I love Genesis because in it God reveals himself to be a loving, gracious, generous, creative, personal, intimate, glorious God. We learn so much about God in Genesis that is fundamental to our understanding of the entire Bible and to our view of who God is and who we are. In other words, Genesis is important (and awesome!).
Getting Genesis 1-2 is key because it is the first pillar in the edifice of the gospel story: creation-fall-redemption-restoration. Understanding the fall requires we understand from what heights our first parents fell. Understanding Christ’s work of redemption and restoration teaches us how deeply God loves us and helps us see just a glimpse of what a restored world will look like in fellowship with our Creator.
In the first telling of the creation story, man’s creation is the culmination of God’s work. In the second telling, in Genesis 2, the story becomes much more focused on God’s human creatures and their relationship to him.
God cares intimately for Adam: he forms him from the dust of the ground, breathes into his nostrils the breath of life (2:7). Then God creates a Garden home for the man in Eden where he “made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (2:9). God takes time out of his busy schedule running the universe to create the perfect home for Adam where the two of them can meet and have perfect, unbroken fellowship. Sounds pretty awesome.
God puts Adam in the Garden “to work it and keep it” (2:15). Then he gives his command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he’ll die. Adam is not to determine good and evil for himself by eating from that tree; he is to be dependent on God to teach him right from wrong.
The Lord has given Adam a magnificent home, all the food he’ll ever need, fellowship with him, but he sees that Adam should not be alone (2:18). Adam reviews all the creatures God has made thus far to see if there is anyone in there who is “suitable” to be his helper. The orangutans and hippos don’t qualify. Adam is bummed. He’s the only one of God’s creatures without a mate.
Here again, God provides generously (anyone bummed about waiting for a spouse? God provides!). He takes one of Adam’s ribs, makes a woman and brings her to him (“look what I’ve got for you!”). And when he sees her, he writes history’s first poem (or, perhaps, it’s first cheesy love song). “At last,” Adam sings, this is the one I’ve been waiting for. Looking for. Longing for. God knows every need, every desire of our heart. He is good. He gives us exactly what we need when we need it.
Adam and the woman (she hasn’t got a name yet) are married and become “one flesh” (2:24). They are one. And this marriage was all honeymoon. There was no sin to lead them to argue, no hiding from one another, no showing their best side and keeping their innermost thoughts from the other. They “were both naked and were not ashamed” (2:25). They were completely exposed to one another, perfectly intimate, unhindered in their love for one another. There was nothing to break their relationship with God, nothing to inhibit their relationship with each other. I don’t know what perfect is, but this sounds “very good” (1:31).
Your God loves you and has given you everything. He gave humanity everything at creation. And God required nothing more from them than that they love and trust him. If they could simply live rightly before him, walk faithfully in his ways, they could continue in the bonds of perfect fellowship with him and with each other for eternity. If only.