Life in God’s Garden
Genesis 2:19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. :20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
The Lord God formed every beast of the field is to be understood as The Lord God had “formed every beast of the field” (cf. ch. 1). The birds and beasts were created before Adam, but Adam’s dominion over the animals is seen in verses 19 and 20; for it is the prerogative of a superior to give names to those under him.
Thus, whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. God caused all the animals to parade before the man, the crown of His creation; and Adam named the cattle, the fowl of the air, and every beast of the field.
This in itself was a tremendous achievement in that there are some 17,000 air-breathing species of animals in existence today.
Yet, two things were accomplished as the animals passed by Adam. First, names were given to each of the animals (this implies discerning the character or nature of an object, Isa 9:6); and second, Adam saw with his own eyes that each of the animals of God’s creation was subhuman, inferior to him.
He, and he alone, had been created in the image of God. He was unique; he was the only one of his kind.
God was preparing Adam psychologically for his helper.
Genesis 2:21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. :22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. :23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Not only did God recognize that man in solitude was not good (vs. 18), he also took steps to make the life of man one of joy and fulfillment.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. The deep sleep (Heb tardemah) was a divine anesthetic administered by the Great Physician. This sleep is usually produced by a supernatural agency (cf. Gen 15:12; Job 4:13; 33:15). The verb form is used to refer to the complete exhaustion of Jonah (Jon 1:5), thus indicating another agent.
The Supernatural Surgeon immediately took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. The Hebrew word for rib (tesla) is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to mean “side,” “wing of a building,” and a “panel.” There are those who feel it should be translated “side part,” possibly to indicate the bisexuality of man and woman. But the same word appears in Akkadian meaning rib. It doubtless includes the surrounding flesh (cf. vs. 23). It was from this rib that God created woman, taken from Adam’s side in order that she may labor alongside of him.
The absolute unity of the race in its descent from one ancestor is hereby established, a vital doctrine of the Scriptures (cf. Rom 5:18ff), and along with it, the true dignity of woman-kind is guaranteed: she is not an inferior substance. She is of his bone and his flesh.
The unity of the race explains why Eve did not experience spiritual death until Adam ate the fruit in 3:6. Eve was like everyone else, and she died “… in Adam …” (1 Cor 15:22). God then brought her to the man. God performed the first marriage; He sanctified and blessed the first home and the first family. Jesus interpreted this event in Matthew 19:6: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
When God brought the woman to Adam, the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. The first part of this verse contains the Hebrew expression that is commonly employed to indicate family kinship (Gen 29:14; Jud 9:2; 2 Sam 5:1; 19:12–13; 1 Chr 11:1). The meaning is: formed from the same parents, or from the same family. The source of the bones and the flesh is the same.
Thus, this is a metaphorical expression, as though the first man could employ this phrase in the full sense of the words, including their literal connotation: actually, bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh! She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man is a play on the words for man and woman, for they have a similar sound in Hebrew. Though they are probably from two different roots, the sounds aptly mark the affinity between the man and the woman.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. :25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Verse 24 gives the goal in marriage, based upon the unity expressed in verses 22 and 23. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
The creation of Adam and Eve teaches us much about the marriage relationship: (1) Marriage was instituted by God (vss. 22–24), not by man, thus God’s Word must give us the proper guidelines;
(2) marriage was, and is to be, monogamous; God gave Adam only one wife;
(3) marriage is to be heterosexual; homosexuality does not have a case in the light of biblical revelation;
(4) the husband and wife are to be unified physically and spiritually. The man is to leave his father and his mother. This would normally imply leaving them physically and emotionally to become, literally, “glued to his wife.” This implies the permanency of marriage;
(5) the husband is to be the head of the wife. The reason is that Adam was created before Eve (cf. 1 Cor 11:8–9; 1 Tim 2:13), and Eve was created as a helper for him. The chain exists because God instituted it, not because men are superior.
The first two chapters of Genesis record a great triumph for the Lord God of heaven. In six days He created all that ever was or shall be; He merely spoke the world into existence. All that has thus far happened evokes a note of joy. Suddenly, a note of sadness arises in the third chapter. This sadness is only broken by verse 15, yet that break is the silver lining behind the clouds.
McDonald, Knoll, Farstad; Hinson and Knoll