Tag Archives: Man

Blessing to Cursing

Studies in Genesis 3

And to Adam he said, … “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 ESV)

God blesses and God curses. When God created Man in His image He blessed them. To bless means to kneel before and give a gift, as a father would kneel before his child and give them something precious. Here, God creates Man in His image, for relationship with Him, and gives them control over the creatures of the earth, gives them fruitfulness to fill the earth, and gives them the work of bringing the earth under their control.

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)

When Adam rebelled against God, ignoring His specific instruction, God reversed His blessing. He turned what He had blessed into a curse. God’s blessing and God’s curses carry the eternal power of God to carry out and fulfill His decision. But, God did not take away what He had given. He still wants Man to be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it. Man’s rebellion corrupted and compromised the ability to do that for which Man was designed. God cursed the ground not Adam.

God tells Adam his work, beginning with taking care of the garden which was his home, has gone from joy to pain, from fulfilling to tedious. The word “pain” is the same word God uses to describe the pain of childbirth for his wife and all women who follow.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 ESV)

There is no comparison between the pain and sorrow of having children and that of working. For the woman, the pain is intense but short in duration. For the man, the pain is continuous and lengthy. For the woman, the sorrow of raising children is daily, until they are mature and able to have and raise their own. For the man, the sorrow of growing food attacked by weeds and thorns is a constant struggle, “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”

Life is now hard and unforgiving. Because of their rebellion, what was meant to be cared for with confidence and success now becomes tedious and frustrating. The ground will no longer yield to Adam’s direction and dominion, becoming resistant and rebellious to his direction.

The curse levied against Adam is the exact opposite of the blessing. The sentence takes away the ability to perform and function as he was originally created while leaving the image of God to draw him back to his Creator. God still desires relationship making the pain of work a tool used to draw Man to Himself.

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Man and Woman

Studies in Genesis 2

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  (Genesis 2:22 ESV)

God has given us the ability to know Him, intimately and intellectually, with the thinking of our hearts. An honest study of God will show the evidence that what He does and what He says, is true. God would cease to be god if He were capable of lying. He does not give an exhaustive explanation of His work of creation but does give people the ability to study and understand the laws upon which creation moves. These laws are as fixed in space and time as He is fixed in eternity.

We do not know why God created the first woman from the first man’s rib. We do not have an explanation for the reasoning behind any of God’s creative action. We can surmise many explanations from the rest of Scripture. Yet, none of the Scriptural explanations will answer the question of why He worked in this order. Why did God create the first man a single male without a female? Every other creature on the earth was created in pairs. The natural law of procreation demands a male and a female. For Him to wait, and then tell us it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that He would make a helper suitable for the first man, strains our desire for a plausible explanation. We want to know why.

God knows what He is doing. He has created the perfect world where all things work together. Even though Man, and the first man, was created perfect, he was obviously incomplete. Perfect does not mean complete. Perfect means having no fault or defects. The first man was created without defect. But he was not complete. God created the woman out of the flesh of the man so Man might be complete. God always finishes that which He begins.

God brought all of the animals before the first man to see what he would name them. None of the animals were designed to help man in the way he needed help, nor to be equal to man. They were subservient to him, just as he was subservient to God. Even though God brought the woman to man it was not in the same way He brought all the animals. Those came perhaps as a parade, most likely in pairs, male and female. God did not parade her before him but presented her as giving a gift, a blessing. Without the woman man would never be complete.

The woman is a helper, a companion, an equal, the other part of Man. Where once there was only a male now there is also female. With God blessing the population of Man will grow from this pair and fulfill the blessing and direction God gave when He first created Man in His image.  Yet, both, together will grow in their completion as they learn about God, about the world and universe in which they live, and about each other.

We know, because God is truthful, that He created the first man out of the dust of the ground and then created the first woman out of a piece of the first man. He gave both His image so that both would have an intimate relationship with Him. All of the people who were born of the first man and woman would also have His image. Everyone who has the image of God is designed to grow to know God both intellectually and intimately. People are also designed to help each other fulfill the purpose given them by God.

Person

Studies in Genesis 2

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:21-22 ESV)

God does something only God can do. He creates. This is not ex nihilo creation. God does not create the woman out of nothing. Instead He takes available material, the first man, whom He had fashioned from available material, dust or dirt, and makes a new person, like the first man yet at same time, unlike him. This act of creation is consistent with the description of God’s other acts of creation.

Adam, the first man, was formed from earth, or dirt. Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7 ESV) Here, the word “formed” means to squeeze into shape, or mould as a potter fashions a vessel at the wheel. It is a different word than the one used by God when He built the woman. “And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22 ESV). In this verse the word “made” means build or rebuild, or to make something continue. It does not mean to add on to an existing thing.

