The Special Creation of Man
September 12, 1999 | Andy Davis
Covenants, Man as Male and Female, Gender & Sexual Identity, Marriage and Parenting
I’d like to ask that you take your Bibles and turn in them to Genesis chapter 2. We're going to be looking this morning at the second chapter of Genesis in our study in the first 12 chapters of Genesis. And as we come to the second chapter, perhaps even more than in the first chapter, we come to a seat, or a hotbed, of controversy. In this chapter, more clearly revealed than anywhere else in Scripture, we get a description of the special creation of man, of male and female in the image of God and of the work that they were given to do. And as a result, we are brought head-to-head or face-to-face with one of the great lies that Satan has ever perpetrated on human race. Namely, the lie of evolution.
The Evolution Debate
Now, I've studied a great deal about evolution. I've constantly had to wrestle with it. Early in my Christian life when I was talking to people who were training me how to do evangelism, and they're saying, “You've got to watch out for these red herrings that people throw out, they'll throw out things like, ‘Well, what about the dinosaurs? What about the flood? What about evolution?’” And you're supposed to kind of ignore those and stick to the Gospel. But I think that's a mistake, especially in the era that we're living in now.
I think that people genuinely have grown up not knowing the Lord in our generation. They don't really know what to think about their creation, about their lives. I think there have been many weeds that have grown up in understanding. There are false arguments that Satan has set up, and it is our job as Christians to clear them away. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. We do not fight with the weapons of this world, on the contrary, we wage war with spiritual weapons. We are working against arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of Christ, and we are ready to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Jesus Christ.” And so what that means is that we have to go out with knowledge, with insight and be able to give an answer for the reason of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. We should be able to answer this lie of evolution. Now, where did the whole idea of evolution come from?
Well it began, of course, with Charles Darwin. On December 27th, 1831, a young British naturalist, Charles Darwin, set foot on the HMS Beagle, he was going to be a naturalist on that voyage. They sailed south. They went to the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa, and then to the Galapagos islands off the coast of South America. He studied the flora and fauna there, the vegetation, the animal life, and he made some notes, some observations, and his theory started to germinate. But I think the real issue for Darwin happened before he ever got on board the Beagle. You see, Darwin was studying to be an Anglican minister. Perhaps you didn't know that, but he was to have been a clergyman. And as he wrestled with the truths of our faith, he came more and more to doubt them, came more and more to doubt Christianity. And this is what he wrote in his autobiography, he said, “Disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but at that point,” namely when he is training to be a minister, “disbelief had become at last complete, I can hardly see how anyone could wish Christianity to be true. I can hardly see how anyone could wish Christianity to be true, for if so, my father, my brother, almost all my best friends will be everlastingly punished, and this is a damnable doctrine.”
That's what Darwin wrote and that's before he ever set foot on the Beagle. And this is a remarkable thing, when you look at that. He had rejected Christianity, rejected the Gospel, rejected the idea of a sovereign God before whom we must give an account, and was open to something, looking for something, and as he studied the flora and fauna on these islands. An idea popped up in his mind and in November of 1859, he published his book, famous book, The Origin of the Species,. While he said nothing about the descent of man at that point, it came later in 1872. The whole ground work had been laid for that and later, he came out openly with his doctrine of the evolution of man. Now, early on, the debates and the arguments with evolution where amongst basically fossil hunters. People said there's no evidence, nothing supports this, it's just a theory, and so they were constantly looking for fossils, looking for Darwin's missing link. By the way, there shouldn't be just one missing link, there should be a whole bunch of them, actually thousands of them, if there's a steady evolution from one species to the other. We shouldn't be lacking data, but they were looking for a missing link, they thought they found it in 1924 in a cave in South Africa in the Taung region.
