Commentary of Genesis 2 (Adam and Eve)

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 being.

Humans (homo sapiens) were evolved 100,000 - 200,000 years ago, and about 6,000 years ago, the final product of Gods evolution (Adam) was “made” (evolved). The difference between Adam and the other homo sapiens is that Adam fully evolved an intellect, an intelligence, a moral basis, and an awareness of Gods existence.

Two things that deserve commentary: “Formed from the dust of the ground” and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”.

First, formed from the dust of the ground. This entire chapter (chapter 1 also), is not written by Adam and anyone even related to him; it was written long after him, and I believe that that someone was divinely given an image (or vision) of what to write. If we think about it, “formed” means “made”, and “dust of the ground” could mean “the earth”. Human beings, hence, were “made from the earth”, or, “made from the materials from the earth”.

To help explain what I’m trying to say, lets put it this way: Through studying abiogenesis, we know that life came from materials here on earth. Now, if a divine being were to give us a vision of what abiogenesis looked like, it would most likely appear that life originated from the ground, considering we did come from the “ground” (primordial soup theory).

Two points: From a human perspective, if watching abiogenesis, the spectator would see life originating from here on earth. Also, according to other religions and theories, humans were divinely placed on earth after being created in Heaven, or they were created by aliens, some theories even suggest we’re a computer simulation. But no, Genesis says we humans came from “the dust of the ground”, or, the earth.

  1. God breathed into man the breath of life. Rather than view this as saying, “The exact moment Adam started existing”, I think this means something different. I think that, like the King James Bible says, this is where God “breathed into Adam”, and Adam became a soul. This could be viewed as God giving Adam and intellect, a sense of morality, and an awareness of a God, through the transfer of that breath.

One assertion to support this, is that God created all the animals in Genesis 1, yet he didn’t “breathe the breath of life” into them. But they were living. So, there is reason to believe the “breath of life” isn’t what brought Adam into existence (just like it didn’t bring the animals into existence, which they certainly are) but rather means something different. Maybe it means what I mentioned above.

8 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 the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God placed (led) Adam in the Garden of Eden, and (in the process of creating Eden) had made every tree in Adam’s region that was tasteful to the mouth and pleasant to the sight. He also added a particular tree, which was considered prohibited. The purpose of this particular tree was to enable Adam with freewill, or the ability to rebel if he wishes to.

10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel;[b] it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

Not much commentary is needed on this, its just the names of rivers or stones or valuable metals.

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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.”

Adam had then reached Eden, and was given the command to tend it and keep it (an obvious one, one which Adam would have desired to do to maintain such an advantageous and accessible Garden, and such a protected and comfortable living environment). God then enabled the first rule given to Adam, enabling his freewill.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 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. 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.

God desired two things for Adam: 1. That he, being the first intellectual animal, should decide the names of all of Gods creation. A tedious job after a while, nonetheless an honorable one for a human being to be offered. Rather than believe that every animal was literally brought to Adam, it might make more sense that God brought every animal to Adam in a vision or dream rather than on earth. 2. The moral of this verse lies not on the naming process of animals, but on the fact of finding another animal/being to be with Adam. Of course, God knew none of the animals would be suitable for Adam, but the search was a way of allowing Adam to understand how much he truly needs another partner, another intellectual human to associate and live his life with. It was teaching Adam a valuable lesson; the lesson of the value of not only friendship, but partnership with another human (his wife). It also allowed Adam to, in a way, “search” for his partner.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to 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.”

This sleep can be seen in a different view from the average Church; he didn’t fall asleep to be a hospital patient and experience surgery, but rather to have a dream or vision of what is about to happen next. If it was for surgery, why do modern surgeons have the ability to do surgeries with their patients awake and communicating, but God had to “sedate” his patient? It makes no sense if it was for the purpose of surgery.

Note: “Rib” is a bad translation, and the appropriate translation is “side”. No, really, its worth a Google.

Adam had a dream or vision, of Eve (a woman) being made/crafted from his side (the appropriate translation). Its symbolism demonstrating that Eve is Adam’s other half, considering she was made from his “side”. The creation account in general was not completely written in a historical or literal way, consider the “days” in creation. If you’re an Old Earth Creationist, like myself, you’d know that the days were not literal days, but rather long periods of times. Therefore, its not hard (or incorrect) to take other parts of early Genesis as poetic, or symbolic, or simply as literal but not read in the way you’ve been taught to read it, like in this case. Adam may have literally fallen asleep, but what happens next could have been a dream or vision rather than an actual surgical procedure.

As we can see, Adam says she is bones of my bones, flesh of my flesh (which makes no sense if she was made from his rib and not his side). She will be called woman since she was taken out of man, or, in other words, man’s other half. The moral of this, as I’m sure we’ll all agree, is that Adam and Eve are One; much like Christ and the Church. That’s what the verses 21-23 are meant to prove, not that God is a great surgeon, but that Eve was made for Adam and Adam was made with the natural desire to have Eve (he was made for her).

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

And, as we’ve already concluded, vs 24 proves that man and woman were made for one another, and they’re joined together through marriage as One. And they were both not ashamed, until chapter 3!

Please note, this is just a hypothesis I’ve had for quite some time, but never had the time or patience to sit down and write it out as a commentary. If this is somehow already a scholarly hypothesis, I didn’t know. The only thing in this written hypothesis I got from anyone else was verses 21-23, about it being a dream or vision rather than an actual surgical procedure (shout out to BioLogos member, Christy! You’re awesome, Christy). And the purpose of me saying this is a personal hypothesis, is because its unsupported by any scholars; its just my opinion. I wouldn’t want anyone to accept this without doing their own research first.

