Now, as we have already learned in our study of origins, in the study of the first chapter of Genesis, it is sheer foolishness, scientifically, and it is utter unbelief biblically to impose on creation any kind of evolution. Evolution is not a reasonable explanation for the universe or life on Earth in any sense whatsoever. It is scientifically impossible, and it is biblically rejected.
We look closely at the issue of Genesis 1 and creation. We find no evidence of evolution whatsoever in the text of scripture, nor is there any indication by any kind of reasonable science that any form of evolution from species to species could at all take place.
And I’ve suggested to you a number of times, and I do it again, that as you look more closely at the issue of unbelief and denial of the clearly revealed account of creation in the book of Genesis, it is fair to say that anyone who rejects the Genesis creation account, anyone who rejects that God created the universe in 6 literal 24-hour days makes an assault on Scripture. Makes an assault on the historicity of Scripture, the accuracy of Scripture, the inspiration of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture, and the authenticity of Scripture. It is no small thing to deny the straightforward creation account of Genesis chapter 1. And we could go so far as to say that in actuality, the Bible itself stands or falls with the historical accuracy of Genesis 1. If we cannot trust the creation account, then why should we trust anything else on the pages of Scripture?
It is sad to say that even the secular world has, through the years, better understood this than many Christians. For example, Darwin, who came up with the original idea of the origin of species, was followed by a man by the name of Thomas Huxley, who lived from 1825 to 1895. Now Huxley was an ardent defender of Darwin’s theory. Huxley, in fact, propagated evolution more than Darwin did. He was the one who really pressed evolution into the scientific and philosophical center of life.
Listen to what Thomas Huxley wrote, and I’m quoting, “I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah or Christ is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history. The identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of the passages of the Hebrew scriptures, which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them.” End quote. There is a godless, atheistic evolutionist saying that the whole of Christian theology rises or falls on the absolute historicity of the Old Testament. He said that in a book on essays by Huxley, published in London in 1903.
And yet, evangelicals seem to think that they can assault the historicity of Genesis and somehow still save the reality of biblical revelation. Tragically, one of the most severe blows ever dealt to the Christian faith has been inflicted by so-called Christians and so-called evangelical scholars who reject widely the Genesis account in favor of some form of evolution.
A British writer, by the name of Andy McIntosh, has written a book called Genesis for Today, and in it he says this, “In recent years, a somewhat strange trend has developed in Christian circles. While some secular authors have begun to doubt the traditional evolutionary thinking of Darwin, Huxley, and others who first made popular such views, some evangelical Christians have been developing the concept that God used evolution to make the world, the view which is termed ‘theistic evolution.’ Such an idea is, of course, by no means new, but is now becoming more fashionable among evangelicals who supposedly hold to the infallibility of Scripture, as well as to liberals who do not.
“Some notable recent books by evangelical writers doubting the straightforward creationist position on Genesis are...” – and he names Master Plan by Roy Clements. Another book which rejects the creation account is the book called The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, written by Mark Noll. “These books,” says Andy McIntosh, “are published by InterVarsity Press, who has a strong evangelical tradition.”
He goes on to say, “The Christian evangelical is increasingly being led to believe that the literal interpretation of Genesis is simply a matter of opinion. And this is particularly brought out by the book Creation and Evolution, a book in a series called “When Christians Disagree.” And, of course, the implication,” he says, “is that the issue of creation is a secondary issue, like things such as passivism or politics, and Christians have every right to disagree. Is this really the case? Is the Bible so unclear as to the method of creation that it’s a point where we can gentlemanly disagree?
“Well, many evangelicals believe so. In fact, the majority seem to think so. And the irony is that while more and more evangelicals are embracing a form of evolution, secular writers are beginning to rethink whether evolution could have happened at all.
“And, of course, Thomas Huxley, a convinced atheist, understood very clearly that Christianity, as such, rose or fell on the truthfulness of the Bible, and he knew that included the book of Genesis. And he also knew that if he could shatter society’s confidence in the first book of the Bible, he could ultimately destroy their confidence in the other 65 books. He knew all the major doctrines held by the established church would be abandoned finally if ultimately they abandoned Genesis.” And in the mainline denominations, certainly that is exactly what has happened.
