subsequent developments. From this, it is mandatory to believe that the [~toledowth] of the earth and heavens is not a discussion of their creation (except retrospectively), but a discussion of what came AFTERWARD.

With regard to the critical device of making this chapter to be a variant, contradictory account of the creation revealed in Genesis 1, the blunt words of Leupold are especially appropriate:

"It is just as unlikely as can be that the author (of Genesis) should have been such a dunce as to set down at the very outset two mutually exclusive records of creation ... This critical claim comes very close to absurdity."[5]

What one finds in Genesis 2, therefore, are the supplementary facts essential for a proper evaluation of Genesis 3. The word "and," (Genesis 2:5), is not to be taken in the same sense of "next," meaning the next things God did, but rather, "in the sense of a loose `also,' without thought of time sequence."[6]

"Jehovah God ..." This introduction of another name for God is the pivotal point at which critics begin their postulation of multiple sources, authorships, or both for the Book of Genesis. Volumes of so-called evidence is collated and advanced in support of this ridiculous theory which has no foundation whatever except in the subjective imaginations of men who disbelieve the Bible and are trying to discredit it as the Word of God. Fortunately, the Christian already has the final and definitive answer for such questions in the words of Jesus Christ himself. Our Lord quoted from both of these chapters in a single breath (Matthew 19:4-6), linking Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 as both being attributable to God Himself. "These passages tied together are the basis of Jesus' moral standard concerning marriage."[7] This undeniable teaching of Jesus Christ is the complete frustration of all the nonsense about diverse contradictory documents. The Lord here attested to the holy unity of the these two chapters (and of the whole Bible, for that matter), attributing the words to God Himself. Now, if it could be proved that Moses indeed made use of prior documents in compiling the inspired words of Genesis (which proof is an utter impossibility), there could be no reflection whatever upon the sacred narrative in the Bible. Luke, it will be remembered, had such sources and consulted prior written documents when he composed the Book of Luke (Luke 1:1f).

The most preposterous thing about the documentary theories of origin for Genesis is that no such documents exist. They are the fancy children of unbelieving critics, who have never agreed upon where this or that alleged document appears in Moses' account, and who are extremely impotent to produce any logical reason for accepting their theories. The very arguments upon which the various alleged "sources" are postulated are inaccurate, unconvincing, and without exception subject to devastating proof of the corresponding elenchus. Furthermore, the documentary theories breed more and more documents, with each new wave of scholars, as many as fifty different alleged "documents" having been discovered! Believe it? Impossible!

We devoted some time to this in the Introduction to Genesis, but do not choose to waste any further time in the pursuit and refutation of irresponsible theories about the alleged "origins" of Genesis. Enough for Christians, that the holy Head of our sacred religion accepted Genesis as the Word of God, and for that matter, the whole Bible, even the prophecy of Jonah!

It is appropriate, however, to observe that the use of various names for the God of the O.T. is invariably connected with special and specific reasons for the various names embedded in the context where the various names appear. The term "Jehovah" appears in at least ten other combinations in the O.T., and in every instance for the purpose of stressing some appropriate meaning (in the context) of the nature of God.[8] For a discussion of these, see my commentary on Hosea at Hosea 12:5. Such a purpose is discernible, here where there is about to emerge the personal relationship between God and humanity, and a little later the special relationship to Israel as their covenant God. Here is the real reason for the various uses of multiple names of the Deity in the O.T., and it has nothing whatever to do with Moses' alleged "source." A number of verses in the minor prophets have three names of God, as in Amos 3:16; and once there were four names of God in a single verse (Habakkuk 1:12). Such facts cannot be fitted into any form of documentary hypothesis.

"Made earth and heaven ..." A new focal point of interest appears in this, the earth, mentioned first, is the principal concern of what is revealed in Genesis 2.


Verse 5-6

"And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth: and there was not a man to till the ground; but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."

"The making of the heaven and the earth in Genesis 2:4b, above is not described, but assumed,"[9] indicating that these verses refer, "not to origins of the heavens and the earth, but the sequel thereof."[10] "When they were created" means "literally, in their being created."[11]

"These verses refer to a past time in creation, particularly the time of the third day,"[12] and a portion of that day before vegetation with fruit-bearing trees appeared. The interesting statement that no plant was in the ground, and that no herb had sprung up appears to indicate that the seeds were in the ground for a period of time before plants appeared, giving the Biblical answer to which came first, the plant or the seed. It was the seed. The ability of the seeds to lie dormant for even millenniums of time is apparent in the variety of Egyptian wheat, recently developed from seeds buried long ago in the tombs of the Pharaohs.

