{8}         Gen 2:4-25  Adam and Eve


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

B1.      Creation of Adam (2:4-7)

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

B2.      Garden of Eden (2:8-14)

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.


2:4       Lord God: 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: Earth is now the focus (reversing “the heavens and the earth” in Gen 1:1).

2:5       work: the same word means “serve” in many other OT places.

2:6       mist: spring, underground streams that came to the surface.

2:7       ground (Heb. adamah): 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. It conveys the idea of molding and shaping with careful, loving care.

breath of life: Other animals also have “breath of life” (Gen 6:17; 7:15,22), the breath here was directly from God, different from other creatures. Some Jews understand “breath” as “soul”.

living creature: It may simply mean man with a “breath”; the same term is for animals in Gen 1:24.

2:8       Eden: meaning “delight” or land with abundant water supply. Jews refer Eden as “paradise”.

had formed: The tense indicates that the formation of the man preceded the planting of the garden.

2:9       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.

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

2:10     divided and became four rivers: It appears that the river flowed out from one source (a fountain?) in Eden and was later divided into 4 separate tributaries.

2:11     Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates: possibly all draining into the 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.

2:12     gold, bdellium and onyx stone: the 3 precious materials used in constructing the tabernacle (Ex 25:28; 28:9; 30:34) and the temple (1Ch 29:2). The garden was indicative of the presence of God.

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

work it and keep it (NIV: work and take care): Work is a God-given assignment and not a curse.

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. Freedom must have a boundary; without some prohibitions, freedom will be abused. God’s command is not unreasonable and not difficult to obey. It reduces neither the happiness, nor the health, nor the comfort of man.

surely (literal: freely): “Freely” and “every tree” indicate God’s generosity.

2:17     shall not: similar to the format in the Ten Commandments.

shall surely die: Hebrew words means “Die, you will die.” The pronouncement is a legal decree of death, used in the Pentateuch, condeming criminals to death (Ex 21:12; Lev 20:2; Nu 35:16-18).

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.

helper: The word can refer to the military ally (2Ch 28:16; Ps 121:1-2). In OT, the word also describes God’s helping the Israelites against the 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.

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).

2:20     the man, Adam: Adam has been described as “the man” (with an article), but 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: [a] Adam was higher than animals, more intelligent than animals; [b] he exercised his authority over the animals. Naming implies the existence of language.

not found a helper fit for him: Adam learned 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     ribs: the original word is “side”. It could well be a portion, something like a biopsy.

o        One commentary 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.”

2:22     made: “fashioned”; the word describes God constructing the lofty place in heaven (Am 9:6).

2:23     bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: originally in a poetic form, expressing Adam’s joy. It is probably equivalent to the idiom “my flesh and blood” (Gen 29:14).

2:24     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.

a man shall leave his father and his mother: Leaving has the meaning of abandoning (Dt 12:19; 14:27). Marriage is depicted as a covenant relationship shared by man and woman.

hold fast: implies unbroken union until death, like a covenant; emphasis on the permanent nature.

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

Answer: [1] Marriage is only for one man and one woman (monogamy); not polygamy nor same-sex marriage—there is only one Eve for one Adam. [2] The spouses are required to love each other, even more than their love for their 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, not ashamed: a reflection of the intimate relationship, nothing to hide from each other. 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.

        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.