The Creation Of man - Part III
“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.” — GENESIS 2:5
Good For Food
The phrase, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food,” refers to every type of beautiful tree for adornment, every fruit tree imaginable, and even those which bear nuts.
In fact, according to the creation of day three, the entirety of the earth had these types of trees. So, these particular trees in the garden of Eden must have been of special type and were given special care by the Lord. The trees, no doubt, were more beautiful, with the fruit trees bearing fruit that was more luscious, and the trees bearing nuts falling into the same category. Without toil and without labor, everything that man needed was amply provided, and then some. The provision of God lacked nothing.
Tree Of Life
The phrase, “The tree of life also in the midst of the garden,” evidently means that it contained a type of fruit. Genesis 3:22 says as much!
Ellicott said, “The tree of life had the power of so renewing man’s physical energies that his body though formed of the dust of the ground, and therefore naturally mortal, would, by its continual use, live on forever.”
Christ is now to us the “Tree of Life” (Rev. 2:7; 22:2) and the “Bread of Life” (Jn. 6:48, 51).
What type of fruit the Tree of Life did bear, we aren’t told. There are some who suppose it may have been an apple tree, with divine properties appropriated for this particular fruit. This is derived from the Song of Solomon 2:3.
Even though man’s physical body was formed out of dust, by the properties of the Tree of Life, it was meant to live forever. Death was not in the original plan. That came by sin.
It seems that men with natural bodies will come and go in the New Jerusalem and will live forever by virtue of the Tree of Life and the fruit that it will bear every month (Rev. 22:2).
This does not refer to those with glorified bodies (which will be in the coming kingdom age), who will not need such sustenance in order to live eternally. This will include all who have part in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6).
The Tree Of Knowledge
Of Good And Evil
The phrase, “and the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” presents the tree of death.
One might say that the tree of death appears at the opening of the Bible, the tree of Calvary (I Pet. 2:24) in the middle of the Bible, and the Tree of Life at the end of the Bible (Rev. 2:7).
Due to the manner in which Adam and Eve were created as free moral agents, this agency had to be tested. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil served as the vehicle for that testing. It was not that its fruit contained some type of poisonous property, but it was rather the act of disobedience to God in eating this fruit. God had said that they must not eat of the fruit of that tree, so their disobedience is what constituted the fall.
What is meant here by good and evil?
Taking the latter first, Adam and Eve knew nothing about evil whatsoever. At the beginning of their creation, they were in total harmony with God and knew only righteousness. So, the evil at that time was only a curiosity, but it was such curiosity that did them in.
Unfortunately, due to Adam’s fall, the entirety of the human race has an expert knowledge of evil. To be sure, it’s a knowledge we wish we didn’t have, for it has been the bane of society and of humanity in general. However, it’s the knowledge of good that stumps most people. What, in fact, is meant by the words “knowledge of good?”
The Knowledge Of Good
Inasmuch as both of these principles (good and evil) are on one tree, we then know that the good addressed here carries with it a very negative connotation.
It refers to the good that men attempt to carry out, which they think earns them salvation or favor with God. Most of all, they think that it atones in some way. Because it is good—whatever it might be—it deceives people. Let the reader please understand that this type of good covers a wide spectrum.
It runs the gamut all the way from the unredeemed trying to earn salvation, which most do, to the Christian attempting to earn victory. Both are trying by doing good things.
In the first place, the good that man does is already polluted because it’s touched by human hands, and once this is done, the good is then sullied. Irrespective, none of this earns anything with God. In other words, the good that man does will not spend in God’s economy.
The Scripture plainly says the following: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9).
Paul further said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).
A man came to Jesus one day and asked Him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why do you call Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mat. 19:16–17).
The Only Way To God
It may seem at first glance that Jesus was saying here that He personally wasn’t good; however, that’s not what He was saying. He was saying that the only one who is good is God. Considering that Christ is God, then He is good.
However, when it comes to man, there is no good thing that he can do that will give him eternal life, but yet, he continues to think that he can arrive at that destination in this manner.
The only way to God is through Christ Jesus and what He did at the Cross and our faith in that finished work. If we try to come any other way, we will be judged by God as a “thief and a robber” (Jn. 10:1). That’s where the world runs aground, and regrettably, that’s where the church runs aground! This particular knowledge, whether of good or evil, we don’t want. We only want one kind of knowledge: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 4:6).
“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Gen. 2:10).
This could mean the river parted while in Eden, with four streams proceeding forth, or it could mean that the river flowed through the garden and parted into four streams after leaving the garden.
“The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold” (Gen. 2:11).
This is said to be India, with the river now called the Ganges.
Precious Metal And Precious Stones
“And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone” (Gen. 2:12).
Gold is mentioned here and in verse 11, which is the first mention in the Bible of this precious metal. It is mentioned last in the Bible as it refers to the main thoroughfare of the New Jerusalem, which we are told is “pure gold” (Rev. 21:21).
“And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia” (Gen. 2:13).
This river is believed to be the Nile.
Hiddekel And Euphrates
“And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates” (Gen. 2:14).
This proclaims the last two rivers. Hiddekel is believed to be the Tigris, with Euphrates maintaining its name even unto the present hour.
These rivers at the present time have their sources far apart. The explanation, no doubt, lies in the flood, which altered the topography of the earth. The headwaters of the first two were drastically changed, while the last two remain basically the same.
In fact, it is believed that the garden of Eden may have been located at the joining of the Tigris and Euphrates, which is the site of ancient Babylon.
We find this river, which was a literal river, starting to flow in the garden of Eden. It was soon marred by sin, which necessitated the flood, which wrecked the headwaters.
Spiritually speaking, the river appears again, not from Eden, but from the smitten rock. Paul said, “That Rock was Christ.”
Passing onward, we find the river flowing in another channel. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly (innermost being) shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:37–38).
Mackintosh said, “Finally, we have the river of God presented to us in the last chapter of the book of Revelation. The Scripture says, ‘And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb’ (Rev. 22:1).”
This is the last place in which we find the river. Its source can never again be touched; its channel can never again be interrupted. It is based now on the ground of accomplished redemption, which points to Christ and His Cross.
Here we have the throne of God, which is expressive of eternal stability. It is not God’s throne in creation or in providence, but rather in redemption.
When I see “the Lamb,” I always know its connection with me is as a sinner. As such, “the throne of God” would but deter me; however, when God reveals Himself in the person of the Lamb, the heart is attracted and the conscience tranquilized.
“The blood of the Lamb cleanses the conscience from every speck and stain of sin, and sets it, in perfect freedom, in the presence of a holiness which cannot tolerate sin. In the Cross, all the claims of divine holiness were perfectly answered, so that the more I understand the latter, the more I appreciate the former. The higher our estimate of holiness, the higher will be our estimate of the work of the Cross. ‘Grace reigns, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord’.”
This article is an excerpt from the book 'The Fall Of Man' by Jimmy Swaggart.