“Andy McIntosh goes on to say, “Once creation, the fall, and the flood are brought into question as history, then this brings immediately into disrepute not just the statements of the apostles, who were basically affirming Genesis, but of the Lord Jesus Christ who also appealed to Genesis as history. And,” he writes, “the whole meaning of sin and redemption is blurred and lost if we lose the anchor of Genesis. The Puritan poet John Milton saw the grandeur of redemption based on a firm belief in the Bible. The greatness of seventeenth century commitment to a biblical worldview is reflected in his epic poems Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.”
“Now,” says McIntosh, “if we are to believe we originally came from monkeys and apes with generations of violence and bloodshed, and that there was no literal Eden, then what do we make of the Bible’s promises concerning the new heavens and the new Earth in which righteousness dwells?” End quote.
He’s right. He has it exactly right. And this is pervasive among evangelical quote-unquote scholars. Even the well-known Bible commentator John Stott, who has benefited many of us with his writings, believes that man had hominoid ancestors from which he evolved. And he says that in his book Understanding the Bible, of all things, published in 1984.
Now, this is a grievous and I think fair to say a carnal distrust of Scripture in its first chapter, and it ultimately undermines all biblical authority and brings the right to question everything that comes after Genesis chapter 1.
So, as we have been going through this section of origins, it has become clear to us that it is the true Word of God regarding creation History. And we have treated it as such to the honor of God and the clarity of our own understanding.
Now, the highpoint of creation came on day six, and you will remember back on day 6, in verse 26, God made man, “‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the Earth.’ And 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 rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the Earth.’ And God said, ‘I have given you ever plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the Earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.’” And there we have the creation of man as stated in chapter 1.
Now, that happened on day six. And as we noted, when we studied that, man was made in God’s image. What does that mean? It means he had self-consciousness, not just consciousness like animals have, but self-consciousness. He had personality, cognition – that is the ability to rationally process information. He had intelligence He had – and I think this is such a notable thing about man – creativity. And it is staggering to look around the world and see the immense creativity of man. One of the things that struck me, as I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago, and I was meandering through downtown Paris from the Palais-Royal, to the Louvre Museum of Art, to all of the incredible buildings that go way back in the history of France, back to Louis XIV and Louis XVI, and when you see the incredible buildings and the incredible art that is absolutely mindboggling, the genius of architecture. I had the privilege of touring Versailles, which is beyond description and is a very clear indication as to why there was a French revolution and why they chopped the head of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette – because he built these incredible palaces, these incredible places of immense, indescribable wealth on the backs of the poverty of an entire nation and all of its colonies. There’s no wonder there was a French revolution, the way they created poverty everywhere to indulge themselves beyond description.
When you look at it, it is no monument to religion; it is no monument immediately to God. But it is a monument to the staggering creativity of mankind. The architecture is breathtaking. The design is just amazing.
And then when you go to the museum, and you see painting after painting after painting by all the masters, you are really staggered by the human genius that is behind this. When you trek in and out of cathedrals and you see the marvelous art that hangs there, that’s one thing. But the architecture of all of that – I, I suppose foolishly by some judgments, was cajoled into climbing to the tower of the great cathedral Notre Dame in Paris, all the way to the top, and seeing all of the underpinnings and everything going up and amazed at something to be built like that, that back in the 1300s or whenever it was built – that man’s creativity is staggering.
And I challenge you to go to the monkey section of the L.A. Zoo and see what you see there. There are marks of creativity in man that reflect the image of God in him. And then there is the relationships we talked about. Only man builds relationships.
So, God created man in His image, with self-consciousness, personality, rationality, intelligence, creativity, relationships, and gave him sovereignty over the entire created world and all its vast resources so that man could bring up out of this rich, rich planet immense demonstrations of his marvelous abilities rationally and creatively and relationally.
Now, with the creation of man on day six, the real story began. All the rest of creation was only a stage for man to play out the great drama of redemption. The real story began on day six. All the other creation just provided the backdrop for the history of man. Now the history of man starts in chapter 2, verse 4, and goes to the end of the book of Genesis. That’s the original history of man. From chapter 2, verse 4, to chapter 50, verse 26 is the original history of man. The first great sweep of human history.
