When people pick up a Bible for the first time, they open to Genesis 1:1:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The first sentence that man reads is an affirmation that God created the world. This is our first glimpse into the nature and character of God. He is a creative God. If anything were to be inherently defining God as “God”, it would be a creation of the universe: God’s opening revelation about Himself.
The next few verses talk about what God creates and how He creates them. He creates various material objects based on unit of time (“days”), He does so with His “words”, and then He follows up an ensures it is “good”. He is very particular in His timing of creation, because the very last thing God creates is man. While no other thing was described in the “image of God”, God chooses to create man “in the image of God”:
Gen 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God created man in His image. God is not selfish that He wants no other creature to be compared to Him in any sense. Instead, He makes us representative of Him. His purpose is to fellowship with us. This tells us God is relational: we can relate to Him, understand Him, and fellowship with Him.
God then delegates power to man. God is giving up His own power over the animals, as made apparent later in His first action towards Adam. God is not power hungry. He delegates power, power that He then actually allows man to exercise (Gen 2:19). God wants free-will beings. He wants to see how we will act, what choices we will make, and wants to be able to interact with us.
Man is the last of all God’s creation, the pinnacle, after which God declares all things good and chooses to rest.
In Genesis chapter 2, God gives Adam both a rule and activity. He limits Adam in one way and gives him choice in another. God starts by telling Adam that he will die if he eats of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (the Hebrew uses a common double wording emphasis the point that Adam will “die”):
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
Gen 2:17 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.”
Some Christians claim this is a spiritual death, but the text indicates the exact opposite. Adam had only this one rule, and the punishment was the ultimate punishment. This is contrasted with eternal life: the reason God excludes Adam from the Garden of Eden. He might “eat of the tree of Life and live forever”.
Right after this, God gives Adam his first task: to name the animals. God explicitly explains why He brings animals to Adam, because He wanted to “see what he would call them”. God’s first task for Adam is God looking to see how his creation acts when given choice. Like a father watching his baby play with new toys, God watches Adam name the animals. It is an exciting narrative, in which the reader can only but feel God’s anticipation:
Gen 2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
Gen 2:20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
After this wonderful action of God watching His creation act. Afterwards, He empathizes with Adam. Adam names hundreds or thousands of beautiful and unique animals, but Adam wants something more. He wants another human being with which to relate. God, knowing the feeling Himself, has pity on Adam and makes him a wife. This shows God relationship with man. God does not want to horde man’s affections all to Himself. He wants man to be happy, and God is will to shares Adam’s affections with a new creature who is specifically designed to relate to Adam.
Genesis 2 ends by picturing both man and women in their naïve innocence:
Gen 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
It is a sad contrast to what will come.
I like this article a lot. I like how you describe that God doesn’t want to hoard power,love, choices, affection, but God shares and encourages Adam to create names.
The one thing I’d take a slight exception to is this part:
God, knowing the feeling Himself, has pity on Adam and makes him a wife. This shows God relationship with man
God, had already decided to make male and female. This was not God’s pity on Adam, but God letting Adam feel what life is like without woman. In this way, God is showing Adam how special his counterpart is.
Also, did God really feel “loneliness”? From all eternity past, there was a relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Just as a husband and wife are content with each other, and they want to share that love with a new child (a part of them), we can see God wanting to make man (in His image) to share that perfect love.
Where does it say that God already planned for making a wife for Adam? :-)
“Some Christians claim this is a spiritual death, but the text indicates the exact opposite.” Why do you think so Chris and how do you divine “spiritual” in spiritual death? :-)
“He [Adam] wants another human being with which to relate. God, knowing the feeling Himself, has pity on Adam and makes him a wife. This shows God relationship with man. God does not want to horde man’s affections all to Himself. He wants man to be happy, and God is will to shares Adam’s affections with a new creature who is specifically designed to relate to Adam”. This stands in stark contrast to the modern-day semi-gnostic Christians who claim that it’s better for a man not to have a wife but to find his pleasure in God. (See for example the Shakers and other semi-gnostic groups.)