There's a limestone cave there, and they found a skull there, and a brain capsule, and they brought it to a professor, Raymond Dart. And he worked on it, and out came this little skull came to be known as The Taung Child, by their dating techniques estimated between one and two-million-years-old. This supposedly was the missing link. What's really strange about all this is that 12 years later, in searching for more fossils in this area, a zoologist and physiologist Robert Broom, who would eventually find some more fossils, a very significant man in the whole development of this discussion of evolution, he wanted to see The Taung Child, this skull, and so he contacted Raymond Dart. Raymond Dart invited him over, and when he saw the skull, this fossilized skull, he knelt down and paid it homage. He worshiped it. Now, this is really striking, isn't it? Because this is exactly the same thing that the Apostle Paul said in Romans Chapter 1, he said, “Professing to be wise, they became fools and began to worship idols.” And then in Romans 1:25, it says, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things more than the Creator who is forever praised, Amen.”
The Scopes Monkey trial
That's exactly what Robert Broom was doing there, kneeling down before a fossilized skull, giving it homage and worshipping it. Around the same time that the Taung skull was discovered, in Dayton, Tennessee there was a very famous trial, the Scopes Monkey Trial. Many of you perhaps have heard of that. There were many laws on the books back then against teaching evolution, he defied it and taught evolution. It got picked up as a famous case by the ACLU, they sent Clarence Darrow, who was the best trial lawyer of the day to defend Scopes. William Jennings Bryan, who had been one of the number one spokesmen for fundamentalism came. He saw it as a kind of a Daniel in the lion's den kind of thing, and he wanted to really argue for the Bible. But he was ill-equipped to do so. He was not a good debater. And in the end, it turned out to be a debacle, an embarrassment for Bible-believing Christians, and I believe that we have been reeling ever since in terms of popular culture. Modernism, obviously won that day. Fundamentalism was seen to be backwards, ignorant, people who had their heads in the sand and were simply unable to deal with scientific information. That attitude has continued even up to our present day. A few weeks ago, there was a cover article in Time magazine, I actually have it with me here. How many of you saw this? It was on the news stands.
We see this all the time, every 24 months or so, Time will do something like this, as though something spectacular or something new has been found. All they find are a few more bits of bone, and they put it together with some plastic, recreate the skull, and this is supposed to be a significant finding. You read the article and you find that really there's nothing all that new what they're finding. But they need to keep this evolution thing going, and they keep it on the cover of Time magazine.
Gould’s two basic arguments
What's really interesting though, inside the article is a little opinion piece done by Stephen Jay Gould. Now, Stephen Jay Gould is a professor at Harvard of geology. He's probably the number one spokesman in America today for evolution, and this is what he writes, he said, “Teaching biology.”.. now, by the way, he's talking right here about the whole issue of Kansas Board of Education which has voted to stop teaching evolution in schools and as a result, he's decrying this and lamenting it and saying we've taken a step backwards and we really need to do what we can to keep making progress here, and so he's very upset about this, and he says, “Teaching biology without evolution is like teaching Chemistry without the periodic table, or American History without Lincoln.”
And then he says that the struggle between evolution and religion is completely unnecessary. No scientific theory, including evolution, can pose any threat to religion for these two great tools of human understanding operate in completely different realms, complementary, not contrary, but in completely separate realms. Science as an inquiry about the factual state of the natural world and religion as a search for spiritual meaning and ethical values. Now there's two basic ideas in Gould's article there, number one, that evolution is not simply a scientific theory, but it's absolutely indisputable fact. And number two, that evolution and Christianity are not mutually exclusive at all, but they really can co-exist together if we would just understand them properly.
Evolution is more a faith than a science
Thoughtful Christians should reject both of those premises, both of them. Evolution must be accepted by faith every bit as much as creation. There are huge gaps in the fossil record that they have trouble explaining. Probably the biggest problem with the whole evolutionary framework is that no one really knows how life came to be to begin with. How do you go from non-biologically active chemicals to DNA and all these incredibly complex things. Where did that come from? How did it work? And furthermore, why isn't there more evidence in the fossils? Why so many gaps in the fossil record? Why just bits of bone here and there? There are real significant scientific problems with evolution. But also we have to say as believing Christians, and we have to come to the conclusion that evolution and Bible-based Christianity are mutually exclusive, and the key chapter is Genesis 2. For in Genesis 2, we see evidence, or data, that cannot be reconciled with evolution, specifically in the fact that there was a period of time in which Adam was alone and that there was no female.
