Background on the Pentateuch
Who wrote these first five books of the Old Testament - the books we know as the Pentateuch? Traditionally it has been thought that Moses wrote these books. However, we aren't actually told in the scripture per se, although Jesus refers to Genesis as the "book of Moses" in Mark 12:26 (see notes). Jesus would know, don't you agree? Since we find the death of Moses recorded in some detail in Deuteronomy 34 (see notes), it is likely that he was assisted by his right-hand man, Joshua, in the writing of these five books. Further evidence of Joshua's participation in this effort is seen in the name of the Canaan city, "Ai." The Hebrew word "ai" actually means "heap of ruins." And...that's what Ai became in Joshua 8:28 (see notes) after Joshua was finished with it. In the first mention of Ai in Genesis 12:8 (see notes), it is preceded by the Hebrew definite article "h" and is translated "Hai." That would make the name, "THE heap of ruins." So, I think it's fairly obvious that Moses was assisted by his protege and successor, Joshua, in the writing of these five books.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
It's amazing how much doctrine has surfaced over the years from a simple statement in verse 2. I first heard the "gap theory" over 30 years ago based upon an abuse of the Hebrew in verse 2. It is said that the phrase "And the earth was without form..." should be translated "And the earth became without form..." Folks that take this view say that there was a complete civilization that thrived and perished between verses 1 and 2. They maintain that this explains the discovery of very old fossils. Here's the biggest problem with that theory; there's nothing substantial to support it except a desire to compromise with the evolutionists.
Charles Ryrie includes this comment in the Ryrie Study Bible:
Some understand a "gap" of an indeterminate period of time between verses 1 and 2, and translate "became" rather than "was." Although the Hebrew word may mean "became" (as in 19:26), the construction of the clause does not support a consecutive statement describing something that happened subsequent to verse 1 ("and") but rather describing something included in verse 1 ("but"). In other words, the initial creation was formless and empty, a condition soon remedied.
Here's the deal on evolution in my thinking: God created everything in six days with the appearance of age - including man. Did Adam and Eve first appear as infants? No! They appeared to be full-grown adults; they were created with the appearance of age. So was the case with everything on earth. Sometimes this "gap theory" is referred to as the "old earth theory" as opposed to my view, the "new earth theory." The former theory proclaims the world to be millions of years old or more, the latter just thousands of years old.
Another verse used as support for this old-earth theory is Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..." They argue that "replenish" means to put back what was there once before. Actually, the Hebrew word for "replenish" there is "maw-lay´," which is used 240 times in the Old Testament, yet it is only translated "replenish" two times. Usually it is translated "fill" or "fulfill" and holds no context whatsoever indicating that what's being filled was full before and later became empty. Dr. Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research has written a very fine article on this issue which may be accessed by clicking here.
Gap theorists aren't bad people; they're just people who (in my opinion) went too far in an attempt to appease the evolutionists. Many good Bible teachers take an old-earth position. However, one must read quite a bit into scripture to derive that position. Whether you are a new earther or an old earther, it's not a fundamental doctrine of our faith. Now, as far as appeasing the evolutionists, I'm convinced that they aren't just opposed to creation; they are opposed to God. Therefore, I'm relatively confident that, while the old earthers are looking for a compromise with the evolutionists, the evolutionists just want to bury our God. In the end, let's see who buries whom.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
You will notice that days are rendered with the phrase "the evening and the morning." Thus, tomorrow's Jewish day is rendered to begin at sundown today. Even today, Jews observe the Sabbath day beginning at sundown on Friday. This rendering of a day is consistent throughout the Old Testament.
