Empty Cross Ministries
Rev.Dr. David Stembaugh, D.D.
Genesis Chapter 2
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”: That is to say “the source.” And likely refers to some great spring gushing up inside the garden from some subterranean reservoir. There was no rain at that time.
This river spoken of here is in Revelation as well.
Revelation 22:1 “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
You see, there is a physical river, and there is a spiritual river.
Genesis 2:11 “The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold;”
“Pison … Havilah”: Locations are uncertain. This represents pre-Flood geography, now dramatically altered.
Genesis 2:12 “And the gold of that land [is] good: there [is] bdellium and the onyx stone.”
“Bdellium”: A gum resin. This refers more to appearance than color, i.e., it had the appearance of a pale resin.
Genesis 2:13 “And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.”
“Gihon … Ethiopia”: The river location is uncertain. Compared to older days Cush would be modern-day 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.”
“Hiddelkel … Assyria”: The post-Flood Tigris River runs northwest to southeast east of the city of Babylon through the Mesopotamian Valley.
“Euphrates”: A river that runs parallel (northwest to southeast), to the Tigris and empties into the Persian Gulf after joining the Tigris.
The Euphrates is a river still known today, and many people try to locate the Garden of Eden by these few locations mentioned above.
No one has ever decided for sure where Eden was located. Of course, this happened before the continents broke apart in the days of Peleg, so the locations have probably moved somewhat. It really doesn’t matter where the garden was, or even is today. The garden that should concern us is in heaven.
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.”
“Dress it and to keep it”: Work was an important and dignified part of representing the image of God and serving Him, even before the Fall (Rev. 22:3).
“Dress” is from the root meaning “to serve, work,” translated “till” in verse 5 (Deut. 15:19; Isa. 19:9; Ezek. 48:18).
“Keep” The verb means “take care of, guard,” involving tending to or keeping things such as a garden (verse 15), a flock (30:31), or a house (2 Sam. 15:16). In this context, it does not imply to guard from Satan.
The literal translation of “took the man” in the Scripture above, is made him to rest in the garden. We are led into a life of happiness through the liberty we receive through Jesus. Not liberty to do evil, but liberty to do good.
Genesis 2:16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:”
God’s command was “thou mayest freely eat,” and this included “every tree” except the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” in the next verse. The Hebrew conveys very emphatically “you may freely eat [strengthened permission construction] to your heart’s content,” emphasizing the freedom and permission of a loving, gracious God.
Note Satan’s subtle assertion in 3:1 as he focused on the “one” tree they could not eat from. In so doing, he excluded the abundance in this verse.
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.”
To “die” has the basic idea of separation. It can mean spiritual separation, physical separation, and/or eternal separation. At the moment of their sin, Adam and Eve died spiritually, but because God was merciful they did not die physically until later (5:5). There is no reason given for this prohibition, other than it was a test (see note on verse 9).
There was nothing magical about that tree, but eating from it after it had been forbidden by God would indeed give man the knowledge of evil, since evil can be defined as disobeying God. Man already had the knowledge of good.
“Thou shalt not eat” is in strongest Hebrew form of prohibition.
“Surely die”: The construction emphasizes in the strongest way the certainty of death upon eating. (Note 3:4 and Satan’s “Ye shall not surely die.”)
In the Bible there are three deaths:
(1) Physical death, separation of body and spirit;
(2) Spiritual death, separation of the individual from God; and
(3) Eternal death, the final estate of the lost person in the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:10, 14; termed the “second death,” separation from God forever).
So many false religions base their belief on the few words above. Adam truly brought physical death upon all of mankind when he ate of this Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam’s peace died, Adam’s hopes died, and Adam’s innocence died. His mind was troubled because he now knew that his body would return to the dust.
The error is in believing that the spirit of Adam died. The spirit never died. The spirit never dies. It is eternal. It will live either in heaven or hell. It is eternal. It did not mean that our bodies in their present condition will live forever. It meant Jesus had purchased our eternity for us.
This day, then, that you shall surely die just means that Adam brought physical death to all mankind, and Jesus brought life eternal. The wages of sin is death. Jesus paid the wages and bought everlasting life for each of us if we believe.
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 15 from verse 44 on.
Some people do not believe that God ever threatens punishment, but that is exactly what He did in the Scripture above.
Genesis 2:18 “And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.”
“Not good”: When God saw His creation as very good (1:31), He viewed it as being to that point the perfect outcome to His creative plan. However, in observing man’s state as not good, He was commenting on his incompleteness before the end of the sixth day because the woman, Adam’s counterpart, had not yet been created.