So, what you have in chapter 1, verse 1, to chapter 2, verse 3, is the creation of the universe, including man. Starting in chapter 2, verse 4, to the end of Genesis – in fact, to the end of time – is the history of man, the generations of man.
So, as you come to verse 4 in Genesis 2, you come to a very important verse. Here is a line of demarcation in the Hebrew text. This inaugurates a completely new section. “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.” Literally the Hebrew says, “These are the generations” – toledoth in Hebrew – “These are the generations of the heavens and Earth when they were created.” Here is the beginning of the story of the generations of mankind so that Genesis 2:4 points forward. It is not a second account of creation, as critics have said – a second and conflicting account, some of them say. It is not an account of creation – chapter 2 – opposed to the account of creation in chapter 1. Not at all.
There’s only one record of creation, and that’s Genesis 1. Genesis 2 does not deal with anything during the week of creation except what pertains to the story of man. That’s a very, very important understanding. All you have in chapter 2 is focused on man. Genesis 1 briefly introduced the fact of man’s creation. Genesis 2 explains the details of that creation.
So, what you have, in very traditional, typical Hebrew style, much like the headlines in a newspaper, Genesis 1 says man is created in God’s image and given dominion. And Genesis 2 is the article that describes all the details under that headline. Genesis 2 does not repeat day one, day two, day three, day four, or day five. Genesis 2 does not deal with the elements of the creation of light or the creation of the sky, or the creation of the Earth, or the separation of land and water, or the creation of plants, or the creation of animals.
Genesis 2 only deals with man, so that when you come to chapter 2, man is plucked up, as it were, out of that whole creation of chapter 1, and he’s put on center stage as the drama of redemption unfolds with the rest of creation as the backdrop so that man becomes, starting in chapter 2, verse 4, the subject of the rest of Genesis and the rest of the Bible, all the way to the end in the book of Revelation.
So, I want you to mark that in your mind. Genesis 2:4 launches a whole new section, the details of man’s creation by God on day six. Details are explained in chapter 2.
Now, the question could be asked, how did Moses obtain this information? Well, he wasn’t there. It is an account of the creation – the details of the creation of man that is very different from pagan myths and pagan legends and pagan fictions. Where did Moses get this? Well, he didn’t get it from any human source, for no one existed to witness it. He didn’t get it from His own reason, for though reason can know the power of the Creator, reason cannot know how He created. So, the only possible way that Moses, who wrote this, could know this was if God revealed the data to him, and therefore, He must have done that. “So it is” – listen to Hebrew 11:3 – “that we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, through faith.” Very important. Through faith. This isn’t the product of some human reason. This can’t be the product of some ancient Hebrew search. No one was there. No one could know it. The only way we have any record of creation is if the Creator gave it to us, and this is that record given by the Creator so that by faith in God and His Word we understand that the worlds were framed – Hebrews 11:3.
So, what we’re going to find in chapter 2 is the details of the creation of man. We’re going to find the creation of man, the location of man in the garden of Eden. We’re going to find the vocation of man, what he was doing. We’re going to find the probation of man, what he was not to do. And we’re going to find the relation of man when God gave him woman.
Now, all of that is summed up in chapter 1. When it says in verse 27, “God created man in His own image, and He created him male and female.” Now we get the details of that. In the day the Lord God made heaven and Earth, the generation of man began.
By the way, just a note. In verse 4, “In the day the Lord God made Earth and heaven” – we know He did it in six days. This is simply using day as a reference to the time period. And day can men an undetermined period of time, an undesignated period of time when there is no number associated with it. But wherever, in the Old Testament, day has a number – like day one, day two, day three – it refers always to a 24-hour day. Here, no number, and so it is simply a general reference to the period of time which actually was six days in which god created the universe.
But now we come to that sixth day. And although on the sixth day God created animals as well – land animals – that is not dealt with in chapter 2 because this is the tolodoth, the generations of man on the Earth.
Let’s begin with the creation of man in verses 5 to 7. Verse 5 – and we’re going to get the scene; this is fascinating – “Now 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.”
