“In the beginning God…” Right off the bat, there is God…without origin, without explaining why we should believe He exists, just “here He Is, before anything else.” While it may seem at first that there could be some undefined amount of time between the first verse’s, “God created the heavens and earth” and everything else being created, Exodus 20:11 tells us that, “…in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them…”
“Let Us make man in Our image…” Up until this point, the word translated “God” was in plural form but the word “create” was singular in reference to the one committing the action. We find out in the New Testament that everything was created by the Son for the Father (Hebrews 1:10, Colossians 1:16–17, 1 Corinthians 8:6) and here in the second verse we have the Holy Spirit right there in the midst of it all.
Genesis 2, starts out with God resting on the seventh day from six days of creation, but an omnipotent (all-powerful) God has no need of rest. The word translated “rest” here (“shabath” [H7683], pronounced shaw-bath’), which carries more the connotation of “to sit back and stop working for a while” (and is is the basis for the word “sabbath”). The idea here is that there’s more to life than working and that you should take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The next few verses go into more detail on the creation of people. Genesis 2:19 may seem to have a different order, but the point here is that, like Adam, all creatures were created from dust (see verse 7) and the animals all had mates created out of that same dust. Adam, on the other hand, didn’t have a mate yet, so God showed him his need (and desire) for a mate by bringing all the animals (with their mates) before him to name them. Then, God created Adam’s helpmate, Eve, from him (rather than from the dirt).
Genesis 3, tells us that some time later, Satan comes along in the form of a serpent and talks them into breaking God’s one rule for them. Satan craftily twists around their God-given freedom in order to exaggerate the limitation (e.g., from “you can eat from any tree, except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” to “you can’t eat from ANY tree?!?”). The part in Eve’s response about not touching it could have been added by Adam as a safety precaution or it’s just a misquote, but by this point, Satan turned, “you will surely die” into, “you surely will NOT die.”
While Satan is renown for lying, he usually masks the lies in half-truths. I think here he markets on their ignorance of death by focusing on the fact that they wouldn’t be struck dead immediately, but sidestepping the fact that they would begin the process of dying and make death available from that point forward. More so than that, he had them focus on the seeming benefits, which in a sense is to be smarter, more powerful, and more like someone they look up to…not unlike his tactics today.
Regardless of the excuses, God delves out the punishments to each (from the root out), because each was still responsible for their own sin (despite any trickery involved). Adam already had to work the land, but now it would be tiresome. Eve would already have childbirth, but now there would be much greater pain. As many know, Satan’s punishment is a prophecy about Christ, but he is also told that he’ll eat dust. People and animals were made from dust, and Satan preys upon them through possession, consuming them in many metaphysical senses. Finally, they are kicked out of the garden, so that they don’t have access to the Tree of Life. Not to spoil it, but at the end of the Bible, we find the saved in the presence of God, in an Eden-like paradise, with the Tree of Life in the midst…fully restored by Christ!
Tomorrow’s reading for the Bible in a year: Genesis 4–6