The Bible has found its way back into my hands. Here are my notes for the second chapter of Genesis:
The creation account in chapter two is significantly different from the creation account of chapter one. This time around, God creates man before the animals. Before creating the beasts, however, God “planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed.” Placing the man there, God tells him to “cultivate” the garden and “care for it.” This caught my attention, because the man was not introduced to work, toil, and hardship until after he and the woman had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil* and were exiled from Eden. What are we to make of it, then? Could it be that cultivating and caring for Eden was to be the man’s vocation and would not necessarily involve toil and hardship? Was it to be more like what we would call play—a sort of hobby, perhaps?
God tells man he may eat of any tree in the garden, except for “the tree of knowledge of good and bad”. The woman has not yet been created, so she does not hear this injunction. She will get the news second hand. The man is told that if he eats of the tree, he is “surely doomed to die,” and, indeed, that is what happens. Because Adam and Eve ate of the tree, they forfeited their chance at immortality.
In this creation account, God makes all the beasts out of the ground (as He had done with the man). Compare this to chapter one, in which God speaks man (and everything else) into being, creating directly from Himself. The woman, however, is made by God from one of Adam’s ribs.
*This was not capitalized in the text, and the word “bad” was used rather than “evil,” but I always think of this particular piece of vegetation as “the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”