Verse 26 causes a question to arise regarding the meaning of "Let us make man in our image..." Could this be a reference to the Godhead? Many scholars think so, and I'm comfortable with that view as well. However, that interpretation is not universally held among fundamental Bible scholars. For more information regarding the Godhead, see the notes on Colossians 1:15-24. Some scholars through the centuries have held that God was referring to angels when he uses the plural reference here. That would presuppose that the angels had a human form - the template of which God used to create man. It is true that when angels later show up on the scene in both the Old and New Testaments, they have the form of man. As a matter of fact, the "angel of the LORD" is seen numerous times in the Old Testament and appears as a man. I am convinced that those manifestations were pre-incarnate manifestations of Jesus himself. Therefore, I'm comfortable with the notion that the form of man was patterned after that of the angels, and of course, Jesus himself.
Perhaps this is a good time to introduce the usage of the word "God" in the Old Testament. The Jews have a concept in Hebrew that they call the "majestic plural." You see, the Hebrew suffix "im" is the standard for making a singular masculine noun plural. For example, "sus" is Hebrew for "horse," but "susim" is plural, making it "horses." As in English, verbs observe singular and plural in their forms as well. So, when "sus" ("horse") is used with a verb in Hebrew, we look for that verb to be in its singular form; when "susim" ("horses") is used in Hebrew, we look for the accompanying verb to be in its plural form. Such is not the case with the Hebrew word for "God" - "elohim." As you can see, it has the plural ending ("im"), but when it is used with a singular-form verb, we understand the word to be a singular reference to the ONE TRUE GOD. That's what the Hebrew linguists call the "majestic plural." Therefore, where Christians may see the Godhead in the plural usage of "elohim" to denote the God of the universe, Jewish scholars do not.
|Day 1||Genesis 1:3-5||Light (not the sun which was created on the fourth day)|
|Day 2||Genesis 1:6-8||Firmament aka sky (the divider between the canopy of water in the sky from the water on the earth - see Genesis 2:5-6 below)|
|Day 3||Genesis 1:9-13||Dry land (furnished with vegetation) separated from the water. Verse 9 indicates that there was a single land mass on earth surrounded by water.|
|Day 4||Genesis 1:14-19||Sun, moon and stars|
|Day 5||Genesis 1:20-23||Water creatures and fowl|
|Day 6||Genesis 1:24-31||Earth creatures and humans|
|Day 7||Genesis 2:2||Sabbath rest|
How about a Bible trivia question: On what day was Eve created? Hint: the answer is in verses 27-28. Here's another interesting point from this passage. It would appear that all creatures began as vegetarians according to verses 29-30. It was not to remain that way though. The precedent of eating meat is established by God after the Noahic flood in Genesis 9:1-3 (see notes).
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
These three verses are significant throughout Jewish history. God rested on the sabbath (seventh) day. As a matter of fact, the Hebrew verb for "rested" there is "shabath," translated in the Old Testament as "sabbath" when used as a noun instead of as a verb. Verse 3 says that God "sanctified" that day. He literally set it apart as a special holy day. By the way, that's Saturday, not Sunday. It should be noted that Sabbath keeping was not first introduced by Moses. It dates all the way back to creation.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 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 soul.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Our very first occurrence of "LORD" shows up in verse 4. Up to this point, God (Hebrew: "elohim") has been used alone. Here "elohim" is combined with the Hebrew word "Yahweh" aka "Jehovah" and translated "LORD" (all capitals) as it is elsewhere in the Old Testament. For additional information on the names of God, see the notes on Deuteronomy 10:17 (click here).
In verses 10-14, we're given a couple of hints about the location of the Garden of Eden - close to the intersection of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Based upon these verses, see the map to the right that speculates - a speculation as good as anyone's. This map places it under water in the Persian Gulf.
We see in verse 7, "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 soul." Here's a distinction between man and animals. Moreover, in 1:26-27 (see above) we see that man was created in God's own image.
Verse 9 tells us that there were two trees in the midst of the garden, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The instructions from verses 16 and 17 are clear: Eat from all the trees except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam had one commandment...just one!
