Genesis 2:5-25 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

Note: For more information relevant to this present passage of Genesis two, see the accompanying Appendix (PDF download) that deals with the following topics: A Comparison of Man and the Neanderthals; A Comparison of Human and Chimpanzee Genes; and A Consideration of the Question, “Is Genesis 2:4-6 A Second Creation Account?”

1. Describe the origin of man as it is recorded for us in Genesis 2:7 (printed below). Also bear in mind Genesis 1:27 (printed below).

And Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

According to Genesis 2:7, we come from humble origins: the Lord God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. But we have the distinction and honor of having been personally created by God. In contrast to the way He made every other living creature (cp. Genesis 1:24-25), God personally fashioned Adam with His own hands and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Not only are we personally created by God, we are His unique creation, made in God’s own image, made according to His likeness. We have been so made in order that we may have a unique relationship with God—one of worship and fellowship—and so that we may be a unique reflection of God, exhibiting His moral attributes and godly dominion.

2. After God had created Adam, where did He put him? See Genesis 2:8 and 2:15 (printed below).

And Jehovah God planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed… (15) And Jehovah God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to care for it. (Genesis 2:8,15)

After forming man from the dust of the ground, the Lord brought the man into the Garden of Eden. According to Ezekiel 28:13, Eden was “the garden of God;” thus the Garden of Eden was the earthly sanctuary of God, the Holy of holies on the earth. Adam was created by God not only to be God’s servant, but also to become a part of the household or the family of God, to live with God in God’s own divine presence. This whole purpose of God is an act of His sovereign grace: Adam is not an emanation of God, he is made of the dust of the ground; Adam’s original home is not the garden, he is graciously brought to live in the garden.

3. What task does God assign to Adam in Genesis 2:15 (printed below?) What is significant about this?

And Jehovah God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to care for it. (Genesis 2:15)

From the time of his creation, man was assigned the task of engaging in constructive work: Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and given the charge to cultivate it and care for it. This indicates to us that work is not a part of the curse; on the contrary, work is a part of man’s calling—part of what it means to be created in the image of God. God works (Genesis 2:2; John 5:17); therefore, we also are called to work. God’s work is constructive, calling into existence the raw materials of creation and then proceeding to fashion an orderly universe; likewise, man’s work was to be constructive, cultivating and caring for the garden. From the beginning, man was assigned the calling of working for God. The consequence of the curse is not that it introduced work as a punishment, but rather that it deprived work of true joy and significance. The fact that the Christian is called to do all his work for the Lord is the thing that redeems our work from the curse and once again gives it eternal value (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:58).

4. What commandment does God give Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 (printed below?) What is unique about this commandment when compared to the instructions God gave in Genesis 1:28 (printed below) and Genesis 2:15 (printed below?)

And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, From every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (17) but you shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)

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 upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28)

And Jehovah God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to care for it. (Genesis 2:15)

In Genesis 2:16-17 God issues His great commandment to refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was not the first and only commandment the Lord issued to man. The commission given in Genesis 1:28 was a commandment; the call to serve God by tending and guarding His holy garden (Genesis 2:15) was also a commandment. But the commandment issued in Genesis 2:16-17 is unique. It is specifically identified as a direct commandment, so that it could in no way be mistaken as a suggestion or desire expressed by God: “the Lord God commanded the man.” The commandment of Genesis 2:16-17 stipulates the consequence for disobedience and non-compliance: if you disobey, “you shall surely die.” This particular commandment was specifically designed to be a test: Will man acknowledge God’s Lordship? And will man yield his allegiance to his God?

5. What does God declare in Genesis 2:18 (printed below?) What does He then proceed to do?

And Jehovah God said, It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18)

God declares, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We have been created with the capacity and the need for interpersonal relationships—with God and with one another. Therefore, God determined to make a suitable helper for Adam. God first had Adam interact with the animals in order to impress upon him the fact that he was unique among all created beings and can only find fulfillment in his relationship with God and with someone like himself. Then God proceeded to create Eve. By forming her from one of Adam’s ribs God was indicating to Adam that she is like him and she shares an equal identity with him. According to the Bible, the first and highest inter-personal relationship ordained by God is marriage. Right at the outset, Scripture makes clear that God has ordained for man and woman to live in a sacred relationship to one another (cp. Genesis 2:24).