These chapters are linked by their dual portrayal of God’s wisdom: (1) in the creation of the universe; and, (2) in His instruction to humanity. Genesis 2 begins by informing us of the degree of wisdom and power God displayed in creation; God’s creative work was so good that God rested for a day (cf. 1.31)! Not that the Almighty was physically exhausted or that His creative capacities need a day to be replenished, rather the design had been so accomplished that it could not be improved. In wisdom and power God had met all of his own lofty standards for the universe; perhaps the only thing left to do was enjoy!
The point of Genesis 2 is to show that—although Adam had perfect fellowship with God in the Garden—there was yet no created helper found suitable for him. The theology of the chapter is concerned with Providence; God meets the needs of His created ones. This is detailed in vv. 21-22: “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the LORD God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.” So significant was this new relationship that the author said, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh” (v. 24).
While the institution of marriage is a foundational element of human existence, Genesis 2 has even further implications. When considered in light of the storyline of Scripture these chapters show that God’s wisdom is not finally portrayed in His creative acts—even of man and woman. Rather, His wisdom in creation sets the stage for the wisdom of His instruction. This can be seen in several passages:
- In Gen 2.15-17 God commanded Adam of what he should eat, and what was forbidden. This wise instruction was given so that Adam could continue to enjoy the intimate fellowship of God in the special environs of the Garden
- Proverbs 8 portrays the activity of God’s wisdom. That is, God is not unwilling to share His wisdom but His wisdom seeks out those who long for His instruction that they—like Adam—may enjoy the richness of God’s directions
- Psalm 19 further develops the connection between God’s wisdom in creation and instruction. Here vv. 1-6 portray God’s wisdom in creation, while vv. 7-11 delineate the wisdom of God’s instruction—which must be followed in order to maintain uprightness before God (vv. 12-14). Paul saw in v. 4 a fitting description of the pervasive prophetic instruction God sent to His people of old—instruction they rejected (cf. Rom 10.18)
- Psalm 8 provides a reflection of the profound: that the God who so wisely created the universe would have anything at all to do with frail creatures like us—let alone provide us with instruction for how to live and enjoy fellowship with Himself? But the gospel goes even further. In arguing for Christ’s full-participation in the human experience, the author to the Hebrews employed vv. 5-7, saying, “What is man, that You remember him, or the son of man, that You care for him? You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor and subjected everything under his feet.” While Jesus is superior to angels (the point of Hebrews 1), for a time, in accord with Ps 8, He was made a little lower than the angels, “so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death” (Heb 2.9). But Psalm 8 also signaled Jesus’ resurrection; to the Corinthians Paul argued that even death, the last great enemy of humanity, has been put under Christ’s feet, subjected to Him (Ps 8.6b)—with the result that as He was raised from the dead, so all those of Him will be raised (cf. 1 Cor 15.27)
May we recognize God’s wisdom in creation and instruction that our lives would proclaim with the Psalmist, “LORD, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!” (Ps 8.9), and adhere to the instruction of Jesus Christ, who said that the greatest instruction of all was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22.37, 38b; cf. Deut 6.5; Lev 19.18; Rom 13.8-10; Gal 5.13-15; Jas 2.8-11).
*For a complete list of references, please see scripturestoryline.com