Creation - The Sixth Day part 4
By way of introduction to the fourth part of our study of the Sixth Day of Creation, it is important to note that Genesis 1:26 tells us that God created man in His image and according to His likeness. Furthermore, Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created man male and female. The extended account of the creation of the male and female human beings is found in Genesis.2.
Firstly, as we begin, I want you to note that in Genesis 2:4 Moses made a noteworthy change. God (Elohim) is now “LORD God” (Yahweh Elohim). Moses would repeatedly use Yahweh Elohim until the end of Chapter 3. This change is crucial in understanding God’s relationship with Man. Cornelis Van Dam wrote,
“The usage of Elohim (“God”) in Genesis 1 underlines the transcendence, greatness, and power of the Almighty who created and who is known through His creation. In Genesis 2 the shift to the designation Yahweh Elohim (“LORD God”) underlines the identity of God, the Creator, as the God of the covenant who revealed Himself as such to His people (cf. Ex.3:13-15). This change in names is consistent with the main purpose of Genesis 2 of highlighting the creation of Adam, and later Eve, with whom God conversed and made a covenant (cf. Hos.6:7). The designation “LORD God” indicates that from the beginning God related to Adam and Eve as the God of the covenant who had fellowship with them, was faithful to His work of creation, and did not abandon them even after the fall into sin. The LORD God continued to deal with the crown of His creation in the history of redemption according to His promise of salvation (Gen.3:15).” (Genesis. pp.251-252).
The Intricate Creation of Man
Genesis 2:7 describes the creation of the man. Moses wrote, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Mankind was created as a totally different class from all other living things that God created. Mankind’s special status is made abundantly clear from the unique way in which God created the man and the woman. Genesis 1:26 & 2:7 show us what is high in man’s creation (he is the image of God) and what is low in man (he is formed of dust from the ground).
The first fact we must note is that God created the man from pre-existing materials. The description points to God’s personal hands-on attention that He gave in creating the man and, later on, the woman. Moses used the verb “formed” (Heb. yasar), rather than “created” (bara). Yasar pictures God as an artisan who sculpts. This verb was normally used to describe a potter or one who sculpted wooden images. (cf. Isaiah 29:16). The verb “formed” points to an act of creation that involved careful design, skill, and Divine intentionality. The verb yasar is used in Psalm 94:9 which says, “He who formed the eye, does He not see?” Isaiah 44:2 says, “Thus says the LORD who made you, And formed you in the womb.” Kent Hughes wrote, “God is the potter … who perfectly works out His designs. Man is no after-thought, but rather the intentional product of the infinite mind that designed the atom and the cosmos. Infinite intention was focused on the creation of man.” (Genesis, p.51).
“The LORD God formed man (adam) of dust (adama) from the ground.” Adam was formed from adama. Take note of the word-play. The word “dust” can refer to solid earth or to coarse crumbled soil or to very fine dust or sand. Dust is also used synonymously with clay. Job said, “Remember now, that You have made me as clay; And would You turn me into dust again?” (Job 10:9). Man is created from the ground. His job relates to the ground. And when he dies, he is returned to the ground. Man, at his own peril, forgets the sovereignty of His Maker. Deuteronomy 32:39 says,
“See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
“Dust” emphasizes two things. Firstly, dust is a symbol of that which is of little worth. In Genesis 18:27 Abraham said to God, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes.” Secondly, dust emphasizes how fragile we are. Psa.103:14 says, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” A more literal translation is: “For He Himself knows what we are made of.” Matthew Henry wrote that man “was not made of gold-dust, powder of pearl, or diamond dust, but common dust, dust of the ground.” Undoubtedly, God is emphasizing to us man’s “creatureliness” and humble origin. Yet we must also emphasize that this dust which is man is also the image of God.
God formed man but man was a lifeless corpse until God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Some put it this way: man was a lifeless corpse until God gave to him the kiss of life. Derek Kidner wrote, ““Breathed” is warmly personal with the face-to-face intimacy of a kiss and the significance that this was giving as well as making; and self-giving at that.” (Genesis, p.60). Life is God’s gift to man. And “breath” establishes the fact that man continually depends on God for his life. Job 27:3 says, “For as long as life is in me, And the breath of God is in my nostrils.” Isaiah 42:5 says,
Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it
Whenever God takes the breath away, that person dies. Job 34:14-15 says,
“If He should determine to do so,
If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath,
All flesh would perish together,
And man would return to dust.”
The verb “breathed” suggests a good puff, as one that would revive a fire. “Breath of life” is a unique description. The Hebrew word for “breath” is used only of God and man. Man, and man alone, is the recipient of the Divine breath. The Divine breath made man into a living being (soul; Heb. nepes.). The Hebrew word nepes actually describes the whole person. In Job 32:8 the “spirit in man” is called “the breath of the Almighty”. What we see in the account before us is that man’s life was given to him in a unique way compared to the rest of creation. God spoke the animals into being but God personally breathed into man the breath of life. This clearly separated man from the animals. Kenneth Matthews noted, “Human and animal share in creatureliness, yet a distinction between human and animal is sharply maintained in the narrative.” (Genesis. p.197).
Allen Ross wrote, “By this verse (Gen.2:7), then, the nation of Israel would see that humankind was created with great care and planning, so that it would have the capacity to serve the Lord God.” (Genesis & Blessing. p. 123.)
I close this Part 4 by quoting to you Psalm 8:3-6:
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet.