{1}           Genesis: Introduction創世記導論

The Book

Genesis is the first of the 5 books of the Laws (Torah) of the Jews called the Pentateuch. The word “Pentateuch” comes from Greek meaning fivefold volume (Gr. pente teuchos). The title “Genesis” comes from Latin Vulgate (Liber Genesis) which was borrowed from the Greek Septuagint (abbreviation: LXX). The Greek word geneseos (a form of genesis, meaning source, birth, generation, probably taken from Gen 2:4a) is a translation of the Hebrew word toledot. The best English for it is “origin”.

In Hebrew, the title is bereshith which is simply the first word of Gen 1:1 (“In the beginning”). This custom of using the first word(s) for the title of the book is followed for the Pentateuch or Torah: Exodus—we elleh semoth (“and these are the names of”); Leviticus—wayyiqra (“and he called”); Numbers—bemidbar (“in the wilderness of”); Deuteronomy—elleh haddebarim (“these are the words”). Genesis has also been called by Jews as “First Book”, “Book of the Creation of the World”, “Book of Formation”, “Book of the Righteous”.

It is a book concerned with origins—the origin

·         of Earth’s creation,

·         of mankind,

·         of institutions by which civilization is perpetuated, including marriage,

·         of sin and salvation,

·         of one special family chosen by God and designated as the medium of world blessing.

They constitute the foundation for the whole revelation of God.



The book is clearly demarcated into 11 sections by the presence of the formula elleh toledot, literally “begettings”, used 10 times in Genesis. The phrase can be translated either as “this is the story (or history) of X” or “these are the descendants (or generations) of X”. It occurs at 2:4 the heavens and the earth; 5:1 Adam; 6:9 Noah; 10:1 sons of Noah; 11:10 Shem; 11:27 Terah; 25:12 Ishmael; 25:19 Isaac; 36:1 Esau; 37:2 Jacob. [The phrase is also used in 36:9 for Esau but is probably a duplication of 36:1 although it specifically points to the ancestors of Edom.]

There are 2 types of genealogies: [a] vertical or linear genealogy: tracing one line of descent, e.g. 5:1-32; 11:10-32; [b] horizontal or segmented genealogy: tracing through several children, e.g. 10:1-32; 25:12-20; 36:1-43.

The clearest division of Genesis is between ch.111 and ch.1250. The first 11 chapters were about primeval history; the last 39 chapters about patriarchal history. The first part is about individuals who had land, but were either losing it or being expelled from it; the second part is about individuals who did not have land, but were on the way toward it, either ending up losing it or expecting to gain it. The first part describes an increasing alienation from God; the second part describes the solution to this alienation through the obedience of Abraham and his descendants.

The book follows a sequence of generation (ch.12), to de-generation (ch.311), to re-generation (ch.1250).

The first 11 chapters can also be summarized by a cycle of chaos (beginning)—order (creation)—chaos (Babel). The environmental chaos at the beginning is contrasted with the moral chaos at the end. It can also be grouped into 3 cycles of sin—punishment—grace:






God’s grace







1st cycle

Adam & Eve









2nd cycle

human race









3rd cycle











“Canon” means a group of authoritative documents accepted by a religious community as divinely inspired; their function is to shape their faith, practice, and doctrine. No Christian or Jewish source ever raised questions over the legitimacy of Genesis’ presence in the biblical canon.

o        The Jewish canon contains the OT, organized into 24 books. The Christian canon contains 39 books of the OT (with the same content as the Jewish canon) and 27 books of the NT, totalling 66 books. The Roman Catholic Church adds 14 books of the Apocrypha as part of the canon.

The Hebrew text of Genesis is based on the text of the Leningrad Public Library written (copied) in AD 1008. Unfortunately we do not have major finds from Qumran (2nd century BC to 1st century AD) on Genesis.


Author and Date

Until the 18th century, hardly anyone questioned the unity of Genesis, whether rabbinical scholars of Judaism or ecclesiastical scholars of Christendom. For all of them, Genesis was a unified work of Moses written in the 15th century BC (around 1450-1410 BC). It was probably written slightly before or after the Israeli Exodus from Egypt (dated about 1446 BC). This approach to the authorship of Genesis is now labelled as the “traditional” or the “precritical” approach, with a slightly negative connotation.

The situation was gradually but completely turned around since mid-18th century. The academic world totally adopted the new “critical” approach which holds that Genesis is [a] not a unified work and [b] also not written by Moses. This position dominated the academic world so much that anyone holding the traditional view was labelled pejoratively “fundamentalist”. However, it should be noted that the traditional view has always been upheld in conservative evangelical churches. Moreover, recent academic research since the 1960s has found evidences that contradict the critical approach and support the traditional approach.

Today, after intense discussion in the last 200 years, the definitive answer to the authorship of Genesis remains unknown. It is likely that the argument will never be resolved. Hamilton (1990:38) says it well: “Theories about Genesis’ origin grow like the old pagan pantheons. New ideas are added; old ideas are never discarded. For some this boils down to an exercise in futility. For others this is the genius of scholarship, the endless (literally!) pursuit of empirical truth, ‘always searching, but never coming to a [consensus] knowledge of the truth.’ (2 Tim. 3:7)”

Despite all these academic arguments, it is important to point out that the authorship of Moses is supported by the rest of the Bible, including Jesus Himself.

[1] In the Pentateuch, God commanded Moses to write down His words (Ex 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Nu 33:2; Dt 31:9,24; 33:2).

[2] In the rest of the OT, many verses mention that the Torah was written by Moses (Jos 8:31; 23:6; Jdg 3:4; 1Ki 2:3; 2Ki 14:6; 21:8; Ezra 6:18, Neh 13:1). The discovery of the autograph copy of the Torah in the reign of Josiah (2Ki 22:8) proves the existence of the Torah well before captivity.

[3] In the NT, Moses (and no others) was frequently mentioned as the author of the Torah (Mt 19:8; Mk 1:44; 7:10; 12:26; Lk 5:14; 24:27,44; Jn 1:17,45; 5:46-47; 7:19; Ac 3:22; 13:39; 15:5-21; Ro 10:5,19; 1Co 9:9; 2Co 3:15; Rev 15:3).

It is appropriate to claim Moses as the author because it would be difficult to find in all the history of Israel’s life a man who was better qualified to write this book. Trained in the “wisdom of the Egyptians” (Ac 7:22), Moses was providentially prepared to understand available records and manuscripts in the Egyptian palace. The authorship of Moses does not preclude minor editing by subsequent generations, as demonstrated by: [a] the presence of the phrase “and to this day” (Gen 22:14; 26:33; 32:33; 35:20) or [b] by the altered names of places (probably made by Ezra who revised and corrected the version of the ancient Scriptures; possibly including Gen 11:28,31; 14:14; 36:31). Neither does it preclude the use of different earlier documents by Moses in his composition of Genesis. Nevertheless, Moses was under the guidance of God and would not have included any erroneous information from those documents.


Documentary Hypothesis: Attack on Genesis

o        NOTE: This section is mostly based on Hamilton (1990), supplemented by information from other references listed in the bibliography.

The first people to attack Genesis for “internal inconsistency” were English priest Richard Simon in 1678 and Dutch theologian Campegius Vitringa in 1707. Their arguments at first were not taken seriously. Later in 1753, the doubt as to the authorship of Moses was expressed by French physician Jean Astruc. He observed the puzzling distribution of different names for God scattered through Genesis, sometimes “Yahweh” and sometimes “Elohim”. He concluded that Moses was not the “author” of Genesis but only a “redactor” (editor), who put Genesis together by copying verbatim from two earlier documents.

His idea was picked up by German historian J.G. Eichhorn (1780) who used other criteria to establish a hypothesis for multiple sources in Genesis (and the Pentateuch), such as phraseology and literary style. Later academics (most of them German) pushed this view in the 19th century, culminated in the formulation of the documentary hypothesis (also called JEDP hypothesis) proposed by Julius Wellhausen (1878).

The hypothesis identifies 4 major literary strands behind the Pentateuch: [a] Yahwist (J source, use “Yahweh” for the name of God; “Yahweh” begins with the letter “J” in German) written in Judah during the reign of Solomon around 950 BC; [b] Elohist (E source, use “Elohim” for the name of God) written in northern Israel after Solomon’s reign around 850 BC; [c] Deuteronomy (D source) written in northern Israel around 620 BC, confined to the writing of Deuteronomy; [d] Priestly Writer (P source) written after the Babylonian exile around 550-450 BC.

They raised a number of reasons for positing the existence of a multi-traditional Genesis, in fact for the whole Pentateuch:

[a]  the different names of God, e.g. “Elohim” in 1:1—2:3, “Yahweh Elohim” in 2:4—3:24, both “Elohim” and “Yahweh” in ch.69.

[b] the presence of duplications, the same story told in different accounts which are perhaps irreconcilable, e.g. the Creation accounts (1:1—2:3 and 2:4ff.), the Flood accounts (meshed in ch.69), the accounts of God’s covenant with Abraham (ch.15 and ch.17), accounts of Hagar’s banishment (ch.16 and ch.21), accounts of Jacob’s name change to Israel (ch.32 and ch.35), accounts of Joseph’s sale to merchants (37:25-27,28b and 37:28a,36), 3 accounts of wife abduction (ch.12, ch.20 and ch.26).

[c]  the presence of anachronism, which appears to be dated much later than the time of Moses, e.g. Abraham’s “Ur of the Chaldeans” (15:7) as Chaldeans appeared only later; also, the list of Edomite kings in ch.36 as Edomites did not settle in Transjordan before the 13th century BC.

[d] the detection of distinctive literary styles or religious ideology, e.g. P’s style is reckoned to be more formal and repetitious; J’s is more simple but with anthropomorphic tendencies describing direct contact of God with the patriarchs; E’s tends to dilute the contact with God by introducing dreams and angels as intermediate factors. (D source is only found in Deuteronomy and therefore not in Genesis.)

