Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of studies about the Book of Genesis.
[These notes are from a study from almost 45 years ago.]
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
The heavens and the earth began in Genesis 1:1 and are completed in all their vast array.
Epics of Creation, in various forms on tablets in circulation before the time of Abraham, have been found in recent years in the ruins of Babylon, Ninevah, Nippur and Ashur, which are strikingly similar to the Creation Hymn of Genesis. (1) These tablets were found between 1848 and 1876 and recovered from the library of the Assyrian Emperor Ashurbanipal (669-626 BC) at his capital in Nineveh. The creation epic is called Enuma Elish. (2)
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
God had finished the work of original creation by the seventh day and rested. He blessed this particular day and made it holy.
The seventh day is the first mention of a number that would have very special significance in God’s Word. Here are some examples:
- There are seven days in a week
- There are seven notes in music
- There are seven colors in the rainbow
- The Book of Revelation is built around a system of sevens:
- Seven letters
- Seven Churches
- Seven Seals
- Seven Trumpets
- Seven Vials
- Seven Candlesticks
- Seven Stars
- Seven Angels
- Seven Spirits
- A Lamb with Seven Horns and Seven Eyes
- Seven Lamps
- Seven Thunders
- A red dragon with seven. heads and seven crowns
- A leopard-like beast with seven heads
- A scarlet-colored beast with seven heads
- Seven mountains
- Seven kings
The Levitical system of the Old Testament was built on a cycle of sevens. (3) Here are two well-known examples:
- Naaman dipped seven times in the Jordan
- Jericho fell after seven priests, with seven trumpets, for seven days, marches its walls, and blew their trumpets seven times on the seventh day
Symbolically, it is thought to stand for completeness, a unit, fullness, totality. (4)
The number seven is referred to in one or another in almost 600 passages in the Bible. (5)
On the seventh day God rested from all His work of creating. The Hebrew word for “rest” in Genesis 2:2 is yišbōṯ and means “cease, desist, rest” (shabbath, shabbat).
God blessed this seventh day and made it holy. The full understanding of this comes in Exodus with the giving of the Law. This seventh day was a day for people to cease from labor and keep a day holy to God. The Sabbath was never meant to be a burden to man, but a blessing. Everyone needs a rest from work weekly. (6)
What did God do on the seventh day? In began in the evening following the creation of man.
I believe in this 24-hour period of time God began walking with man (male and female). This was the purpose for which God had worked six days — to prepare a dwelling place for man.
The seventh day began something between God and man that has continued until this day. God is still walking with men and that is our eternal future — to walk with God.
[Hand out chart]
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 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.
The account of the creation is re-told here. However, it is plain that God is focusing in on the sixth day and the creation of man. We do learn that rain did not fall at that time. Vegetation was watered by “streams” or a “mist” that came from under the surface of the earth.
In Chapter 1:1 – 2:3, the generic name for God (Elohim – ’ĕlōhîm) is used. However, in 2:4 the name Jehovah Elohim (Yahweh ’ĕlōhîm) is used. This is a personal name and is a first step in God’s full revelation of Himself. He is Creator, then Lord.
This section might be termed supplementary to the first account. Now God is telling us about that one (1:26-27) who was created in His image.
Jehovah Elohim formed man. This is the Hebrew wayyîṣer (yatsar) and means “to fashion.” Jehovah Elohim formed man from the dust of the ground. The Hebrew for “man” is hā’āḏām, hence Adam. The Hebrew word for “ground” is hā’ăḏāmāh. Man (hā’āḏām) came from the ground (hā’ăḏāmāh).
After completing this formation, Jehovah Elohim breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life, and man became a living being.
“Breath” is the Hebrew nišmaṯ (neshamah). It is used primarily in a physiological sense of “vital energy.” It was the very principle of life.
“Nostrils” is the Hebrew bə’appāw and speaks of the organ of breathing that received the breath or Spirit of God.
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God 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 knowledge of good and evil.
The term (name) Jehovah Elohim (Lord God) is used exclusively from verse four to the end of Chapter 2 — 11 times. Elohim creates, but Jehovah Elohim relates. God is a personal Lord only to man. No other created being has that privilege.
The Lord God planted a garden in the east, in Eden. “Eden” is the Hebrew bə‘êḏen and means “paradise, delight.” Where “the east” is or was is a matter of wonder as it cannot be thoroughly defended for any special spot on earth.
Jehovah Elohim put Adam into the Garden. I don’t know for sure whether Adam was created in the Garden or outside and then placed inside.
Part of God’s creation was the “tree.” He made all kinds and varieties with as many different fruits and nuts. Everything Adam needed for sustenance would be found in the trees.
These trees were pleasing to the eye and good for food.
In the middle of the Garden of Eden stood two very special trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life apparently made immortality available to man, while the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would introduce a person (race) to sin and its end. This seems to intimate an innocence in the original creation. Sin entered angelic creation through Lucifer who was very proud and wanted to be like God. However, this fact must have been withheld from the first man.
Many believe these two trees to be figurative of what happened. Others think the story to be literal. I have no reason to question the authority of the story as told.
The context is a real garden where real trees produce real fruit that feed real animals and a real man. The ninth verse continues from that contextual flow to introduce us to two special trees in the real middle of that real garden. I’ll have to discover something elsewhere in Scripture to shake my belief that these were very real trees with very real fruit that did the very real things said of them.
(1) Halley’s Bible Handbook, pg. 62
(2) Unger’s Bible Handbook,, pg. 39
(3) Halley’ Bible Handbook,, pg. 139
(4) Halley’s Bible Handbook, pg. 688
(5) ISBE – IV, pg. 2158
(6) ISBE – IV, pg. 2630
We will continue looking at Genesis Chapter 2 in the next part of our special series.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your life and ministry.]