v1 So God had created the skies and the earth. And he had created the many *creatures in them. He had completed his *creation.
v2 By the seventh day, God had finished his *creation. He had finished that work that he had done. He rested on the seventh day. He rested from all the work that he had done. v3 So God *blessed the seventh day. He considered it different from the other days. He rested then from his work that he had done. He rested from his *creation. That was why he considered it different.
v4 This is the true story about how God created the earth and skies. v5 The *Lord God made the earth and the skies. There were no green plants on the earth, because the *Lord God had not yet sent rain to the earth. There were not yet any people, so nobody could work with the soil. v6 Then a mist came up from the earth, and the mist watered all the soil. v7 Then the *Lord God formed a man from dust that was on the earth. God breathed into the man’s nostrils (the holes in the nose). The breath that God breathed into him made the man live. So the man became a person, who was alive.
v8 The *Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. God put the man that he had formed into that garden. v9 God made all the trees grow there that are pleasant to look at. And their fruit is good to eat. Also, in the middle of the garden, there were these two trees. There was the tree that makes people live. And there was the tree that makes people know right things and wrong things.
v10 A river flowed out of Eden and it watered the garden. The river divided there into four rivers. v11 The first river is called Pishon. It flows all through the region called Havilah. v12 There is good gold in Havilah. There is also bdellium (a kind of sticky stuff that smells good). And there is onyx (a valuable kind of stone). v13 The second river is called Gihon. It flows all through the region called Cush. v14 The third river is called the Tigris. It flows along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
v15 The *Lord God took the man. And he put the man in the garden that was in Eden. God told the man to work with the soil in the garden. God told him to take care of the garden. v16 The *Lord God gave these orders to Adam. ‘You can eat from all the other trees in the garden. You can eat from them as much fruit as you want. v17 But you must not eat fruit from the tree that makes you know right things and wrong things. You will die on the day when you eat that fruit. That is why you must not eat it.’
v18 Then the *Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper as a partner for him.’
v19 So the *Lord God had formed from dust all the animals on land. And he had formed all the birds that fly in the air. God brought the animals and birds to Adam. God wanted to see what names Adam would give to them. That was why he brought them to him. Whatever name Adam gave, that was the name for each *creature. v20 Adam gave names to all *cattle. He gave names to all the birds that fly in the air. And he gave names to all the wild animals on the earth. But none among them was a good helper that could be Adam’s partner. v21 So the *Lord God made Adam sleep deeply. While Adam slept, God took one rib out of Adam. (A rib is a bone in the top part of someone’s body.) Then God closed up the place where that bone had been. v22 The *Lord God made a woman from the rib (bone) that he had taken out of the man. Then God brought her to the man.
v23 Then the man said, ‘This, at last, is my bone and *flesh. I shall call her “woman”, because she came out of man.’ v24 Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and he joins his wife. Then the two people become one person.
v25 And the man and his wife were both naked. And they did not think that it was wrong.
Everything that God created was perfect. And everything was wonderful. But men and women had a special place in God’s plan. Firstly, God created a perfect world for the first man to live in. Then God prepared a special home for the man. This home was in a beautiful garden (or farm) that God had planted. God made the man (called Adam) from dust that was on the earth. Then God breathed his Spirit into the man, so that the man was alive (verse 7). Afterwards, God provided a wife (called Eve) for the man.
Notes on the verses
Verse 1 God completed his *creation. However, he is still working. He has not stopped. But it is different work. He now looks after all that he created.
Verse 2 God repeated that he finished his work. This means the work that he did in *creation. It must be very important for us to know this.
Verse 3 God made the seventh (7th) day special. God made us like himself. After we work for six (6) days, we need one different day. *Jews keep Saturday (the seventh day in the week) special, because of this verse. And it is also because of God’s command in Exodus 20:10. Christians keep Sunday (the first day in the week) special, because Jesus rose from death on the first day. It does not matter whether our special day is the first or seventh day in our week. It is important that we keep one day in a week different. We *worship God together on that day, if we can. We need to have a rest for one day each week to keep our bodies healthy. When we have God’s *blessings, we have duties as well. He has provided a day when we should rest. But we must make it special for God. This is like a description or picture for us. It shows to us something about Jesus. He was dying for us on the cross. That was his work. Then he said, ‘It is finished.’ He had finished that work. But now he lives in heaven to pray for us. God has promised a ‘rest’ for Christians in heaven. That rest will last always. But it does not mean that we shall do nothing there. We shall praise God and we shall serve him.
