Rain and water needed for crops and moisture. But we don’t need rain for floods and rising water levels.
Rain is a matter of the right proportion and the right timing. For so many years, it seems nature has gotten it right. Now, we are beginning to wonder. Maybe not so much about nature as about humankind and our effect on rain.
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 2.3)
Today we’re going to see the overall transition from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2. Why the difference in style, characters, and details.
I have focused on God’s name in Genesis 2.4, 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. We’ve seen that the LORD is Yahveh, the Eternal One who is the Word and manifested Himself as Jesus Christ. God is Elohim, plural composed of the God the Father and God the Son in a closely bound Family relationship.
The overall Creation framework was laid out in Genesis 1-2.3. In seven days God restored Earth and created the male and female. Genesis 2 zooms in for a much closer look. The author inverses verse 4, heavens and earth leading into verses 5-6, which brings us down to Earth.
4 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,
5 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.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
You’ll see why I’ve color coded this. Genesis 2 flashes us back to a rather surprising and somewhat enigmatic point preceding the creation of the first man on Day 6, broached immediately in the next verse 7. In resume, the context indicates a MIST went UP from the earth watering ALL the land, even BEFORE plants and grass grew, and there was NO RAIN. All this, because there was NO MAN TO TILL the ground.
The image below displays the Hebrew words before and rain with identical Hebrew letters מטר. (from right to left: mem, tet, raish). In the word before the מ is replaced by a ‘final ם’ (mem) when it is the last letter in a word, but it is the identical letter. Is it just by chance that these words have matching Hebrew letters, or is the author getting a message across?
Critics of Genesis 1 and 2 focus on these differences, inconsistencies, and contradictions because they don’t understand what’s going on here. There are none of these. Genesis 2 is a different perspective of aspects of the same subject as Genesis 1. And the passage in Genesis 2.5-6 is the transition between these two aspects.
Various events evidence this transitional change from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2.
- Elohim becomes Yahveh Elohim which we’ve seen in the last two posts.
- The mist is present before the man and the rain after the man (Gen 2.5).
- The mist went UP from the Earth while the rain comes DOWN onto the ground (Gen 2.5-6).
- There was No man to till the ground and then came Adam to till the ground.
- The use of the terms Earth in Gen 1, (28 times from Gen 1.1-2.6) and Ground in Gen 2, (24 times from 1.25-2.25) with the switch occurring in 2.5-2.7 is significant.
- Earth is the composition of animals. Ground is the composition of man.
Yes, there are massive differences between Genesis 1 and 2. These differences have a double-fold purpose. Firstly, regarding Yahveh Elohim, His rulership over His Creation and secondly His intimate relationship with Humankind. For those of you who know your Bible what we have firstly, is Yahveh creating and modifying His Creation (mist to rain) in function of the arrival of humankind on Earth. Secondly, we have the Preeminent Spirit Being (the second man), creating the preeminent physical human being (the first man) and their initial steps together.
Think about this. Like Yahveh Elohim, His created human beings (Adam and Eve, father and mother of you and I) have rulership and socialization characteristics. Audit of the Universe chapters 12 and 13 develop these subjects. Remember, God created humankind in His image. As Yahveh rules and socializes on His level, so we humans rule and socialize on our human level. Additionally, we will see, in Genesis 2, rulership and socialization between Yahveh and the first male and female. As you can envision, human rule and socialization are genuinely unique to humans.
1. Yahveh’s Rulership over His Creation
Two significant changes take place in the management of planet Earth before and after the arrival of humankind.
1. Animals are vegetarian.
In Genesis 1.30 we read, to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.
The animals, when created on Day 6, ate greenery. Today we know this is not the case. Animals kill and eat their prey. Animals can and do kill human beings, and the opposite is also the case. Killing animals and eating their meat is neither required nor prohibited. It is a free will decision. With regard to animal behavior, humans have no say in what animals do in the wild, amongst themselves.
The animal kingdom maintains a balance of nature by subsisting off of predator and prey, keeping each other in check. They play an integral part in the fine-tuned ecological system. (Inventory/Audit).
You have to grasp what the change from herbivorous to carnivorous entails. It involves both significant body and major instinct modifications in many species. If God can create the creepy crawlers and beasts of the field, He certainly can modify their digestive and instinctive systems and functions as He pleases. I almost feel like writing if you want to think of this as a fairy tale, then please do so. But, I believe we are beyond that in understanding the power of God.
Some might be upset with the idea that God allows humans to kill animals. I remind you of Gen 1.28; God gave the male and female dominion over the animals. Human actions should illustrate the proper respect for animals (and everything else) in the context of adequate rulership. There is a right and wrong way of doing things, including killing animals.
If you have a hard time with what I’ve just written, I understand.
However, I suggest you hold on and read next weeks post, which will address the question of why the Bible is written the way it is. In particular, the information we are studying here in Genesis chapters 1-3. This content is very unusual, very precious, but also very strange!
Next week you’ll find out why it’s written this way.