We cannot ignore the word of God when He created Man in His image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). God uses the same word when He created Man as He used when He created the universe, and then the sea creatures. The word “created” means to make something new that did not previously exist using either already created material or creating ex nihilo, out of nothing. Only God can create either ex nihilo or out of existing material He has already created.

The woman is not an extension of the man but one of two persons God uses to begin building the human race. It takes two, a male and a female, to make the population of people grow. Though God could fashion everyone out of the dust of the earth or from the rib of anyone, He does not work this way. He works, and fashions people according to the natural laws of procreation, in a way that requires one know another physically intimately. We are not told whether the first man knew what God was going to do to make a helper for him. As a servant of God the man would be willing to do whatever God wanted done.

God caused the man to fall into a sleep so deep he would not know the pain of the surgery performed. Taking a rib out of a person is a painful procedure. It would have been much easier for God to create the woman out of the dust of the earth. In the surgery is the act of giving oneself completely to another as an act of selfless love to both God and the woman, his helper.

Servant

Studies in Genesis 2

I will make him a helper fit for him.” … But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:18, 20 ESV)

There is an implication in the word “help” or “helper” often ignored but for which we must give an account. Man, both male and female, when created by God were given the task of dominion over the earth and all its creatures.  Neither the earth nor the creatures belonged to Man. All belonged to God. It was Man’s task to take care for the earth and its creatures for God. Now, God is fully capable of taking care of everything Himself. He does not need Man to do anything for Him. Yet, God created Man for the express purpose to grow in knowledge of Him. Man grows to know God by serving Him in the fullest capacity of the image of God given Man by doing that for which he was designed.

By taking care of the earth, having “dominion” over it, Man learns about his Creator. Man was not created to demand the earth and its creatures serve him. Man is not designed as a malevolent dictator. That is not what “dominion” means. Some have suggested “dominion” means to rule by treading upon. It is true the word for “dominion” means to tread upon or tread down, as in to dominate. These are all legitimate uses of the word in Scripture. Yet, in Genesis 1, in the context of the creation story, Man, given the image of God, acts and works toward blessing creation, especially all the creatures. To “bless” means to kneel before, as a father kneels before his child, to give a gift even when the child does not know the value of the gift.

Man was created to serve God by serving the earth and all its creatures. No where do we see Man created to be subjugated by other people. Nor do we see the earth and its creatures existing solely to serve Man. The earth and its creatures do serve Man just as Man serves God, but not by force or under compulsion. It is the inherent characteristic of Man, all men, to serve God, and to serve each other. Man was created to serve and to grow in the intimate andc complete knowledge of God.

Our ultimate example must be Christ, not Adam, the first man. When Jesus Christ came He had the morphe of both God and a Servant coming in the likeness of a man.

Though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being born in the likeness (homoiōma) of men. And being found in human form (schēma), he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-9 ESV)

Jesus had those essential characteristics and qualities which make God God and a servant a servant. He is Man as Adam was before the fall, the perfect servant while completely God.

When God creates a helper for the man it is so the man can serve the helper as the helper serves him, and so both can serve God by serving the creation for which they are responsible. To be and do anything less or other than what they were designed to do and be is inconceivable.

Help

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Gen 2:18, 20 ESV)

It was never God’s intent there be only one person working His creation on earth. He has already told us He created Man male and female. This story is not meant to teach that God instituted a hierarchy in creation with the male of the species Man having more control and authority over the female. He states He created them both in His image and equal 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” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). We cannot understand Genesis 1-3 without all of Scripture yet Genesis 1-3 could be viewed as foundational to understanding all of Scripture. God’s Word is whole, not fragmented. Jesus and Paul have much to say about the roles of Man, both male and female. I will examine their teaching, especially that of Jesus, at a later time.

God knows intimately what will happen throughout history. He does not make mistakes He has to fix by manipulating the course of history or the details of a person’s life. Those created in His image are intelligent, have a moral—emotional self and self directed will to act. They are a higher creation than the animals. God knows sin is coming to His perfect creation and will corrupt everything it touches. So He tells us, in a way we can understand, that when Man was first created He made male and female equal in His image. This is not a contestable interpretation, though some will try to devalue some of those created in the image of God.

God tells us that the woman, even though created second, is meant to help the man do that which he could not do alone. “Helper” means one who renders assistance vital to the workings of the assigned task. The Authorized Version uses the term “help meet” which means to succor, to run to support with assistance designed to relieve and deliver from want. The first man did not have the ability to do the task all by himself. Man is not designed to do that for which he is designed by alone.

