25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."Genesis 2:
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven....
7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed....
15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." 18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man 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." 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.From Genesis 2:7 we learn the following things about Adam: 1. God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. 2. God breathed into Adam the "breath" (or "spirit"--same Hebrew word) of life. 3. This caused Adam to become a living "being" (or "soul"). From chapter 1, we learn that God wanted to create a special creature called "man" with these qualities that differentiated him from the other creatures: 1. Created in God's image. 2. Created according to God's likeness. 3. They would rule over the other creatures. 4. They were additionally given the authority to "fill the earth, and subdue it." Part of being made in God's image is having a three-part being: 1. The physical, biological part, corresponding to the Son of God 2. The mental, psychological part, corresponding God the Father 3. The spiritual, God-relating part, corresponding to the Spirit of God God's "likeness" means that man had authority (and responsibility to God) to rule over the earth and its creatures. Since the earth and its creatures were under man's authority when Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God, the earth and its creatures also fell out of their proper relationship to God. In understanding what might be meant by saying, "God formed ____ from the dust of the ground", at the very least, we know that: 1. God's design and intent was at work in "forming": God did not take a random, hands-off approach. He knew what he wanted, and produced it. 2. It was process: that is, they did not "pop" into existence from nothing in zero time. Existing raw materials were taken and "formed" into the desired creatures. 3. The chronology of when this takes place is not the focus of the story.
- In chapter 1, the land animals are made, and then God decides to make man in order to rule over them (in addition to all the other (sea and air) creatures from previous days), as well as the earth itself. (v.26)
- In chapter 2, we are only told that God formed the creatures out of the dust of the ground as they are being introduced to Adam, which is after he is alive. (v.19)
It seems to me as if the forming is going on off-stage, and is provided as background information that explains where these things came from: how they came to exist. My point is that it is not necessarily part of the chronological narrative (since this is the case at least with the animals in chapter 2), and could have taken place over long periods of time. Another possible interpretation is that in Genesis 2, new individuals are produced on the spot from dust so that Adam can give a name to their species, but this seems to me less likely than the above interpretation.4. There is a completely different word used for "formed," which is used to describe the way in which God makes Adam (v.7) and the animals (v.19) from the dust of the ground, and "fashioned," (v.22) which is used to describe the way in which God makes Eve from Adam's rib.
- The semantic difference between the two words is minimal. The word for 'fashioned' often means 'build' (by laying out layers of raw materials) and is related to the word for 'laying out' materials or 'spreading'.
- The significance of the word choice might be merely a play on words with the way that a marriage bed is "spread" (see the link).
- The significance of the word choice might also indicate a different kind of action.
- Young-earth creationists (particularly the literal 6-day variety) would say that God made all living things in the same way as Eve was made: whole, fully adult formed, and without intermediary steps or great length of time.
- I would not agree with the above description of Eve's fashioning, but I would argue that since a different word is used (in addition to the play on words), a different action is indicated, and Eve's fashioning was as unique an event as God breathing life into Adam.
- Therefore we know that Adam was a unique creature: there was no evolving population group of primates from which Adam might be able to choose a mate.
- There are a couple of explanations to account for this:
- There were no other humans because God had made Adam unique, directly from a pile dust.
- The process of "forming" Adam was an extension of the process of God designing the other types of animals, but because Adam was the only creature into whom God had breathed his spirit of life, he was now separated from his ancestral breeding group, not biologically (or rather, not merely biologically, since God may have applied some unique genetic finishing touches), but spiritually and socially. This is the same reason that, even if it were possible to breed with a chimpanzee, a chimpanzee would not make a suitable spouse for a human being.
- Since Adam identifies the fact that Eve is "bone of my bones / and flesh of my flesh" as qualifying her to be a suitable mate (v.23), this indicates that, indeed, Adam and Eve were not merely socially and spiritually distinct from all other creatures, but genetically distinct as well.