The second change in Yahveh’s rulership (today we refer to this a management) of planet Earth involves waterworks. Mist before, rain after the creation of humankind.
2. The water cycle with the mist coming UPwards and rain coming DOWNwards.
Notice in Gen 2.6 that the mist waters the WHOLE face of the ground. When you study God’s Word, from His point of view, you have to be asking yourself why He would include such details in an introductory context? Upwards? Whole face? He is revealing His benevolence for ALL the birds, creepy crawlers and animals that covered the entire face of the Earth.
Rain, on the other hand, is for humankind and has a vastly different purpose. The book of Acts is very instructive in this regard to the relationship of rain to humanity.
Acts 14. 16 Who [God-Yahveh] in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
God gives humankind rain. It comes down from heaven, the sky. Notice that God allows ALL nations to follow their own free will and walk their ways, with their particular culture and mode of worship. That despite all they’ve done He has sent rain in due season (fruitful seasons) so that humans can benefit from full stomachs and gladness–a relative peace of mind. Verse 17 that this process of which rain is the basis is a witness to God.
Mist coming upward, covering all Earth, all the time, would not have this effect on humans.
Modifying Earth’s watering system implies an infrastructure change of the water cycle. When you think about meteorology and climatology, which we ponder a lot nowadays, we should begin to realize what such an undertaking involves and means, a significant shift in technology, if I may put it this way. Such is Yahveh’s management of Earth and its watering system. We’ll see that this change far beyond just giving us rain in due season for food and gladness.
2. Yahveh’s intimate relationship with Humankind
The second aspect is the vegetarianism and fog come before humans, and the change in animal nature and rainfall come after the creation of humans. WHY these major changes? They both impact humans in very fundamental ways.
1. Animals have a purpose within the relations of Yahveh with humankind
Animals by their tame and ferocious behaviors teach us many lessons. The Bible even uses these faits accomplis to portray the sacrifice of Yahveh in Acts 8.32, referring to a sheep led to the slaughter depicting Christ. The death of a lamb represents Yahveh Elohim’s humility and sacrifice. A lion represents God’s glory and strength. Wolves portray false prophets and priests in sheep’s clothing.
But the critical change in the nature of animals did take place and was done so because it has significant meaning that revolves around blood. Blood symbolizes remission of sin. BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned, there was NO NEED for blood. That’s why animals were vegetarian. After sin entered the world, there was a NEED for BLOOD as representative of the pardon of sin. Hence the change of animal nature and the allowance for humankind to kill animals. Sacrifices might appear barbaric (certainly not any more so than what we see how humans can massacre other humans) but they are there to help human learn lessons. I cannot expand on this here but will do so in the future.
2. Waters role in the relationship between Yahveh and humankind
Water, via the early and latter rains, in due season is the key to abundant spring and fall harvests. Those harvests yield our year-round staples like wheat, barley, sorghum, and rice. Deuteronomy 11.14 states, “That I [God-Yahveh] will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your corn, and your wine, and your oil.”
Seasons and their crops are referred to in Genesis 1. on the fourth day. I cannot develop this here, but they are essential time-markers for understanding God’s plan for humankind. Much more on this at another time.
God uses water to draw attention to our behavior. People become introspective at a time of upheaval. I’m not saying God causes catastrophes. The pre-creation tohu and bohu was brought about by the rebellion of Lucifer. Similarly, human conduct can bring such retribution as we are witnessing.
The most famous and contested example of the use of water in this respect is Noah’s flood. Yahveh Elohim can and does use water to teach lessons as Exodus points out with blessings and plagues. He turned water to blood, parted the waters of the sea, among others. Deut 11.17 and other verses show that withholding rain can be a corrective measure used by God to teach us lessons. Flowing water, because there is rain, also represents the power of God. John 7.38 says He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
These references to animal vegetarianism and mist before humans seem out of place unless you understand Biblewide context. I’ll develop this over the next couple of chapters of Genesis. This text is fundamental to the comprehension of the basics of our natural environment and the unique role humans play. These passages are particularly indispensable in that they begin to open up aspects of what you and I are.
There is a reason for adding details like mist/rain, up/down, before/after. We skim the Bible like reading some social network post. We may read it not paying attention or not understanding these details. Or considering them unimportant, or reading Bible commentaries that don’t comprehend the depth of Bible content. Others ridicule the concept of information, impossible to be known by humans, being transmitted by God! No-one was there when the mist watered the ground. Once God created the first man that ceased, that’s what the Bible says. If we’re looking at this from a Godly theological point-of-view that’s what Genesis is telling us.
I don’t know about you, but Godly theology is exciting, even exhilarating as it opens up a real understanding of who humans are and why Yahveh put us on Earth and in a relationship with Himself.
Related verse. The shedding of blood for the remission of sin.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. For those who understand the concept, we willingly accept the shed blood of Christ. Think about that in relation to the shed blood of sacrificial animals.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.3 of the book Origin of Humankind.
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