The Creator at Work
Loving Lord, this year may no obscuring clouds of doubt or fear turn me aside from the life of faith.
Read Genesis 2:4-25
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Immortal, invisible, God only wise … To all, life thou givest, to both great and small, / In all life thou livest, the true life of all” (Walter Smith, 1824-1908).
While ch. 1 “organizes all elements of the created order under one principle–the command of God” (J.E. Hartley, Genesis), attention now turns to humans on the earth. Unlike chapter 1’s regal actions (“said,” “create,” “bless”) God is here both directly and relationally involved. Read today’s passage again and reflect on the diverse verbs with God as subject (continuing in ch. 3). Narrative powerfully portrays the Lord’s “transcendence” and “immanence”–nouns become active verbs!
The narrating illumines the hymn-like language of 1:26-30. God “formed the man” (adam) from the “ground” (adamah)–the human from the soil. We are unmistakably “earthy”! Life is God’s gift, his “breath of life” (7), shared with animals (“living creature” is also used in v. 19). Humans, however, have a unique role within a relationship with God. In the midst of Eden, God has his garden. He shares his enjoyment and in speaking to “the man” gives responsibility (8 ,9,15,16). The Hebrew word used for “work” (15) is the same as that for “serve,” reinforced by “take care,” so complementing “subdue and rule” (1:28). The freedom to “name” the animals (19,20) foreshadows the scientific, but human rule is servant leadership and stewardship, a perspective relevant to contemporary environmental debate.
That task is shared. The “male and female” of 1:27 is expanded evocatively as God provides a “helper” (20). “Help” elsewhere in the Old Testament is generally God’s action, although occasionally military “aid” (Deut. 33:7; Psa.121:1; Isa. 30:5). Partnership is joyful when male and female together fulfill God’s good provision, enjoying the relationship of counterparts and sharing the task given by the God who actively relates to them (23,24).
What does it mean for you that male and female together share in the freedom and task God has given?
Lord God, I embrace Your wisdom and know it will guide me so that I have healthy relationships with others.