Now, you get into that verse and immediately you face a huge issue here. How are we to understand this verse? And this is the setting for the creation of man that is specifically indicated in verse 7. We’ll get there, perhaps, in a moment. I won’t be sure about that, because I want you to understand this. And I didn’t even understand this when I wrote the original note in the study Bible. And I had to do a lot more work to come to a complete understanding of this. Because what it seems to be saying here is that the record of man’s creation – we know we’re talking the creation of man; we’re into the generations of man and he’s pulling man out of the six-day creation, and it’s all about man. And yet he starts out by saying, “There’s no shrub of the field and no plant of the field yet sprouted.” And so, it appears as if since all that was created on the third day, he’s actually going back to the second day before the creation of the plants. And if that’s the case, then that confuses the reader as to the subject matter of chapter 2.
Why does he go back prior to day 3, before the vegetation was created, if he’s only discussing the creation of man. And furthermore, how can we understand that there was no shrub of the field, no plant of the field because there was no rain, when on the third day, God created plants, and He created trees, and it didn’t rain – are you ready for this? – for at least a thousand years? It didn’t rain at all until the flood in Noah’s time, in Genesis 6, about a thousand years later. So, how can you say, if we’re talking about man, that God hadn’t created the plants yet, and that the reason he hadn’t created them was there wasn’t any rain?
So, they didn’t depend on rain, and they didn’t depend on man’s cultivation. This verse has confused a lot of people. A lot of people. And let me tell you something, as always, in my studies through the years. Confusion comes from a superficial understanding of the Hebrew text. And I admit that even mine was superficial at the time I was going through this. In the wealth of material in all the study Bible, I didn’t give the attention to this that it deserved, but I have since; and I’m anxious to give you the insight that you need to understand this.
I don’t ever want to be guilty of superficiality. I think you know that. None of us do. So, in order to understand what is actually being said in verse 5 – which, by the way, is fascinating – we have to go back to the original Hebrew text. And I’m not sure that even the translators of the various English editions really had a grip on the original significance of the Hebrew text. We have to go back to that. And when I want to go back to the original Hebrew text, I want to go as far back into the original Hebrew mind and language as I possibly can. I have limitations, obviously, so I look for somebody who has no limitations when it comes to dealing with the Hebrew text. And there is such a scholar who has written a monumental work on the book of Genesis; I’ve mentioned him before. His name is Cassuto. He is a Hebrew scholar who has written on the Hebrew text of Genesis and originally written in the Hebrew language his commentary.
And Cassuto reminds us that we, today, tend to think in the Greek way of thinking, the Greek process of thought, and we have to go back to the Semitic way of thinking, how Jewish thought patterns follow. And the Hebrew pattern of thinking, in writing a history, is this – and this is what Cassuto says, this great Hebrew scholar – he says that the first way that a Hebrew deals with history is to state a general proposition and then to clarify the details and the particulars. And that’s exactly what I came to conclude and my understanding of how chapter 2 relates to chapter 1.
In chapter 1, you have the general proposition of the creation of man. Chapter 2, you have the laying out of the particulars. And Cassuto affirms that this is, in fact, the case. Chapter 1 gives the statement of fact. Chapter 2 clarifies the details. And so, he affirms that chapter 2 is not another story of creation, but a detailed account, adding detail to the original statement in chapter 1 to further clarify the place of man as the central being in the created universe and the drama of redemption.
Now, as he comes to verse 5, Cassuto gives us some very wonderful, wonderful insights. He understands – and you want to get onto this, because it’s very important – that the narrative, as I understand it, does begin in day six so that when you come to verse 5, you are not, prior to day three, prior to the creation of plants - you are actually in day six. And that what verse 5 is saying is not that there weren’t any plants, and there weren’t any trees - because there were, and they were already created, and they didn’t need rain, and they also didn’t need man to till the ground; they were created on day three. So, whatever shrubs are of the field, and whatever plants are of the field, they are not the plants and trees of day three, but they are something else. And this becomes fascinating to me. In fact, the word for “shrub” is siach – siach in Hebrew. And the word for plant is eseb – eseb. The siach of the field and the eseb of the field had not yet sprung up for two reasons: they were dependent on rain, which didn’t come for a thousand years, and they were dependent on man tilling the soil, which he never did until - after what? – after the fall. So, whatever these plants are, they are dependent on rain, on the one hand, and dependent on the tilling of the soil. And they hadn’t yet appeared on the Earth because there was no rain, and man did not till the soil.
Now, rain came after the fall. Tilling the ground came after the fall. We can readily conclude, then, that these plants appeared after the fall. And so, it’s is right to say here they weren’t on the Earth. The post fall plants weren’t on the Earth at this time. And so, the revelation of God is simply telling us that as we begin the generation of man, we are in a pre-fall environment. The fall led to rain, ultimately, in the flood. The fall led to man tilling the soil, which brought about certain plants which were not in existence before the fall. So, as we ask the question, “What then is the siach of the field, and what is the eseb of the field,” we turn again to our Hebrew scholar.
He writes, “When the verse declares that these species were missing, the meaning is that these kinds were wanting, but not other kinds.” And that’s the point. There were plenty of trees and plenty of plants, as we indicated back on day three, and they were used for man, as it tells us in verse 29 of chapter 1, when he was created, they were there already available for him. But these particular two were not in existence.
“If we wish,” he writes, “to understand the significance of the siach of the field and the eseb of the field in the context of our narrative, then we need to glance at the end of the story. It is stated there, in the words addressed by the Lord God to Adam, after he sinned. What did God say to Adam? Genesis 3:18, ‘Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the eseb of the field.’”
That’s interesting. Because of the fall, you’re going to have thorns and thistles, and you’re going to eat the eseb of the field. Now, the word eseb of the field is identical with the expression in this verse. It’s the same expression. It’s translated in the NAS plant of the field, the second one. It’s exactly the same in chapter 3, verse 18. Identical. Thorns and thistles are synonymous with the siach of the field.
So, what he is saying is this: when God first created man, there were no thorns and thistles. We can understand that, can’t we? Because there was no fallenness. And there were no eseb of the field. What is the eseb of the field? It has reference to those kinds of plants which are the product of man’s tilling the soil. Did you get that? These species didn’t exist until after Adam’s transgression. In consequence of his fall, weeds, thorns, thistles – the siach came into existence. And so did the kind of eseb, the kind of eseb, the kind of plants that grow because they are cultivated when man tills the soil.
And it says in Genesis 3:23, “You’re going to have to till the soil so that” – and this is a very straightforward statement – “you’re going to have to cultivate the ground so that you can take from it food to eat.” Literally, verse 19, “By the sweat of your face you’re going to eat bread.” Bread. Literally, 3:18, “You’re going to eat the eseb of the field.” And then verse 19, “You’re going to eat bread.” Bread was made out of the eseb. And what is the eseb of the field? Cassuto says it’s very clear, “Barley, oats, wheat, any cultivated grain that you make bread out of.” You’re going to sweat tilling the ground to bring forth crops. So, the eseb is wheat and barley, any kind of grain from which bread was made.
And, you know, in the pre-fall world, there weren’t any cultivated fields. Men didn’t till the ground. They didn’t make rows and plant seeds and grow crops. They didn’t do that. In the original garden, there was a flourishing of everything that man could ever want to eat in varieties that were probably beyond his description. And the Earth brought forth everything of its own accord, and there were no thorns, and there were no thistles that make the whole tilling process so difficult.
“Today,” says Cassuto, “when the rains comes, in the land of Israel, the weeds flourish.” And Jesus knew that – didn’t He? – when He told he parable in Matthew 13 of the soils. The siach of the field, then, refers to the thorns and thistles, the weeds. The eseb of the field refers to the grain that was planted, the ground that was tilled to bring forth crops that could produce man’s bread.
What we’re learning then, in verse 5, is that when the story of man begins, it begins before that ever happened. There was no rain. You know what rain does? It just causes weeds to grow, doesn’t it? It does in my yard. It does all over the world. And there was no man to till the ground. No rain, no weeds; no man, no crops.
So, what do we learn here? When God planted plants and planted trees on the third day, there was a world of vegetation, trees and plants that naturally reproduce themselves by seed alone. But there were none of these other kinds of plants.
Now in that day, also - look at verse 6, and there’s been confusion about this verse as well - even the way it’s translated in the NAS – “But a mist used to rise from the Earth and water the whole surface of the ground.” Now, this has been a somewhat traditional idea that there was some kind of evaporation coming off the ground and watering the Earth. But again, when we look more directly into the original Hebrew text, we get a completely different picture.