My purpose for posting this is because I want it to be criticized. So, anyone, please point out my flaws or mistakes, so that I can improve my overall interpretation of Genesis 2. Thank you and ta ta.

David, as you point out at the end of your post, you are willing to accept the story of Eve’s creation out of Adam’s side as being some sort of dream or vision that Adam had, rather then an actual surgical procedure. Then Eve could have already been in existence beforehand (as Gen 1 relates), and this ‘dream’ was God’s way of letting Adam know that He expected Eve, although weaker physically, to be treated with love and respect because she truly was Adam’s ‘better half’.

One other suggestion: You might want to consider abiogenesis separately from evolution. While the mechanisms of evolution are still being uncovered (and heatedly debated), it is established beyond reasonable doubt that life began simply and slowly became more complex and capable. Science may never discover how or even when ‘lifeless’ chemicals could be said to achieve the state of ‘living’. The simplest cells we know of now are much, much more complex to have arisen spontaneously. One reasonable postulate is that life arose inside naturally formed, double emulsion ‘reaction vessels’ in which polymerization/depolymerization reactions proceeded for eons until some sort of reproduction & metabolic systems resulted. Not a process you could watch and suddenly declare: Eureka!!! We have life! Many viruses today do not fulfill all the criteria for Life, yet they most certainly evolve.

Apparently you have an inquisitive mind, David, and I feel sure, if you remain an Old Earth Creationist, that will not endanger your salvation. Have fun learning from the Book of Nature.
Al Leo

But Genesis 7:15 says the following: “So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life.”

Exact same words as Genesis 2.

I don’t believe in abiogenesis alone; but life arising by Gods order. I appreciate your input a lot! Which parts exactly do you think need to be reconsidered? Only the abiogenesis claim?

Ah, thank you for pointing that out, I’ll continue doing my research and look for another alternative, if there is one.

I surmised that you believed that abiogenesis could not have occurred without intervention by an intelligent Creator. I have closely followed the attempt of scientists to “close this gap”, and I am not surprised that a couple of Nobelist (Crick, Edelman) have “kicked the can down the road”–saying that perhaps life had an extraterrestrial source. So currently I subscribe to the “God of the Gaps” explanation for abiogenesis but not for evolution.

As for the origin of Eve, I prefer Gen.1 where she was created concurrently with Adam. But I like the phrase in Gen. 2 where “the two shall become one flesh” when a couple unites to create new human life.
Al Leo

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I think that there is a good point to be made here; the use of these names for these places and rivers gives further evidence that Genesis 2 was not written during the time it describes, but well after. Further, the existence of those rivers at the time of Eden casts doubt on the universality of the flood; the Tigris and Euphrates are still in existence to this day. Either the original rivers were destroyed after the flood and the two that formed were named after those, or the flood did not encompass the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. As for the other two rivers, who knows what happened to them.

My two cents.

Thank you for your two cents! Every bit of criticism helps. I believe the flood was regional, I didn’t think about the possibility of the rivers being altered. Maybe the rivers were much different prior to the regional flood?

I just went through this same thought process recently, but thought of something new just while reading your post. What about this?

If we take “formed from the dust of the ground” to be referring to abiogenesis, it might be tempting to think of God in Deist terms, where he set everything up like a giant clockwork and let it run. But the second part, the breath of life, speaks to a more currently involved God. My own bias is towards thinking of God’s immanence, in living things especially. Perhaps these two complementary concepts are being expressed here?

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I meant “abiogenesis” as in life evolving in general, I’ve been told I misused “abiogenesis” multiple times so I’m definitely going to have to change my terminology. I definitely think of God in monotheistic terms, and heavily involved throughout creation; guiding it, if you will.

I didn’t think you were misusing it, really; although speaking only of abiogenesis misses the point that the food we eat even today, which ‘forms’ us, is “formed from the dust of the ground,” too.

Neither Deism (God created but does not interfere with the world) nor an immanent God (pervading reality) conflicts with monotheism. :smile:

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It is from the dust of the earth our physical body is created and to the dust of the earth it will return - unless you are one of the intellectual elite in which case you refer to it as stardust as the dust of the erth sounds far to humble, and ideally you might mention cryptonite :slight_smile:

Genesis is a poetic description of reality as poetic language allows you to combine material and emotional information about reality to pass on in a way accessible to people with a large diversity of experiences it allows them to relate to. To talk about physics,chemistry and advanced genetics is not helpful to convey a worldview to people who do not know about it.

To become one flesh does not refer to the act of copulation as they are still two separate pieces of flesh but to the generation of the new life. You are only one flesh in your child as it is combined flesh of both parents, which is why only two people of opposite gender can become one flesh until we create a way to generate one flesh by synthetic recombination.

Vs 24 states - and does not prove that they are made for each other. The prove is that they allow natural recombination of their genes for procreation, but then some people would call that an accident of nature claiming that nature has no intentions.

Better go now.
good luck with your pondering

My only criticism would be that parts of this seems like an attempt at concordism, which I would argue is not the best way to approach the text.

Here are some articles on concordism and why BioLogos generally doesn’t take that approach.

Not me! Just the awesome commentaries I read by other BioLogos authors. Let’s give credit where credit is due. :slight_smile: I am a consumer not a producer of theology and biblical scholarship.

Other places in Scripture describe the animals as having the “breath of life,” though. So we probably shouldn’t read too much into the wording.

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