Studies in Genesis 2
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4 ESV)
From Genesis 2:4 though the end of Scripture God tells the history of Man created in His image.
When God speaks of the “generations” of His creation He is not talking about seasons and years and specific times and rhythms of nature. He established these rhythms on the fourth day of creation when He set the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. He is talking about the successive “generations” of people, who live and breathe and reproduce and then die. “Generations” means descent, family, or family history and genealogy, is a noun and plural and feminine and is used 39 times in the Hebrew Scripture to give an historical account of a family’s history. Genesis 2:4 is the first time the word is used (see also Genesis 5:1 and 6:9). “Generation” is a name for a group and the related successive groups in their entirety. As a feminine noun, it denotes a successive line of people born through the natural reproductive cycle.
God uses the phrase “heavens and earth” and then reverses it to the “earth and the heavens” to denote, not the totality of creation but the created space-time reality of those people that live, breathe, reproduce and die. God’s heavens and earth, as non-living, material stuff, exists from a beginning, brought into existence by Him, until an ending, through an expanse of time beyond comprehension. The material of the heavens and earth does not live, breathe or reproduce, and as such, cannot die. Heaven and earth will cease to exist, but that which does not live cannot die.
“Created” is the same word used throughout Genesis 1. God spoke and brought into existence all material stuff, ex nihilo, out of nothing. He then took that stuff and began forming, or creating, all which now exists, including that which has life and that which is not alive. God also uses the same word for “day” here that He uses throughout Genesis 1-2:3. Here the word “day” cannot mean a literal 24 hours, for He includes all He created on days three through six in this one day.
Finally, God gives Himself a more complete name. He is “LORD God.” LORD is the Hebrew word YHVH. The Hebrew language does did not have vowels. Scholars have added the vowels to the word, using the vowels from adonai, and transliterated it “Jehovah,” a word so ingrained in the modern Western evangelical mind people believe that is how it has always been written and pronounced. Yet, Hebrew writers considered God, and His name, so holy, they would not pronounce it, but would instead say adonai or “LORD.”
Yehova eloheem means God, the self-existent One. He is responsible for all of creation, having brought all into existent through divine fiat, for His purpose, according to His will, with His design and function. He names Himself. Eternity does not have a dimension as we could know or comprehend. Nor can those who are finite know or comprehend God, the Eternal. We can know what He reveals to us about Himself because we are in His image. From the beginning of the history of Man, to its end and into eternity, God reveals Himself to those who are His as the ultimate and only authority.