That's impossible with evolution. And we have to come to grips with that. We cannot have both. I think there's this idea of theistic evolution, trying to grab what you can from science and from the Bible and put it all together. You’re going to have to make a choice, because the Bible presents Genesis 2 as fact and it's upheld by various verses as well in the New Testament, as we will see.
The Special Creation of Man
Was Genesis 2 merely some kind of moral allegory? Some kind of moralistic story that we're not supposed to get any data from? Or is it really fact? Did it really happen that way? Well, Jesus in Matthew 19 and His teaching on divorce, quotes from Genesis 2, and quotes from it as if it were literal history. And talking about divorce, He says, Haven't you read... this is in Matthew 19:4 and following, “Haven't you read that at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female, and the creator said, for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. What God has therefore joined together, let man not separate.”
Was this merely an allegory? A parable to Jesus? Absolutely not. And then the Apostle Paul says very plainly in 1 Timothy 2:13, “For Adam was formed first and then Eve.” And then in 1 Corinthians 11:8, he says, “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man.” And so, these statements make absolutely no sense if evolution is true, you have to throw them out, you have to make a choice. So out with theistic evolution and also with the idea that Stephen Jay Gould says that science and religion operate in totally separate realms, they do not. I believe that God created us, as I said last week, to be scientist worshippers of Him, to give glory and praise and honor to his name by using our intellect, our minds. That which was given to us is created in the image of God to find what God has done in this world and to worship him for it.
So now, let's look a little bit more carefully at the text of Scripture itself. I really wish all I ever had to do is just go through the Bible, but sometimes you need to discuss these things, and there is so much evidence more that I would love to share with you. A number of you took me up on that offer and I wrote an email this week about it. If you'd like to know more about why I think that evolution is a bad option, scientifically, talk to me, but we want to focus this morning on the word of God and talk about it.
Genesis 1 and 2: A contradiction?
Now, when we come to Genesis 2, having just read Genesis 1, we also run into a problem with the text of Scripture as well, there seems to be somewhat of a contradiction between the account in Genesis 1 and in Genesis 2. For example, in Genesis 1:26, it says that God said, let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule, etcetera. In verse 27, it says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created him male and female, He created them.” Now, the idea you might get from that is that male and female were created at the exact same time.. It doesn't say that, but it does say that male and female were created definitely both in the image of God and both were to rule over creation as co-laborers for the glory of God. But then when you get to Genesis 2, it seems like there's some kind of a different account here. We get the earth kind of waiting for man, and there's no shrubs and then there's no rain, and then it just seems like a different account. And then man was formed up out of the clay and then the woman comes in later, and it seems contradictory. And that idea comes also from the fact that the word for God in Genesis 1 is different than the word used for God in Genesis 2.
Genesis 1, we've got the word Elohim, and in Genesis 2, you've got Yahweh Elohim, which we translate in most English versions, “the Lord God.” And so some German theologian said, well there must be two different authors, and we've got two different accounts here, and they contradict one another. Well, not at all.
How many of you have atlases in your car or road maps like Rand McNally or something like that, that you drive with when you're driving around? Most of you do. Now, if you were to look at the map of a state, let's say of North Carolina, you would see the whole state, on maybe left and right page. But then you'd see these little rectangles inside perhaps of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary and they're blown up, aren't they? Because it's an urban area with lots of streets, and they want to give you more information about how to get in and out of the Triangle. Or the same is true of New York City. You'll have a map of the state of New York and then a blow-up of New York City. Maybe many blow-ups because the city is so large. I think that's what's going on here in Genesis 1 and 2. In Genesis 1, we get the big picture of all creation. The six days of creation, the seventh day, God resting, we get the description of man created in the seventh day, male and female, both in the image of God,. But then we get more detail in Genesis 2, more information, not contradictory at all. There's not a single statement you could find in Genesis 1 that contradicts Genesis 2.
