The Work of Man
The Work of Man
The Work of Man
Last week we completed our study of the creation of the universe and all that was in it. We saw how God created Light and then focused on creating the earth, then we saw God create dry land and the plants of the earth. After plant life he created birds, sea creatures and mammals both wild and domestic. In day six God created his most prized creation and that was mankind. We also saw how God took a day to simply enjoy all that he had created it.
What we are going to study today is more specifically what it looked like when God created man and what his environment was like, what work God created him for and what commandment he gave him. I titled today’s sermon The Work of Man because it’s two fold. We are going to see how man is God’s workmanship or God’s work, and we are also going to see what kind of work God assigned to man.
4 This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
Some people think that Genesis 2 is a different account of the creation of man apart from what we read in genesis 1:6. This is not the case however. As we see in verse 4, This is a history of what it looked like, it’s a reset, or a retelling of the creation of man. If it was another iteration of creating of man, that would mean that Adam and Eve were not the first humans. But even modern scientist that have been studying DNA have acknowledged that all the DNA leads back to one fraternal and maternal pair of ancestors for man. Of course they believe other weird things about how those people got there, but the point is, what their researched has shown is that there was only one beginning pair of people, just like the Bible says. In fact many scientist even call them the Adam and Eve pair, interesting, I wonder where they got that?
Moses went into more detail about man because the Bible is now going to focus more on man. In fact this is a pattern that we see throughout Genesis. After one account is given, the Bible will give us a genealogy or a history of people and then focus in one person or one family.
The same word for Genealogy in the Hebrew is the same word for History and generations. It’s the word Toledoth. Genesis is full of genealogies and often when we read through these genealogies we get board and we don’t want to read a bunch of names. These breaking points in the scripture means that God is about to change the focus.
Why Does God follow a certain line of people through Genesis?
Well in short, God is laying out the road to lead all the readers to the Messiah who we know as Jesus. I will explain this in further detail in the next few weeks.
The other fascinating thing we are shown in verse 4 is that God has for the first time revealed his name. Remember in the previous chapter, the word for God was Elohim, which is actually a generic term for God in the sense of the one supreme ruler of the universe and creator of all things. But now we get the name of God that is translated in the English as all capital LORD. It’s translated as such because the Hebrew word is YHWH. Some have chosen to pronounce this as Yahweh, others as Jehovah, some Ye-hoo-ah, and other people have even come up with other ways to pronounce it. The reason that we don’t know how to pronounce it is that the Jews were so afraid to pronounce the name of God they just decided to call him “The Name” which in Hebrew is called Ha-Shem. The other reason we don’t know how it was pronounced is that the original Hebrew was only made up of consonants with no vowels, no punctuation so we have to guess at what sounds go in-between the letters.
Sorry to geek out on you here, but you have to at least learn this once. So all caps LORD is the name of God compared to Lord, that is translated as Adonai. Adonai is more the word for what we would use the word Lord. Like Jesus is the Lord, he’s the master of your life. The interesting thing about Yahweh, is that you see the term Yah in most names in the Bible. like Jerimiyah, or Jah-shewu, or Eliyah etc. This is because people were giving glory to the name of God as they were naming their children.
So for instance those names I used Jeremiah means - Appointed by Yahweh.
Joshua means - Yahweh is salvation, Elijah means - My God is Yehweh.
The last thing I will say about the tetragrammaton YHWH, is that it is used 6800 times in the scriptures so obviously it is very significant.
Did you know that Jews today won’t say the english word God? They still use the word Ha-Shem or they will spell it out G-d. So that they are not writing the name.
The history that God is unfolding for us here is that before there were cultivated plants or farming fields God had setup his own irrigation system for watering the vegetation. Verse 5,6 shows us that there was no water cycle like we know of today. There was no rainfall, so what God did instead was to have moisture or dew come-up from the ground and this was the water source for the vegetation on the earth. The Hebrew word for field denotes a cultivated field which is no doubt referring to farming practices.
The other thing to note of in verse 5 is that this was the condition before man was made, notice it says that there was no man to till the ground. This is clearly another argument to show that this isn’t a second creation of man, but that we are reflecting back before man was created. So before Adam is even created, the word gives us a clue as to what one of the jobs will be for him and that’s farming.
Ok now the stage is set for man to arrive, Lets read how man was made in verse 7.
How Man was made
How Man was made
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 being.
This more descriptive account of the creation of man is very intriguing. Remember last week we talked about how God made man in his own image? Well now we see man created at of the dust. Both accounts are true, but this historical retelling is pointing us to the means of how it happened. Last week was the News article heading
“God Makes Man in His Own Image!”
and this week is the narrative of how it all happened or the details in the article if you will.
Made of Dust
Made of Dust
What is God communicating with us by telling us that man was made out of the dust of the earth?