There wasn’t any rain, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any water. He tells us what happened. It literally – in the Hebrew it says, “But the waters of the deep” – the waters of the deep, and I’m giving you the literal translation – “went up from the Earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” This doesn’t convey to me the idea of a mist. And in fact, you’ll notice a marginal note that uses the word “flow.” The word is not “mist” here; it’s ed. If you transliterate it, it would be actually ēdh. It would be a long E and a D with an H kind of softening the D in Hebrew. And what it means is a spring. It literally means something that gushes up out of the ground. It’s used, for example, in Numbers 21:17 which talks about, “Spring up, O well!”
So, the whole Earth was watered not by rain coming down, but by water coming up from springs, literally covering the ground. Water gushing up from the ground. An intensely high water table. Not just one spring, but a flow rising from the Earth, watering the whole surface of the ground. The whole Earth, with all of its marvelous plants made on day three, was literally saturated with water that was in a constant subterranean, upward spring. And the water would come up, and it would flow back and surely down into subterranean sources again and cycling back up again to water the Earth. There was no hydrological cycle; there was no evaporation to the clouds, the clouds moving over the land, dropping water and flowing across the Earth and back into rivers and back into the sea and then evaporation. The hydrological cycle didn’t exist.
So, the word in Hebrew ēd refers to the waters that sprung up all over the Earth. And this certainly fits verse 10. You can look at verse 10, and you’ll see there that a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden. And again, here’s a spring – a spring-fed river literally gushing up out of the ground in the garden of Eden is a source of water that creates a river – and really an amazing river that literally covers the entire garden, and it divides, according to verse 10, and becomes four rivers. And we’ll look at that later on.
So, in the original creation, the whole world of plants and trees did not receive water from above; they received water from below. And the ability – this is very interesting – the ability of the Earth to produce flourishing plants and flourishing trees – listen carefully – was never dependent on rain, which sometimes comes and sometimes does not.
Okay? Do we understand that? Do we understand drought? Do we understand what it’s like in places where the rain never falls? Do we understand what it’s like when you have a severe drought that produces famine? Sure we do historically. Do you understand, then, that rain is a judgment? It was a judgment when it came the first time, wasn’t it? It was a severe judgment. And it is the unpredictability of rain – listen – that gives God the right to give it or hold it back according to His will. Sometimes the rain comes, sometimes it doesn’t. Very unpredictable.
Rain is a product of the fall. It wasn’t that way in the original Earth. It wasn’t that way in the original garden, which meant there was no unpredictability. There was a constant unending, subterranean, spring-fed circulation of water that literally covered the face of the Earth and caused everything to have absolute unbroken continuity in a perfect hydrological system, rising up out of the ground to always, always, always keep everything completely watered perfectly. There was no randomness to it. It didn’t depend on the whims of the wind. It didn’t depend on anything, and it wasn’t something that God had to regulate as a blessing or a curse because there was only perfection and sinlessness in His perfect world.
They drew their water from below, constantly irrigated through the subterranean springs, creating rivers and streams and a high water table everywhere across the face of the world. This very consistent supply of water was in the garden. It’s so noted – Genesis 13:10, it says, “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere – this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah” – in fact, he said it was watered – “like the garden of the Lord.”
Listen to this, “It was watered like the garden of the Lord.” When he saw well watered Jordan, he knew that’s what was in the garden. It was just saturated with water. “And” - he says at the end of the verse 10 – “it is like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.” If any of you know anything about the amazing function of the Nile River, you know exactly what he’s referring to. The Nile River overflows its banks and literally drowns all of the Egyptian delta in water, and it does that annually. And certainly throughout all of history, it has been the source of the flourishing productivity of that area.
And so, that’s sort of a picture – a post-fall picture of what it was like in Eden and all over the world before the fall. There was water everywhere, covering the ground, not coming from above, but coming from springs and rivers and saturating the ground. A consistent water supply, unbroken, uninterrupted, and not at all unpredictable.
Cassuto writes, “Man would have continued to enjoy these conditions had he remained free from sin. But when he transgressed, the Lord punished him by decreeing that the soil should obtain its moisture from above so that he might requite man according to his deeds, giving him rain in its season if he was worthy, and withholding it if he was not worthy.” End quote. And I think he has it right. All of a sudden, rain became a means by which God could bless or judge.
