God's Rest and Man's Creation

This lesson continues to describe in greater detail the creation of human beings as well as the nature of the "rest" God takes after His creative activity.
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In chapter one of Genesis we have seen the three acts of creation:

  1. The creation of the inanimate world
  2. The creation of the animate world
  3. The creation of man who is a combination of inanimate, animate and spiritual in one being.

In Genesis 1 we see the panorama of creation unfolding in six days. The world and all that is within it is created and set into place. There will now be mention of the seventh day and then Moses will telescope into this panorama in order to give us more detail about the creation of man and the pre-sin environment.

After this detail is given, Moses will begin to tell the story of the first man and woman after the creation is completed.

The Day of Rest

Note that the Bible says that everything that was created, was created then.

1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
- Genesis 2:1-3
  • Vs. 1 – Everything that was in the heavens and on the earth was done. No new creation or unknown creation.
  • Vs. 2 – The word "rested" means to refrain from doing. God refrained from creating any other form of life whether it be animate or inanimate or a combination thereof. It even says that by the seventh day God had completed all that He had purposed to do in creation. If it is not here by this time, it is not going to be here (this is why I believe there is no other animate life in the universe).
  • Vs. 3 – The writer repeats the same idea except now God blesses time itself. He has looked at the world that He has created and blessed it (made acceptable). He also blesses the concept of activity (we call it work). Next, God blesses the concept of time spent not working (Rest). Time not invested in work or activity might become an issue of guilt for man but God avoids this by making acceptable the concept of rest and retreat from work.

The time for rest will be elaborated and explained through the Law as the balance between actual rest and worship is explained. For now, however, the pattern of creation is followed:

  1. God creates the generic or essential concept, in this case it is the sacredness of time without activity.
  2. Later, He will give form to this time as time for rest, time for celebration, time for worship, etc.

If you do not think this is important, why do people write books with titles like, "Whenever I stop working, I feel guilty"? God knew that the use of time would be an issue for man and so He blesses a period of time in the cycle which will later be used for rest and worship.

Another point to note is that God "rested" after the work of creation was done but it did not mean that all His work was done. He will soon begin the work of salvation through Christ and this will finish with Christ on the cross.

Generational Division of Genesis

  1. Generations of Heaven and Earth – 1:1-2:4
  2. The book of the generations of Adam – 2:4-5:1
  3. Generations of Noah – 5:1-6:9
  4. Generations of Sons of Noah – 6:9-10:1

Adam's Perspective

I mentioned previously that the natural divisions of the book of Genesis could be that of generations because at various points throughout Genesis the different sections end with the notation, "These are the generations of…"

This suggests that the ancient patriarchs kept records of their times and passed them down from generation to generation. When God gave Moses instructions to write the book of Genesis I said that what he probably did was edit these ancient records under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we arrive at chapter 2, we see that the first section is closed.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.
- Genesis 2:4

This may have been given to Moses directly by God since there were no witnesses to creation. This first section gives the information concerning the "generations" of the creation itself.

In chapters 2:4 to 5:1 note that this section will describe the generation of Adam and his life and times.

This is the book of the generations of Adam.
- Genesis 5:1

It has been suggested that Adam is the author (God created him literate) of this section and what we read in this section is Adam's account of the world he lived in and the events that took place in the garden. Moses used this account to complete his transcript. The material in chapter 2 does not contradict chapter 1, it merely adds more detailed information to what we have in chapter 1.

Pre-sin Environment

5Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground."
- Genesis 2:5-6

These verses give us a "ground view" of the pre-sin, pre-flood condition of the world. It demonstrates how things looked and operated in the original system where the water canopy above the atmosphere regulated the temperature and weather. This is a description of the earth before there was vegetation or animals, how the earth received moisture, not from rainfall but from a mist. The earth is moisturized by mist from local evaporation controlled by the water canopy as well as by underground rivers.

The author gives a glimpse into this ancient world and then proceeds to explain in detail the creation of man and woman. He does not elaborate on the preceding days when vegetation or animals are created. He simply reveals an image of that time period (perhaps to establish authenticity) and goes directly to describe in more detail the creation of man somewhat like the scene in a movie where you get a wide shot then the camera focuses in on a particular thing.

The creation of man – in detail

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
- Genesis 2:7

Some interesting points about the creation of man:

  1. The author uses the word "formed" here because in chapter 1 he described the creation of man. In chapter 2 he explains how man is formed, how God accomplished this.
  2. Note that man's body is composed of the basic elements of the earth. Not just "dust" but the smallest particles of which the earth is formed (nitrogen, oxygen, calcium, etc.). Modern science has proven that human beings do share a basic elemental structure with the raw materials of the earth (although it is not evident to the eye, flesh does not look like rocks or dirt). Moses records this fact 3500 years ago.
  3. Man's body is formed (like the original "matter" was formed) but now it needs to be "energized" in order to come to life. God creates the animals by the pronouncement of His word and they appear with consciousness. Now God, gives not only sentient life to man (consciousness) but a spiritual awareness of God as well. God does not "speak" this into man but rather breathes it into existence. This is a much more intimate relationship with the creation of the Creator. Something of God goes into the making of man, unlike animals.
  4. This is also another way of refuting the idea of evolution. If evolution is so, at what point in the scale does man begin to have the idea of God's existence, a notion of beauty, mercy, justice or a sense of ought? These do not come from the ground up. High and noble ideas do not emanate from the lower species, high ideas come from above. Man does not receive his spirit from animals, he receives it from God at his creation. He begins as an intelligent, believing, communicative and spiritual being.
  5. Adam was the first human being. I Corinthians 15:45 says, "The first man, Adam, was a living soul." There were no people, humans or higher beings in the type of Adam (matter, consciousness, spirit) before Adam or after him. After Adam, God rested from His creation. This rules out human-like life forms in outer space (sorry Star-Trek fans). No use looking for "intelligent" life because it's not out there.

Next time we will look at how God fires up man's moral capabilities, some pre-sin geography and the creation of woman.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some implications of the word, "rested" as used in Genesis 2:1-3?
  2. What action did God do regarding the seventh day and what was a related activity for Israel?
  3. What is the relationship between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 2:4?
  4. How does Genesis 2:5-6 describe the earth before man was created and what does this signify?
  5. Summarize how God created man from Genesis 2:7 and answer the following questions:
    1. How was man formed (Genesis 1:26)?
    2. What is different about breathing life into man and the creation of animals?
  6. How can you use this lesson to grow spiritually and help others come into a relationship with Jesus?
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