We commence with the fourth verse which begins the new division of the analysis, to wit: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth,” and that division extends to the close of Ge 4, but our present chapter will discuss so much of it only as is found in the second chapter.
In reading this chapter one is impressed, even in the translation, by a marked difference in style between it and the first chapter of Genesis. How, then, do we account for this great difference in style? A sufficient and simple answer is that in every chapter the style corresponds to the subject matter. Some of you will recall a paragraph from Alexander Pope with this couplet:
When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw, The line too labours, and the words move slow.
This essayist on style then goes on to show that in describing the nimble-footed Camilla there is no labor in the line, and no slow motion in the words. The first chapter of Genesis consists of terse, abrupt, sententious sentences, each as rugged as a granite mountain. The nature of the subject calls for that style. The second chapter, following the usual method of Genesis, takes up certain items tersely stated in the first chapter and enlarges or expounds the statement. This calls for a smoother and more flowing style.
A thinking reader will also note another change in the second chapter. The first chapter uniformly uses the word, “God,” but the second chapter, “Jehovah God,” and this change from the name of “God” to “Jehovah God” appears a number of times, not merely in Genesis, but in many succeeding books, and is just as marked in the psalms as it is in Genesis. The word “God” is employed when the Deity is spoken of in the abstract. The words, “Jehovah God,” are employed when there is a revelation of the Deity spoken of in covenant relation. The name, “Jehovah,” is always used when you want to show God’s covenant relation with man, and you find both of these names, or titles, of God oftentimes in the same verse (see Ge 7:16; 1Sa 17:46-47; 2Ch 18:31). God in the abstract is Elohim, or just “God,” but God in covenant relation is “Jehovah Elohim,” or “Jehovah God.”
As we look over this second chapter at first glance, there seems to be on the face of it another diversity from the first chapter in the order of creation. In the first chapter the chronological order is strictly followed, man coming last; in the second chapter the mind is fastened on the man who came last in the first chapter, first in dignity, and the other things and beings are discussed in their relation to him without intending to convey the idea that this is the chronological order of their creation. The radical critics have been accustomed to claim that these three marked changes between the first and second chapters indicate different authors and different documents. There is no convincing reason for accepting this explanation. The book of Genesis is not a patchwork of different documents by different authors crudely and artificially joined together; one purpose runs through the book. Whoever wrote one part of it wrote all the parts of it, from whatever source his materials were derived.
Just here it is important to call your attention to the uniform method of historic treatment in the book of Genesis. From the first sentence to the end of the book there is a designed descent from the general and comprehensive to the particular. For example, the first verse, in a few words, states that in the beginning God created the universe. The second verse descends to this particular: the condition of the created earth matter as being without form and void, and darkness over the face of the deep. The author does not attempt to state how much interval of time passed from the creation of the matter of the universe to this particular state of the chaos of the earth matter. Having thus shown what the chaotic state was he then shows the several steps by which this chaos, under the mighty energy of the Holy Spirit, is changed into order.
The first eleven chapters are a race history. Then there is a descent to a particular man and a family and a nation. Another uniform method of the book of Genesis is, that in tracing the kingdom of God all of the families of whom the elect line does not come are first given and then sidetracked. It gives the generations of Ishmael before it gives the generations of Isaac, and the generations of Esau before it gives the generations of Jacob.
In this second chapter, as has been said, following the methods of a descent from the general to the particular, the author takes up certain brief statements of the first chapter and supplies details that are not given in the first. Among the examples are these: In the first chapter, following a chronological; order, there is the bare statement that God commanded the earth to bring forth grass and the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit. But the second chapter supplies a detail that at first there was no rain but only a mist that went up from the earth and watered the face of the ground, and caused the seeds of things which had been created to germinate; then the first chapter states in general terms that God made man, male and female, without detail. This second chapter tells us how man’s body was made from the dust of the ground, and how the spirit of man was communicated, and then it shows how the female was derived from the man. This is a detailed elaboration, or explanation, of the brief statement in the first chapter.