So, the original hydrological or water cycle was very different from what we know after the fall, after the great flood. And now water comes as a result of global continental mass air movement, annual seasonal temperature changes. And it’s in the hands of a sovereign God to give the rain, to hold the rain back.
Now you look at these two verses and you realize that he’s saying when man was first created, he didn’t have to deal with the issues that came because of his sin. There weren’t any weeds. There weren’t any crops to till and plant. And there wasn’t any rain to worry about. It was a perfect world. No weeds on the face of the Earth. Nothing to retard the growth of the good things. No crops to till. Food was abundant everywhere, and he didn’t have to toil for that. And he never had to worry about the water supply; it was unbroken. And then came sin and all that changed. And now God controls the rain, to give it or hold it back.
Psalm 147:8, “God provides rain for the Earth.” Job 5:10, “God gives rain on the Earth and sends water on the fields.” It’s always at God’s discretion that the rain comes. Joel 2:23, “God has given you the early rain. He has poured down for you the rain.” Matthew 5:45, “God makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” Acts 14:17, Paul is defining the true God, and he says, “It is God who gives you rain from heaven.” Rain is in His hand to give it as He sees fit – as a blessing or to use it as judgment.
In Jeremiah chapter 5, it talks about how God controls the heavens and controls the Earth and everything that is in it. He’s the one who makes the Earth quake. He is the one who sends the rain. And the prophets have said that repeatedly. He’s the one who sends the lightning and the thunder, and He controls all that is associated with the rain. It’s the God of heaven who controls it all.
Jeremiah 14:22, “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain?” Jeremiah says, “Do you know any idol who can make it rain? Or can the heavens grant showers on their own? Is it not Thou, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in Thee,” says Jeremiah. He knows where the rain comes from; it comes from God. He gives it when He desires to give it and withholds it when He desires to withhold it.
I think I mentioned earlier Jeremiah 5, but I forgot to read it. It says, “It’s our Lord God who gives rain in its season, both the autumn rain and the spring rain. It’s our God who determines the crop and whether the crop is going to grow.” Amos said the same thing. Amos chapter 4, verse 7.
And as I said earlier, God can use the rain to destroy, as He did in the flood. There are other illustrations of that. I don’t want to get too bogged down in this, but there are times when God has withheld rain, and consequently created havoc in the world. And when He has caused rain, that was devastating.
For example, in the plagues of Egypt – I’m just thinking of Exodus 9 – God sent a very heavy hail, a rain that literally turned to hail and was terribly destructive and even brought death in Egypt.
So, we’re looking at a time before all of that; it was in that marvelous environment of the original creation – no weeds; no need to cultivate crops; and constant, unending, full water supply created to maintain the rich, indescribable perfections and bounty and delights of the created world. So, it was in that environment, verse 7, that, “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.” There is the creation.
Now, we know that God created man in His own image from chapter 1, verse 26, but here we tell – we’re told how he did it. He formed man of dust. And Job 10:8 says, “Your hands fashioned me and made me altogether.”
By the way, folks, there’s no evolution here. Do you see that? Do you see any evolution in verse 7? Do you see any pre-human hominoid ancestors there? There’s nothing here about God watched man evolve or God controlled man’s evolution. God created him ex nihilo, literally created him out of nothing using the dust of the ground.
In fact, in Job 4:19, man is described as, “Those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation,” says that passage, “is in the dust.” And Job 10:9, “Remember now that You have made me as clay.” Job says, “And would You turn me into dust again?” The testimony of Scripture is that God made man not from an ape or a baboon or a gibbon, but He made man from dust. That is the testimony of Scripture – unequivocally the testimony of Scripture. Frankly, verse 7 is a death blow to any evolutionary view whatsoever that makes man the process of some series of hominoid mutations.
Isaiah 29:16 likens man to clay, being fashioned by the potter. And Paul picks that same imagery up, as you know, in Romans 9:20 and 21. That’s from Isaiah chapter 29. Also in Isaiah 45:9, we find a similar indication where it talks about the clay – the man being the clay, somehow arguing with the potter. And, of course, that, too is part of the imagery that Paul uses in Romans chapter 9. You also find that in Isaiah 64 and verse 8.
