By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph. D.
Executive Director of the Center for Christian Calling, University of Mobile
THE FIRST COUPLE
Genesis 2:7–9, 15–25
Last week, we looked at the general account of God’s creative activity in which He is called “Elohim,” translated “God.” Beginning in Genesis 2:4, the compound name “YHWH Elohim,” using all capital letters and translated “LORD God,” is used almost exclusively in chapters 2 and 3, emphasizing His personal interaction with humanity.
The name “Adam” is used both for humanity in general (“man”) and for the individual man Adam. These verses record the unique creation of Adam from pre-existing material, in which the Lord God fashions Adam the way a potter shapes his clay.
Once the Creator breathes life into His creature, He places Adam in a garden filled with beautiful trees that have delicious fruit.
In the midst of that garden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Let the reader note that Adam only knows good at this point because God’s entire creation was very good (1:31). He has not yet experienced evil.
Before Adam ever met his wife, he had a job. The Lord God did not place Adam in the garden to be fat and lazy but to steward the garden that he was entrusted to work and to watch over. The false assertion that work is a result of the fall ignores both God’s work in creation and Adam’s work as the gardener.
God was generous with compensation for Adam. He was allowed to eat from all but one of the beautiful and delicious trees in the garden. The only prohibition was fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus far Adam had only known good from God’s creation, so gaining an intimate knowledge of evil would come from outright disobedience to God’s rule. Obedience resulted in certain access to bounty, whereas disobedience resulted in certain death.
As image bearers, humanity has innate dignity. Individuals are called to be active within creation, following God’s pattern. Diligent work is expected from God’s people (Ex. 20:9; 2 Thess. 3:10), whether land owner or sojourner (Lev. 19:9–10), free or enslaved (Eph. 6:5–9).
Adam was free to do everything God had assigned to him, but he was also alone. He completed his task by naming the land creatures and birds. None of the animals was a suitable companion for the man, so God performed surgery. God worked as an anesthetist, surgeon and biomechanical engineer to build a woman, whom Adam later named “Eve.” She would be his work partner and human companion.
Work and companionship led to marriage and children. Adam and Eve followed the pattern that God designed for sustaining human life. They worked together, walked together and woke together as husband and wife.
In a time when Christians wonder how to respond to neighbors who deny biological gender and rage against heterosexual marriage, we turn to Scripture as our guide to faith and practice.
Not only does Genesis 1 affirm the special creation of two human genders (1:27), but Chapter 2 underscores God’s plan for intimate, one-flesh union between a man and a woman.
Jesus clearly affirmed that God created biological gender and that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. He quotes from Genesis 1 and 2 and then emphasizes the covenantal aspect (“God has joined together”) of marriage. (See Matt. 19:4–9.)