The second chapter then goes on to supply the detail of how God provided a garden for the man, and how he came under covenant law to God, and the stipulations of that covenant. This detailed information of the second chapter is very important as showing the dual nature of man, how that his body was formed from the dust of the earth. Here it is clear that the teaching is that man’s body was not evolved from any lower form of animal life. There is an evolution clearly taught in the Bible, but it is an evolution of each seed according to its kind, and not the transformation of one kind into another kind. Whatever potentiality has been previously involved in any seed may be evolved out of that seed. From a seed of wheat there is first the blade and then the stalk and then the ear, and then the full or ripened ear, but barley is not evolved from a wheat seed. Each one is according to its own kind. No research of man has ever found an example of one kind being evolved from a different kind. It would destroy all law and take away from man the value of his reason in observing nature’s course, or the course of the God of nature so as to profit by it. This second chapter is equally clear as to the origin of man’s spirit. The spirit of the first man was not by any process of evolution derived from any spirit of beast or demon, but a direct creation of God, an impartation from God. Marcus Dods, in his book on Genesis, exceedingly lucid and brilliant, though many times tending to the theory of the radical critic, asks a question: “Was the first man a rude and ignorant savage or a highly civilized man?” You may rest assured that the first man was the highest and noblest of his kind, fresh from the hands of his Creator, created upright, in righteousness, knowledge and true holiness, wonderfully dowered and commissioned. He was superior not only to the rude and ignorant savage, but to the highest type of present civilization.
This leads to another thought, viz.: that the savage tribes to today are not merely ascending from a primeval degradation in the scale of beings, but are examples of a degeneration from a previous higher type. On this point the whole theory of Darwinian evolution is hopelessly at war with revelation and common sense, and also with all of the clearly proved facts gathered by man’s research. This thought is further carried out by the fact that race memory has embodied in tribal and I national myths proofs that man has not ascended from a primeval cave dweller or a remote stone age to the present golden age of civilization, but that there has been, according to the teachings of history time and again, a descent from the primeval golden age to a silver, then a brazen, and then an iron and then a stone age. As an instance, take Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” as embodying the classical idea of first a golden, then a silver, then a brazen and then an iron age, and this is in harmony with the myths and legends preserved among all people. By a kind of race memory they all look back to & higher and nobler position than that now occupied. This erroneous evolution theory goes a long way back and finds first, cave dwellers, or troglodytes, and an evolution from the cave dweller of the stone age to the present civilized time. But the Bible itself, as well as present history, shows that troglodytas or cave dwellers existed contemporaneously with higher types. The Horites mentioned in Genesis were troglodytes living in caves. This evolution theory begs the question and contradicts the facts as well, in demanding almost infinite periods of time between these several generations. Not long ago the phosphate beds of Ashley, South Carolina, were discovered, and in excavating for these phosphates there were found all mingled together the bones, skeletons of animals including man, that, under this theory, must have been separated in countless ages of time from each other.
We have in this second chapter a description of a garden, or paradise, in the district of Eden. I need not cite the words of this description, for you have the book before you. Captain Mayne Reid, in the Desert Home, describes a fertile, wellwatered valley, mountain locked on every side, full of flowers and fruits, that may convey to you some idea of paradise in a valley of the mountains. Or you may get some idea of paradise in a valley of the mountains from Johnson’s Happy Valley of Rasselas. The record says that this park was fertilized by a river system, which, in leaving the garden, parted into fear beads that became mighty rivers. Two of these rivers — the Euphrates and the Tigris — are easy to locate, and the other two may be easily inferred. In the Armenian mountains is yet to be seen a beautiful valley in which, from the same water system, four famous rivers rise, not far from each other. The springs of these rivers are not many miles apart. The Euphrates, leaving this valley, flows, in general terms, south, reaching the Indian Ocean through the Persian Gulf. The Tigris flows east and then south until it unites with the Euphrates before it reaches the sea.
The Halys and the Araxes also rise in the same valley, one of them flowing northwest into the Black Sea, and the other, east into the Caspian Sea.
There were two remarkable trees in this garden, the tree of life and the tree of death. From what is said in the third chapter, and indicated by its own name, the object of the tree of life was to furnish the fruit that would ultimately eliminate the mortality of man’s body so that long continuance in the use of this fruit would make his body as immortal as his soul. On the other hand, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil fruited unto death. Many of the commentaries have found in this story of the garden of Eden a mere allegory. All subsequent references to it in the Bible clearly prove that this account is strictly historical. By following out your marginal references abundant proof texts are to be found in both Testaments that the memory of this famous garden lingered long lathe minds of the race. In the New Testament, at the very close of it, paradise regained, with its water of life and the tree of life, is set forth as the antitype of the earthly garden of Eden. It is quite important to note that the man had duties in this garden. He was to tend the garden and, as in the commission stated in the first chapter of Genesis, he must subdue the earth. This shows that labor preceded sin and has in it a natural dignity not to be despised.