First of all it states that we are earthly creatures, we are not extraterrestrial beings planted on this earth. There are people who believe that we are lifeforms that were planted on this earth by an alien race. This is a perversion of what is taught in the Bible, yes a supernatural being created man, and thus we are from out of this world. But these people would not define him as God. Also, The Bible tells us that man is a new unique species. Notice that God didn’t create us out of plant life nor did he create us out of animal life. This again shows us that man is to have dominion over those previously created things. I’m blown away once again at the detail that God gives us to prove that we are not planted nor are we evolved from other life creations.
God chose the least precious of all materials to make man out of. The second answer to the question is this.
Because we were made out of clay, there is zero chance for us to become a living creature, unless God himself would have given us life and that’s what we see in verse 7. God breathed life into man and man became a living being.
If you are snoozing through this teaching, wake up here. This is very important to understand. Your body is not that which gives you value, it’s the spirit that God has put inside you. It’s your soul, it’s the real you, it’s the person that God chose to create. This body, it’s just a ball a clay that’s going to fall apart and fall back into the ground again and turn back to dust and yet look at how much time we are consumed with our bodies. Feeding it, clothing it, caring for it, pleasing it. Yet, how much time do we spend feeding our spirit, being clothed in the spirit, caring for our spirit, pleasing God. We live a dichotomous life don’t we? We have this fleshly life that we have to please in order to survive, and then we have our spiritual nature that we have been given, and then given stewardship over.
Which is temporary and which is eternal?
In The Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said:
26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
So The Bible makes it clear that our spiritual nature is much more important that our fleshly being.
The creation of Adam shows how we are God’s workmanship, literally formed and molded.
8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
Where was the Garden of Eden located?
Where was the Garden of Eden located?
We don’t know where the Garden of Eden was, even with the clues the Bible gives us. One of the biggest challenges to knowing is that The Garden was destroyed in the flood. Also we are not sure of the description given, if it speaks of the way the land looked before the flood or after. It would make a lot of sense that the land wasn’t recognizable before the flood and after. Think about all the sediment that would have changed the landscape, new rivers formed as it drained, new volcanic activity creating mountains that were not there before etc. The world would have looked like an entirely different place.
The only possible way that the descriptions in 10-14 could have been post flood is if God had told Moses where the general location was or if this was passed down from Adam. We have a strong incline that the garden was in the middle east somewhere and who knows it could have easily even been in modern day Israel, but we are not sure.
Out of the 4 rivers only two are recognizable today, the other two don’t exist. Could they have existed in Moses day? They could have, but we are just not sure. Dr. Henry Morris points out that it’s possible that the descendants of Noah might have renamed rivers that had been previously called the Tigris and the Euphrates.
What was the Garden’s purpose?
What was the Garden’s purpose?
This is far more intriguing than the location of the Garden. The scriptures tell us that God made the Garden for a home for Adam. He also planted good fruit trees in the Garden for Adam to eat.
Tree of Life
Tree of Life
The second thing that we are told about in the Garden is that there was The Tree of Life. Bible commentators differ on what the purposes of the Tree of life was for. Some commentators believe that it sustained life. Other’s think that even though it was a literal tree, it was metaphoric for Jesus. The explanation I like is that it was a covenant with Adam to show him that he would have immortality, that is it was the sign and seal that God was giving man eternal life.
I do believe the tree is literal because after Jesus advent, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and ruling for 1000 years, we see the tree of life once again in the new heavens and new earth. Bible Commentator Matthew Henry explains it this way:
There was the tree of life in the midst of the garden, which was not so much a memorandum to him of the fountain and author of his life, nor perhaps any natural means to preserve or prolong life; but it was chiefly intended to be a sign and seal to Adam, assuring him of the continuance of life and happiness, even to immortality and everlasting bliss, through the grace and favour of his Maker, upon condition of his perseverance in this state of innocency and obedience.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
So who ever overcomes and is saved will get to eat of the Tree of Life in the future. Again even though this tree is literal, God is promising us eternal life. Now one thing we have to be careful of is this. Jesus said whoever believes in me shall not parish and have eternal life. So the eternal life is not within the tree itself, but found in Christ alone. The tree to me is a special type of nourishment, I mean even in the Garden God gave Adam fruit to eat and he put the Tree of Life in the Garden even though Adam was at no risk of dying at that point. So to me it makes much more sense that the Tree of Life is a covenant and a promise for mankind. Now speaking of nourishment, look at the next verse in Revelation.
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
So this tree of life brings healing properties for the nations. The Tree of Life is part of the Lord’s healing for mankind after the fall. This also shows that the Tree is not metaphoric for Christ, because we see the tree exist after Christ.
Well God created a second special tree in the garden and thats:
Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil
Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil
This tree God put in the Garden as a test. I believe this tree to be literal as well, but what it represents is what’s important. This tree is really the trial that every person faces in their life.
Will you believe what God said to be true and obey it?
