When the Lord God made the universe, there were no plants on the earth and no seeds had sprouted, because he had not sent any rain, and there was no one to cultivate the land; but water would come up from beneath the surface and water the ground. (v 4b – 6)
I think it is interesting to note that there were seeds ready in the ground when God created the Universe. They were lying dormant, waiting for the day the rain would come and they could burst into life. Seeds can lie dormant for years and years until they are planted into the earth and they are watered. Have you ever seen pictures of deserts which have been barren for years and years but suddenly spring into life after rain? The seeds had been lying dormant, waiting, ready.
We saw in chapter 1 v 2 that the Spirit of God was hovering over the earth, brooding, waiting for the right time. The Holy Spirit is often represented by rain, bringing God’s refreshing and cleansing touch on our lives. The seeds of faith were planted in our hearts but we need God’s Holy Spirit rain to bring them to life.
Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live (v 7)
The word used for formed is the same one often used to describe the work of a potter. Isaiah 45 v 9 speaks of the pot trying to argue with the potter, does it say to the potter “What are you making?” “You don’t know what you are doing” No because if the potter is not satisfied with what he has made he destroys it and starts again. It is the potter who decides what he will make and how and will not put it into the fire to prove until he is satisfied with it.
In Jeremiah 18, Jeremiah is sent down to the potters house to see the potter at work and to understand that this is how God made us. God says in verse 6;
Haven’t I the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay? You are in my hands just like the clay in the potter’s hands
Elihu says to Job in Job 33 v 6 “We are the same, We are both made from clay”
With all the previous creation, God spoke them into being but with us He made and shaped us with his hands and then breathed the breath of life into us (2 v 7 – see also chapter 1 v 30 where man and the animals have the breath of life). Elihu said in verse 4 of Job 6 “It is the breath of God that gives me life”. We know that if we stop breathing, we die.
Then the Lord planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there he put the man he had formed. He made all kinds of beautiful trees grow there and produce good fruit. In the middle of the garden stood the tree that gives life and the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad (v 8-9)
The Garden of Eden is thought to have been in the area now known as Iraq. the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers mentioned later in v 14 are in this location.
The name Eden represents paradise. The Hebrew word meant “bliss but other descriptions also meant “plain” as in a huge expanse of land.
I’ve noticed that we sometimes refer to the tree in the middle of the garden, which Adam and Eve were not to eat from as the tree of life or the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but it actually states that there were two separate trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
The right to eat from the tree of life is mentioned in Revelation 2 v 7;
To those who win the victory, I will give the right to eat the fruit of the tree of life that grows in the garden of God
We will look at these in more detail as we work through the following chapter, but reading ahead slightly I notice that God only banned them from eating from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. They had free access to life and already had the powers of discernment between good and evil because God had created them in his likeness but we will see later that by eating from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, they take on a mortal knowledge which ultimately leads to death. By disobeying God and eating from the tree they made the choice to follow evil. Hence they were then banned from the garden so that they could not eat from the tree of life
All quotes from The Good News Bible