By applying their criteria, the document analysts cut up the book of Genesis into about 170 small segments based on the 3 hypothetical documents. For example, Gen 21:1-7 is broken up into: v.1a (J), 1b (P), 2a (J), 2b-5 (P), 6-7 (E). Based on this hypothesis, the book of Genesis could have only been completed after the first Jews returned from Babylon in 538 BC, perhaps as late as 400 BC.

Since they believed that the documents were written a long period after the occurrence of the recorded events (death of Joseph at the end of Genesis happened in about 1805 BC), they argued that the information presented in Genesis could not be authentic. Thus the documentary hypothesis led to direct attacks on the accuracy of the Bible.

Wellhausen’s work was followed by many academics, notably Hermann Gunkel (1901), and Martin Noth (1948). However, since the 1960s, the documentary hypothesis has been attacked by both sides of Biblical scholarship. From the radical side, John Van Seters (1975) and H.H. Schmid (1976) simply dated the whole Abraham traditions to the 6th century BC and believed there was actually no historical Abraham. However, this position is full of major unanswerable problems and lacks credibility. From the traditional side, J.H. Tigay (1975), Isaac Kikawada (1974), and Arthur Quinn (1985) refuted the documentary hypothesis by quoting persuasive examples from ancient writings showing the homogeneity of Genesis. With attacks from both sides, many writers now believe that the documentary hypothesis is untenable and should be discarded.

Y.T. Radday and H. Shore (1985) used the computer in a thorough word-level linguistic analysis of Genesis and concluded that the book is a unity, written by one author. K.A. Kitchen (1966) and R.K. Harrison (1969) collected convincing archaeological evidence to support the authorship of Moses composing at about the time of the Exodus. With these works, they satisfactorily answered the two main attacks on Genesis: unity and authorship.

In the first half of the 20th century, the documentary hypothesis was so dominant in the academic circle that to argue for the Mosaic authorship of Genesis was akin to argue for the flatness of the Earth. However, because of many recent studies by Jewish scholars and evangelical Protestants, the traditional view has gained much ground and Mosaic authorship is again dominant in orthodox churches.


Theology of Chapter 1-11

[1] Name of the one God: The belief of one true God was unique and different from the cultures in the Middle East at the time of Moses. The two names of God show the nature of God. The first name “El” or “Elohim” means the strong or mighty one and was a common name for God in that region. With this name, God was described as the Creator, the Lord, and the Judge. The second name “Yahweh” (“Jehovah”, appearing 164 times in Genesis, 6,823 times in the OT) means “I AM”, expressing God’s eternal presence. It is a name used in God’s covenant with Israel.

[2] Attributes of God: God is characterized as a powerful God who completed the creation of the universe and continued with His providence over the universe. He has infinite wisdom and He created a universe that is “good”. He is a God of peace and harmony.

God is also a God of love and of perfection. He loves man and created man as a perfect being after His image. God created the paradise (Eden) as a perfect environment. He instituted marriage as a perfect relationship for man.

[3] Themes in Genesis: One constant theme throughout the whole book is a process with 3 phases: [a] intimacy, [b] rupture by strife, and [c] reconciliation (though this last phase missing in some cases).

The first 2 chapters of Genesis introduce the paradisiacal world where there was only blessing. The last 2 chapters of Revelation introduce the new paradisiacal world, again only with blessing. The world of Gen 3 to Rev 20 is a combat zone between God and the devil.

In Gen 12, man is living in complete harmony with God, with other human, and with the created order. Gen 3 introduces the theme of God’s judgment, which is the withdrawal of His blessing as a result of man’s disobedience. This disobedience came from discontent with what God gave man. God gave man the power over nature. Being discontent, man wants to extend his power over things, including the power to be morally autonomous (from God), power over somebody else’s life, power over the determination of one’s own future.

This desire for power alienated man from God. The results were expulsion from paradise, shortening of life span, death from the Flood, confusion of language and dispersion. Yet, throughout the judgments, the voice of grace and promise is never muted. Adam and Eve were clothed. Cain was divinely protected. God announced a covenant never to destroy the whole human race again. Yet the ultimate grace is the election of Abraham and his family by which everyone on Earth may be reconciled to God.

[4] Genesis as Myth: Some people have doubts whether Genesis can stand up to the challenge of archaeology or science. To avoid this problem, they try to regard stories recorded in the book as non-historical. They attach only theological and kerygmatic value to the book but not historical value. They regard the book as myth.

The word “myth”, used in the later books of NT, always has a negative connotation. [a] Paul urges Timothy not to pay attention to myths (1Ti 1:4). [b] Paul predicts that the time is coming when people will find myths more attractive than the truth (2Ti 4:4). [c] Paul instructs Titus to reprove those who are absorbed with Jewish myths, an aberration which detracts from sound faith (Titus 1:14). [d] Peter declares that the basis of certainty behind his message is that he was “an eyewitness of His majesty,” and not cleverly devised myths (2Pe 1:16).

Based on these verses, what is myth is not true. What is true is not mythical. Myths are fictitious narratives, invented stories. Myth is not only a figurative expression of truth, but a false expression of truth as well. As Genesis provides the foundation of all that we believe in about God, the attitude of regarding the book as a myth will undercut all our beliefs. More importantly, the author recorded what he perceived as facts and there is never a hint that anything in Genesis is mythical. Christians should never regard Genesis as mythical.


Comments on Commentaries

This section documents some deficiencies in many (more than a few) Bible commentaries on Genesis, including some written (unfortunately) by evangelical Bible scholars.

[1] Apparent subscription to the documentary hypothesis: Some fall back on documentary hypothesis when they had even slight difficulties explaining the Biblical text. The problem is: they assume that the author of Genesis had copied from those documents (which are, in the first place, of unproven and doubtful existence) and the author he had made a mistake in accepting some incorrect information. As evangelical Christians, we hold to the position that the Bible is the Word of God and God would not allow the original manuscripts to contain incorrect information. Such assumption about the Biblical text is therefore unacceptable. (Rare errors made by the copyists are of course an entirely different issue.)

[2] Apparent subscription to ancient legends: A similar problem to the previous point is the common reference to ancient legends and myths in the Middle East, such as the Babylonian and the Egyptian legends. The commentaries are assuming that the stories in Genesis came from those legends. They then proceed to analyze whether the “original” information from the legends was correct or not. This kind of analysis is a common method in academic studies but the problem is the underlying assumption that the author of Genesis could use wrong information in writing the Biblical manuscript. Evangelical Christians should begin from the acceptance that stories in the Bible are true facts and real occurrences. They are not duplicated copies of pagan legends. We should avoid making apparent subscription to ancient legends and myths, except when there is a necessity to show the Bible’s independence from those legends. [It is sufficient to affirm that Genesis is distinctive from ancient legends and actually rejects pagan ideas. The foremost distinctions are monotheism and the consistent moral element.]

[3] Conjecture on the author’s intention: Occasionally, some commentaries assume that the author of Genesis used his writing to promote a certain viewpoint. For example, in explaining why Canaan was cursed because of Ham’s sin in Gen 9:25, one author writes: “Perhaps the author wished to imply that Israelites could invade (the land of) Canaan because people living in that land were cursed by God. These people were cursed because of their ancestor Canaan, just like Canaan was cursed because of his father.” However, the problem is: if this explanation is correct, then the author of Genesis was recording an untruth (via the mouth of Noah) in order to express his own viewpoint. Such an explanation must not be accepted.

These problems are common in commentaries on Genesis. These are misguided explanations. These should not be included in their commentaries. If there is an academic necessity for  the inclusion of those information (such as to demonstrate that the author of the commentaries are knowledgeable and therefore academically well qualified), the most they could do is to include it in the footnotes, and to add a disclaimer that they do not accept those explanations.



        From Genesis, we learn that:

[a] God the Creator is great; man is insignificant. Man must be humble before God and accept that we are His creation.

[b] We should praise God for His wisdom and His power.

[c] Beside God, nothing can be the object of our worship because everything else was part of the created order. We need to be cautious as sometimes, we may unknowingly make people and things as objects of our worship.

        We can observe the attributes of God from Genesis and they are totally consistent throughout the Bible, unlike the gods in other religions. God is powerful, has infinite wisdom and is a God of peace, harmony, love, and perfection.


{2}           Gen 1:1—2:3  Creation 創造1:1—2:3


Part A. Creation (1:1—2:3)

A1.      In the beginning (1:1-2)

A2.      Days 1-3 (1:3-13)

A3.      Days 4-6 (1:14-31)

A4.      Day 7 (2:1-3)

        The 6 days of creation are in 2 parallel sequences of 3 days each. Day 3 and Day 6 both included two separate creative acts, totalling 8 creations. The first 3 days involved separations of the created order that has no movement; the last 3 days involved the created order that has movement and life. Day 1 and 4 were against the darkness; day 2 and 5 were against the deep (water); and day 3 and 6 were against the desolation/chaos.


Sequence 1

Sequence 2


Day 1: light/darkness

Day 4: sun, moon, stars

against “darkness”

Day 2: sky/sea

Day 5: birds, fish

against “the deep”

Day 3: land AND plants

Day 6: land animals AND human beings

against “formless and void”



The translation quoted in the following exposition is English Standard Version (ESV, 2003), supplemented by the NIV (1984) and a literal translation from the original Hebrew.

1:1       beginning: the point when time began. God existed before everything else.

God did not need to create the universe; he chose to create it. Why? God is love, and love must be expressed toward something or someone else—so God created the world and man. They are an expression of His love. He wants to share His glory with man. God also created the universe to show His glory (Isa 43:7) and the universe testifies to God’s glory and greatness (Ps 19:1).