It is well to note that this man in this garden, without being at all startled, had direct communication with God; without fear or shame he met and communed with his Creator. The biblical account clearly shows that this man stood in covenant relations with his God. The very fact that some things are prescribed and other things proscribed is an evidence of a covenant relation, the Creator freely permitting some things, sharply prohibiting other things with severe penalties attached to disobedience. The prohibition not to eat of the tree of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, except on a penalty of death, is a stipulation of this covenant. Some have questioned the propriety of such a moral test. But a test in this form is more excellent than one like an ordinary law of nature demonstrating its own consequences.
Men have had some difficulty in locating the garden of Eden from the description given in this second chapter, but their difficulties arise from supposing there has been no change since primeval times. For example, the Hiddekel, or Tigris, is said to compass all the land of Cush, and commentators, keeping in mind the territory of Cush in Africa, experience a difficulty in locating this river. They should notice that the descendants of Cush first occupied the very territory which the Tigris compasses, and later some of them settled in Arabia and others of them in Africa. A passage in Ezekiel, which the reader must find, tells us that the garden of Eden was destroyed. By which is meant not the annihilation of its mountains and its rivers, but such a change as, were you now to see the location, you could not identify it from the description given in Genesis. Several curious theories of the location of the garden of Eden have been inflicted upon the people. A Methodist bishop is quite sure that it was near where Charleston, South Carolina, now is. Another says that it was at the North Pole and that the aurora borealis is still a reflection of its pristine glory, and that there is an opening into the hollow of the earth at the North Pole and paradise went down into that hole, and only the aurora borealis outshines and that God had hedged it about with impassable ice. The discovery of the North Pole, if it was a discovery, clearly disproves the existence of such a stake as the north pole.
One of the most suggestive thoughts in this chapter is the way in which God made the man sensible of his need of a companion, and of the kind of a companion that he must have. The animals in pairs passed before the man and he noticing that they were all in pairs — a lion and a lioness, a tiger and a tigress, and so on — thus suggesting the thought to him that these lower creatures had mates, and he had none, but further suggesting that because of his difference in nature, he being in God’s image and infinitely above any lower animal, he could not find a mate among them. Having thus prepared man’s mind to see the necessity of a companion, God, by a spiritual anesthetic, brings man’s body into a state of painless insensibility, and while in that state takes from him a part of himself near his heart, and out of that fashions man’s companion.
Here arises an important question: “Was the spirit of Eve a direct creation like Adam’s, or was her spirit derived from him as well as her body?” This brings up two theological theories, one called the theory of direct creation of spirits, and the other the theory of derivation by traduction. It has always seemed to the author that the common theory, that the souls of men are all of them, each in its turn, a direct creation of God, is utterly incompatible with biblical facts. It would disprove hereditary depravity or the necessity of regeneration. Education only would be needed. When the companion was presented to man, Adam said, Isha, which means woman, and woman means derived from man. When she was presented to him she was presented to him in her entirety —body and soul — and he called her woman — i.e., derived from man. So that Eve was as much a descendant of Adam as you are. In other words the man, when created was the whole race in potentiality, and every other human being, including Eve, was derived from him. A very important doctrine will be seen to be dependent upon this when we come to the next chapter, when we come to the fall of man. If Eve was a descendant of Adam, race responsibility did not rest upon her. Her sin might bring death to her but only to herself, but Adam’s sin would bring it to all to be derived from him.
God himself married this first pair, and our Lord, in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, indicated the ceremony by the words which he quotes. In looking upon this first pair, we come upon a somewhat startling statement prefaced by “therefore”: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” The usual idea seems to be that the right of the matter is that a man shall take her to his father’s and mother’s house, but the Bible says that a man shall leave his folk, and all the wives can understand why this is so. They cannot go to the father-in-law and mother-in-law and feel at home under the dominion of those who are practically strangers. She wants her home. She is willing enough to receive counsel in the homelife from her mother, but not so well from his mother. So he should not always be telling her how well his mother could make biscuits and pies and coffee and desserts. Let her tell him how her mother used to do it. The truth is, when they marry, they had better go off to themselves.
In two of the finest passages of Milton’s Paradise Lost is the poet’s conception of the man’s first consciousness after his creation and how Eve awoke and found herself. I once took the passage about Eve waking and finding herself, and made it the theme of an address before a college of young ladies. I suggest that every reader read these two passages.
When we come to the New Testament we find proof corroborating the Genesis account of the origin of the woman. It distinctly affirms that Adam was first formed, then Eve, and that the woman was made for the man and not the man for the woman, and that the man is the head of the family, from which are also derived some beautiful lessons about Christ the Second Adam, and the church derived from him; that as the first Adam slept while the woman was taken from his side so Christ died that from his death might come his companion, his spouse, his church; that Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.
By: B.H. Carol