The point is, we're getting more detail now, we're understanding a little bit more carefully how it occurred. Now let's look at these verses a little more carefully and try to find out what God says to us. In verse 4, Genesis 2:4, it says, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the Earth and the heavens, and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plan of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not yet sent rain on the earth, and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.” Let's stop there, even though we're right in the middle of a sentence, let's just stop there.
This is a little bit of a prologue, setting the scene to the special creation of man. Now, the very first statement here in verse 4, it says, this is the account of the heavens, or these are the generations of the heavens, etcetera. We get that phrase repeated again and again in the Book of Genesis. Scholars have noted that this is a way of organizing the entire book of Genesis, you get it. The word generations mean these are the things that issued forth from usually related to a man and his lineage. In this case, it's this is what issued forth from or, this is what came from the earth.
So we get heaven and earth's generations in chapter 2:4. In chapter 5:1, you get Adam's generations, of how everything that came from Adam, that's a genealogy. And then in chapter 6, we get Noah's generations. Chapter 10, Shem, Ham and Japheth who were Noah's sons. And then 11 it focuses in a little more carefully on Shem, and then chapter 11 also we look at Terah. Chapter 25, we get the generations of Ishmael and also of Isaac, and then chapter 36 of Isa and 37 of Jacob. So we get this repeated phrase, “these are the generations of.” And I think what happens is we have various accounts and they're all put together completely by Moses, one after the other.
Now it says at that point that the earth was not yet fully developed. Now, this shouldn't surprise us, there's no contradiction. We know on the third day, there were these shrubs... I mean, these plants and vegetation were created, but I think that the words used here are different, these are a special kind of vegetation that takes cultivation, it takes agriculture, and it says specifically that there was no man at that point to work the earth. God had left a lot of work for us to do, a lot of development had yet to be found, and he was going to be guiding us through that, but at that point, everything's just waiting for man. Now, if you had been able to go back in time and see the world at that point, I think it would look familiar, but different to you in some ways. There has since that time been a cataclysmic worldwide flood. There's a lot of changes, I don't think you could find, for example, the four rivers that are mentioned here in their same location, now things have moved around, but it's obviously very similar to what we expected. But the point is that the earth is waiting and it's ready for the special creation of man, and that comes in verse 7.
In Verse 7, it says that “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” So here we have the combination of an earthly being with a spiritual being. We are both earthly or earth-like, and we are also spiritual, and in this way, we are unique. Now, in what way are we earthly or earth-like? It says that God took the dust... I think a better translation would be clay. There was a sense of moisture, and he worked with the clay and made it into Adam's body. How strange does that sound? Sounds like a mythological account, but actually, when I was a student in the Boston area, I worked as a volunteer one summer at the Boston Museum of Science. And there they had an exhibit, or a display in a glass case, and it had the outline of a man, just the outline and trace of a man, and inside there were a bunch of bottles, and the bottles held chemicals, and basically what it was is what we would be if we had no water in us. If you took the 60 percent of water out of us, you'd have a bunch of stuff left and what would it be? And it's fascinating, as you look at it, it's all a bunch of minerals and a bunch of things you'd find in mines on the earth.
For example, there's trace elements and other minerals: Zinc, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur and iron. There's lipids and nucleic acids, and other things that are found and very much tied to the earth from which we were derived. So there's nothing strange or bizarre about this idea of God forming us from the dirt or from the dust of the earth. But that's not all. See, beasts also were formed from the ground, but God took and breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, God alone can make inanimate things living. Life comes from God. Anyone who studies microbiology or any of this a little more carefully sees there's just no way that life could have evolved without the hand of God. Life comes from God and he breathes into Adam the breath of life, but that's not all. We've already learned from Genesis 1 that man is created in the image of God, and this way we're distinct from all creation.
