Genesis 2 (NRSV)
I love to go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, and Joseph. Let’s go to Genesis! I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit. And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples which stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”
For subscribers — to get the full impact, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 1393.) Genesis 2) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and make comments! You can also click on individual pictures to see them in a larger version.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Another Account of the Creation
This second account of creation is written from a different point of view: It focuses on the first humans. It also uses a different name for God. In the first account, God is referred to as elohim, which means “the mighty God the Creator, the Great One who inhabits eternity.” Elohim is used in this important account to emphasize God’s sovereign power. In the second account, the name used for God is Yahweh elohim. Yahweh is used when God emphasizes the importance of his relationship with humanity.
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.
HERE is “The Creation,” a magnificent “Negro sermon” written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and told here by Wintley Phipps.
8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made 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 the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12and the gold of that land is good;
This is the first mention of gold in the Bible. And here is the last:
Revelation 21:18-21 (English Standard Version)
The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but 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 die.”
Reflections on work/vocation:
God places humankind in the garden with specific duties (work) and specific instructions (boundaries and limits). Although we often think of work and limits as negatives, God gives them to Adam as positives. How can work and limitations be positives for us?
Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a person is called to by God.
There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest.
By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.
Neither the hair shirt not the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
“True work is play.”
“The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone.”
HERE is a fun song about work — after the Fall! Dolly Parton sings the theme song from the movie Nine to Five.
18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
PIONEERS BY DESIGN
Some of the most delightful surprises in my life have come from the portions of Scripture that seem most objectionable to the world. Out of these controversial passages come the most illuminating insights. For example, the Creation story, which is normally read through a fog of confusion, has become the very basis of my intellectual freedom. Genesis 1 and 2 lay the foundation for all the rest of Scripture and human history.
- Lesson 1: There is only one God. He is the Creator of all things.
- Lesson 2: All that he has made is good.
- Lesson 3: He has made the world not only for my enjoyment, but for my mastery, and not just for control, but for stewardship.
These lessons reveal that I am free—or rather, obligated—to explore and discover all that is part of my world. This offers the most exciting challenges. Anything that gives me a better understanding and control of his purposes in this world is a valid Christian calling. God has given human beings a marvelous curiosity and has placed us in a world designed to encourage our curiosity.
God’s people have largely forgotten this command because we are preoccupied with ourselves. Our forgetfulness though does not nullify God’s command. Christians, of all people, should feel the most comfortable in intellectual pursuits. Christians are the people whose basic philosophy justifies study. We were made to discover the world that God has given us. We are pioneers by design. If we choose to see ourselves in that light, our approach to all life will be different. We will diligently seek to learn and grow. We will delight in the world he has given us.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.