The garden in Eden, 2:4-25
Verse 4 This story seems similar to the one in chapter 1. This story in chapter 2, however, is the story about man. It is about how God made everything ready for man. The *Hebrew word for ‘true story’ means family or children. It refers back to the many *creatures in verse 1. It can mean past history. Or it can mean future history. Writers use that same word in other places in the Bible. And in those places it means future history.
Verse 7 God made the first man from dust. But God made him special. God breathed into him. God’s breath made the man alive. The same *Hebrew word for ‘breath’ means ‘spirit’ also. So God gave his Spirit to the man, so that his Spirit would live in the man. God also made the man able to breathe air. That was so that the man could live on the earth. Man’s spirit lives as well as his body. But that is not true for animals. God did not breathe his Spirit into animals. The writer says that God formed man. So, God made man as a potter forms a pot. (A potter makes pots skilfully from *clay.) That shows to us how clever God is. It shows to us that we must serve him. And we must obey him as our master. We must obey him because he created us.
Verse 8 Eden seems to be the name of a region.
Verse 12 Bdellium may be a particular kind of tree. The tree produces a sticky stuff (also called bdellium). People use that sticky stuff to make perfume. (Perfume is a liquid that smells nice.) Or the word might mean pearls. (Pearls are shiny white little balls of hard material. They are valuable. People use them to make things beautiful.) Onyx is a kind of valuable stone. We are not certain exactly what these two things are.
Verses 11-14. We do not know the Pishon River today. Nor do we know the Gihon River. However, it is important to know this. Eden was an actual place. This is all true. The rivers flowed out of the garden. They came to places outside it. And so they helped things to live there too. Water is very important in a hot area. Look at Ezekiel chapter 47.
Verse 15 God took care of Adam. And God took Adam to the garden that God had prepared for him. God gave work for Adam to do. Adam’s work was to look after the garden. A better word than ‘garden’ here might be ‘farm’ (like an African farm called a ‘shamba’). The garden was not just a pretty place with flowers and trees. But it was important for food also.
Verse 17 God gave Adam an important command. So Adam was responsible to God. As we shall see in chapter 3, Adam did not obey God’s command. In the garden, Adam had the freedom to be a friend of God. But Adam did not want this freedom. Instead, he wanted the freedom to do whatever things he wanted to do. He wanted to live his own life, without God’s friendship. So Adam chose to do evil things, although God had warned him about the results of such a decision.
‘You will die.’ Death was not part of God’s original plan for men and women. God wanted them to live always and to be his friends. But when men and women began to do evil things, the result was death. Their bodies did not die immediately. But their spirits were dead, because they were not still friends of God. And so they could not go to be with God in heaven when their bodies died.
Adam’s decision to do evil things causes death for everyone. But Christ brings life to everyone who trusts him (1 Corinthians 15:21). Our spirits become alive immediately when we trust Christ. We must confess our *sins to God and we must invite him into our lives. Then we become friends of God. And we shall have a place in heaven. Christ has defeated death, but our bodies still die (1 Corinthians 15:26). But when Christ returns, God will change us (1 Corinthians 15:51). Then Christians who have died will become alive again. And we shall always live with God.
Verse 20 God gave Adam control over everything in the garden. So, Adam chose the name for each animal and bird that was there.
God was very careful that Adam should have a good partner to be his wife.
Verse 21 God made Adam from the dust. But God made Eve from Adam’s own body. This is also like a description or picture of Christ and the church (all the real Christians everywhere). See Ephesians 5:31-32. The Bible also describes the church as ‘the bride of Christ’ and ‘the body of Christ’ (Ephesians 5:23-27). So the church is united with Christ. And the church serves Christ. But the church is also separate from Christ. Christ does not control Christians. Christians have the freedom to make their own decisions.
Verse 23 Adam was very pleased with the woman that God gave him.
Verse 24 Marriage is God’s plan for a man and a woman. Marriage should last for life. A man and his wife become a new family. They live together and they work together, under God’s rules.