2 1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Here ends the first creation account. God has finished, and all that is necessary for an eternal relationship of peace and love with humankind is in place. Everything in creation points to the glory of Him who brought it into being. But eons later the tragic words would have to be burned into Scripture through the passion of an Apostle of Christ, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
4This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- 7the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
In this second creation account the focus is on mankind, with the primary purpose to trace its rise and fall. Once again we are struck by the wonderful intimacy of God breathing life itself directly into man’s nostrils.
Our God is infinitely above and yet intimately in love.
8Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And so the LORD God brings into being the objects that will bring about our fall and the beginning of suffering. To what purpose? Here I must defer to John Calvin (Commentary on Genesis).
We now understand what is meant by abstaining from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; namely, that Adam might not, in attempting one thing or another, rely upon his own prudence; but that, cleaving to God alone, he might become wise only by his obedience. Knowledge is here, therefore, taken disparagingly, in a bad sense, for that wretched experience which man, when he departed from the only fountain of perfect wisdom, began to acquire for himself. And this is the origin of freewill, that Adam wished to be independent, and dared to try what he was able to do.
10A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
God marks out the one and only boundary on man’s action. Did Adam fully understand the concept of death? As the story unfolds we will have cause to suspect not. In any case, God had spoken. It was up to us to obey.