How informative and instructive are these first three chapters of Genesis. Yet how depletive without the rest of Scripture. The all-sufficiency of the Bible as the Word of God. You know, the Bible that’s in your hand or close to it; perhaps it is on the shelf somewhere. How many copies do you have? The origin of mankind. The origin of everything! The origin and purpose of marriage. God created man and woman. He created them purposely, significantly as male and female. In marriage, the man and the woman are given the ‘titles’ of husband and wife (cf Eph 5:23)
A broader picture from the creation narrative is to try and take in and absorb the fullness of God revealing his word; God communicating. The creation and propagation of all living vegetation. “….every seed bearing plant…every tree that has fruit with seed in it.” (1:29). Also the animal kingdom, “God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number…” (1:22). Even from a lay perspective, we can recognise intelligence and feelings amongst animals. Mating rituals and practices. Family protection and raising of their young. But as for Mankind, there is a marked difference and this difference is marked out and given expression in Mankind alone being created in the image and likeness of God. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (1:27 and note how this is worded).
The point may be laboured from week to week but significantly and purposely so. Mankind alone is created in the image of God as male and female. All living species (can we also include vegetation?) has a living arrangement accordingly. But Mankind, as the Psalmist says of God, “You have…..crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet….” (Psalm 8)
Made in the image and likeness of God. Not equal to God but after his character and ‘personage’. Much can be said here but if we can say just one thing for now, encapsulated in the word, ‘Relationships’. In its simplest form mankind has been created as a uniquely relational being, after the likeness of what God is as being relational (this can be further discussed in God as Trinity. God was relational before the beginning of everything. We are made to be relational to God, hence, addressing God as, “Our Father….”. Also relational to each other. But wait a minute Adam at this point has no other humankind to relate to!
We are on a little journey at present as God is creating. But first, another attribute to be seen of God; the GOODNESS of God. Creation is not only materialistic but functional. Creation is not only a place of beauty but also goodness. Repeatedly God announces each step of creation as being, “Very good” (cf 1:31) Excuse me again for being repetitive, for as we read these first two chapters God is not inventing as he goes on what is going to work or not.
For when God announced the one thing that was not good, “…for man to be alone” (2:18), this became a self-discovery task for Adam to realise and to, could we say, self-find and appreciate God’s goodness within his purpose. A similar example can be found in Matthew 16 and Jesus asking Peter, “Who do you say I am?”. Jesus didn’t need to be told who he was but he was interested for Peter (and others) to declare themselves rather than repeat what another has said. Isn’t there a teaching method here in getting students to come to know and find the answer, yet remain a guide and tutor? So we come back to the creation narrative and seek to understand the method God first used with Adam. God is still creating but Adam is the only humankind present and God is taking him on a self-realizing journey. How long Adam was living before Eve, I don’t think we are told; but Adam had been dwelling with and ruling over all the animals for a time. At a certain point in time Adam realizes, “….no suitable helper was found.” (2:20) the goodness of God is further shown in the creation of Eve; and Eve was a woman, a female. Could Adam have ever consulted God to say the kind of “Suitable helper” would suit him? God in his goodness provided beyond one who was exactly like Adam, another male. The response from Adam is to be seen as an expression of joy and acceptance, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” Now the highpoint of all creation has come into being a beginning of completeness of man being mankind (I say a beginning for there is still further expression in Mankind as family and community and being the Church). Here in its first expression, the high point of human relationship is and remains in marriage. The origin of the married state, blessed in the goodness of God, God’s gift unto us. Man and woman, male and female together. So Genesis 2:24 is a significant statement because it relates from Adam and Eve unto the next and future generations (Adam and Eve had no earthly father and mother!). They became the first of parents from which children would be raised and in turn leave and have opportunity to marry. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
To be continued. . . . . .
PRAYER: The goodness of God can become lost in the ‘Normality’ of things that have been done for as long as one remembers. The goodness of God can be lost when we drift into patterns outside of God’s created order. Being uniquely male and female, man and woman, is the creators purpose and gift, even beyond the married state (a different relationship is had, and one to be complimented and appreciated) but marriage is the high point in all human relationships- marriage between man and woman. How may this lead you into prayer this morning?
HYMN: Have Thine Own Way, Lord (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3EoCmCFmK4)
Have thine own way. Thou art the potter I am the clay;
mould me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.”