The coming up of a mist from the ground to water "the whole face of the earth" was an event preceding the springing up of the vegetable kingdom.

"And there was not a man to till the ground ..." Adam did not appear until the sixth day of creation, and it is the third day spoken of here. Just as Genesis 2:5,6 gave further details of the third day of creation, the next verses provide further information regarding the work of the sixth day in the creation of mankind.


Verse 7-8

"And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the living man whom he had formed."

"And God formed man of the dust of the ground ..." This truth is perpetually attested in the fact that man's body returns to dust upon his death. "Earth to earth, dust to dust."

The beautifully anthropomorphic presentation of God in this chapter is designed to teach men, not for the purpose of reducing God to the state of a creature resembling men. It is also a prophecy of the time when God Himself would become a man in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

"Jehovah God ..." The precise reason for the incorporation of Jehovah with the name of God surfaces in this. The word rendered here as Jehovah is actually [~Yahweh], which in Hebrew corresponds to [~yatsar], meaning to "mold," or "to form."[13] Thus, it is God the Molder, or Former, who is appropriately indicated as the Actor in this verse.

"And breathed into his nostrils ..." The special blessing of humanity is indicated, because none of the animals were thus personally animated by the Almighty. Here is the impassable gulf that separates the animal kingdom from that of man. A special endowment was given to men. He became a living soul.

Thus, there is no contradiction whatever between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. What is elaborated here reveals, "the foundation of that likeness to God and world-dominion ascribed to man in Genesis 1."[14] And just where, it may be asked, did Moses find such a significant and world-shaking truth as this? Can it be intelligently supposed that he discovered it in some old pagan document? Such views are absolutely untenable, in short, absurd. Information like this was not in the possession of the ancient pagans; nor could the light of nature have revealed it; and no human being was present to witness it! This is the Word of God.

"And Jehovah God formed man ..." As Jamieson pointed out, the verb means, "had formed,"[15] referring backward to the sixth day of creation.

"And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden ..." The arrogant critical bias to the effect that, "The planting of the garden was subsequent to the creation of man,"[16] can be sustained only by misunderstanding every word in this second chapter of Genesis. The true meaning is simply that God "had planted a garden" in Eden, designed particularly for the primeval home of mankind.

"Eastward in Eden ..." The word here rendered "eastward," literally means "from the east, not to the east." The significance of this will appear in Genesis 2:14, below:


Verse 9

"And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to 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."

There is here merely a reiteration of the source of the lovely trees and fruits of Eden. The notion that man was created first is denied by the fact that the fruit-trees were created on the third day of creation and Adam on the sixth day (Genesis 1:11). The mention in this verse that "every" tree was in Eden makes this certain. Here is merely a recapitulation to show the desirability and beauty of the home that God prepared for his first human children. Furthermore, the narrative is moving rapidly to the two trees singled out and destined to bear such awful significance for Adam and his posterity, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

"The tree of life ..." It later appears that this tree had the quality of endowing men with immortality had they eaten of it, a conception that is vehemently denied by most commentators, many of whom are "Christian." They explain it as symbolical, or metaphorical, making it a reference to some unexplained power of God and refusing to allow any efficacy from the eating of some physical tree. All of that may be partially true, but the appearance of the tree of life in Revelation 21-22, and the statement of God Himself in Genesis 3:22 compel us to see something more than mere symbolism. All of the machinery for immortality is in man's body already. The tree of life, whatever it was, had the power to activate and continue life forever. We are not embarrassed by our ignorance of what that tree was. At one time, men might have eaten of it; but they did not; and then, and there, humanity forever lost the secret. All questions about whether this was a species of trees, or a single tree, later depicted as growing on either side of the river of life, and skeptical affirmations that "no food could provide immortality," and other enigmatical problems we leave absolutely unanswered. We simply do not know.

