A Scripture study from Caring, part two of three
Read part one here.
A story that began with three little words—“In the beginning…”—and carries on for just three chapters, sets the entire stage for a tremendous journey to come. Hope is found here.
Behind the scenes
Read what Scripture says in Genesis 2:8-25.
Beyond the surface
And the story continues.
Re-read Genesis 2:18-25.
Look again at Genesis 2:8-14.
The place where the Garden of Eden is planted was perfect. Scripture says, “The gold of that land [was] exceptionally pure…” describing its four rivers as being the source for its abundance of trees producing good fruit. If there was a party going on—this is where it was. Again, shalom (שׁלום / wholeness / completeness) was experienced in its fullness in The Garden.
There is no doubt of God’s provision for Adam. It seems likely that every sensing ability took careful cue to note just how good Adam and Eve had it. We can imagine that the mere notion of wanting and needing more seems preposterous when provision and purpose are laid so clearly before Adam and Eve.
Read Genesis 2:19-20:
So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
– What tasks were set before Adam? What was he called to do in The Garden?
– Consider the kindness of God that he would provide a helper for Adam. What does this say about the character of God?
Read Genesis 2:15-17:
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
And in anticipation of temptation and opposition, the first instance of mercy is introduced within this creation narrative.
What’s with mercy?
Mercy is most simply understood as a consequence withheld when our actions and behaviors warrant just punishment.
Genesis 2:15 may very well be the first reference of God’s mercy toward humanity received in the form of a warning. Because Adam and Eve were created within shalom, they shared in unbroken fellowship with their Creator. We can perhaps reason that such a warning should not have been necessary as sin had not yet entered the scene. (Gasp!) Yet, Adam and Eve experience the care of a just God who chose to make clear his expectation of them.
Eat the fruit = Choose death
– Have you experienced God’s mercy in the form of a warning (preempting an action)? What was that experience like?
– Which is more difficult, receiving God’s mercy before or after being disciplined?
Between the lines
We believe Scripture speaks for itself. What does today’s passage speak to you? As you engage with God’s Holy Word, explore and go deeper by asking, responding and reflecting with the help of these questions:
- What did I read that seemed familiar? (Reminder of foundational truth)
- What did I read that seemed new? (Revelation by the Holy Spirit)
- What questions do I have about what I don’t understand? (Risk not knowing)
- What did you read that surprised you?
- What did you read that brought you hope?