The words of this verse emphasize man’s need for a companion, a helper and an equal. He was incomplete without someone to complement him in fulfilling the task of filling, multiplying and taking dominion over the earth. This points to Adam’s inadequacy, not Eve’s insufficiency (1 Cor. 11:9). Woman was made by God to meet man’s deficiency (1 Tim. 2:14).
The negative is extremely emphatic. It is not the construction for expressing a mere negative preference. In the context of chapters 1 and 2, it is the only thing “not good.” After man and woman are completed, God says (in 1:31), it was “very [exceedingly] good.” God’s plan for man was less than ideal and not complete without woman, the emphasis being on “alone”.
“Help” is a word frequently used in reference to the Lord in the Psalms (10:14; 22:11; 28:7; 46:1; 54:4; 72:12; 86:17; 119:173, 175; 121:1-2). Thus, it is not a degrading position for the woman. The verb form basically means to aid or supply that which the individual cannot provide for himself.
The Septuagint translates it “boethos”, a word the New Testament uses in the sense of “physician” (Matt. 15:25; Mark 9:22, 24; Acts 16:9; Rev. 12:16). It conveys the idea of aiding someone in need, such as the oppressed. Certainly, a godly woman meets this need of man.
“Meet” Comes from the Hebrew word meaning “opposite.” Literally it is “according to the opposite of him,” meaning that she will compliment and correspond to him. The Septuagint has kat auton (“according to him”). This relates to a “norm” or “standard.” She is to be equal to and adequate for man and not on the animal level of being.
Notice why God made the woman as a help mate for the man. The wedding vows say, they two shall become one flesh.
You see, they (husband and wife) are one. They are to be in one accord. Notice they are not one spirit; they are one flesh. This order of man and woman is pertaining to the flesh. Woman’s flesh was flesh made for man; her spirit is for God, if she wills it.
Genesis 2:19 ” And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof.”
This was not a new creation of animals. They were created before man on the fifth and sixth days (1:20-25). Here the Lord God was calling attention to the fact that He created them “out of the ground” as He did man. But man, who was a living soul in the image of God was to name them, signifying his rule over them.
“Call”: God delegated authority to man, since the act of naming the animals shows lordship or dominion (used of God in chapters 1 and in Psalm 8:4-6). It was also a spiritual exercise to prepare Adam and to make him aware of his aloneness as verse 20 indicates. None of the animals “corresponded to” him.
“Adam” was the first man and the forefather of the entire human race. He lived a total of 930 years (Gen. 5:5). He was created in a state of innocence and in the image of God. He was also created with the appearance of age, with a high level of intelligence, and with the ability to communicate with God.
When he and his wife, Eve, fell into sin (chapter 3), they brought the curse of sin on the entire human race. Adam also appears in nine references in the New Testament in regard to his headship over the human race. (Gen. 1:26; Rom. 5:12-21).
You see, Adam was to rule over all the animals, and he named them for what their usefulness to him would be.
Genesis 2:20 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him.”
“Adam” (related to Hebrew adamah, “ground”), literally means “earth man.” It is applied to mankind in general, and to the first created man specifically. Adam was a historical person and was the Father of mankind.
“Gave names to”: Naming is an act of discerning something about the creature so as to appropriately identify it and also an act of leadership or authority over that which was named. There is no kinship with any animal since none was a fitting companion for Adam.
Man cannot communicate with animals. Animals are not on the same level as man. They do not have souls or reasoning power as man does. The man was lonesome.
Genesis 2:21 “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”
“One of his ribs”: This could also be “sides,” including surrounding flesh (“flesh of my flesh,” verse 23). Divine surgery by the Creator presented no problems. This would also imply the first act of healing in Scripture.
“Ribs”: It may mean “rib” or “side” (of the ark, a building, or of leaves of a door). Here it would mean from “his side” or “from his ribs” to convey the plural number. Verse 23 indicates it probably involves flesh and bone.
God operated on Adam under God’s anesthetic and removed one of his ribs.
Genesis 2:22 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
“Brought her unto the man”: Here a loving Father presents the bride to the man.
Genesis 2:23 “And Adam 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.”
“Bone of my bones”: Adam’s poem focuses on naming the delight of his heart in this newly found companion. The man (ish) names her “woman” (ishah) because she had her source in him (the root of the word “woman” is “soft”). She truly was made of bone from his bones and flesh from his flesh (1 Cor. 11:8).
The English words man/woman sustain the same relationship as the Hebrew words, hinting at that original creation.