Now remember when Jesus entered into Jerusalem, he said, If the children, if they would all remain silent, the rocks and the stones would praise God, and they do praise God, but they're inanimate, they do not praise God intelligently. They praise God just by their mere existence. Water praises God, the air praises God. The sun and moon and the stars, they praise God as well, just by their existence. Beasts praise God and vegetation as well, but not intelligently. But we were created in the image of God so that we might worship our Creator intelligently. So that we might render to him a sacrifice of praise, and that makes us distinct from the earthy creations around us.
We're also distinct from the angels. Now the angels, they worship God, they worship God intelligently, do they not? They offer to God a sacrifice of praise. But what do they lack? They lack an earthy body, and so we are a combination creation, both earthy and spiritual.
Now, the fact that Adam was made earthy shows, and we'll get to it in a minute, that he was somewhat on probation. Probation. He could not eternally be earthy for it says in 1 Corinthians 15:50, "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." And so Adam was formed perishable, he was formed fleshy, and he was put on probation as we will talk about in a moment. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, he gives us eternal life, transforms our mortal body so that they will be like his glorious body, eternal and ready for the kingdom of heaven. But Adam was both earthy and he was spiritual.
The Earth: Adam’s Workshop and Throne Room
Now we come to the earth itself, the earth was Adam's workshop, and it was his throne room. And it's described here in verse 8 and following, it says, "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east in Eden, and there he put the man he had formed, and the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow up out of the ground, trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river, watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there it was separated into four head waters. The name of the first is the Pishon, it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good, aromatic resin and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is the Gihon, it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates."
So here we get a description of some of the geology in the lay of the land where Adam was placed. We talk about Eden, there's a garden called Eden, and in that garden, he placed these special trees. He's providing... He's providing for Adam. Now, Adam was to work together with God. There was to be work for Adam to do, as we mentioned last week. Adam was created in the image of God and he was given labor to do. He and his wife together were to fill the earth, to subdue it, they were to rule over it, they were to work it. There was work for him to do. And so this is so beautiful, as we mentioned last week in John 5:17, Jesus, when he came to earth, he said, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." The labor between the Father and the Son, and I get that same picture with Adam in this beautiful perfect world that he was living in, he was to have labored with his Heavenly Father.
Now in what sense is Adam the son of God? Well, it says openly so in Luke 4 in Jesus' genealogy. It says that Adam was the son of God. He is not God the Son, that's Jesus Christ, but he was a created being in the image of God, and he was to work together with his Heavenly Father doing work. It's so beautiful. In John 5:19, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself, but he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does." So Adam was to set out with the Father and do this work on the earth.
Now, in my research I came across a marvelous verse which I think beautifully marries together a relationship with God and the scientific investigation we were supposed to have done on the earth. Look, if you would, over in Isaiah 28:23 and following. In Isaiah 28, Isaiah here is talking about various things, and I'm not going to talk about the context, but I want to focus in on the agricultural language used here and God's relationship with it. In Isaiah 28:23, Isaiah says, "Listen and hear my voice. Pay attention and hear what I say. When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?" Verse 25, "When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field?" Now, this electrifying verse, verse 26, "His God instructs him and teaches him the right way." In other words, Adam wasn't born knowing a thing. He didn't know how to do agriculture, he didn't know how to plant a certain type of plant, or what this seed would produce or that seed. God would instruct him and teach him how to do it.
And not just with agriculture, but with all things; how to get iron out of iron, ore out of rocks perhaps, and make metal. Anything. And I believe that anyone who studied science has seen how God has, throughout history, given us little nudges, helped us along the way. A lot of medications came that way, where somebody didn't have any idea and insight would come to them and they would try something. And I believe that God has nourished them and nurtured science all along the way, and yet it's turned its back on God, and sought to destroy the knowledge of God. And yet here is God instructing us and teaching us the right way. It describes some more detail, it says, "Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, cart wheel rolled over cumin. Caraway is beaten out with a rod, cumin with a stick, grain must be ground to make bread, so one does not go on threshing it forever, though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it, his horses do not grind it."