From the creation story, we learn about God: [a] He is creative; [b] as the Creator, He is distinct from His creation; [c] He is eternal and in control of the world.

We also learn about ourselves: [a] we are creatures, part of God’s creation, [b] since God chose to create us, we are valuable in His eyes; [c] we are more important than the rest of creation.

The universe was created “out of nothing” (Gr. ex nihilo), not from previously existing materials but simply by the command of God. This term (ex nihilo) is not found in the Bible but in the Apocrypha (II Maccabees 7:28), but the concept is clearly taught in Ps 33:9; 148:5; Heb 11:3.

o        In scientific terms, “nothing” means lack of matter, energy, and all 10 space-time dimensions of the universe.

Whether this verse is [a] an introduction or [b] a summary of the whole creation passage (Gen 1:2—2:3) or [c] a description of the actual creation makes a big difference in interpretation.

o        [a] Title view: Verse 1 is the summary heading of the whole account, announcing the subject matter, and 1:2—2:3 presents the detail. Creation began in v.2 and there were nothing in the entire universe. The rest of the universe was created only on the 4th day when the sun, the moon, and the stars were created. The problem is how to explain the origins of the darkness and the watery chaos of the Earth in v.2. Did they exist from the beginning?

o        [b] Traditional view: Creation began in v.1 when the entire universe was created, but one that was not organized and not completed. Verse 2 describes the unorganized Earth. The rest of the passage describes how the Earth was organized.

o        [c] Restitution view or gap theory: Creation began in v.1; 1:3—2:3 describes a renewal of creation, that is, a restitution of the initial creation that became “chaos” as a consequence of a judgment of God described in v.2 (the Earth became “without form and void”). The judgment is often attributed to Satan’s rebellion and expulsion from heaven (Isa 14:9-14; Eze 28:12-17). There was a large gap between v.1 and v.2.

o        A combination of different views may be possible. For example, v.1 may be a title (like the toledot titles later in the book). The story begins with v.2 with something already existent, including the Earth, water, and darkness. Further, something might have happened before v.2 but the Bible did not describe it.

God (Heb. Elohim): the centre of the whole Bible; the name means strong and mighty. It is a plural noun used to represent His magnificence, majesty, and honour, not multiple gods. Many commentators believe the plural form points to the triune God although this is certainly not in the original Jewish understanding. However, different verses in Genesis do imply a plurality within God (1:2,26-27; 3:22; 11:7). [The Bible clearly reveals that Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit all took part in the creation (Gen 1:2; Ps 90:2; Jn 1:3; Col 1:16; Job 33:4).]

o        Could the plural noun for God imply the 3 persons of the trinity? Yes, it could. Even though this was not the first understanding, God could have inspired Moses to use the exact words to describe some deeper truths not yet understood by Moses. This is similar to the principle in Jesus’ parables where the faithful can receiver deeper teachings than just the stories.

created (Heb. bara): 48 times in OT, emphasis on God’s power and providence, creation not from pre-existed materials.

o        The word bara occurs only in 4 verses in the creation story: 1:1,21,27; 2:3 (also 2:4a). It begins and ends the section, and also is found at 2 important junctures: the creation of the first animal life, and the creation of human life.

o        God created man out of the dust of the ground. Why was the word bara used when man was not created out of nothing? Answer: The creation refers perhaps to those with God’s breath of life, all the soulish animals (Gen 2:7; 1:30).

the heavens and the earth: Like Alpha and Omega in Revelations, this is a figure of speech which indicates the totality of all creations, the whole universe. The Bible did not record the creation of the unseen spiritual world (Col 1:16) but it is likely that angels were created before this visible world (Job 38:7).

o        “Heavens” is plural, perhaps indicating the presence of: [a] the lower atmosphere, [b] the stellar heavens, and [c] the “third heaven” where God dwells (2Co 12:2).

1:2       earth: The verse represents a change in focus from the universe to the Earth. The rest of the creation story was then told from the perspective of someone located on the surface of the Earth. The term “earth” in v.1 is used in concert with “heavens”, thereby indicating the whole universe; here, the term “earth” refers to the terrestrial Earth.

without form and void (Heb. tohu wabohu): 2 different connotations: [a] formless is parallel to the wilderness (Dt 32:10), therefore meaning “formless” and “void” both mean uninhabited; others translating as “desolate”, “in waste”, or “chatoic”; [b] same words used in Isa 45:18, with the meaning of “confusion and emptiness”.

darkness: “Darkness” was dispelled on the 1st day. The “formless” state was removed on the 2nd and 3rd days when God gave form to the Earth. The “void” state was removed on the 4th, 5th, and 6th days when God filled the Earth with living beings.

o        Some believe that God is also the Creator of “darkness” (Isa 45:7) which was part of the created order.

the deep: same root as water; the Earth was covered with water (Ps 104:6), and darkness above it; similar description in Job 38:9.

Question: What are the initial conditions of the Earth?

Answer: The Earth was dark and formless.

[1] The surface darkness was pervasive. Ps 104:6: “You [God] covered it [the Earth] with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.”

o        All land was covered by water. What is exceptional is the vast quantity of permanent surface liquid water. Unless the physics and chemistry of Earth’s surface is very carefully fine-tuned, the kinds, quantity, and distribution of water needed for diverse life will not be available.

[2] The whole Earth was “formless and empty” or “without form and void”.

o        All planets start with opaque atmospheres. The cloud of gas (hydrogen, helium methane, ammonia) and a dense shroud of interplanetary dust and debris guarantees that no sunlight can reach the surface of a primordial planet.

o        Land masses arise gradually as a result of vulcanism and plate tectonics (movement of large crustal sections). Both of these processes are driven by heat release from the decay of radioisotopes in Earth’s crust.

the Spirit of God (Heb. ruah Elohim): The participation of the “Spirit of God” in creation is also affirmed in Ps 104:30: “When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” However, some translated the term as “wind” or “fearful wind” based on the Babylonian creation story. Elohim in Hebrew can mean “the superlative”, but it always points to God in this chapter (total 35 times). Ruah can mean wind, but “ruah elohim” in the Bible never mean “fearful wind” (see Ex 31:3).

o        [a] The Jews do not accept the existence of the Holy Spirit as a separate person of the Godhead. For them, the term only expresses the power of God (Job 33:4; Ps 104:30), and is not equivalent to the Holy Spirit in NT.

o        [b] The term is possibly a deliberate ambiguity in order to express both the power of God and the fearful wind, because of Israel’s experience at the Red Sea, where God sent a mighty “wind” to part the waters.

hovering: The word describes a mother eagle spreading its wings over her young chicks (Dt 32:11). There are 2 possible connotations:

o        It suggests the personal loving, caring, nurturing characteristics of the Spirit. God’s care and protection are still active today. In Dt 32:11-14, God is described as an “eagle” who is Israel’s Protector in the wastelands of the desert.

o        It suggests a sense of pushing and stirring up, as the mother eagle flaps her wing on the nest to force the child eagle out of the nest to learn how to fly.

1:3       DAY 1: God said: reflects God’s greatness and power. God decreed and the result followed immediately.

The creation on the 1st day was time, which was divided into day and night.

“Let there be light”: Light may not mean light from a source, but only a time period with light (day). God is the Father of lights (Jas 1:17).

o        “Be” (Heb. haya) means “to exist; to be; to happen; or to come to pass”. Note that the verbs bara, asa, and yasar, meaning “create”, “make”, “form” are not used.

o        The source of the light could be: [a] cosmic light, [b] divine light from the glorious God (Ps 104:2), [c] light from the Big Bang or actually representing the Big Bang (The problem is that the Earth, even a formless and void one in v.2, could only exist after the Big Bang.), [d] the sun.

Question: How can the light come from the sun if the sun was created on the 4th day?

Answer: It could come from the sun because:

o        [1] “Let there be light” does not mean creation of light but simply “let the light shine” or “let the light of the sun shine.”

o        [2] The recording of the creation of the sun was perhaps delayed until the 4th day simply to discourage man from worshipping the sun.

o        [3] The creation story is not strictly chronological, e.g. plants created on the 3rd day before the sun that gives them life.

o        [4] The standard of day and night can only exist with the sun which was created on the 1st day. Perhaps the cloud cover hid the sun until the 4th day.

o        [5] The work on the 4th day may not be the creation of the sun and other celestial bodies but simply arrangement (like Job 9:9).

o        If either of the last 2 explanations is correct, then this verse represents a description from the perspective of someone locating on the surface of the Earth. Light from the sun was visible though only a diffused kind of light. The light came after the thick murky clouds were thinned and dispersed.

darkness: means a time period with darkness (night).

the first day (literal: time one): The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, the day to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. In creation, this was the day when light and darkness were separated. Jesus’ resurrection effectively separates children of light (Eph 5:8) from children of darkness (1Th 5:5; 1Pe 2:9; 2Pe 2:17; 1Jn 1:5-6).

1:4       good: God is a Judge. The word “good” (Heb. tob) is quite fluid in OT and includes the meaning of happy, beneficial, aesthetically beautiful, morally righteous, preferable, of superior quality, or of ultimate value.

separated: put them in order.

1:5       evening, morning: creation completed by evening.

o        Hebrew day starts at sunset.

o        According to Buswell, “evening” (not night) and morning can mean: This epoch had its gradual beginning and gradually merged into the epoch which followed.

1:6       DAY 2: expanse: literally, spread or expanse; can be translated firmament (the arched sky above the circle of the Earth), or the sky.

1:7       separated the waters: separated clouds from liquid water, created weather and climate.

1:8       called the expanse Heaven: naming of the sky; did not have “God saw that it was good” because there is nothing new.

1:9       DAY 3: separated land and sea, allowing eventual inhabitation by man.

1:10     called the dry land Earth: naming of land and seas.

