The Significance of Adam and Eve as a Special Creation (Genesis 2:15-25)

The Significance of Adam and Eve as a Special Creation (Genesis 2:15-25)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, January 29 and Sunday, January 30, 2022

We have been talking about how Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. Today we will talk about Adam and Eve. I read the following humorous story:

My 7-year-old daughter, Jessica, is a deep thinker when it comes to theological questions. Recently we discussed why bad things happen sometimes, re-reading the story of Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world.

Later that week, Jessica was ill and had to stay home from school. Feeling miserable, she told me: “If only Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit, I wouldn’t be sick.” Before I could answer, she added: “Of course, if they didn’t eat it, we’d be sitting here naked.”[1]

We can probably think of other humorous jokes about Adam and Eve. Today, I want to make the case to you that they were a special creation. They did not evolve, God specifically created Adam and Eve.

My theme today is:

The special creation of Eve and the purpose of Adam and Eve.

  1. In Genesis 2:15-17 we see instructions for man.
    1. Genesis 2:15-17, ESV 15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 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.”
    2. So, now we have one man, Adam. He is the only one. He has been created and he is in the garden by himself. Now, we see his purpose: God put the man in the garden to work it and take care of it.
    3. We see the idea of stewardship.
    4. Notice it says that God put the man in the garden.
    1. Verse 17 is the command not to eat of a certain tree: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Throughout the coasts of the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and even in south Florida, there can be found a pleasant-looking beachy sort of tree, often laden with small greenish-yellow fruits that look like apples.

You might be tempted to eat the fruit. Do not eat the fruit. You might want to rest your hand on the trunk, or touch a branch. Do not touch the tree trunk or any branches. Do not stand under or even near the tree for any length of time whatsoever. Do not touch your eyes while near the tree. Do not pick up any of the ominously shiny, tropic-green leaves.

The aboriginal peoples of the Caribbean were familiar with the tree and the sap was used to tip arrows. It is believed that the Calusa people of Florida used it in that manner to kill Juan Ponce de Leon on his second trip to Florida in 1521.

This is the manchineel, known in Spanish-speaking countries as “la manzanilla de la muerte,” which translates to “the little apple of death,” or as “arbol de la muerte,” “tree of death.” The fruit, though described as sweet and tasty, is extraordinarily toxic.

Nicola Strickland, who unwisely chomped down on a manchineel fruit on the Caribbean Island of Tobago, describes what it was like:

I rashly took a bite from this fruit and found it pleasantly sweet. My friend also partook (at my suggestion). Moments later we noticed a strange peppery feeling in our mouths, which gradually progressed to a burning, tearing sensation and tightness of the throat. The symptoms worsened over a couple of hours until we could barely swallow solid food because of the excruciating pain.

Over the next eight hours our oral symptoms slowly began to subside. Recounting our experience to the locals elicited frank horror and incredulity, such was the fruit’s poisonous reputation.[2]