Now, for a minute, look at Genesis 3:19. Part of the curse on man is that he’s going to die. And when he dies, he will return to the ground, “Because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” You come from dust, you shall return to dust.
Reminds me of the little boy who looked under the bed and saw a whole lot of dust and said to his mom, “Quick, Mom, somebody’s coming or going.”
Now, in verse 23, again it says, “The Lord” – 23 of chapter 3 – “The Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.” Listen, it’s repeated enough times that anybody who says man developed out of a series of hominoid mutations is flatly denying the clear statement of Scripture that God created man out of elements that are in the dust.
So, what does this mean? Well, the smallest particles of the earth or the basic chemical elements are nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium. We know those components. They make up everything. They make up the dust, and they make us up as well. We are made out of the same basic chemical elements; the atoms that compose dirt are like the atoms that compose our bodies and everything else that exists. We are all made out of the same stuff. That is why, in 1 Corinthians 15 – I think it’s verse 47 – it says, “The first man is of the earth, earthy.”
You know, you look at a rock, and you say, “Well, that’s certainly – that’s an inanimate thing. Am I made of the same components as that rock?” The answer is, yes. Modern science will verify that you are. So, God used some basic substantial chemical material, and he made man the same way he made dirt and rocks out of the same components. No evolution at all.
And then it says He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Now, that’s an anthropomorphic picture; that’s a vivid picture. You see God, and He’s made Adam, and He’s made him out of dirt, and he’s this – he’s just this physical form. And then God, as it were, puts His mouth – and it’s anthropomorphic, because God is a spirit – and He blows into His nostrils the breath of life. That’s the imagery. This is to convey the thought that though man had all the physical apparatus, all the organs for life, the immeasurable reality of life is something that’s not really part of the those physical components. There is a transcendent reality of life that only God can give, and it’s an immeasurable thing. It’s an immeasurable thing. God then blew into him life and started the breathing apparatus moving, and the heart pumping, the blood circulating and all of the bodily organs moving in their symbiotic harmony of life. It’s the breath of life he calls it – the breath of life.
Animals have the breath of life. Over in chapter 7 and verse 21 and 22, it talks about “birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms on the Earth, and all mankind, and of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life.” So, God literally blew life into everything that lives, everything that is animated. Breath is ruach; it’s the same word as wind; it’s the same word as spirit. But only into man - although He breathed life into all living creatures, only into man is God breathing life that is in His own image. And man - end of verse 7 - at that moment became a living being, became a nephesh, became a soul. That God breathed in him the immaterial part. Nephesh, I think, in the King James is translated by 21 or 22 different English words, but it’s always the immaterial part, the inner person, the soul, the spirit. And God literally took that form, that physical form made out of chemical components, and breathed into it life so that man became nephesh, a life like other living things, but much higher because it was life in the image of God.
And so, 1 Corinthians 15:45 says, “The first man, Adam, was made a living soul.” Folks, there’s no evolution here. There’s no time here. There’s no process. There’s no mutating. There’s no survival of the fittest. There was no pre-Adamic man of any kind. There is no pre-human man. There I no transitional man. And I’m telling you, I am constantly amazed and, I suppose, amused at the bizarre, unfounded, confused machinations of evolution that have created nothing but an inexplicable, irrational, unprovable, chaotic, complex of tangled schemes to explain what God said in one verse. One verse. That’s the creation of man.
Now, next time we’re going to talk about the location of man. But that’s all for tonight. Now I told you, you’re going to have to think with me on that one. Let’s pray.
Father, it’s so wonderful to come to grips with the reality of what the Word is saying, to get down into the text and really grasp it. How thrilling it is to see all that You’ve said and how it’s unfolded so wonderfully when we look deeply into Your Word. Father, we are blessed – so greatly blessed that we, of all people on the face of the Earth, will someday understand what it’s like to live in a paradise, what it’s like to live in a world without sin, a perfect paradise regained, the glories of eternal heaven.
Father, we can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when there’s no sin, no curse, and only delight and joy and fulfillment. Just the way it was, only even greater, when You first created man. How sad we are that sin came; how glad we are that a Savior came to save sinners. And we praise You, and we thank You, amen.
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