"The tree of the knowledge of good and evil ..." God endowed this tree, perhaps in his very prohibition of it, with the quality of being a test of the fidelity of Adam and Eve. The name of it shows that either the tree or what it stood for could give perpetual life.

That some type of symbolism is involved in understanding the trees is clear. The disaster to Adam and Eve did not come from the fruit of the forbidden tree, but from their eating of it in violation of the commandment of God. "The prohibition laid on Adam was for the time being the summary of divine law."[17] The necessity of two trees to deliver the entire truth to mankind appears in the fact that man's eating of the forbidden tree also resulted in the loss of the other tree. Inherent in this is the truth that, if man had obeyed his Creator, death would NOT have overtaken him, a deduction from the fact that the penalty was imposed after disobedience, with the inclusion of the idea that the penalty would not have been enforced apart from disobedience. Although Skinner rejected the suggestion, he made it in these words: "Can we suppose that the boon of immortality was placed freely within man's reach during the period of his probation?"[18] The answer must be affirmative. Indeed, we may say that Adam already possessed immortality throughout the whole period prior to his disobedience to God's Word. His expulsion from Eden after that event was the occasion of his losing it. In a sense, therefore, the tree of life stands for all the sacred privileges of Eden (and of the New Jerusalem), made specific here as "the tree of life."

All speculations about what the tree was are useless. That there was indeed such a tree appears from the appearance of it in the legends and mythology of many lands, all of which may be viewed as perverted and distorted reflections of a genuine reality in the beginning. The friezes that adorned the palace of Ashurbanipal showed the king with a stylized watering device, watering the tree of life depicted as an immense and complicated vine. No such description is of any value. (See more on this under Genesis 2:17).

Further thoughts regarding the tree of knowledge of good and evil show that the kind of "knowledge" meant is experimental knowledge. Adam and Eve already knew the difference in right and wrong; thus they were aware already of moral distinctions. God is not saying here that there were magical properties in a certain tree that would provide "knowledge" of good and evil, but their eating of that forbidden tree would result in their experimental "knowledge" of good and evil. Any tree that God might have prohibited would have done the same thing. Despite this obvious truth, very wild and irresponsible assertions are often made with reference to those "miraculous" trees in Eden.[19]

"Furthermore, it is wrong to assume that God endowed that forbidden tree with any particular desirability. Just as in the case of forbidden actions throughout the ages, it is the imagination and evil desire for forbidden things which endow what is forbidden with qualities that do not belong to forbidden things at all."


Verses 10-14

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became four heads. The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel that is it which goeth in front of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates."

"It was parted and became four heads ..." "Heads" here does not mean "mouths"; and thus there is a progression upstream to tributaries, making the rivers of the Tigris, the Euphrates and their two largest tributaries originating in the mountains, hence, the mention of gold, etc. "In Hebrew, the mouth of the river is called `end'; hence, the plural of `heads' must refer to the upper course. This usage is well attested."[20]

Difficulty in identifying two such large tributaries could very well be due to vast geological changes in the whole area since the days of the garden of Eden. It appears to be certain enough that the location of that Paradise was somewhere in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.

"And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth in front of Assyria..." Hiddekel is the ancient name for the Tigris, as many have noted. It is most interesting here that it is represented as going "in front of" Assyria, that is, Nineveh, the great capital of Assyria. Skinner admitted that "practically all commentators"[21] view this as a statement that the river ran east of Nineveh, which it did, of course, until about 1300 B.C., when the city was moved east of the river. This is a positive indication that the author of Genesis wrote before 1300 B.C., a conclusion that cannot be successfully denied. "The Asshur, or Assyria, referred to must be the ancient city of that name which actually once lay on the west bank of the Tigris."[22] Speiser also affirms that, "Here, the Tigris flows east of the city."[23] There is powerful evidence of the antiquity of the Book of Genesis in this.

The critical allegation that this part of Genesis was written by one who lived in an arid, desert region is denied by these abundant rivers in Eden. The reference to the fact that God had not yet caused it to rain upon the earth (Genesis 2:5), spoke of conditions in the creation on the third day of creation.

"The Euphrates ..." This is the river, more than any other, which is almost synonymous with the garden of Eden, that being the use of it that appears in Revelation 16:12.

