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Genesis 2:4-25: Adam and Eve
Bible Essentials: Set 3, Lesson 2
Back in May, I went to the dance recital for my two nieces, and the theme was Ex Nihilo – Out of Nothing. It was the story of creation, told through dance. Each dance had a theme, like water, sun, or wild animals. The costumes, music, and choreography were spot on. It was one of the best themed dance recitals of theirs I’ve been to. And it made me think about this Bible study series that starts with creation.
The first lesson in this series, the story of creation in Genesis 1, we’ve already done. You can find that by clicking the link below. If you haven’t gone through this lesson before, I encourage you to start here. Or if you have done the lesson and want to review, that would be great too. Then once you’ve done that, continue with this week’s lesson.
Individuals: Take time to think back about your past week. Where have you seen God work in your life or answer prayer? Write down any prayer requests you have.
Group: Open the study by sharing life updates, reviewing highs and lows of your past week, or sharing prayer requests and praises.
Icebreaker: What is your earliest memory? Who were you with? What were you doing?
All: Begin the study with a word of prayer, asking God to open your heart for today’s study. You can also pray for any prayer requests now, or save that for the end.
Read today’s passage: Genesis 2:4-25.
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
What is the context for this passage?
It’s the beginning of time as we know it. God has just created every thing in the universe in Genesis 1, and we now zoom in to look specifically at the creation of humans.
Read the passage again.
Explore a different version if you have one available. If you are online, here is Genesis 2 in NIV through Bible Gateway. You can change the version by using the dropdown menu at the top right of the page.
Try to summarize the passage in your own words.
Answer these three questions about the passage:
1. What does the passage say about God?
God made the heavens and the earth. This statement confirms what we learned in Genesis 1. God made everything that we see—and a lot that we have never seen! The universe didn’t start with a spontaneous Big Bang. It simply started because God spoke it into existence.
God controls the rain. Once God created everything, he knew exactly how it needed to work to produce and sustain life. One of the key ingredients is water. All living things must have water to live. God is the one who controls how much each living thing needs to survive, and he controls how much water is on earth through the rain and the rivers and streams.
God made humans from dust and gave them the breath of life. After God created the earth (especially the dirt of the ground), he used this as a medium to create living creatures. From the dust, he formed man. Not only did he form the man, but he “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (vs. 7). And the man became a living being. Only God has the power to give the breath of life. I find it interesting that the man is the only one into whom God breathed the breath of life. It doesn’t say that about the animals or plants, even though they are also living. Humans are special because they were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), and God has given us his breath of life.
God controls the growth of plants. At first, this passage says that plants hadn’t grown yet because there was no rain. But at the perfectly right time, those first plants did grow, and God was the one controlling their growth. He even planned exactly where the plants would grow. He knew exactly the climate and soil type that each plant would need to grow and survive. And that’s where he placed them. This exact placement continues today, with different plants growing naturally in different areas of the world.
God provided food for all living creatures. When God creates things, he also gives them what they need to survive. In the plants, he gave food for humans and other living creatures. These plants provide the nutrition that our bodies need for growth and nourishment.
God formed all creatures from the ground. Similar to man, God created all the wild animals and birds from the dust of the ground. Yet it doesn’t say that he breathed the breath of life into them, even though they are living creatures. This sets humans apart from the animals.
2. What does the passage say about people?
Humans are living beings. Because God breathed into that first man the breath of life, he became a living being. That life has been passed down through the generations to you and me. Because we are alive and have God’s breath in us, we can move and think and choose. We can grow and develop and create and feel emotions. Rejoice today that you are alive!
Humans were made to work. When God created humans, he didn’t just put them on earth to sit around and do nothing. He gave them a task to care for the plants and animals. Adam’s first task was to name all the wild animals and birds. What work has God created you for?
Humans were made to live in community. As Adam was naming all the animals, he was also looking for a helper for himself. We think of dogs as “man’s best friend.” We can use animals such as horses or bulls to help with transportation or cultivation. But these weren’t good enough. Adam needed someone who was like him—who could talk and think and connect. Someone who could do all the things he could do. And none of the animals could fill this role. So God made a special helper for Adam. This was someone he could share life with, someone he could build a relationship with. Humans weren’t made to live in isolation. They were made to live together and help and support each other.
3. What does the passage say about God’s plan?
God’s plan was that humans would care for the plants and animals. The primary task God gave Adam was to care for the plants and animals—to care for God’s creation. As humans, we are responsible for making sure the plants and animals survive and thrive in their environment. How good of a job have you been doing taking care of the things God has given you? As a human race collectively, we haven’t been doing great. What can you do better to fulfill this role?
God’s plan was that humans would follow God’s commands. When God put Adam in the garden to work it and take care of it, he gave Adam one command: to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (vs. 17). As God and creator of the universe, God expected Adam to follow that command (even though he knew he eventually wouldn’t). Throughout the Bible, this same expectation holds true. God expects that his people will follow his commands (even though he knows that throughout the ages, we would all fail). Even though he knows we will fail, he sets the commands before us anyway so that we know how best to live.
God’s plan was for man and woman to be united. Once God created the woman from the man, they were united. This is where we find the foundation for marriage. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman, and marriage binds them together as one unit.
God’s plan was for humans not to feel shame. In this perfect world that God created, there was no need for shame because there had not yet been any evil. All of the actions and thoughts of humans were all good all the time. This was God’s original plan.
How does the passage fit into the overarching story of the Bible?
Sometimes it’s easier to understand a passage if you have a little outside knowledge from other passages in the Bible. This section will help provide that outside perspective.
This story kicks off everything we know about the start of the human race. Most importantly, we are created by God to do his work. Secondly, we were created to connect with others. We aren’t made to live alone and be isolated. God made sure that the first humans felt connected to God and to each other. This theme of relationship continues throughout the entire Bible. Next week, we’ll learn about that relationship being broken, and the rest of the Bible illustrates how God worked tirelessly to restore that broken relationship.
Individual: Answer the following questions thoughtfully for yourself.
Group: Pose these questions for discussion.
All: If you are willing to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts to these questions. Feel free to use the comment section to start a discussion about this passage.
What else strikes you about this passage?
How does the passage affect how you view God? How you view yourself?
How does this passage affect how you will live your life?
For Bible Essential studies, you can use my thoughts as your devotional, or you can download and use the journaling sheet to work through the passage on your own. If desired, you can then compare your thoughts to mine. Journal sheets can be downloaded and used now or later. They can be printed and filled in by hand or saved and filled out electronically. Journal sheets are available for individual or group use.
If you plan to lead a group study, a PowerPoint presentation is also available.
You can access these resources by clicking here: Genesis 2 Resources
Or you can download the journal sheets here*:
*Substack doesn’t support PowerPoint file downloads yet, so if you want to access the PowerPoint file for group study, you will need to download it from the resource page linked above.
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