Verse 29, "All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel, magnificent in wisdom." Isn't that great? God instructs us in technology. Turn back to Genesis 2. As Adam was going to move through this world, he was going to be side-by-side with his Heavenly Father, and his Father is going to instruct him and teach him what to do with vegetation, with all aspects of this world that he had made, all the minerals and the spices and the rich soil. In verse 15, it says that the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden, and it says that he was put there to work it and to take care of it.
Now, how many of you believe that work came after the fall? I used to think that. I used to think that work came as a result of sin. Sin enters the world and death, and right after death came work. That's why when I was a child, I used to think that way. Sometimes I think that I still have had the same opinion that work is something from the curse, but actually work is a gift from God. It's a gift from God. And there it was in Genesis 2 that Adam had a creative work to do, the world was his workshop and he was to work at it. And he was to discover and marvel at what God had placed in this world. And then back at 2:14, as we mentioned last week, it says, "The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." And so Adam was to fill the world with a knowledge of God's glory, but the earth was also gonna be Adam's throne room.
Realize that Adam, and male and female both, when she was created, she would be his helper suitable for him. Together they would rule over the physical world. So it was a throne room for Adam. He was to fill the earth and subdue it. But what's so beautiful here is the picture of servant leadership we get. In verse 15, it says that Adam was to work the earth and take care of it. There was a sense of nurturing of the soil of the earth and also of the animals. Later in this chapter, in verse 19, it says, "The Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. And he brought them to the man to see whatever he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature that was its name, so the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air, and all the beasts of the field." That's a creative labor. Really kind of an interpretive labor. He's looking at each of these creations, elephant or zebra, or lion or iguana, or whatever, and he's seen what they are, and he's interpreting and giving a name. And also there's a sense that he is in authority over these animals by giving names to them and so, he is a king. But yet his rule over the earth is not absolute, is it?
For there in verse 16 and 17, it says, "The Lord God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden," Verse 17, "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die." So here we come to the limitations of Adam's sovereign rule, so to speak, over the earth. Adam must bow the knee to a sovereign God who created him. Adam must acknowledge that God has authority over him and that he's not free to do just anything he wants in this earth. And in this way, Adam was put on probation, he was being tested. Now, God knew that this probation would not last forever, he would actually bring it to a crisis, to a point, a point of judgment in Genesis 3, when the serpent came to test him, and with this tree, this tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and also with the tree of life came covenant curses and covenant blessings.
Adam’s probation: The Sacred Trees
Now, a covenant is an agreement between two or more persons, and there was an agreement between Adam that he would fill the earth and subdue it, but that he would not disobey his Lord. And so there was this tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we'll talk about that a little bit more next week. But then there's also this tree of life. Now, tree of life was the covenant blessing. The covenant curse was the threat of death, but the covenant blessing was that of eternal life. In Genesis 3:22 of that tree, God says he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.
Now, what of these trees? We don't believe in magic. We don't believe that there was anything within the leaves or the fruit of that tree that transformed anything. It was just under the providence of God, he focalized the test on these trees. He said, "You can do this, but you may not do that." And so it wasn't so much that there was something within the fruit that transformed anything, it was just that when they ate of that fruit, there was a judgment that came from God. And so he had ordained it, so we don't believe that these are in any way, magic trees. But yet, this tree of life shows up again in Revelation chapter 22, it says, "The angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal flowing down from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. And on each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." Anyone who has believed in Jesus Christ will partake of the tree of life, eternal life, given only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Woman: Man’s Indispensable Co-Worker
Now, in the rest of the chapter, we are dedicated to the creation of woman. In verses 18 through 25, we get the final gift that God gives to man, the indispensable co-laborer, a woman. In verse 18, it says, "The Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." So here's Adam and he's alone. And this is the first thing that God has declared in his universe to be not good. There's something in it that's not good, and so he wants to create a helper suitable for him. The original Hebrew is richness, there's a sense in which she is appropriate to him, she is matched to him well, and she used to be a helper in order to accomplish his goals and his ends.