Any exact location is impossible of being assigned to Eden; but our text makes it clear that it was a most desirable and beautiful home for mankind. It is likely that the universal traditions, myths, and legends regarding a fantastic "Golden Age" are distorted echoes of man's primeval home during an indeterminate period of his innocence.


Verse 15

"And Jehovah God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it."

The ideal state of man was not one of idleness, but one of labor and responsibility. It is not revealed how long was the time intervening before man's rebellion against his Creator took place, resulting in his expulsion from Eden.

There are numbers of comments on HOW God put man in the garden of Eden, concerning which question our text contains nothing. Perhaps we should also discuss the query of HOW God put a mockingbird in the camphor tree!


Verse 16-17

"And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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."

Every line of this chapter moved straight to the climactic revelation here, this divine commandment being the emphatic pivot upon which turned the temptation and Fall of mankind, their rebellion against their Creator, their expulsion from Eden, the curse of the earth for Adam's sake, and the ultimate execution of the penalty of death upon the whole of Adam's race, only the redeemed in Christ being promised the remission of the penalty! The big thing here is not the question of what, exactly, the tree was, for we have no way of finding out. Whatever it was, it was forbidden to our great progenitors; but they violated the divine law that forbade their eating of it; and the manifold sorrows of our race inexorably ensued. We shall return to this subject in Genesis 3, where the event of the Fall is recorded.

Skinner's comment on the penalty of disobedience in these verses includes practically all of the errors that men have imported into the passage, as follows:

"The threat was not fulfilled; but its force is not to be weakened by such considerations as that the man from that time became mortal, or that he entered upon the experience of miseries and hardships which are the prelude of dissolution (Calvin). The simple explanation is that God, having regard to the circumstances of the temptation, changed His purpose and modified the penalty.[24]

No such views may be considered accurate. "I, Jehovah, change not!" (Malachi 3:6). The true solution of the questions raised on this is that the penalty incurred by Adam will be fully, completely, and irrevocably executed upon him in the person of his total posterity in exactly the "same day" of Adam's rebellion. And what day is that? It is the day of the creation sabbath, the present day (or dispensation). The prognosis for the Adamic race is destruction. As a recent famous philosopher expressed it, "There is no more future for the human race than there was for ichthyosaurus, pterodactyl, or brontosaurus!" Of course, such a pessimistic view leaves totally out of consideration the redemption available to all men in Jesus Christ; but apart from the proffered salvation, the future of mankind is indeed black and hopeless. Space here will not allow a full discussion of the projected execution of the penalty of death upon the Adamic race; but a complete and repeated revelation concerning it occurs in the prophecy of Revelation. That the event of the death penalty did not indeed find instantaneous fulfillment is not an occasion for surprise. In the very creation of Adam, there was the revealed purpose of redeeming man unto eternal life with the Father in heaven; and any instantaneous execution of humanity would have frustrated such a purpose. What seems to men like change of purpose or plans on the part of God was no such thing. Therefore, God, forseeing man's rebellion, and taking account of the long ages required for the accomplishment of His purpose, did not announce an immediate penalty of death, but a death penalty "in that day," the day which is still with us and shall yet find the Father's sentence summarily executed. Commentators, of course, mistakenly interpret "day" mentioned in the sentence as a twenty-four hour period. (See under Genesis 1:5 above for notes on the length of the seventh day.)


Verse 18

"And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet (suitable) for him."

This verse introduces the creation of woman, about to be narrated. The suggestion that this verse means that, "Man existed before the beasts, and the entire animal creation was the result of an unsuccessful experiment to find a mate for man!"[25] is preposterous, falling little short of blasphemy. How can an intelligent expositor suppose that God needed to experiment about anything?

"It is not good that man should not be alone ..." Man in the state of being alone is incomplete, unfulfilled, and lacking in much that he was created to be. This law has never been repealed. The purpose of God in providing a suitable partner for man is announced in this verse, but the record of the animal creation injected just here, referring to an event accomplished long previously on the beginning of the sixth day of creation, was not for the purpose of finding an Adamic spouse among the animals, but for the purpose of demonstrating the knowledge and intelligence of Adam, and indicating what kind of superior being that "suitable help" would need to be.


Verse 19

"And out of the ground Jehovah formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof."

