The Story of Adam and Eve—The Garden
In Lesson Three of our study in Genesis, "The Beginning," Donna Gaines walks us through the story of Adam and Eve. Along the way, we'll look at how the first two people God created model our view of relationships and how women can find their identity in the Bible.
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The Beginning – HisStory in Genesis 1-11
Lesson Three: The Story of Adam and Eve – Genesis 2:4-25
We conclude the description of the creation of the cosmos with God’s declaration that creation was complete. “’Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them.’ ‘It is finished!’ The words rang out at the close of creation as, on the cross, they rang out at the close of redemption” (John Philips, Exploring Genesis, p. 47).
I. Jehovah Elohim – Genesis 2:4-6
Genesis 2:4 and following give us a human focused account of Creation. God is revealed as Elohim in chapter 1. He is the all-powerful Creator. It is here in chapter 2 that Jehovah Elohim is introduced. God’s Name – Yahweh or Jehovah is His covenant name revealed to those He has created. The same Name God used when He revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush.
II. The Creation of Man – Genesis 2:7
“The Hebrew word yatzar, means to form, fashion, shape or sculpt. It is used only three times in the book of Genesis and only in chapter 2...The clearest example of the Creator’s personal involvement is in His ‘forming’ the body of Adam; ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being’ (Genesis 2:7). God was personally involved in the creation – and remains personally involved in our lives” (Henry M. Morris, III, The Book of Beginnings, p. 42).
III. The Garden of God – Genesis 2:8-14
God planted the Garden for man. He provided all they needed in a perfectly climate- controlled environment.
IV. God’s Command – Genesis 2:15-17
“The Lord God commanded...” This command granted mankind the moral responsibility to choose obedience.
V. Naming the Animals – Genesis 2:18-20
God granted Adam the opportunity to rule and subdue.
VI. The Creation of Woman (a helper suitable) - Genesis 2:21-23
“It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper (ezer) suitable for him” Genesis 2:18). Ezer – “strong helper” – used 21 times in the Old Testament, 16 of which refer to God as Israel’s helper in times of trouble.
“Further research indicates ezer is a powerful military word whose significance we have barely begun to unpack. The ezer is a warrior, and this has far reaching implications for women, not only in marriage, but in every relationship, season, and walk of life” (Carolyn Custis James, The Lost Women of the Bible, p. 36).
Men and Women were created in the image of God. Both were told to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. God gifts women and men with the same gifts. The only office limited to men in the Old Testament, was the office of Priest/Levite and the only one limited in the New Testament is that of Pastor/Elder. Many churches also limit the office of deacon to men.
Egalitarianism – “People who hold an egalitarian view of the Trinity often believe that men and women are equal in being and are free to fulfill any role in the home, in church, at work, or in community based on their individual giftedness and calling as validated by the community. Men and women, though different, are equal and complement one another without hierarchy, Relationships between men and women are built upon mutuality; the goal is mutual servanthood, mutual submission, and mutual respect” (Developing Female Leaders by Kadi Cole, p. 26).
Complementarianism – “People who follow the hierarchical view of the Trinity believe that men and women are equal in value but have different roles and functions because of the gender God has given them, including roles of leading and roles of following. Relationships between men and women have an established and God-ordained order that, if lived out in Christlikeness, creates freedom and peace for everyone. Women are uniquely created to be ‘helpmates’ to men, and their gifts and perspectives complement and often play a large role in the success of a man’s leadership, work, and ministry. Because of the ‘helpmate’ and ‘complement’ roles of women, this perspective is often known as the ‘complementarian’ viewpoint” (Developing Female Leaders by Kadi Cole, p. 27).
VII. Marriage Biblically Defined – Genesis 2:24
One man and one woman for life - “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Holy Covenant – God condemned divorce.
“Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14)
Jesus confirmed God’s original design –
“Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?’ And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’ They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?’ 8 He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery’” (Matthew 19:3-9).
A real (true, authentic) woman is:
- An Image Bearer
- A Strong Helper (Ezer)
- A Life Giver (Eve–Mother of all the living, Genesis 3:20)
- Gifted and Empowered by God
Women are created for relationship and are complete in Christ apart from marriage. We must distinguish between identity and roles. Our identity is “in Christ”.
“Women tend to define themselves by roles (student, career woman, boss, mother, wife, grandmother, etc.) or by the absence of such roles. But there is danger in defining yourself by a role you play. Roles are often temporary, lasting for a season...Roles may bring clarity to how and with who you live out your calling, but they do not determine your identity or your calling” (Chrystie Cole, Biblical Femininity, p. 24).
“As women, we don’t find our identity in our home, our work, our body or our marital status We find it in the God who created us in His image. God is the Creator, and we are the created. He is the one who dictates how we are supposed to live, not the other way around We do not get to define our identify. Rather we gain our identity in the identity of another. He has every right to tell us how He wants us to live as human beings, and specifically as women” (The Accidental Feminist: Restoring our Delight in God’s Good Design, Courtney Reissig, p. 33).
God is a God of order. Everything He does has significance and eternal impact. God created Adam and Eve as the pinnacle of creation. He declared them very good!
The order in which He brings the universe into being out of chaos is significant. All that He does births beauty and holiness. All that He created had a counterpart – light and dark, night and day, land and sea, sun and moon. He declared in Genesis 1 that He would create man, male and female. He created Adam first and then had him name the animals. Adam saw that there was not another one “like” him. God allowed Adam to recognize His need before He met it. Then God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and God took flesh from His side and created woman – his counterpart.
The first Adam did not obey God and thus brought the curse upon us all. The second Adam – Jesus, took the curse upon Himself on the cross.
Just as Eve was taken out of Adam’s side – the church (Christ’s Bride) was birthed from His side as He was pierced, and His blood poured forth.
The church was anointed on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent just as promised to fill them so that they are now living temples (walking Holy of Holies).
He created the church to be His:
- Image Bearer
- A Strong Helper (Ezer)
- A Life Giver (Great Commission)
- Gifted and Empowered by God
Until His return. We are to accurately “image” or reflect Him to a lost world. We are to join Him in advancing His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. We are to make disciples –
bringing people out of death into life through the power of the gospel. And we are to operate according to the gifts He has granted in His Church empowered by His Spirit.
Just as the Father presented the first bride to the first groom in the garden, the Father will present the bride (Church) to our Bridegroom in the New Jerusalem.
Hallelujah! What a Savior! What a Bridegroom!
- Biblical Femininity by Chrystie Cole
- The Accidental Feminist by Courtney Reissig
- Developing Female Leaders by Kadi Cole
- The Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter
- The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
- Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
- Revive our Hearts – Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth
- The Alisa Childers Podcast