1:11     according to its kind (3 times): It is an important concept repeated again in the creation of animals in the sea, on land, and in the sky. It stresses the rule of order which goes against the chaotic situation described in v.2. The barrier of kinds was established by God. The commandment in Lev 19:19 specifies no mixing of kinds.

o        “Kind” (Heb. min) is used for broad categories. Equating “kind” with the modern term of “species” is unwarranted. The term is never used of man, showing that we are a unique order of creation.

1:12     plants: 2 categories: [a] plants producing seed, and [b] fruit trees whose fruit possess seeds.


1:14     DAY 4: made (Heb. asa): completed action, different from the word “created” (Heb. bara) in v.1. This possibly infers that the sun and the stars were created before the 1st creation day.

o        The creation of the sun before the 1st day will fit the Big Bang creation better as the sun and the stars were formed from the Big Bang and the Earth only after.

lights (Heb. ma’or): sun, moon, stars.

o        The Hebrew word “lights” appears 10 times in Exodus to Numbers, all of them referring to the lamp in the tabernacle. It may imply that the author here takes the Earth as a tabernacle.

o        The purpose of the lights is to mark day and night, to mark seasons, and to give light for sight. They function as servants, subordinate to the interests of the Earth.

1:15     lights in the heavens: The celestial bodies are no more than light-bearing bodies. In contrast to primitive pagan societies which worshipped celestial bodies, the Mosaic community imposed the gravest penalty upon anyone worshipping celestial bodies.

1:16     rule: dominion, govern.




1:20     DAY 5: swarms of living creatures (Heb. sheres): lower vertebrates, neither birds nor mammals; including mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and amphibians in water; may include insects, amphibians, and reptiles on land.

birds: can include all organisms that fly, such as insects.

1:21     great sea creatures (Heb. tanninim; KJV: great whales): mythical chaos monster in Ugaritic literature; in the Bible, called Rahab (Isa 51:9) and Leviathan (Job 3:8; 40:25; Ps 74:14; 104:26; Isa 27:1). Ancient people deified these creatures, but Genesis describes that they were also created and not to be worshipped.

living creature (Heb. nephesh): sometimes referring to land creature with the breath of life (Lev 11:46) or to “soulish” creature or creature capable of expressing yearnings, emotions, passions, and will; here, they refer to those smaller creatures in the sea.

1:22     God blessed them: God’s blessing is described for the first time, substituting the former “And it was so.”


1:24     DAY 6: livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth: The list of land mammals does not intend to include all land mammals God made. It focuses on 3 varieties that would cohabit with and provide support for man. The first 2 kinds are long-legged land quadrupeds. [a] Livestock (Heb. behema) are those that can easily be tamed or domesticated for agricultural purposes. [b] Beasts of the earth (Heb. chayya) are those that are difficult to tame but have the potential to become excellent pets. [c] Creeping things (Heb. remes) are short-legged land mammals, such as rodents, hares, and armadillos. These also include various forms of creeping things—from reptiles to insects and caterpillars.


1:26     let us make: There are only 4 passages in OT where the plural is used in divine dialogue: “let us make” (Gen 1:26), “like one of us” (Gen 3:22), “let us go down” (Gen 11:7), and “And who will go for us?” (Isa 6:8). The possibilities include: [a] the “plural of majesty” (indicating divine dignity, honour, and greatness), [b] self-deliberation or contemplation, [c] divine dialogue within the Godhead, [d] address to a heavenly court of angels, and [e] all the forces of creation. The first two options cannot explain the phrase “our image” in v.26. The plurality within the unity is probably the best explanation since both “our image” (v.26) and “His image” (v.27) are used as equivalents. While the Jews would not have understood the concept of a triune God, “the Spirit of God” permits a coparticipant in creation. Pr 8:30 speaks of the personified “Wisdom” as God’s coparticipant in creation; and the source of life was attributed to the “Spirit” in Job 33:4; Ps 104:30; Eze 37.

The crown of God’s handiwork is human life. This is shown by: [a] God’s final act of creation; [b] the only creative act preceded by divine deliberation “let us make”; [c] different from the previous “let there be” or “let the earth”; [d] the verb “created” (Heb. bara) occurring 3 times in v.27.

image, likeness: Image (Heb. selem) can include sculptures, painting images, etc. Likeness (Heb. demut) refers to more abstract, internal qualities. The two terms are generally regarded as identical. They occur  in 3 passages in Genesis: 1:26-27; 5:1,3; 9:6.

o        The image of God (Latin imago Dei) implies that: [a] man can emulate God, [b] represent God on Earth, [c] dignity of man, the beginning of human value (and human rights) [d] in his resemblance to God, man is entirely different from all other creatures, [e] man is given the responsibility to rule all other creatures.

dominion (Heb. radah; NIV: rule over): not the normal verb for “rule” (which was used in v.16). This is an absolute or even fierce exercise of mastery, like the rule of the king over citizens (1Ki 4:24; Ps 110:2). Some translate it as “hold sway”. In any case, it does not mean abuse.

1:27     male and female: both God’s image, equal in position. Mentioning female is not customary in the society at that time (when women’s duties are to give birth and to look after the family). Notice that this is not specified for other creatures.

o        Reference to “male and female” is preparatory for understanding the blessing of procreation. Human sexuality is of a different sort from animal procreation. It is not intended merely as a mechanism for replication or the expression of human passion but is instrumental in experiencing covenant blessing. The union of man and woman as husband and wife is an inclusive oneness.

1:28     be fruitful: literally, be fertile; a God-given responsibility. Some put this as a blessing.

o        One or two generations ago, there was a widespread scare about human overpopulation (prediction at the same time of the shortage of food, shortage of space, shortage of resources, and the consequential conflicts). Now, there is the opposite scare about de-population which already happens in industrialized countries. Now, some western governments are trying to increase their population by providing huge incentive for more children.

fill the earth: to occupy the whole Earth, not just staying in one place.

1:29     for food: Both plants and trees were used for food of man and animals. God was the benevolent Provider who insured food for both man and animal life without fear of competition or threat for survival. “Every” and “all” emphasize the generosity of God’s provision.


1:31     very good: higher degree of satisfaction than previously when creation was completed. God rejoiced in His creation, especially the creation of man (Pr 8:31).

2:1       DAY 7: Creation is completed.

2:2       rested: stopped, ceased. It is the cessation of creation work. The word describes an action taken after work is finished, not in the sense of resting in weariness. The word “rest” can also mean “celebrate” (Lev 23:32).

The fact that the refrain of “There was evening, and there was morning” was absent may indicate that the 7th day has not ended (Ps 95:7-11; Jn 5:16-18; Heb 4:1-11), continuing through the present, extending into the future. The creation was intended to enjoy a perpetual rest provided by God; yet that rest was disrupted by human sin.

The derivative noun “Sabbath” (Heb. sabbat), which is a transliteration of the Hebrew word, does not actually occur in the creation account (though it is obviously alluded to by sabat, “ceased”).

o        According to the fossil record, new life-forms appeared continuously before the existence of man. Though frequent extinctions occurred, the introduction rate for new species matched or exceeded the extinction rate. After the appearance of man, the introduction rate plummeted to a virtual zero. This coincided with the rest day.

2:3       made it holy (NIV: sanctified): a day separated out for God. When God sanctified the day, He declared that this day was specially devoted to Him. Israel was charged to observe the Sabbath by keeping it holy as a special possession of the Lord (Ex 20:8,11).

o        The observance of Sabbath was unique to ancient Israel because it is not tied to any celestial movement, neither the sun nor the moon (in contrast to the calendars). The Sabbath thus underlines the fundamental idea of Israelite monotheism: that God is wholly outside of nature.

o        Observance of a seventh day antedates the Sinai episode. In the wilderness, the gathering of manna is suspended for a seventh day (Ex 16:21-30). The whole world now follows this pattern of rest.

o        By the commemoration of Sabbath, God and His creatures share in the celebration of the good creation, and God’s people are instructed to enter into the rhythm of work and joyful rest.



        Reflections on creation:

[a] Everything is in order. God is a God of order, not confusion.

[b] God’s words have power. Once said, they will be fulfilled. Trust God’s promise recorded in the Bible.

[c] The sky, the sun, and living beings are all created by God. Only the Creator is worthy of our worship.

[d] God loves His creation, especially man. He prepared everything before He created man.

[e] Man is special, created in God’s image and likeness. That is why everyone is special; everyone deserves our respect.

[f] God made the Sabbath holy. Keep the Sabbath day holy.

        What is your attitude towards creation?

[a] Philosopher: Why did God create the world?

[b]             Scientist: How was the world created?

[c] Selfish person: Give me the world and let me use it to my benefit.

[d]             Humble creature: Let us look after God’s creation and manage it well.

        God’s creation is characterized by: [a] great variety, [b] great beauty, [c] great exactness and accuracy, [d] great power, [e] great order, [f] great mystery. [from Henry]

        Here is a joke on the athesists: “Every now and then some scientist comes up with the statement that there is no God, and he never seems to see the utter ridiculousness of such a position. We laugh at the Russian cosmonaut, Gagarin, who, after circling the Earth, came back to announce that he had not found God up there. We think that is childish, and it is childish. But unfortunately, many learned and otherwise highly intelligent men make similar remarks because their thinking, Scripture says, is darkened and clouded, incomplete in many areas {cf. Rom 1:21, 11:10, Eph 4:18}. Someone has well pointed out that if Mr. Gagarin had simply stepped outside his capsule without a space suit he would have found God immediately!” [quote from Stedman]


{3}           Gen 2:4-25  Adam and Eve亞當和夏娃2:4-25


Part B. Adam and Eve in Eden (2:4-25)

B1.      Creation of Adam (2:4-7)

B2.      Garden of Eden (2:8-14)

B3.      Commandments to Adam (2:15-17)

B4.      Creation of Eve (2:18-25)

        This passage is the description of the creation of man from another angle: how God prepare the best for man: Eden, a wife, and a harmonious nature. It is an elaboration of Gen 1:27, not duplication.

