Tag Archives: Earth

River Eden

Studies in Genesis 2

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. (Genesis 2:10 ESV)

Eden was watered by an unnamed stream. From this stream came four named rivers. God determined the names of the rivers and tells us but He does not give us a name for the stream which watered Eden. We do not know the exact location of the Garden of Eden nor of the rivers God mentions.

God, created the universe and the Earth to operate within specific laws, obviously placed the Garden of Eden high in altitude. The stream He used to water the Garden was the headwaters for four rivers. We cannot know for certain but the stream probably began as a spring or series of springs gushing out of the side of a mountain, growing as other streams merged with it finally breaking off into four directions. With this stream God watered the entire Garden.

“Watered” means to drink or irrigate. Every living creature, whether flora or fauna, needs water to survive and flourish. On the second and third day of creation God made an atmosphere for the planet then collected the waters on the face of the earth in low areas making oceans and seas. Yet, He also made rivers and streams to water the ground, for the next day He would create all the plants, herbs and trees. He surrounded the earth with an atmosphere and covered the earth with vegetation. While He could have easily sustained life through His will, He instead created an environment to sustain life. Most probably, the whole earth was well watered and filled with vegetable life. And the water was pure.

While God planted a Garden, a paradise named Eden, in the East, we can surmise He desired the entire planet would be a paradise. Relative to the small stature of Man, the Earth is huge, and God did not just dump Man somewhere but gave him a home. His home was filled with every kind of tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food. He had pure water to drink, delicious food, and a comfortable and beautiful home. People were blessed to fill the earth and subdue it.

Eden had physical boundaries though probably not surveyed and marked with signs that said “leaving the Garden of Eden.” Perhaps the boundaries were physical mountains surrounding a large valley with an opening through which the river flowed. We do not know and we should not allow our imaginations to dictate an unverifiable perception of reality. However, Eden was a true place with a true geography, filled with real trees and plants. An actual river flowed from Eden. God placed a real, historical Man in that Garden. Though we cannot state emphatically what Eden looked like we can use our imaginations to help us understand. Trying to imagine eternity and heaven is futile. Imagining the Garden of Eden is not because we can go to places and see and experience what may have been. Eternity is an unimaginable paradise.

As the river of Eden flowed out of the Garden it split into four rivers. God does not concentrate on Eden to the exclusion of the rest of the Earth. As the plants and animals, and especially people, reproduce, multiple and fill the Earth God readies the earth for His complete blessing.

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Man’s Home

Studies in Genesis 2

And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Genesis 2:8 ESV)

God gave the Man He created in His image a home. Though Man was given dominion over the whole planet there was a specific place that was home.

God set an area apart from the rest of the planet and established, or fixed in place, a garden. “East” or “eastward” suggests God is speaking from a fixed place on the planet and planted the garden toward the rising sun. However, the word translated “East” may also mean in front, or that which is before. Regardless, the garden is in a fixed place, with boundaries, a geography, and a specific purpose.

God names the garden “Eden” which means pleasure or paradise. God gave Man a home. “He put the man whom He formed” in the garden of Eden.

We do not know where Eden is. Many assume it is in Mesopotamia. People have tried to locate and discover the boundaries of the ancient paradise of the first Man, Adam. If we look at these words from the point of view of the Hebrews led out of Egypt by Moses, the author of Genesis, then Eden is a place of safety, peace and rest, where all their needs are met and no one is over them but God. To the East of Egypt and Israel lays a vast desert. Beyond the desert was a place of fertile soil and abundance. It is also the place from which Abraham came. Moses, trained in the courts of Pharaoh, would know this.

God’s garden is not a safe place in the sense we think of as safe, though there was no danger. Man was given dominion over creation. Adam was in control. He was not created in a dangerous place where anything could harm him. Without the knowledge of danger is there an emotion of feeling safe? Yet, he was at peace with God and the world in which he was placed. None of the animals fled from him. He was told what he could eat and was surrounded with an abundance of food.

Was the rest of the world dangerous, outside of and surrounding the garden of Eden? Probably not. Though Eden is described as a paradise it is not the only beautiful place of peace and abundance. God covered the Earth with plants, herbs and trees. He filled the sky with birds and the waters with fish and other creatures. He created the land animals and Man to rule over them all. For the first two people our Earth is huge. And the whole Earth was at peace.

God did not contain them in a garden. He gave them a home. And He told them, like He blessed all living things, to be fruitful and multiple and fill the Earth. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28 ESV). Eventually, I assume without knowing for sure, the whole Earth would have been the garden of Eden.

Principle of Separation

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 ESV)

From the beginning of creation through its end God established a principle of separation.

God separated that which is below from that which is above. He made a “firmament” which may better be translated “expanse” but which means much more than expanse.  It can mean a solid surface, a flat base or support, or the space above a solid, firm surface. On the earth it is the solid surface which supports the waters, the oceans, lakes and rivers.

God calls the expanse above the earth “Heaven” which could be simply the atmosphere which surrounds the earth and holds the gaseous waters for rain. Beyond the atmosphere the Sun, Moon and stars are placed. So, the firmament is the expanse above the earth which includes the atmosphere and everything else surrounding the earth in the universe.

God uses the word “water” five times in these two verses. “Water” does not mean the chemical compound H2O as we know water. Here, water means a liquid “juice” such as urine. It is a waste, a dangerous mixture some have called a “primordial soup.” God separated that which is good, wholesome and healthy, that which is needed to sustain life, from that which is dangerous and adverse to any and all life. Without knowing exactly how He does this it would seem He begins to strain the hazardous liquid through the atmosphere to separate that which is good for life from that which is deleterious to life.

