Genesis 2: The Second Portrait of Creation

The creation account of Genesis 1 is explosive and dramatic. God speaks and light blasts into existence, planets go spinning into orbit! The God of Genesis 1 is omnipotent, unapproachable, transcendent. When we come to Genesis 2, however, our story takes an intriguing turn. In Genesis 2, we see God – the same mind-blowing, all-powerful Deity who simply speaks entire galaxies into existence – kneeling down in a pile of mud to lovingly fashion His “son” Adam out of the ground’s cold clay. When every detail of Adam’s body is complete and every feature of his form is finally perfect, the Creator breathes the Breath of Life into Adam’s nostrils – and the man becomes a living being. The words for breath in Hebrew are ruach and nĕshamah. These words are both intensely spiritual and not merely physical. We live because God put His breath, His own Spirit, within us.

Interestingly enough, even the names of God are different between Genesis 1 and 2. In Genesis 1, the word Elohim is used, denoting God as the omnipotent Creator. In Genesis 2, however, we find the personal name YHWH – that is, Yehovah or Yahweh. Amazingly, even God’s name is intimately connected with this idea of His life-giving breath:

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable…

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is the name of Being itself… – Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

The intimate portrait of Genesis 2 is continued as we come to God’s creation of woman. Man’s introduction to woman, his perfect companion, is truly one of the most beautiful scenes of Scripture. Matthew Henry describes God’s unique creation of woman like this:

“The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” – Matthew Henry

But God did not make woman merely as a companion to man. God also had something very important to show us about His character. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NIV). The full revelation of God’s image is therefore only brought about by the harmonizing existence of man and woman together. I like to think of it this way: With man, God provided the basic, principal form of His image. After all, when we think of God, we automatically recognize Him to be masculine, powerful, and strong! But God is also compassionate, loving, and tender. The Bible even describes God’s love as that of a mother’s for her children. “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13). By creating woman, God was completing the picture, providing the finishing, masterpiece touches on the image we are to behold of His character.

What a God! Friends, I hope you will join us this week in spending some time meditating on this intimate, personal portrait that we find of our Creator God in Genesis 2. May God bless!

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