        This chapter contains parallel features to chapters 1 and 3:

Parallel to ch.1:

o        [a]   creation of the heavens and the earth (2:4; 1:1)

o        [b]   the Earth was not suitable for human inhabitation (dryness in 2:5, darkness in 1:2)

o        [c]   theme of creation (creation of man in 2:7, creation by word in 1:3)

o        [d]   creation of man is the high point of creation (2:7; 1:26-27)

Parallel to ch.3:

o        [a]   God’s action towards man (“put the man” in 2:8; “drove the man” 3:24)

o        [b]   life of man (“a living being” from God’s breath in 2:7; blocked from the tree of life in 3:24)

o        [c]   relationship of the trees to man (2:9,16-17; 3:3-6,12,17,22-24)

o        [d]   work of man (“take care” in 2:15; hard work with sweat in 3:19)

o        [e]   man’s relation to dust (“formed from the dust” in 2:7; return to dust in 3:19)



2:4       generations (Heb. toledot; NIV: account): development of the creation, what happened after the creation; beginning of 2nd division of Genesis (first occurrence of 11).

Lord God: The name combining “Lord” and “God” is used 20 times in ch.2-3 but seldom in the rest of OT. Rabbinical interpretation: “Lord” (Heb. Yahweh) representing the mercy of God, and “God” (Heb. Elohim) representing the justice of God; Christian interpretation: Yahweh representing God of the covenant, and Elohim representing the omnipotent Creator God.

the earth and the heavens: the phrase appearing only here and Ps 148:13. The Earth is now the focus (reversing “the heavens and the earth” in Gen 1:1).

in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens: Some translations (e.g. NIV) skip the word “day” (Heb. yom) in order to avoid the argument that creation here was done in one day instead of 6. However, the “day” here can mean a period because, different from those in ch.1, and it is not followed by a numeral. When it is, it usually means 24-hour day.

2:5       bush of the field: field (wilderness) that is not able to sustain crops.

plant of the field: referring to crops and arable land. These crops required human cultivation.

had not caused it to rain: rain comes from God.

work: the same word means “serve” in many other OT places.

ground: arable land.

2:6       mist (NIV: streams from the earth): ground water or spring (LXX). Most commentators agree that the term refers to underground streams that came to the surface.

2:7       ground (Heb. adama): close to the word for “man” (Heb. adam). Man was created from the ground. Jews also relate the word to “red” (Heb. adom) and “blood” (Heb. dam).

formed: work of design, after planning. It usually describes an action when potter works with clay. It conveys the idea of molding and shaping with careful, loving care.

dust: worthless thing, not even the clay used for pottery, reflecting the weakness of man. The body is a lifeless shell until God brings it alive with His breath of life. When God removes His life-giving breath, our bodies once again return to dust. Our life and worth come from God’s Spirit.

breath of life: While other animals are also described as having “the breath of life” (Gen 6:17; 7:15,22), the breath here was directly from God, therefore different from other creatures. This divine breath is associated with understanding and conscience (Job 32:8; Pr 20:27). Some Jews understand “breath” as “soul”.

living creature (Heb. nepes hayya): It may simply be describing man with a “breath” (Heb. nepes) because the same term is used in describing the animals in Gen 1:24. It is also possible that the human spirit (soul) is in mind because other living organisms can live without the breath of life from God. If so, then man is described as a created being with a spiritual life. However, the meaning of spirit in Hebrew thought is different from the NT.

o        The KJV translation of nepes as “soul” can be misleading because the semantic range of nepes is much broader, including life, person, self, appetite, and mind.

o        Hebrew thought understood the soul differently from the Greeks. Early Greek viewed the soul (Gr. psyche) as united with the body and was the inner person. Late Greek viewed the soul as preexistent and separate from the body; it was the immaterial core of the individual that was immortal.

o        The Hebrew word nepes has been related to “breath”; it was related to the life force, the vitality of a person (Isa 5:14; Ps 69:2). The OT emphasizes the individual as a unified whole and there is no life apart from the body (Job 19:26-27). However, man also possesses a “spirit” (Heb. ruah), which has its source in God (Job 33:4; Zec 12:1). Unlike the nepes, the ruah is not bound up with the body and parallels the mind. It expresses the inner emotions of the individual (Gen 41:8; 1Ki 21:5).

2:8       east: east of the author, who wrote Genesis somewhere between Egypt and Canaan.

Eden (Heb. eden): meaning “delight” or land with abundant water supply. Jewish scholars consistently refer Eden as “paradise”. The name may refer both to the garden and for a larger region.

o        The word “paradise” is not found in the OT. In Jewish literature, paradise is the eternal home of the righteous. In the NT, paradise is the eternal home for believers (Rev 2:7) in the presence of the ascended Christ (Lk 23:43; 2Co 12:4).

garden: not one with lots of flowers, but one with lots of trees.

had formed: a pluperfect tense indicating that the formation of the man preceded the planting of the garden.

o        The perfect tense means the action has been completed. The pluperfect tense means the action has been completed before the perfect tense.

2:9       every tree (NIV: all kinds of trees): tree of life, tree of the knowledge of good and evil, fig trees (Gen 3:7), and others.

pleasant to sight, good for food: characteristics of trees.

tree of life: The tree probably produced the source of life. Eating of the fruit would perhaps continuously perpetuate or renew earthly life. In other words, nowhere does the Bible say that the eater will permanently receive eternal life by eating just one fruit from this tree.

midst of the garden: The two trees were probably standing side by side in the centre (Gen 3:3).

tree of the knowledge of good and evil: The word “evil” implies that evil had already occurred.

2:10     divided and became four rivers (NIV: separated into four headwaters): Normally different tributaries merge into one river, here it appears that the river flowed out from one source (a fountain?) in Eden and was later divided into 4 separate tributaries. Some explain that there was one central fountain which the 4 rivers flowed into because from the perspective of Eden, the river looked as if they were separated into 4. However, this second interpretation does not agree with the wordings of “out of” and “became”.

o        The 4 rivers were a rich source of life-giving water and were adorned with precious metals and jewels.

2:11     Pishon: 1st of 4 rivers; flowing through the land of Havilah, possibly southeast Arabian Peninsula where gold, aromatic resin, and onyx (red precious stone) are produced today. Some identify it with the Indus or the Ganges River in India. Some identify it with the Karun River which flows through Iran into Persian Gulf.

Some believe that the drainage systems before the Flood could be vastly different from modern-day systems as result of the destruction of all drainage systems by violent bursts of floodwater during the Flood. Therefore the 4 rivers mentioned cannot be traced to any modern-day rivers.

Havilah: Some (such as Jospehus) identify this with India; others identify it as an area on the coast of Persian Gulf. The name is mentioned in Gen 10:7,29; 25:18; 1Sa 15:7. Significantly, there is a city called Havelian on the upper Indus river, between Kashmir and Pakistan.

2:12     gold, bdellium (NIV: aromatic resin) and onyx stone: the 3 precious materials are also used in the construction of the tabernacle (Ex 25:28; 28:9; 30:34) and the temple (1Ch 29:2). Bdellium is a gum resin, very much like myrrh. Others translate it as pearls or anthrax (LXX, a red mineral). Onyx was also used for the high priest’s breastplate (Ex 28:20). The garden was indicative of the presence of God.

2:13     Gihon: 2nd of 4 rivers. Different rivers are identified: [a] Nile River in Africa (Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews), [b] the Amudarya River, which flows from Afghanistan into the Aral Sea in Russia, but possibly flowing into the Caspian Sea in the past, [c] Qezal Owzan River, which flows through Iran into the Caspian Sea, or [d] the Khabur River, a tributary of the Euphrates flowing through Syria.

Cush: normally referring to Ethiopia (Isa 20:3; Jer 46:9); here possibly the land east of Tigris (a Mesopotamian Cush). Some identify Pishon and Gihon with the Blue and the While Niles of Africa; others identify them with dried-up river channels related to the Tigris-Euphrates river system.

2:14     Tigris: 3rd of 4 rivers; same name today, in modern-day Iraq; 1150 km long. Arabs call it the Dicle or Dijla.

Assyria (NIV: Asshur): not the Assyria in OT, but the city of Asshur west of Tigris.

Euphrates: 4th of 4 rivers; same name today, in modern-day Iraq; 1800 km long; called simply the River or the Great River in OT (Nu 22:5; Dt 11:24; Jos 1:4). Arabs call it the Firat, al Farat, or al Furat.

2:15     put: could be literally translated “caused to rest”. It may indicate that God gave man peace and security (Dt 3:20; 12:10).

work it and keep it (NIV: work and take care): growing crops (in response to v.5), guarding the land and keeping it well.

o        Work is a God-given assignment and not a cursed condition. It is honourable and meaningful labour.

o        Some translate work (Heb. abad) and keep (Heb. samar) as “worship and obey” as work may refer to “service” to another (Gen 29:15; 31:6) and is often used of worship (Ex 3:12). Although the supporting evidence is insufficient, the passage may contain such implication. In the OT, both terms occur together to describe the charge of the Levites for the tabernacle (Nu 3:7-8; 18:7), thus again suggesting a relationship between Eden and the tabernacle.

2:16     a positive command and a negative command (v.17) to give man a choice. Without choice, there is no love; there is no real love with compulsion.

commanded: The word was used the first time by God; yet it was later broken.

you: first recorded communication between God and man. The man is addressed personally as an individual, indicating a privileged God-man communion.

surely (literal: freely): “Freely” and “every tree” indicate God’s generosity. The provision of God for Adam (and Eve) was plentiful and to be enjoyed freely by them.