"God formed every beast ..." The proper way to translate this is "God had formed,"[26] etc. This is not the record of another creation, or a contradictory account of that given in Genesis 1, but a sub-section evidently given to reveal the intelligent genius of Adam, thus demonstrating the necessity of finding a mate for him who would partake in every way of his genius and ability, a problem that God solved by creating woman out of Adam himself. "Whatsoever the man called every living creature..." As Whitelaw commented:

"In this it is implied that man was created with the faculty of speech, the distinct gift of articulate and rational utterance, and the capacity of attaching words to ideas ... Already man had received from God his first lesson in the exercise of speech in the naming of the trees (in Eden) and the imposing of the prohibition."[27]


Verse 20

"And the man gave names to all cattle, and to every beast of the field; but for man, there was not found a help meet for him."

The foolish and near blasphemous error supposing that the parade of lower creations in Genesis 2:19 was some kind of ploy to find a proper mate for Adam in those lower creations is so preposterous and ridiculous that it needs no refutation. It was not the ability of the birds and animals that shines in these words, but the ability, genius, and intelligence of Adam. This therefore inherently contains the reason for the creation of woman out of Adam's side, thus making her a part of him, fully partaking of all his genius and intelligence.


Verse 21-22

"And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof: and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."

The mystery hidden before all times is inherently a part of God's revelation here. The sleep coming upon Adam was a prophecy of the death of Christ, the God-Man, on Calvary; and just as the wife of Adam I was taken from his side during that sleep, so that Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Adam II was, in a figure, taken from the side of Jesus Christ, from which, upon its being pierced by the spear, there came forth blood and water, emblematical of the two grand ordinances of Christianity, namely, the Lord's Supper and Christian baptism.

We receive this account as inspired, genuine truth, although we do not profess to understand all of the infinite meaning of it. Why the rib? As many have noted, woman was taken not from Adam's foot that he might rule over her, not from Adam's head that she might dominate him, but from his side that she might be his true equal and companion. There are doubtless other important things in this that lie beyond the perimeter of complete finite understanding. Dr. Elton Stubblefield, famed medical doctor conducting research in the mysteries of the DNA, recently mentioned in a public lecture that, "The rib is the only portion of the human body that carries within it every type (of which there are several) of cell to be found in a human body, and that theoretically, it is absolutely possible to clone an entire human being from a single rib!"

"And brought her unto the man..." Here was the first marriage, God himself officiating in it, thus making God a partner and participant in every wedding. Any sin against either of the partners in a marriage is also a sin against God. If we have problems with this chapter, let it be remembered that Jesus quoted from it and called it "the Word of God"; and so we receive it.

A number of things were established in this record of woman's creation: "The absolute unity of the race in its descent from one ancestor is established. The true dignity of woman is guaranteed. The significance and sanctity of marriage are revealed."[28]

Is this account historical? Yes! The history of the whole race of mankind begins right here in this chapter; and concerning the first chapter in that history, this is the only record that man has. "Paul understood this record as straightforward history, observing that man was not made from woman, but woman from man (1 Corinthians 11:8)."[29]


Verse 23

"And the 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."

Our English word "woman" is derived from an Anglo-Saxon term, "womb-man," meaning the man with the womb. The relation between the terms man and woman is evident in many languages. In Hebrew the words are [~'iysh] and [~'ishah].[30]


Verse 24

"Therefore shall man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

This verse was quoted by Christ and designated the "Word of God" in Matthew 19:5,6. The prophetic power of Adam is inherent in such a declaration in the given circumstances. Christ used this verse as a condemnation of divorce, as did also the prophet Malachi (Malachi 2:15), as teaching the indissoluble nature of marriage and the condemnation of polygamy. Here again there is an indication of great antiquity that must be ascribed to the Book of Genesis. There is an understanding of this verse, as pointed out by Skinner, "(Which) would imply an almost incredible antiquity for the present form of narrative." Of course, Skinner dismissed this evidence with: "We cannot be sure that it carries us so far back."[31] Well, why not? Jesus Christ mentioned this very verse as pertaining to the "beginning."


Verse 25

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

This is a glimpse of the primeval innocence that belonged to man before the entrance of sin into His Paradise. There is also a comment upon the kind of climate in which the garden of Eden was situated.

 


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 2:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/genesis-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

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