  • The consequence of death would happen if they eat of that tree.
    • Now, we know they did eat from that tree and they did not die right away. But they did die spiritually right away and they died physically later on.
    • This is suicide. To eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil means to take their own life.
    • Realize that the first sin in Genesis 3 was satan tempting Adam and Eve with suicide. He is still tempting people with suicide today.   
  • In verses 18-23 God creates woman.
    • Genesis 2:18-23 (ESV)
    • 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones
          and flesh of my flesh;
      she shall be called Woman,
          because she was taken out of Man.”
    • God observes the problem of man being alone.
    • “It was good…” was repeated in the creation account. That is a benediction. “Bene” means “well” or “good.” “Diction” is speaking. This means “good-word.” “Good word” is repeated.
    • “Malediction” is speaking evil, a curse. The first malediction is Gen 2:18 when God says it is not good that man is alone.[3]
    • This is an ethical statement: “it is not good for man to be alone.”
    • There has never been aloneness before. In the Trinity there was/is socialness, individuality and community.  Social order is bound up in the nature of God because He created social institutions with the imprint of Who He is.[4]
    • Better translation of “helper” is “counterpart.” Oftentimes in the Old Testament that Hebrew word is used for God as our helper.
    • NET Bible note:
    • Genesis 2:20 (NETBFEN): Here for the first time the Hebrew word אָדָם (’adam) appears without the article, suggesting that it might now be the name “Adam” rather than “[the] man.” Translations of the Bible differ as to where they make the change from “man” to “Adam” (e.g., NASB and NIV translate “Adam” here, while NEB and NRSV continue to use “the man”; the KJV uses “Adam” twice in v. 19).
    • The Lord causes animals to come before Adam to show that they are different. By the way, it is likely that there are not as many animals as there are today. There would not be as many species either.  
    • The NIV says “had formed” as past tense.
    • The Lord God caused sleep to come upon man.
    • This is not unlike anesthesia today prior to surgery.
    • Does God use the DNA of man to form woman?
    • Verse 23: Adam names the woman as he does the other creatures.
  • Verses 24-25: marriage:
    • Genesis 2:24-25 (ESV) 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
    • The idea of marriage is told. This is the foundation, the idea that a man leaves his parents to join with a woman and have family.
    • They are naked and there is no shame.
    • This is an ironic statement considering the next chapter.
    • R. C. Sproul shares: In Biblical times nakedness brought shame…
    • The ultimate defeat of an enemy was not just stripping them of their weapons but clothes. Even Jesus was crucified naked.
    • First redemption is God giving clothes. He could have said you must stay naked and shivering.
    • We can be comfortably naked in 2 places: 1) with God and 2) family.
    • Why is divorce so bad? That person knew you… [5]
  • Significance in the rest of the Bible.
  • Adam and Eve had purpose before sin entered the world (verse 15).
  • Work is not because of sin. Work gives us purpose. Adam and Eve were to be stewards of the Garden of Eden.
  • We also must steward the resources that God gives us. Adam was not to be alone (verse 18), we, also, are not to be alone.
  • This may not mean marriage for everyone, but it does mean we need each other. Animals were not the helper that Adam needed (verses 18-20).
  • Likewise, humans need human companionship and other humans of the opposite sex to procreate.
  • God met the need for Adam by creating woman (verses 21-25).
  • God provided what Adam needed. God did not create another man for Adam, nor multiple women, but one woman for one man.
  • Likewise, marriage to this day is patterned after the first marriage.
  • Jesus and Paul endorsed this passage: Matt 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-7, 8; 1 Cor 6:16; Eph 5:31.[6] Therefore, if we believe it is not actually true then that changes other parts of the Bible.
  • Jesus affirmed the special creation of Adam (Mark 10:6) and so must we.
  • Luke connects the human lineage of Jesus to Adam and so must we (Luke 3:38).
  • Paul connects the doctrine of the church to Adam and Eve and so must we (Eph 5:30-32).
  • Paul argues for family order because of Adam and Eve and so must we (1 Cor. 11:8-12).
  • Paul references Adam in 1 Cor. 15:22: “as in Adam we all die.”  
  • Paul attached the origin of sin in the world to Eve (1 Tim. 2:13-14). We cannot change this part of the Bible without it changing the rest. Paul also connects death from sin to Adam and Jesus as the second Adam (Romans 5:12-14). We will talk more about that next week. Again, we cannot change this part of the Bible without it changing the rest.[7]

One writes:

“Adam and Eve must have had fun working together in the garden. No commutes, no child care, no financial worries. Just the opportunity to be with each other all day and feel the satisfaction of doing something together that neither could do alone.

We hunger for this today: cooperating together, meshing, working like a mountain climbing team, ascending the peak of our dream, and then holding each other at the end of the day. God has planted this hunger deep within every married couple. It’s more than a hunger to create new life. It’s a third hunger, a hunger to do something significant together. According to God’s Word, we were joined to make a difference. We were married for a mission.

Marriage expert Dennis Rainey says, ‘One of the missing ingredients of couples today is they do not have a mission; they do not have a sense of God having called them together to do something as a couple.’ But often, as we begin to feel this basic longing, we don’t know what it is. We get the ‘seven-year itch’ or the ’12-year anger’ or the ’18-year blahs.’ We think, WHAT’S WRONG WITH US? OUR COMPANIONSHIP MAY NOT BE PERFECT, BUT WE HAVE EACH OTHER. AND, many can add, WE HAVE OUR CHILDREN. SO WHAT ARE WE MISSING?

We may be missing one-third of what God created marriage for—serving Him together. Counselor James H. Olthuis writes, ‘To try to keep love just for us . . . is to kill it slowly . . . . We are not made just for each other; we are called to a ministry of love to everyone we meet and in all we do. In marriage, too, Jesus’ words hold true; in saving our lives we lose them, and in losing our lives in love to others, we drink of life more deeply.’ “[8]

Prayer


[1] Sarah Ames, “Kids of the Kingdom,” Today’s Christian (January/February 2006), p. 6

[2] Source: Dan Nosowitz, “Do Not Eat, Touch, Or Even Inhale the Air Around the Manchineel Tree,” Atlas Obscura (5-19-16)

[3] Sproul; Renewing Your Mind; 06.07.2021

[4] Truth Project lesson 7

[5]  Sproul; Renewing Your Mind; 06.08.2021

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[7] https://answersingenesis.org/adam-and-eve/

[8] Source: Kevin and Karen Miller, More Than You and Me, Touching Others Through The Strength of Your Marriage, Focus On The Family Publishing, 1994, pp. 8, 9.

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