2:17     but: The word establishes the contrast between provision and prohibition. Freedom must have a boundary; without some prohibitions, freedom will eventually be abused.

shall not: similar to the format in the Ten Commandments.

shall surely die: Hebrew words (mot temutun) means “Die, you will die.” In Hebrew grammar, this is called the infinitive absolute: the infinitive verb followed immediately by a conjugated form of the same verb. The effect of this repetition is to add emphasis to the verb. Some translate it as “doomed to die.”

o        The pronouncement signifies a legal decree of death. It was pronounced either by God (Gen 20:7; Eze 33:8,14) or a king (e.g. 1Sa 14:39,44; 22:16; 1Ki 2:37,42; 2Ki 1:4,6). It occurs repeatedly in the legal statments of the Pentateuch, condeming criminals to death (Ex 21:12; Lev 20:2; Nu 35:16-18).

o        There is no clear statement, as is assumed by most, that Adam was created immortal but subsequently forfeited immortality by his sin. Calvin noted that without sin, Adam’s “earthly life truly would have been temporal; yet he would have passed into heaven without death, and without injury,” thereby receiving eternal life. [Calvin: Commentary on Genesis]

God’s command is not unreasonable and not difficult to obey. It reduces neither the happiness, nor the health, nor the comfort of man.

2:18     not good to be alone: God understood Adam’s need for [a] companion; [b] his need for a helper to work and take care of Eden, and [c] the necessity for a partner in procreation. The negative phrase “not good” is accentuated in the Hebrew construction by its position at the beginning of the sentence. Isolation is not the divine norm for human beings; community is the creation of God. The loneliness of man also prepared him to cherish his mate.

helper (Heb. ezer; NIV: companion): fulfilling Adam’s need for someone in helping and supporting his work. The word (from the root for “save”) can refer to the military ally (2Ch 28:16; Ps 121:1-2), and connotes active intervention on behalf of someone. In OT, the word also describes God’s helping the Israelites in the face of enemies (Ex 18:4; Dt 33:7; Ps 20:2; 33:20; 115:9-11; 121:1-2; 124:8). Therefore the helper is not necessarily lower than the one getting the help.

o        While the helper is equal in importance, she is also the subordinate as one could not say that man is created as a helper for the woman.

o        Eve would be instrumental in providing salvation for the fallen Adam by her seed (Heb. zera, with a similar sound like helper) who will defeat the serpent (Gen 3:15).

fit for him (Heb. kenegdo): alongside him, opposite him, a counterpart to him.

2:19     out of the ground: Like man, beasts and birds were formed out of the dust; the difference is that they did not receive the breath of God (v.7).

Question: Why are the creation sequences different in ch.1 and ch.2?

o        In ch.1, the sequence was: plants (1:11), animals (1:20), man (1:26); but in ch.2, the sequence was: man (2:7), plants (2:9), animals (2:19).

Answer: The focus of the story is man. While plants and animals had been created before man, they came into focus only later in ch.2.

o        Another similar explanation is that the focus of this story is Eden. After man was created and put into Eden, the plants and then the animals were then introduced into Eden. The fact that creatures in the sea were not mentioned confirms this interpretation as there was no sea inside Eden.

2:20     the man, Adam: Adam has been described up to this point as “the man” (with an article), but the second reference to Adam in this verse is the first time without the article so that it is legitimate to translate it “Adam”.

gave names: The activity indicated that: [a] Adam was higher than animals, more intelligent than animals; [b] he exercised his authority over the animals. Naming also presumes the existence of language.

not found a helper fit for him: Adam learned from his own experience that none of the animals could be his helper. If a gift is given after the receiver understands the need for it, the gift will be more appreciated.

2:21     deep sleep: Adam did not participate in the creation of Eve.

ribs: the original word is “side” (Heb. sela). That it was one of the ribs is only a guess. It could well be a portion, something like a biopsy, from Adam’s side and that tissue was then used in constructing Eve. In this way, the biopsy would include a complete blueprint of all of Adam’s cells, biochemical machinery, and morphology. Eve’s source is traced to Adam.

o        Matthew Henry says: “That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

o        Genesis Rabbah (Hebrew): “He [God] thought to himself: We should not create her beginning with the head, so that she not be frivolous, nor from the eye, that she not be a starer [at man], nor from the ear, that she not be an eavesdropper, nor from the mouth, that she not talk too much [a gossip], nor from the heart, that she not be jealous, nor from the hand, that she not be light-fingered, nor from the foot, that she not be a gadabout, but from a covered up place on man. For even when a man is standing naked, that spot is covered up.”

2:22     made: original word “fashioned”; the only other place is in Am 9:6 in which God constructed the lofty place in heaven.

o        The fact that God did not use the dust to create Eve may have a deeper meaning. It could be a way to emphasize the close resemblance of male and female humans, or it could be an emphasis on one single source for human beings.

brought her to the man: similar to what happens in a wedding.

2:23     bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: originally in a poetic form, expressing Adam’s joy. The exclamatory nature of his response is “This is now.” (Heb. zot happa’am) GNB translates this as: “At last, here is one of my own kind.” It is probably equivalent to the idiom “my flesh and blood” (Gen 29:14). The emphasis is on the sameness that he and the woman shared, as opposed to other animals.

o        The description signifies the unbroken relationship, the union. This union is not merely sexual, but with spiritual, intellectual, and emotional dimensions also.

o        Bone is hard while flesh is soft, implying about being together in hard and soft (good) times.

woman (Heb. issa): out of man (Heb. is), but does not mean ruled by man.

The short poem begins with the feminine indicative pronoun “this one” (Heb. zot), then again the first word of the second line “this one shall be”, and then also at the end “out of this one”. This poem is therefore in a tight envelope structure.

2:24     therefore (NIV: for this reason): This is not an explanation of the foregoing but rather describes the consequence of God’s charge for the human family to propagate and to rule the Earth. Marriage and family are the divine ideal for carrying out the mandate. This verse serves as the bedrock for Hebrew understanding of the centrality of the nuclear family for the survival of the society.

Jesus’ appeal to the garden as the basis of His teaching on marriage and divorce (Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:2-12) indicates that the garden established a paradigm for marital behaviour for all time.

Paul also used the garden in speaking of the some vital theological issues in Christianity (Ro 5:12-21; 1Co 15:45) and in offering instructions about the propriety of worship (1Co 11:2-16; 1Ti 2:11-15), moral behaviour (1Co 6:16), and marriage (Eph 5:31).

o        It is not known whether this verse is a statement by Moses or by Adam. In any case, it represents God’s command of marriage.

a man shall leave his father and his mother: Leaving has the meaning of abandoning (Dt 12:19; 14:27). This is the institution of marriage. Marriage is depicted as a covenant relationship shared by man and woman. “Leave” and “hold fast” are terms commonly used in the context of covenant. Monogamy is clearly the rule.

A model for marriage involves 3 factors: [a] Leaving—former familial commitments are superseded; obligations to one’s spouse supplant a person’s parental loyalties. [b] Uniting—dependent and responsible toward one another. [c] Declaration—a public declaration in the sight of God. Marriage is not a private matter.

o        The implication is that the husband-wife relationship is closer than parent-children relationship, meaning that the man no longer relies on the parents. It should also be applied to the wife. Therefore, the verse should not be applied to determine where the newly married should live, with the parents or not.

o        The tradition in the Middle East at that time was for the wife to move into the husband’s family, such as in the case of Jacob whose sons remained in their father’s household.

hold fast (NIV: united): implies unbroken union until death, like a covenant; emphasis on the permanent nature, including commitment and faithfulness (Nu 36:7; Dt 10:20).

become one flesh: corresponding to “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”, intimate relationship through sexual union.

Question: What are the characteristics of marriage as designed by God?


[1] Marriage is only for one man and one woman (monogamy); not for multiple spouses (polygamy) nor for people of the same sex (homosexual marriage)—there is only one Eve for one Adam. If God’s design was for multiple spouses, He could easily create more than one Eve or more than one Adam.

[2] The spouses are required to love each other, even more than their love for their parents. The responsibility of looking after the wife is above the responsibility of looking after the parents.

[3] Marriage is a covenant. It is a union of two people and cannot be broken.

[4] Marriage is instituted for mutual help and companionship.

2:25     naked (Heb. arummim, plural of arom): not only without clothes but also a reflection of the intimate relationship, nothing to hide from each other. Note that they did not need any protection against the weather, both day and night.

o        The Hebrew word sounds similar to “crafty” (Heb. arum) which describes the serpent. Ironically, the first achievement of their newfound wisdom after the Fall was the realization of their nudity.

not ashamed: feeling no shame for self and for spouse. Shame also means lack of trust; the marriage relationship is a trusting one.



        We need to know what God allows and what God prohibits (from reading the Bible) and then to obey. What God prepares for us is the best; away from God, we lose the best and certainly lose the joy.

        Work was instituted before the Fall. It is a blessing, not a curse. Those without meaningful work will understand the truth of this statement.

        Marriage is the divinely-designed institution for human ordering, reproduction, sexuality, and romantic fulfillment. Marriage—the union of one man and one woman—is a moral covenant with legal and moral boundaries, not as a contract to be made, remade, or unmade at will.


{4}           Gen 3:1-24  Sin in Eden伊甸園中的罪惡3:1-24


Part C. Temptation and the Fall (3:1-24)

C1.      Temptation by the snake (3:1-7)

C2.      Consequences of the Fall (3:8-19)

C3.      Expulsion (3:20-24)

        Here is the end of the ideal world which God created. The paradise that was lost in Gen 3 will not be regained until Rev 21.