God separates out the earth, a place which He will fill with life, from the rest of the universe. He names the atmosphere and everything beyond it just as He named the period of time of light and darkness. God separates out the chemicals needed to sustain life from those which are adverse and kill life. God separates the solid earth, a small speck of dust in a beyond imaginably vast universe, from the universe. God separates.

This principle of separation He uses from the beginning of creation through its end. He separates that which is not life or harmful to life from that which is life and sustains life.

 

The Simplicity of the Obvious

Studies in Genesis 1

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28 ESV)

Man is similar yet different than all else God has created. Man is like all other life created on Earth. Yet, Man is not like all other life on Earth.

God uses three words to describe physical humanity. Adam means Man and is used as the proper name for the first man, Adam. A masculine noun, adam means ruddy, which means red and implies a creature which is mostly hairless, having exposed skin. Adam means human and is used 393 times in the Hebrew Scripture. In Genesis, Adam, the first human, is the representative of all humans.

God then delineates between male and female. Zakkar is the male of the species (either human or animal), a masculine noun, and neqebah is the female of the species (either human or animal), a feminine noun. So, Man is the human race, both male and female. Male is used 82 times throughout the Hebrew Scripture. Female is used 18 times in the Hebrew Scripture, one time in Jeremiah 31:22 and the rest in the Pentateuch. Many other nouns are used to describe people’s gender. In Genesis chapter one these are the only nouns used.

God identifies animals according to their species and makes each species a male and a female so they can “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth. This is the blessing of God for the animals of the earth. Every animal from the sea creatures and birds of the air to Man are blessed with the ability to procreate. Actually, every living thing is given the blessing of procreation. In the physical universe, on the physical planet called Earth, every living thing can reproduce. On Earth, and by extension throughout creation, procreation demands the species be male and female.

God is neither male nor female. In the Genesis story God never identifies as either male or female. He is God. Even though the grammar and syntax of the Hebrew language classifies Elohem as a masculine noun He is not male. God identifies Man with Himself, not He with Man.

God separates out Man from all of the rest of creation. Man is the same stuff as all the animals, with similar physical characteristics. But Man is different in his given authority over all other created things on the Earth because of the image of God.

Equilibrium

Studies in Genesis 1

And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.(Genesis 1:16-18 ESV)

God created stars and planets. I am stating the obvious but we tend to ignore the reality and immensity of these objects. They are real places. They are far away. Yet, they must be there to maintain the balance of the universe.

Within close proximity to the Earth, which by the fourth day is covered in vegetation, God placed a “greater light” the Sun, “to rule the day” and a “lesser light,” the Moon, “to rule the night.” God placed the greater light in the center of the solar system with all of the planets revolving around it. He placed the lesser light an orbit near Earth.

Earth revolves once every 24 hours on its axis around the Sun. As the Earth revolves part of the planet is facing the Sun receiving its light while the other part is facing away from the Sun. This does not mean the part facing away is in total darkness. God placed the Moon, which revolves around the Earth once every 28 days, to reflect the light of the Sun. He also placed in the heavens the stars which also give light to that part of the Earth facing away from the Sun.

While the Sun emits light the Moon only reflects the light which bounces off its surface from the Sun. The Moon is a dead chunk of matter. Yet God placed it in the heavens to reflect light from the Sun onto the Earth, along with the stars, so there would not be complete darkness. He created day and night, just as He created darkness and light.

Our solar system is in equilibrium, everything placed exactly where it will provide the most stability to Earth to maintain life.

Equilibrium is a law of nature. God determined, from the creation of all matter, that His universe would balance. God made the universe stable. Even though everything in the universe is constantly moving the movement is within a system and along a path determined by God. The forces which cause movement are countered by the forces moving against the object.

Nothing God does is random or arbitrary. Everything He creates has purpose and is governed by God, the Creator.

To Know Him

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15 ESV)

We were not present during creation. We were not observing God separate the waters from the dry land and then cover the land with life. At God’s command life sprang into existence. He covered the earth with life. Each plant reproduces according to God’s predetermined will. Earth is surrounded and enveloped by light. There is no darkness.

God’s determined laws of nature are perfectly defined, fixing all existence into its specific place. He places the heavenly bodies in a perfect pattern in the firmament, in the heavens. He created an atmosphere and a wide variety of plant life placed in a perfect environment to thrive.

Our Sun is just the right size and the earth is just the right distance away to sustain life. Too close and all life burns and dies. Too far and all life freezes and dies. Our Earth revolves around the Sun, moving at the right speed, rotating on its axis at the right speed for life to live and grow and multiply. Too slow and we are flung into space and die. Too fast and we are crushed and die.

As the Earth spins on its axis and revolves around the Sun we have Day and Night, and the seasons. We see matter, space and time. God gave the means to explore our environment and His universe. He wants us to know Him by observing the evidence of His work.

Time, Days and Seasons

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15 ESV)

When God created the heavens and the earth on the first day He created matter, space and time. Yet, there was no one but Himself who understood the uses of matter, the immenseness of space and the movement of time. Everything began moving at creation and continues moving until creation ceases. Matter moves about space, filling small corners of the universe, leaving immeasurable emptiness between each chunk. Space moves. Light moves. Time moves forward.

God gave creation boundaries which only He may transcend. God set in place the physical laws of the universe which only He may suspend. All of creation in under God’s authority and government.

It is the place of government to set boundaries and implement laws. By doing what He has done God shows is authority and control over His creation. This is not wishful thinking. His laws and boundaries are absolute.

He set each star in place. Our Sun is one of those stars. He determined the heavenly bodies would be signs of the movement of time, for seasons and days and years. And that they were to give light upon the Earth, to separate light from darkness, day from night.

Day is a period of time in which there is light for growth, and heat. Night is a period of subdued but not complete darkness. For the way God created the heavenly lights there is always some light striking the surface of the Earth.