What is woman supposed to help the man with? Man, the male of the species, cannot propagate the species without his counterpart. Man, as a people, cannot fulfill their God directed purpose of filling the earth and subduing it (see Genesis 1:28) if there are only males, and specifically, only one male. There must be a male and a female for there to be children. It is not the first man who will subdue the earth but the children, and the children’s children to the greatest generation that will accomplish and fulfill God’s ultimate design.

The perfect fit and match for the woman is the man and the perfect fit and match for the man is the woman.

Man Names the Animals

Studies in Genesis 2

Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every kind of bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. (Genesis 2:19-20 ESV)

To name something is to have control over that thing. God has given man dominion over all the living things on the earth. Giving names to them establishes his authority, setting him apart from them.

There are three things we can say about this. First, God knows everything, and probably has names for all things, from the stars and galaxies in the universe to the smallest particles of matter. He names the animals He creates for He has ultimate control and authority. He knows His creation intimately. Still, God tells us He wanted to see what the man would name each animal. Since man is created in the image of God, for intimacy and relationship with Him, it is not a stretch to believe the names God gave and those of the man were similar, if not the same. God wanted to “see what he would call them.”

Secondly, the first man named the animals. This shows intelligence and reasoning ability which far exceeds the creatures named. Man was not simply the authority over the animals. He was different from them. He had the image of God implanted in him. Animals and birds and fish do not have this image. Man is designed as a benevolent authority just as God is a benevolent God. Man’s dominion is to care for and grow that which is under his control. To accomplish this task man must understand the environment in which he lives and over which he has control. God is ultimately in control, but man is His regent.

Finally, the animals did not name themselves nor name man. Animals do not name. This does not mean they do not learn or recognize other animals, man and God. They were not created as equals with man just as man was not created equal to God.  God has a hierarchy of creation. First were plants, trees and herbs. Then fish and birds. Next, animals, creeping things, wild and domesticated. Finally, Man. God is not created so is not part of this order but above all.

Man is still discovering God’s creatures and still names that about which he discovers. These creatures do not need to be living but are often long dead, the evidence of their living embedded in stone. Not only does man name creatures but names things, such as stars and galaxies, land masses, oceans, rivers, streams, hills and mountains, valleys, rises and depressions in the earth. Man names rocks and other elements. Man watches and studies and learns. This is one of the characteristics of the image of God in man.

Ultimately, God’s image in man is so all men can watch and study and learn about Him. Yet, we do not name God, for in the name is the essence of the characteristics and personality of the thing itself. For the man to name the animal means he knew and understood the animal. Those who are known by God will spend eternity learning about God yet will never completely know Him. Naming the animals was part of the training of the man to know God. Learning about God and our world is also part of our training for eternity.

Alone

Studies in Genesis

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen 2:18 ESV)

Several things glare out from this verse. God made something “not good”? Hasn’t God already declared everything He has made “very good”? Hasn’t He also already declared, in Genesis 1:27, that when He created man He made them, like all other creatures, male and female? How then can the man be “alone”?

There are some distinguishing features between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Genesis 1 gives the Creation in a nutshell. This is what God has done and the order in which He created all things. Genesis 2 gives some particulars God deems necessary for us to know to fully understand our relationship and position before God and with each other.

Immediately after commanding the man to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, yet given permission to eat from every other tree, including the tree of life, God declares another negative. There is something that is “not good” in His creation. Man is alone. There is no one else like him, no other animal or bird or creature. Even though he has the image of God he is not like God. There are none like God.

“Alone” means to be separated from, as in a branch separated from its tree or a limb separated from the body. The man, made for community, has no community. That which, by its created nature, is supposed to be a part of something, attached and drawing life from the whole, is not attached. Man cannot be whole when alone. The man is alone and it is not good.

God has already told us in Genesis 1 several particulars about Man. First, He created Man male and female. He also blessed them with the desire to reproduce. Reproduction is the natural, innate means God uses to populate the world He gave Man. Reproduction is a natural function of being human. It is also a blessing of God. And it takes a male and a female.

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.” (Gen 1:27-28 ESV)

Yet, here we see God has created Adam, the male Man, but not the female. He makes a startling statement. “It is not good that the man should be alone.” As we will see, Adam’s world was filled with creatures. But none of them were like him. He cannot reproduce alone. He cannot reproduce with any of the creatures God created. Though he has intimacy with God it is not the same intimacy he will have with another of his kind. There is, as yet, no female.