I. Scripture could not have begun any better way than it does: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The Biblical doctrine of creation is foundational to the whole message of the Scripture. Without it, the message of Scripture would have hung in mid-air and have no footing.
II. Yet, what place is Genesis 1-2 to have in biblical theology? Is creation, as the neo-orthodox contend, secondary and marginal (Westermann), or itself salvific (Christoph Barth)? Or is it, as the new ecumenical and political theologians aver (Crenshaw), the very essence of Old Testament faith?
III. Scripture presents Genesis 1-2 as the presupposition to all biblical revelation and true religion. It is itself revelation and tends to true religion, but concurrently, it is the presupposition to everything else. It gives us the very language, concepts, and principles necessary to rightly understand and appreciate the glory of the Creator and creation, the severity of the fall and the marvel of redemption.
IV. Genesis 1 faces us with the first work of God, namely, creation. God, His Word, His Ruach (Spirit) together create in the space of six days, creating and ordering everything to the praise of God’s glory in a world that could well be a temple, in which God rests on the praise of His creation. God remains the same. Yet, now the coordinates of time and space are brought into being. There is now heaven and earth. The infinite remains; the finite commences. Eternity remains; time begins. There is now a beginning. There will also be teleology.
V. The creation of human beings is the climax of God’s work. Man and woman together are the image-bearers of God, next to each other having dominion as vice-regents over the rest of creation. Nothing else is called, “the image and likeness of God,” meaning that there is a way for people to know, commune with God, and mirror God in our world.
I. Adam in the Bible is not a mythical or parabolic item, for his historical character is verified as such throughout the Scriptures (e.g., Luke 4; Rom. 5; 1 Cor. 15). However, beyond being a real and historical man, he was set to be the federal Head of all humanity as his name and function appear. As Christ is the federal head of the new humanity (Eph. 1; Col. 1; 1 Cor. 15; Rom. 5), so Adam has been placed in a position in which he represents us in this covenant of works. His obedience would have been ours by imputation. His disobedience is consequently also ours. God is dealing here with mankind by way of Adam, the federal representative of the whole human race. After his creation, he is taken into this position, witness the article affixed to “adam” אדם in the Hebrew from Gen. 1:27 on.
|וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמֹ֔ו בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹתֹ֑ו זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃||
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (1:27)
|וַיִּיצֶר֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֗ם עָפָר֙ מִן־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה וַיִּפַּ֥ח בְּאַפָּ֖יו נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים וַֽיְהִ֥י הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּֽה׃||
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 soul. (2:7)
In Gen. 2:16ff, He condescends to make a special arrangement with Adam. He commands Adam specifically regarding the tree of knowledge. Only in Gen. 4:25 does Adam appear as a personal name without the article (cf. Gen. 5:1-5). Till then, he is taken by God as the federal head of all mankind.
וַיֵּ֨דַע אָדָ֥ם עֹוד֙ אֶת־אִשְׁתֹּ֔ו וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמֹ֖ו שֵׁ֑ת כִּ֣י שָֽׁת־לִ֤י אֱלֹהִים֙ זֶ֣רַע אַחֵ֔ר תַּ֣חַת הֶ֔בֶל כִּ֥י הֲרָגֹ֖ו קָֽיִן׃
(4:25) And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
II. Besides the ordinance of labor, the ordinance of Sabbath, and the ordinance of marriage and family (more on creation ordinances), there is for Adam, the moral law in principle: “The Lord commanded Adam” (Gen. 2:16). He is not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Robertson helpfully comments:
The probationary test concerning the tree established a focal point at which man’s submission to the Creator could be scrutinized. Now the point of testing reduces itself to man’s willingness to choose obedience for the sake of obedience alone. The raw word of God in itself must become the basis of man’s action” (84).
The terms best suited for this arrangement on the basis of the whole of Scripture is the covenant of works. God gave man a certain knowledge of good and evil in this command, the evil to be avoided, and the good to be followed and embraced. And in the probation, man was to acquire knowledge of God and evil through obedience. Through his fall, man acquired a knowledge of good and evil through the gateway of disobedience (cf. Gen. 3:22). Note Matt. 4; Rom. 5. Notice also that Christ as the second Adam “experienced deprivation of material sustenance … Satan tempted him to exercise his rightful powers in order to alleviate his discomfort arising from God’s providential orderings” (Robertson 85). As the precept to man was reinforced by a curse, so the promise to man is implied in the absence of this curse. Moreover, the Tree of Life gave concrete form to the promise of life. The significance of this tree is explained elsewhere in revelation, such as Prov. 3:18. Christ ultimately was the fulfillment of the Tree of Life, for in Him was life (John 1:4). Note Rev. 22.
I. Though the headship is given to Adam, Genesis 1 teaches the unmistakable equality and complementarity[footnote]Complementarianism is a view of gender roles that holds that women and men are spiritually equal but have distinct and complementary roles in the home, church, and wider society. This view stands in opposition to egalitarianism, which holds that men and women have equivalent roles. Complementarian positions usually hold that certain positions in church leadership are reserved for men only, and that in a marriage the husband is properly the head of the family and has some degree of authority over the wife. Some complementarian positions also hold that women and men have different roles outside home and church life in broader society. Lexham Bible Dict.[/footnote] of man and woman. When God unpacks this relationship in Genesis 2, He does not take away anything from this equality and complementarity, but fleshes it out. The terms “help” (v. 18) and “suitable for him” (v. 18) are in no way derogatory, for God is said to be the help of His people (Ps. 121:2), and the word “suitable” means “corresponding to, facing him.” Their interconnectedness is clear from the fact that woman was taken out of man, but ever since, every man comes through woman. Adam is called to a protective, nurturing and servant-like leadership of Eve, which is governed by mutual respect, love, and self-sacrifice.
II. The institution of marriage is one in which there is a leaving and cleaving by the man to His wife, which foreshadows what the second Adam will do with His bride (Isaiah 54:4-6, Ezekiel 16 and Ezekiel 23, Hosea 2:14-23, and Revelation 19:7). They are bone of bone and flesh of flesh. There are both, both flesh and bone. Bones give structure and flesh fills out the structure. The correspondence of Adam to Eve and Eve to Adam is celebrated in the first name of Eve, namely, Woman – Ishshah (Ish).