3:1       serpent: Something bad suddenly appeared in the whole scene that had been “good”.

the serpent was: Heb. hayah may be translated “had become” (similar to Gen 1:2 because of its abnormal word order).

o        The serpent was “made” by God. This dismisses any notion of a competing dualism which holds that the force of good and the force of evil both existed since the beginning.

o        In ancient world, the serpent was both an object of reverence and of contempt. It conveyed the ambivalent meanings of life/recurring youth as well as death/chaos, and also good wisdom as well as bad cunningness. The Bible shows the same ambiguity: one one hand, the rejuvenating effects of Moses’ bronze serpent (Nu 21:8), its respected shrewdness (Mt 10:16), and on the other hand, its venomous death (Ps 58:4), its role as divine opponent (Isa 27:1).

crafty: the Hebrew word (arum) is close the word “naked” (arom, Gen 2:25) and the word “cursed” (arur, Gen 3:14). The use of these words may be a deliberate way by the author to link them together.

o        “Crafty” may not be a negative characteristic. It can mean prudent (Pr 13:16), meaning acting out of knowledge to avoid foolish action. Here, however, it has a negative meaning of scheming (Ex 21:14) or cunning (Job 15:5).

he said: Wouldn’t Eve be surprised or even scared when the serpent used human speech? The Hebrew word for “said” (amar) can cover communications from vocal speech to private thoughts of the heart (e.g. “plan” in 2Ch 13:8; “search your hearts” in Ps 4:4). That is why some people speculate that it was non-vocal psychic speech, or perhaps the serpent demonstrated the apparent harmlessness of the fruit by eating it. Though such explanation is possible, this is insufficient to explain the detailed speech in the temptation. The solution is probably Satan appearing as a serpent and Eve was ignorant of the supernatural presence because everything was new to her.

Did God actually say?: The serpent compelled an answer by asking a question (interrogation), faking an expression of surprise that God would prohibit them from eating any fruits (misrepresentation). Satan did not controvert outright the saying of God (Gen 2:16); rather he questioned God’s motivation with the subtle addition “actually say.”

o        The absence of the name Yahweh in this passage (v.1-5) shows that the relationship with God as Covenant Lord was under attack.

‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’: God permits eating fruits from every tree with one exception, yet the serpent turned it to total prohibition. The “you” in v.1-5 is in plural form.

o        The incorrect quote turned something from God that was good into something bad. Note that the change was so small that might trap the unsuspecting. This is a common tactic of the devil: using half truths to trap unsuspecting Christians, e.g. turning from human freedom into justifying abortion. This has been the same story in almost every ethical issue.

o        Here, Satan reworked the wording of God’s command slightly by: [a] adding the negative “not” at the head of the clause, which together with “any” expresses an absolute prohibition; [b] omitting the emphatic “freely”; [c] placing the clause “from any tree” at the end of the sentence, thereby robbing God’s command of its nuance of liberality.

o        The attack of Satan included 3 parts: [a] questioning whether God’s command was reasonable or not (v.1), [b] denying the danger of disobedience (v.4), [c] suggesting the benefits of disobedience (v.5).

o        Some translate the verse as the beginning of a false statement which is immediately cut in midsentence by Eve’s objection (in v.2) that the ban is not on all the trees: “And he said to the woman, ‘Though God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden—’”

3:2       “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Gen 3:2-3, ESV)

o        NIV: “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” (NIV)

o        COMPARED TO WHAT GOD SAID: ESV: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17, ESV)

o        NIV: God said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17, NIV)

o        Eve appeared to have changed what God commanded; some commentators attribute this to Eve’s mistake of not remembering the exact command. If this is true, then it was the weakness of Eve that led to her fall to temptation. The differences include: [a] Eve’s “of the fruit of the trees” to God’s more generous “of every tree”; [b] Eve’s “neither shall you touch it” was not from God; [c] Eve’s “tree that is in the midst of the garden” (could refer to one of two trees) to God’s “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” [d] Eve’s “lest you die” to God’s more definite “you shall surely die”.

o        On the other hand, these accusations against Eve may not be justified because: [a] Eve got the command indirectly from Adam and Adam might be the one who altered the words. [b] When Adam retold the command, he might not use the exact words, just like when we retold the Ten Commandments. (e.g. Would “Honour your parents” be incorrect when the original 5th commandment was “Honour your father and your mother”? On the other hand, the common alteration from the original 9th commandment “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour” to “You shall not lie” is a significant deviation.)  [c] If God had repeated His command directly to Eve (no evidence of this in the Bible, although this is not impossible), He might have included the “not touching” part to prevent them from temptation. [d] The fear of “touching” the fruit might have been out of Eve’s reverence for God’s command.

3:3       neither shall you touch it: Some observed that Eve enlarged the divine prohibition by adding a ban on touching to the one on eating. This perhaps encouraged her to violate God’s command because: having touched the fruit, and seeing no ill effect, she proceeded to eat. This, however, is speculation and as seen from above, it is perhaps false accusation.

o        What Eve retold (to the serpent) was sufficient as a commandment. The original commandment was directed to Adam alone so that the singular “you” was used. Eve understood that the commandment was for both of them so that she correctly used the plural “you”.

3:4       “You will not surely die”: Satan completely negate God’s command. The negative word “not” at the head of the clause contradicted the woman’s preceding claim.

The plural “you” in v.1-5 as well as the phrase “her husband, who was with her” (v.6) indicate that Adam was at the scene (or close by) when the temptation took place. He did not intervene probably because he agreed with Eve. Therefore, Adam had to bear the full responsibility for the Fall.

o        In naming the animals, Adam was aware of their characteristics, including the shrewdness of the serpent which Eve might not be aware of. Adam, therefore, had no excuse because he was not misled (1Ti 2:14).

3:5       For God knows: direct attack on God, accusing God as being selfish and deceptive, because He had knowledge but not allowing man to have knowledge.

Satan suggested 3 benefits for man’s disobedience:

o        [a] eyes will be opened: seeing something not seen before; visual pleasure.

o        [b] you will be like God: the main temptation: to become our own god. This is the main cause of the Fall of Adam and Eve, as well as Satan. We need to beware of this deadly pride.

o        [c] knowing good and evil: morally autonomous; no need of being told by God what is good and what is bad, being able then to make own judgment. Some use 1Sa 14:17,20 to explain that “knowing good and evil” is the same as to be like God; it means to know everything.

These are precisely the problem of the presentday secular worldview. [a] They want to view the world in their own way; [b] they put themselves in the position of God; [c] they make judgment on what is right and what is wrong, not according to the standard of God, but according to themselves, the new “gods”. [d] Furthermore, what they try to achieve what they wish for immediately (KJV: “in the day”, literal translation: “in the time” of disobedience). It is a temptation for instant gratification of man’s desires.

Satan’s words were later shown to be both true and false—half truths. He spoke only about what they would gain, but avoided mentioning what they would lose in the process.

o        [a] The man and woman did not immediately die physically, BUT their expulsion from the garden meant a symbolic “death” for the excommunicated (see 1Sa 15:35—16:1).

o        [b] Their eyes were indeed opened, BUT they were rewarded only with seeing their nakedness.

o        [c] They became like God in gaining moral independence, BUT they achieved isolation and fear.

o        [d] They obtained knowledge of good and evil, BUT they were burdened with guilt and embarassment. They obtained knowledge in exchange for death.

3:6       good for food: satisfying the appetite. In many cases in the Bible, errors were made because of food and appetite, e.g. Esau sacrificing his position for food, Israelites blaming God for lack of food in the wilderness, Corinthians committing sin in the manner and in the location of eating.

o        “Good” (Heb tob) can mean beautiful, preferable, beneficial, righteous. In this case, what was beautiful and preferable in human eyes proved to be not beneficial and not righteous in God’s eyes.

o        The desires—appetite, appreciation of beauty and gaining of wisdom—are probably all legitimate and can be satisfied in a God-ordained manner (in this case all the fruits, beautiful garden and a whole world to explore and master).  Problems occur when we disregard and ignore God’s Words. (Holman)

delight (Heb. ta’awah) to the eyes: satisfying the visual sensation (1Jn 2:16). “Pleasing” can be translated as covetous (Ex 20:17). The Hebrew word means something that is intensely desired, appetite, and sometimes specifically lust. Therefore, it can be translated “lust to the eyes.”

to be desired (Heb. nehmad): linking to the intense desire above.

to make one wise (NIV: for gaining wisdom): It is tragic that the pursuit of wisdom is an unwise decision in this case.

3:7       eyes were opened: They had knowledge but not the kind of knowledge that they expected.

knew: realized. The word echoes the tree of knowledge.

naked: new knowledge of old reality. It is also possible that the old reality (their bodies) had actually changed. Often, the guilty conscience warns us that something is wrong.

3:8       walking in the garden: anthropomorphic description of the approach of God. Since God is a spirit, it was the voice that was moving, not any physical form. The word has an underlying meaning of being habitual, indicating that God came to speak to Adam and Eve frequently, perhaps everyday.

o        In the OT, God sometimes appeared in human form (Gen 18:10; 32:30; Jos 5:14-15). It is possible that God appeared in the same way to Adam and Eve. [Some speculate that the human form of God was the second person of the trinity.]

cool of the day: literally, “to the wind of the day”; afternoon or twilight, when the cool wind blows.

3:9       Where are you?: God of course knew where they were. This is simply an expression of God’s concern for them. God knew what happened but He only asked a question, not a charge or a denunciation. Perhaps He permitted the guilty to admit the sin and to repent.

o        “You” is singular, focusing on the individual liability of Adam.

3:10     afraid: the natural consequence of sin because of inner guilt. Sinful man is afraid of God because He is holy and just, and because they will face judgment and punishment.

because I was naked: The real reason for hiding is fear. Notice that they had already covered themselves with fig leaves and were no longer naked.