After noticing all of the animals, Adam now at long last (This is now, or “this time”), finds that which “corresponds to” him. The close association of the man and woman is conveyed by their names, since she is “called Woman” [ishah] “because she was taken out of Man” (ish). Adams’s act of naming his wife reinforces his leadership and authority over her (God’s naming in chapter 1 and 2:19-20).
You see, again the flesh and bones of woman are of man, not the spirit. God took the woman from man’s side next to his heart, not from his heel bone for him to walk on, not from his head to rule over, but from his side to walk with him.
A man and woman should walk together side by side, not divided; they two against the whole world, if necessary. Her name was woman (taken from man).
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
“Leave … cleave unto his wife”: The marital relationship was established as the first human institution. The responsibility to honor one’s parents (Exodus 20:12), does not cease with leaving and the union of husband with wife (Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; 1 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31), but does represent the inauguration of a new and primary responsibility.
“One flesh” carries the sense of a permanent or indissoluble union, so that divorcee was not considered (2:16). “One flesh” speaks of a complete unity of parts making a whole, e.g., one cluster, many grapes (Num. 13:23), or one God in 3 persons (Deut. 6:4); thus, this marital union was complete and whole with two people.
This also implies their sexual completeness. One man and one woman constitute the pair to reproduce. The “one flesh” is primarily seen in the child born of that union, the one perfect result of the union of two. Use of this (in Matt. 19:5-6; Mark 10:8; 1 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31). Permanent monogamy (married to one person), was and continues to be God’s design and law for marriage.
“Therefore” indicates a reasoned conclusion in light of Adam’s joy at finding a mate.
“Leave”: Here the man leaves, but note (Psalm 45:10-15).
“Cleave” is a strong verb, meaning “join, stick to.” The two verbs “leave” and “cleave,” may be subordinated in the following way: “Let a man forsake, or abandon, his farther and his mother in order that he may cleave unto his wife and in order that they might become one flesh.” If he does not leave, he cannot cleave, nor can he become or “be one flesh.”
God’s ideal plan for marriage is one man for one woman for one lifetime. God’s pattern for marital happiness is evident when a man loves and leads his family, with children who obey and reverence their parents (Eph. 6:1-4), with a wife who respects and supports her husband’s leadership (Eph. 5:32-33).
A mutually supportive attitude must characterize both husband and wife if they are to succeed in building a harmonious home.
Marriage is so important in the mind of God that it was the first of three divine institutions and was patterned to illustrate Christ’s love for the church. Christians should therefore do their part in contributing to the success of the family. (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:22 – 6:4; Matt. 19:3).
Genesis 2:25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
“Both naked … not ashamed”: With no knowledge of evil before the Fall, even nakedness was shameless and innocent. They found their complete gratification in the joy of their one union and their service to God. With no inward principle of evil to work on, the solicitation to sin had to come from without, and it did.
Their outward nakedness was a sign of their integrity. They lived and moved without guilt, shame, or fear of exploitation or threat. Naked in the Hebrew sounds like the word subtile (in 3:1), thus tying the two chapters together. Satan will concentrate his shrewdness on their integrity.
So many problems in young marriages today are caused by interference from parents who are not willing to cut the apron strings and let their children form families of their own. I believe this happened a lot because the parents are disappointed in the lives they have made for themselves, and are trying to live again in their children.
The order we should put our lives in is: God first, husband or wife next, and then other members of the family.
This “nakedness” spoken of here was probably literal and figurative. Adam and Eve were bathed in innocence. They were not aware that they were naked, because they had not eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Husbands and wives even today should be so close that there will be no secrets. We should truly try to walk without deceit.
Genesis Chapter 2 Continued Questions
1. The river that went out of Eden turned into how many heads?
2. What is meant by “became into four heads”?
3. Name the four rivers?
4. Where is the first mention of gold?
5. What was said of the gold?
6. When did the continents break apart?
7. Where is the garden we should be interested in locating?
8. What is our liberty that we have in Jesus?
9. What would happen to man if he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
10. What kind of death did Adam bring?
11. Does the spirit ever die?
12. What 3 types of death are mentioned in the bible?
13. For what purpose did God make woman?
14. Woman’s flesh was made for man. Is her spirit the man’s also?
15. Who named the animals?
16. What does the name Adam mean?
17. Why were the animals not enough company for man?
18. What was the state of man when God removed his rib?
19. What was the woman made of?
20. Why was she called woman?
21. How were the woman and man dressed at the beginning?
22. What order should be in our lives?
23. Man should __________ his family and __________ to his wife.
24. What is God’s plan for an ideal marriage?
25. What was their nakedness a sign of?