Genesis 2:4-7 – Relationship Part 1
Did you know there was no such thing as rain before the flood!! Somehow the ground was watered in some way without rain!
I imagine the climate after the creation and before the flood was radically different than after the flood. We could get into a whole lot of scientific speculation about all this, but we will stick to what the scriptures say and not go outside that realm.
There has been and will continue to be many things we will cover that: either we didn’t know before, or, if we look at the scriptures with no speculation and predispositions, will cast a new light on the actual context of what the scriptures say to us by themselves.
So, after the cosmic awesomeness of Genesis 1:1-2:4, this text focuses on human persons as the glory and central problem of creation.
Thorton Wilder called them: “The Children of the 8th day.”
Creation is finished and the Sabbath is celebrated as a sign of the new life. The destiny of the human being is to live in God’s world, with God’s other creatures, on “God’s terms!”
Put yourself in Adams shoes for a minute! How difficult is it for us to assimilate when we are thrown into completely different circumstances? When we move to a new city or state where we don’t know anyone and has unique sub-cultures. Or, as a missionary we go into a completely foreign country where everything is radically different.
So, imagine what Adam was feeling when all of a sudden, he WAS. Wow!
I also want to say that, by a clear reading of this text, the verses here do not signify a whole different story and creation of man than was stated in Chapter 1. This is not a second parallel creation, rather a more intense reflection upon what was laid out in chapter 1.
In chapter 1, God stated in 1:27 that He “created man in His own image;” and now He gives some details on how the body and spirit of man came into being.
Here “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” I can only imagine what infinite detail He made each molecule, the cells of every organ; adjusted them together; planned the strength, the texture, the color, the glands, every tiny magnificent detail in the million wonders of the human body.
(How many of you are artists in some way. Or even things like gardening, working on mechanical things, or a tinkerer?) I’m no artist, but when I have tried drawing, painting and working clay and other things in the past, or even putting car models together, I know how much I focused and made sure every detail was just right. God formed us (Personally and lovingly) out of the dust of the earth!
Here there is no foolish talk about man’s struggle up through the centuries, trying to climb out of beasthood into manhood. God formed man.
Then God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul - a soul destined for Heaven or Hell, to live forever somewhere.
Man in the image of God?! That means we have an immortal soul and that soul goes on forever! Before the image of God in man was marred by sin, Adam shared in a pure and undefiled way all the communicable attributes of God (the qualities of the divine nature that are capable of being reflected in creatures). These would include holiness, wisdom, goodness, truth, love, grace, mercy, longsuffering, and righteousness. And it was not merely Adam who bore the image of God, but the woman did also - as well as their offspring! This fact is reflected in Gen. 1:26 - “let Us make man in Our image...; let THEM have dominion.” Notice He said “them!” This is the noun meaning “Man.” It clearly refers not only to Adam, but to ALL of humanity.
And the rest of scripture affirms this. Gen. 9:6 forbids all acts of murder, “for in the image of God He made man.” And James 3:9 forbids us even to curse any fellow human being, because they “have been made in the likeness of God.” This truth that all of humanity was made in the likeness of God is the starting point for a biblical understanding of the nature of man. It explains our spiritual accountability. It reveals the very essence of the meaning and purpose of human life.
But, above all, the image of God can be summed up by the word: PERSONHOOD. We are persons. Our lives involve relationships. We are capable of fellowship. We are able to love other persons in a Godlike sense. We understand communion. We have conversations. We have an amazing capacity for languages. We know what it is to share thoughts, to convey and discern attitudes, give and take friendship, to feel a sense of brotherhood, communicate ideas, and participate in experiences with others. Animals cannot do these things in the same sense people can.
That is why when God created man He immediately said that it was not good for man to be alone.
The image of God is personhood, and personhood can function only in the context of relationships. Most important, man was designed to have a personal relationship with God. And this takes us back to Gen. 1:26. When God said: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness,” He signified that He Himself is a God of relationships. And He created us in His own likeness so that we could enter into a relationship with Him!
Next week, in part 2, we will dig deep into two things: What does it mean to have a relationship with God/Jesus, and why do we even need it?
Editor's Note: Every Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.