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.]
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
Next we are introduced to a river (nāhār) that waters the garden and flows from Eden where it is divided into four headstreams (rāšîm):
- Hiddekel (Tigris)
The Pishon River wound through the entire land of Havilah. This area is thought to be in Southern Arabia. There was much gold in Havilah along with aromatic resin and onyx. Genesis 10:7 tells us that “Havilah” was a son of Cush, who was a son of Ham, who was a son of Noah.
The Gihon River would through the entire land of Cush. It may have been southeast Mesopotamia. Some think it is the Kerkha coming down from Luristan.
The Tigris River (Hiddekel) ran along the east side of Asshur (Assyria). It is thought that this is now the Dijleh, a Semetic corruption of Tigra.
The Euphrates River is 1780 miles long and well-known in Western Asia.
Though Eden has not been found by archaeologists, it is quite likely that Eden was central to the “Cradle of Civilization.” It may have been located at Eridu, 12 miles south of Ur.
Ancient Babylonian inscriptions say –
Near Eridu was a garden, in which was a mysterious Sacred Tree, a Tree of Life, planted by the gods, whose roots were deep, while its branches reached to heaven, protected by guardian spirits, and no man enters. (1)
There is some similarity of this inscription to the Genesis 2 account.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
From the beginning of man’s creation, he has had work to do. Jehovah Elohim put Adam to work in the Garden to take care of it. To this work the Lord God added a law (command). Adam could eat of any fruit in the Garden except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. No law would be complete without a penalty for disobedience — death.
Some may ask, “why couldn’t man know good and evil?” That is one of the great mysteries of God. Why didn’t Jehovah Elohim just vaporize Lucifer after he sinned? Why did God make man to allow man to sin?
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Verse 18 tells us that God was concerned about Adam being alone. He said He would make a helper for Adam, someone like him who would aid him and be a companion and complement. However, God doesn’t make woman until verse 21.
In between, God brings all the animals and birds to Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever Adam named the animal, that was its name. Adam had to be at least of genius capabilities to do this.
After naming all of God’s animals and birds, Adam must have been hit with the fact that every other creature had a companion, but he didn’t.
It was after this great teaching session that Adam was put to sleep for special creative surgery. God took out part of Adam’s side (bones and flesh) and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God took the part and made a woman (’iššāh).
After the creation of woman, God brought her to Adam. God apparently explained to both where she came from because Adam exclaims, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
The biblical writer Moses explains that this oneness is the reason that a man will leave his father and mother, be united to his wife, and they become one flesh. God made man and woman in such a way that their relationship as husband and wife brings them together often for a uniting of their flesh. It’s quite a reminder of the deeper emotional and spiritual relationship that a husband and wife are to have.
In verse 25, we see this position of complete innocence. Both Adam and his wife were naked, but there was no shame. “Shame” is the Hebrew bōšāšū (bosheth) and means “a sense of sin and guilt.” At this point there was no sin, no guilt, no shame.
(1) Halleys Bible Handbook, pg. 66
We will look at Genesis Chapter 3 in the next part of our special series.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from almost 45 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your life and ministry.]