Now in the Trinity — Father, Son and Spirit — there have been an eternity of rich fellowship. Father and Son, Son and Spirit, Spirit and Father, rich fellowship. But for Adam, there's no fellowship of a like kind, there's no fellowship with another being similar to him, and we've already been through the naming of the beasts. I think God brings in the naming at this point to underscore that fact that there is no help suitable for him. God's deepest desire was to fill the earth with his image, that the earth should be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord by image bearers who come biologically by the marriage union. That was his plan. And so the woman was indispensable to this plan, indispensable biologically, and that it was impossible for Adam to reproduce apart from the woman, she's indispensable. And she's indispensable relationally in that God said, "It's not good for man to be alone," and he wants his creation to be good.
Adam's task was to cover the whole earth with work and with worship. It was going to be tiring and exhausting, and he needed what a woman could give in order to accomplish that. So not just biologically but also relationally. She was to be his creative counterpart as one book calls her, a woman with a special unique ability to minister to him and to bless him. And what's so beautiful about this is the mutuality, and that God's plan cannot be achieved either by man alone or by a woman alone, but they must work together. In 1 Corinthians 11:11, it says, "In the Lord, however, woman is not independent from man, nor is man independent from woman." We are dependent on one another.
So we have to ask the question: Why was Adam ever alone? Was God capable of creating Adam and Eve simultaneously at the same time? Of course, he was. But he chose not to. And the thing we have to understand is, why? I think the first and most important reason is that he wanted to establish Adam as federal head of the whole human race. Adam would be tested at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and all of us would be tested through that one man, Adam. We'll discuss this more later, but in Romans chapter 5, that is the clear indication. Adam represented you and me at the tree.
Now, you may say that's not fair. We'll talk about how it is fair because any of you who has hope and salvation in Jesus Christ, you're saved the same way through one man, Jesus Christ, who died on your behalf. But that's what God chose. He wanted one man, Adam, to be the federal head or the representative of the whole human race. And also within marriage, as we get in Ephesians 5, that Adam as the first husband would be the head of the wife, and that this position is established by his prior creation. As Paul says in 1 Timothy, “Adam was formed first and then Eve.”
Now, it matters to Paul and it matters to God the order. It should also matter to us as well. But ultimately, I think that Adam was created alone to create a desire in him for her. He wanted her by the time she was created. That naming of the animals thing? He's ready for her. And when God causes that deep sleep to fall on him and she is brought to him, he is absolutely thrilled with her. And so God doing that beautiful work of preparation and getting him ready. So that's why Adam was alone.
Now, in the account of Eve's creation in verse 21, it says, "The Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh, and then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man and He brought her to the man." Now, this story has been ridiculed, it really has. Early on, I know that Clarence Darrow made fun of this. He's the lawyer that defended John Scopes in the Scopes Monkey trial, making a whole woman from a rib. Well, first of all, the Hebrew may not say rib, it may just say part or portion, or it may say rib either way. But the point is, can you make an entire human body from just one portion of another human body? Well, maybe 50 years ago, you think this was ridiculous. How many of you saw the movie Jurassic Park? Did you see that movie? Remember that movie, you remember the scientific foundation of that movie was the idea that you could make an entire dinosaur from what? From the blood that was in the mosquitoes that were locked up in the amber. Do you remember that whole thing? How can you create a whole body from just one part of a body? Well, because the genetic code for the whole body is in every cell.
Now, I talked to a friend of mine who's an expert in this, he said, "It just so happens that red blood cells don't have DNA in them, so I hope there are some white blood cells in there with the mosquitoes." But at any rate, the point is that you can create. And this is the whole basis of cloning, the idea of getting a whole human body from just one portion. Now, let me ask you a question, why did God take part of Adam's body? Why didn't he just create Eve from the dust of the ground? He could well have done that, but he wanted to create that marvelous interdependence, male and female, female and male, husband and wife united together. And so he chose to do it that way. The beauty and the perfection of the plan of God.