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
So God created Eve from Adam's rib. The oft-quoted marriage-ceremony verse is found in verse 24, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." We often refer to marriage as "leaving and cleaving." You will notice that this special relationship between a husband and a wife ("one flesh") is unparalleled in scripture except for our relationship with God himself. This one-flesh understanding of marriage and thus the result of sexual relations is referenced by Jesus in Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:8 (see notes) and by Paul again in Ephesians 5:31 (see notes).
I hate to do this, but let's put an end to an urban legend. I've always been told that women had one more pair of ribs than men. I was further told that it was because Adam gave up a pair for the creation of Eve. I may have even quoted this as fact at some point in time. As it turns out, male or female, everyone has 12 pairs of ribs.
Paul makes a point based upon Genesis 2:18, "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Notice what he says in I Corinthians 11:7-9 (see notes), "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."
Incidentally, it would appear that all of this took place on day 6 of creation. That conclusion is derived from the wording of Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Hey Eve! Are you talking to a snake? Satan took the form of the serpent here - an animal described as the most "subtil" (crafty, cunning) in the garden. All indications are that his form was nothing like what we see today; his current form was as a result of the curse in verse 14. Eve only had one command from God - that tree-of-knowledge restriction. But wait! When Satan challenges her to eat of that tree, Eve misquotes God's command to Adam regarding the tree. God had told Adam nothing about touching the tree - just eating from it (Genesis 2:17). Maybe Adam thought it best to just tell Eve not even to touch it, or maybe Eve was exaggerating God's command to make it seem ridiculous. Whatever the circumstances, Eve broke the only commandment God had given them. But wait! There's more. She also gave Adam to eat, and he partook also. The Apostle Paul makes an interesting distinction here in I Timothy 2:13-14 (see notes) "For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." Eve was deceived; Adam just plain ol' disobeyed.
There's a doctrine going around (it's been around for nearly a century) that's picking up some steam lately because of a contemporary television Bible teacher's promotion of it. That doctrine is that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not a piece of fruit at all. It is maintained that the fruit was simply a metaphor for sexual relations between a man and a woman for the purpose of pleasure. It is further taught that, though Cain and Abel were twins, Cain was the offspring of the serpent (Satan) and Abel was the offspring of Adam. There is no basis in scripture for such a doctrine. We are told that it was fruit; who am I to alter the passage to make it something else. The Old Testament is not shy of explicit accounts of sexual relations. If that had been the activity between Adam, Eve and the serpent, the scripture would have plainly told us so. Genesis says it was fruit; IT WAS FRUIT!
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Here's the problem. After they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they had a rush of realization: "Yikes! We're naked!" They heard God approaching and hid themselves from him in shame (like you can really hide from God). Why did you do it, Adam? Here's Adam's amusing reply in verse 12, "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Well, that is true all right. So, why did you eat, Eve? She replied, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." Eve was deceived; Adam just blatantly disobeyed...and then tried to pass the buck to Eve as an excuse.
Now for the resulting curses:
Many scholars see a promise of the Messiah in verse 15. If we look beyond the actual animal that Satan used (the serpent) and see this as a struggle between evil (Satan) and mankind (the offspring of the woman), then certainly we know that Christ does overcome Satan (Revelation 20:1-10, see notes). I'm just not sure that this is what is implied here, but I certainly have no problem with those who teach verse 15 as a prophecy of the Messiah.
Here we find the first occasion of animal sacrifice on behalf of man. That's assuming, of course, that the animals in verse 21 gave up their skins somewhat begrudgingly.
At this point, the only thing left to do is to drive Adam and Eve from the garden and block their return. Verse 22 is a curious verse. It is implied that had Adam and Eve been able to continue to eat of the fruit from the tree of life, they would have been immortal. The major consequence of the sin Adam and Eve committed is that all mankind from that day until this is born with an Adamic nature (aka carnal man, flesh) - a propensity to disobey God and a destiny to physically die.
Notice the passages where Paul makes reference to Adam and the sin nature:
It is because of this Adamic sin nature that mankind requires a Savior - Jesus Christ. Physical immortality appears to be the original plan in the garden; spiritual immortality is the plan of God now through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.