That’s it. Some people think that God created evil because he created this tree. The tree simple represents a choice. By choosing disobedience and eating of the tree, someone would then have first hand experiential knowledge to what Evil is, and that’s disobedience or sin. Then by understanding and experiencing sin, you would then realize what you forfeited that which is good. You see without experiencing evil, you wouldn’t understand good. you would understand it in the sense that that’s all you know, but not in the sense that you are separated from something that is opposite of it.
And so this test is how God ordained that we would know love, and then once man was given a choice he was no longer a robot but a free agent to either obey God or disobey God. To believe God or not believe God. How can we love God unless there is an alternative to love?
Imagine if God said to Adam, you now love me and Adam did without choice.
God then gives The command for the tree.
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
In verse 15, God gave Adam a job to do, and that was to maintain the Garden. This was not a hard job but it was something to give Adam to do. God gave Adam a job to teach him stewardship. We know that this was not hard work because after Adam sins we see that one of the curses that fell on man was that his work would then become difficult. Work is a good thing for us, as we went through the creation account we saw that God worked six days and rested one. Jesus too did work when he was on this earth. Work is something that we inherit from our Father in Heaven.
Rules of The Test
Rules of The Test
God gives Adam the command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Again this was not a hard task to do. It was simple and laid out straight to Adam. The true test was the choice or the obedience to God. Now God said that by eating the fruit he would die. This is not to say that this tree is opposite of the Tree of Life, but rather it’s effects are opposite. God did not make this test an impossible test to pass.
Are there any Star Trek fans out there? In Star Trek all Star Fleet captains in training have to take a test. The test is called the Kobayashi Maru. This test is a scenario in which you can’t win, but rather it’s designed to test the character and decision making of a future captain. Well this test by God is not like that.
I don’t even think the fruit was that appealing because as we will see next week, they were tempted and tricked by the serpent to eat it.
Jesus said that His yoke is easy and his burden is light, and so in both Adam’s work as well as obedience, these were not meant to be a burden.
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
So God gave Adam another job and that was to name the animals. It appears that this work that God had for Adam to do was a temporary job and it was also to teach Adam something. Notice that God said it’s not good that man should be alone, so then he brought the animals to him. Animals cannot make a suitable helper because Adam was given dominion over them. This is why God chose to make him a helper that is human that is just like Adam, so lets read how he formed Eve.
Well let’s wrap up the chapter.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 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.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Well this is tempting to call this the first surgical procedure. It’s interesting to me that before the development of anesthesia, people must have thought this verse was strange. To us today however, this is normal to think that God would put Adam to sleep before doing this even though he has complete power to it without making Adam fall asleep.
The Hebrew word for rib can also be translated as side but every Bible translation that I looked at preferred the word rib. Some commentators have suggested that side is a better translation because it’s probably speaking of DNA out of Adam. However I found a interesting article in the American Journal of Hematology stating that Ribs can actually grow back after their removal if they are removed with care. Another fascinating thing about the ribs is that they produce Stem Cells which can be used to regrow human tissue. Now isn’t that fascinating that several thousand years after the fact, we now discover that what God said about taking Adam’s rib actually makes complete Biblical sense? With that said, it’s still a miracle of God’s creation in the first place because he put the DNA and the Stem cells there in the first place.
After God brings Eve to Adam, look how he responds in verse 23. Eve is not special to Adam because she is a woman, but because she is literally part of him, created from his flesh and bone. As we saw Adam naming all the animals, there was not one that was an equal to him, but now there is an equal to him.
This is the first marriage, in fact we see that God has given us the definition of marriage here in the scriptures.
A man is suppose to leave his parents and start a new family with his wife. The Hebrew word for wife is the same Hebrew word for woman. It’s translated wife, because it’s implied by it’s usage. So marriage is between one man and one woman. The Bible doesn’t give us any other formula for marriage.
They are to become one flesh meaning that they are to operate as one being and no longer two individuals. Flesh of flesh denotes that the marriage is not meant to separate because there is a permanent bond made.
Now this last verse 25 is actually setting us up for the fall of man in the next chapter, the original sin. What we see here is that God is showing us their innocent nature, it’s a healthy form of being naive. This is what they know, there is no shame in their nakedness because they do not “know” evil yet.
Think about a young toddler running around naked. Have you ever seen a young child that is ashamed to be naked? I can’t say that I have, in fact we often laugh because they could literally care less. There is no shame for them to experience because of their innocence and naive nature.
So in closing. In today’s teaching we saw God worked to create both man and woman. We saw how God gave Adam the job of attending the Garden and naming the animals. And even as precious as marriage is, the joining of two people into one, marriage itself still takes work. So what work is God urging you to do, or to improve at? Is it your job? Is it your marriage or is it your parenting? Or are you resisting a fresh work that The Holy Spirit is wanting to do in you?
I firmly believe if you get this work right the rest will fall into place. And that’s this: Seek God and his righteousness first of all in your life and you will be a successful worker in what ever God calls you into. But remember God has to be first, God has to sit on the throne.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Let’s stand and pray.