And then God brings them together.
God is, in this case, the divine matchmaker. Remember Fiddler on the Roof? “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match.” Remember? Do you remember what that Jewish guy said? He's constantly praying and talking to God, and as his oldest daughter and her fiance make their own wedding plans without the matchmaker, he says, "You know, I guess there really wasn't a matchmaker in the garden of Eden.” And then he stops himself and he says, "Yeah, yes, there was. And I think they have the same matchmaker, namely you, that God brought Adam and Eve together and he was the first matchmaker." But Jesus says in Matthew 19, he actually is the matchmaker for every marriage. For what God has joined together, let man not separate. Look at your spouse, think about him or her and realize that God brought you together. It's not an accident. He specially created him or her for you, and he brought you together and he created that marriage union. And Adam was so joyful at that moment. You husbands ought to go back to that moment of joy when you first met your wife and realize she might very well be the one for you and all the joy you experienced at that point.
And Adam writes a little... Or it has a little poem here, it doesn't come out as well in the English, but he just... He's so elated, he says in effect, "This at last, is bone of my bones? Flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken from man." Now, how did Adam know that? How did Adam know that she was taken from man? I think God told him, he said, "By the way, Adam, this is what I did. I caused a deep sleep to fall on you and she has been made out of a portion of your body." And so he's able to say bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. And Adam's naming is an act of husband headship, just like naming the animals with a sense of authority. But it's a whole different relationship because we have already been through the animals and there's no helper suitable. This is a whole different thing. But yet there is that headship relationship, and so he gives her the name woman. And God's intention is that they would be co-laborers together for the glory of God, and so they were. And it's so beautiful.
And then the statement here comes, "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh." Now, you ought to read Matthew 19 very carefully, Jesus said that God said this. Even though Genesis 2 doesn't say it, Jesus said the Creator made them male and female, and the Creator said this statement, verse 24, "The word of God, every word spoken by God." And so he says that marriage is to be established for all time a lasting ordinance, and so the husband and wife are naked and they feel no shame. No sin has entered to pervert their relationship. There's no power struggle. There are no arguments or conflicts. There's no division. There's just unity, there's harmony, there's perfection in their marriage. Isn't that a beautiful thing? And how much we could wish that our marriages would be as beautiful and as pure as this marriage was in Genesis 2:25.
Now, as we've looked at these verses, we have three applications, very quickly, three gifts that God gave us.
- The gift of life. Realize that your very life, the fact that you just draw a breath is given to you from God. Your life is a fragile thing, but it's been given to you as a gift from God, and you should cherish it, and you should make the most of it. You should take every single moment and use it for the glory of God. You should do work for his glory and for his honor.
- The gift of work. It’s not a curse. It's not a curse, it's a gift. And God has given us lasting labor to do, to build his kingdom by the preaching of the Gospel To encourage one another. And then to do manual labor as well to be creative as God was. Gift from God. Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work." That should be our attitude as well. In Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.”
- The gift of marriage. The gift of marriage. Now, there may be times that you would not put the word gift and the word marriage together. You might talk about a wedding gift, but you might not talk about the gift of marriage. B ut marriage is a gift. It was the foundation to human society, the first institution set up. The church, government, everything else had to wait for marriage, marriage comes first. And where in a society the marriages are healthy, then the society is healthy. And when their marriages, there's division and dissension and trouble and difficulty, society becomes sick. And why? Because the health and the future of the country, the future of the society, depends on that marriage union and the godly children that are raised up in it. Marriage is a gift.
And what we need to do is get back to this, we have been brought back to even to some degree, through the blood of Jesus Christ. We can have this kind of marriage as we counteract our own sin nature, as we realize that through the death of Jesus Christ and through his resurrection, these gifts: The gift of life, the gift of work and the gift of marriage, have all been sanctified for his glory.