3:11     Who told you?: God’s questions did not indicate His lack of knowledge but were simply ways to appeal to Adam’s conscience and to help him to repent. The 2 questions are rhetorical, not expecting any answers. With His questions, God let Adam know that He knew someone else other than Adam was involved, and that Adam had eaten the forbidden fruit.

commanded: God reminded Adam of the seriousness of His command.

3:12     the woman whom you gave to be with me: Adam did not immediately admit his disobedience. Instead, he blamed Eve and then blamed God who created Eve for him.

o        Adam tried to project himself as the victim, not the offender. The two “gave” words charged that God “gave” the woman to him and in turn she “gave” him the fruit. He refused to be responsible. But sin was the deliberate choice of Adam and each person is responsible for his own sin (Jas 1:13).

o        Today, those who deny personal responsibility also portrait themselves as victims. Those who commit crimes blame the cause on their upbringing or on the evil society. Unfortunate, the society follows this trend toward irresponsibility by portraiting criminals as victims.

o        Adam blamed the Judge and implied that if God had not send Eve, he would not have disobeyed. He charged that God’s good gift was malicious.

o        Someone whom he regarded as good now became bad. Sin has the effect of turning everything good into bad. Sin has also the effect of alienating human beings from each other.

3:13     What is this that you have done?: God turned to Eve and again used a question to appeal to Eve’s conscience (not to get the facts which God already knew). It could mean: “Will you admit your fault?” Eve’s response was similar to Adam. She did not admit her disobedience but instead blamed the serpent. At least she did not blame God for creating the serpent.

3:14     cursed (Heb. arur): The word (similar sound to “crafty”, Heb. arum) is a decree or pronouncement against someone by legitimate authority. Only God can actually impose this decree. Even if spoken by a man, the power carrying out the malediction can come only from God.

o        This type of curse is different from imprecation (Heb. ala) which invokes misery against a person or thing.

Sin leads to curse; curse is the opposite of blessing (Gen 1:22,28; 2:3); sin changes blessing into curse. In OT, the emphasis of curse is on the exclusion of the cursed party from the covenant (separate from God). The serpent was not allowed a defence because God knew what happened and Satan was already excluded from God’s grace.

There is a correspondence between the serpent’s crime and the nature of the judgment. God does not render judgment arbitrarily.

o        Note that only the serpent and the ground were cursed, not Adam and Eve.

above all livestock and all beasts of the field: It may imply that all animals were cursed while the serpent was cursed the most. The sentence can also be translated: “You cannot stay with the livestock and wild animals,” meaning that the serpent would be isolated from the rest of animals.

on your belly: This punishment led some Jewish interpreters to think that before the curse, the serpent originally might have legs like other animals.

eat dust: highest form of humiliation, usually after being defeated in battles (Ps 72:9; Isa 49:23). The humiliation is echoed in the fall of Satan (Isa 14:12,15; Eze 28:16-17).

The serpent’s punishment included: [a] confinement to crawling on its belly and eating dust in a life of humiliation and subjugation; [b] its ultimate destruction by the wounded “seed” of the woman.

3:15     enmity: permanent enmity. It describes a life-and-death struggle between combatants.

you, your offspring, her offspring (literal: seed): all singular, although it may refer to an individual or to a group. The word “seed” occurs 59 times in Genesis; the majority of them are used in the genealogical lineage of the chosen family.

bruise: (2 times) The Hebrew uses what appear to be homonyms, the first verb meaning “to trample,” the second, identical in form, probably referring to the hissing sound of the snake just before it bites.

o        The strike at the human heel is appropriate for a serpent since it slithers along the ground. The bruise that it causes will be much less serious than the bruise of being struck at its head.

3:16     pain (Heb. itsavon) in childbearing: birth pangs, the physical and emotional pain during the 9-month pregnancy of a woman.

desire for husband: 3 possible interpretations:

o        [a] “Desire” can have the meaning of “rule over”; “for husband” could be translated as “against husband”. Then the two sentences may mean that there will be a mutual struggle for power. She would attempt to control her husband, but she would fail because God has ordained that the man exercises his leadership role in the family.

o        [b] The more likely explanation is that women’s desire for love and sex, and the wish for childbirth will be controlled by the husband (see SS 8:6).

o        [c] Some view the desire as the emotional and economic reliance on her husband. In other words, she acted independently of her husband in eating the fruit, and the result was that she would be dependent on and submissive to him.

and he shall rule over you: The word “rule” (Heb. masal) means governance (Gen 1:16,18) or exercise of jurisdiction (Gen 24:2; 37:8; 45:8,26). However, it is different from the way man subdues or dominates (Heb. rada) the lower orders of creation.

o        Some believe the word “and” is better understood as “but”, thus referring to the struggle between the sexes.

o        Some believe that this is a simply restatement of the order of creation.

The woman’s punishment impacted her 2 primary roles: [a] childbearing: need to endure painful and hard labour, similar to the painful toil that Adam needed to endure (v.17); [b] relationship with her husband: a tainted relationship with struggles.

3:17     God’s judgment on Adam was the longest one because Adam was the one who received His command directly.

cursed is the ground: can mean “from your perspective, the ground is cursed” because thorns and thistles will make Adam’s farming work harder.

in pain: (Heb. itsavon; NIV: painful toil): same word as Eve’s “pain”, needed to work harder to get food.

all the days of your life: same as what the serpent got; the same phrase is not in Eve’s judgment; perhaps Adam and the serpent were judged as more sinful than Eve.

3:18     thorns and thistles: symbolizing human failure and divine judgment (Pr 24:31; Isa 34:13). The ground that was his source of joy and life (Gen 2:15) became the source of pain. However, God’s grace assured that the man would still derive sustenance from the ground for survival.

3:19     by the sweat of your face: The result of judgment is not the addition of work but the increase in difficulty of work. Work itself is not a curse.

to dust you shall return: final words of God’s judgment, fulfilling His command that disobedience means death—man (adam) would become once again “ground” (adama).

The man’s punishment included: [a] lifelong, toilsome labour, and [b] death. The man bore the greater blame for his conduct and therefore was the direct recipient of God’s death sentence. God did not immediately take Adam’s life but banned him from the rejuvenating power of the tree of life.

3:20     Eve: Hebrew word (hawah) is phonetically similar to the root for “life” (Heb. hayah). The English word “Eve” follows the Greek translation Zoe which means life. Previously Adam called Eve “woman” which emphasizes Eve’s origin and her relationship to “the man”. Now, the word “woman” would be applied to all female persons and Eve was given a personal name. The new name emphasizes Eve’s destiny and her relationship to the whole human race. The name given by Adam perhaps reflected Adam’s faith in what God revealed: the prospect of having offspring.

mother of all living: the renewal of hope, a reminder of “life” immediately after the judgment of death.

3:21     made (Heb. asa): This word was used many times in creation. Now it is used to save Adam and Eve. It points to God as the Creator and the Saviour.

o        Creation and salvation are the two major themes in theology.

garments of skins: long clothes down to the knee or the foot, better protection than the coverings in v.7. The skins were from animals, thus involving death. Some take this as an allusion to animal sacrifice. Some take this as the sign of Christ’s salvation, pointing to the covering of human sinfulness through death.

clothed them: God made clothes before their expulsion. These clothes provided them with adequate protection to cover their embarassment and to preserve them in the new hostile environment. This shows God’s grace and mercy even in dispensing judgment.

3:22     like one of us: can refer to divine contemplation or the trinity of God. Some translate this verse as a lament: “Behold, what has become [by sin] of the man who was as one of us! Formed, at first, in our image to know good and evil—how sad his condition now.”

live forever: God did not want Adam and Eve to live forever because an eternal life in sin is a painful life. It was not one of fear of usurpation but rather of sympathy for the misery man must endure. It was an assurance that their pitiful state was not consigned for eternity.

Question: Can the fruit from the tree of life give eternal life?


o        [a] No, it would not have given them eternal life but only a delusion that they could live forever. Further, Adam and Eve might have already eaten from the tree of life before the Fall. Jamieson: “This tree being a pledge of that immortal life with which obedience should be rewarded, man lost, on his fall, all claim to this tree; and therefore, that he might not eat of it or delude himself with the idea that eating of it would restore what he had forfeited, the Lord sent him forth from the garden.” That is, the tree is only a symbol of eternal life.

o        [b] Yes, it has a rejuventing power and man could live forever if they have persistent or continuous access to the tree of life. But God would not want them to live a miserable life forever. At the end of the world, in the eternal city of God, the tree of life will perpetually produce fruit to those who believe (Rev 22:2,14,19).

3:23     sent them out: God ordered them to leave Eden.

to work the ground from which he was taken: It was a reminder about the origin of man from dust, and the ground to which he would go after death. In Eden, Adam was the cultivator of a specially prepared garden, now he must develop his own garden by working the ground which was under God’s curse.

3:24     drove out: Apparently, they were unwilling to leave and were therefore driven out. The expulsion was decisive and definitive.

east of the garden: The entrances to the tabernacle and to the temple were also facing east. Eden symbolized the place where God meets man, just like the places of worship.

placed the cherubim: Cherubim were winged angels who served personally to God the Father. Their presence indicated God’s presence; they covered the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:17-22); they were also present in the temple (Eze 41:18).



        God always fulfils His promises, both positive and negative.

        God gave a choice to man to decide whether they love Him or not. Today, God may give us an opportunity in real life situations to test our love for Him.

        Sin (e.g. the Fall) usually passes through a psychological process before the actual sinning: [a] questioning God’s word, [b] questioning God’s intention, [c] temptation by half truths, [d] temptation by material or emotional gains, [e] temptation to gain power and to gain autonomy from God.

        Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and, instead, focus on the one thing she couldn’t have. In the same way, we fall into trouble when we dwell on the few things we don’t have rather than on the countless things God has given us. The next time when you feel sorry for yourself about what you don’t have, consider all you do have and thank God.