Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Genesis Chapter 2 ~ A Covenant God & Covenant People

Genesis Chapter 2

The first three verses of this chapter wrap up what happened after the sixth day of the creation in chapter 1: God finished His work, and He rested. So He blessed this day and made it holy. This is the foundation of how the rest of the Old Testament understands the Sabbath day. Then in verses 4 through 25 we are given another account of the creation centered specifically on the creation of man and woman.

God made man out of the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into man’s nostrils. This is how humans became living creatures. God also planted the Garden of Eden in the east and put this first man there to work it and keep it. There were two notable trees there: (1) The tree of life, and (2) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Four rivers flowed from this garden too: (1) The Pishon, (2) The Gihon, (3) The Tigris, and (4) The Euphrates.

God made a covenant with man and commanded the man not to eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but told him to freely eat of any and every other tree. God told the man he would surely die if he ate of the forbidden tree.

The first man is identified with the proper name of Adam (Gen. 2:20), and God said that it wasn’t good for the Adam to be alone, so He created a woman to be a helper. None of the animals God had created were suitable. God created this woman by causing Adam to fall into a deep sleep and God took one of Adam’s ribs and God made that rib into a woman. God brought the woman to Adam and he called her “Woman” (Gen. 2:23).

This chapter shows us how God created the woman as a helper for Adam, the foundation of marriage as a covenant whereby one leaves father and mother and holds fast to a wife (for men) or a husband (which can be implied from the text for women). We also see that in this marriage that neither party should be ashamed in their nakedness before each other.

We also see how God gave Adam a command, which indicates a covenant between God and Adam. Folks have referred to this covenant with a number of names: (1) Adamic covenant, (2) Covenant of Works, or (3) the Covenant of Creation (see Michael Lawrence, 58-9 & Meredith Kline, 107-17 ). To walk in a joyful and uninhibited relationship with the the Creator-God who is above all things Adam must obey Him. Adam must do what God would have him do, not necessarily what Adam wants. The outcome of disobedience is simply stated as death. To be alive to God could be acheived if Adam would act in the ways that God demands of him.

It is interesting to note that the covenant of marriage comes in the same chapter that the covenant God made with Adam is introduced. God is a covenantal God, so by virtue of the fact that we have His image in us we are to be covenantal relationally. This is most clearly seen in the marriage covenant. It is as if God is conceptually connecting these two covenants together (they aren't the exact same, but there are similarities). Marriage says something about God, and God's attribute of being Creator has a commanding control on how we conceive of the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. To disconnect the two is to deny God's authority as Creator-King. To mis-represent either God's covenant with mankind whereby He is clearly shown to have authority and kingship over us, or to mis-represent the marriage covenant is to deny God's goodness. God has made man the head of woman in the marriage relationship (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23). Male headship rooted in the creation order is also a reason that Paul argues that men should be in authority over women in the local church (1 Tim. 2:13). This is similar to how Adam was made the covenant representative or head of the entire human race (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45), ultimately setting up the category for the need of a second Adam, Jesus Christ, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

In this chapter God is clearly seen as the sovereign Creator-King with authority over all things.

In Genesis 2 the plot of the Bible begins to thicken. By virtue of his nature and very existence, Adam, and now the Woman, must not eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The question is, "Will our first parents obey God, or will they oppose Him, and if they disobey God what does that mean for us?"

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