The purpose of creation revealed in Gen 2 stems from the interconnection between Man, Woman, the Garden, and God, himself. The Garden was designed to give Man, purpose, provision, and place. Woman, the comparable helper, was designed to give Man, peer support and fellowship. God, himself, the conductor of this masterpiece is the one who throughout the narrative gives Man direction, vision and communion with Himself. In other words, creation and all its components was designed for Man to have purpose, relationship, and communion with God.
The Art will be visible once we have at least five pieces to show.
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. 5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. 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. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
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. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Before continuing, read the passage above and slowly let the images soak in. Each image is someone’s personal expression of the theme. Discover how the images reveal the theme from the passage.
In the Gen. 1 narrative, God perceived a situation in which the universe was in chaos, and he transformed it into order. In Gen. 2, God perceives a situation in which, as 2:5 implies, the world that exists is incomplete and could not perform its purpose. It is unclear whether or not there is a greater purpose to the Earth than to produce vegetation. The ensuing text will reveal clues as to this purpose for the earth.
Immediately proceeding this observation, God forms Man and plants the Garden of Eden, suggesting that God is now seeking to set right this situation. The creation of Man is given in detail including the materials and method of his creation. The word “formed” is a much more intimate and active concept than “created” that is used in Gen. 1.
The creation of the garden, from 2:8-14, provides even greater detail. If attention to detail is an indicator, the author is making a loud statement with the details of the garden, especially in contrast to the detail given to living creatures, even Man. First, God creates all the vegetation out of the ground, with special mention to the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s created vegetation is given approval. Next, the great river and its four child rivers are given special attention. Ironically, the two rivers, the Pishon and Gihon, which are given exquisite description are geographically unknown. The other two rivers would have been known to the author’s audience. With all four rivers merging at the Garden, the garden serves as the meeting place of the known and the beauty that is unknown. Finally, Man is placed in the garden to care for it. At the same time, he is prohibited from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Provision is supplied along with prohibition for the Man.
Despite all of this detail in creation, God is not satisfied. A gaping hole exists in the creation thus far. The next half of the chapter is an in depth description of God’s attempt in filling this hole, in finding the comparable helper. The presentation of the animals to Man, the initial failed attempt at discovering this comparable helper, the formation of Woman from the rib, and the approval of the Woman given by Man encapsulate the this quest. All of these specifics allow the narrator to further refine the purpose of this creation of which the comparable helper must be an integral component.
God began this effort with a world lacking purpose and mission. The Man and the means were lacking. God first created a Garden of exquisite beauty. A place that transcends this world and could possibly serve as a meeting place between heaven and earth. This was not sufficient. God saw that something was lacking, a comparable helper for Man. The role that he had given to Man, to keep and to work the ground, to have authority over the living beings, and to take part in his provision, required a comparable helper. The Woman, the missing piece of this puzzle, would be one flesh with Man, and both together would be transparent in their communion.
Looking at this text, the Garden and the Woman are the two narratives of creation; the Garden in its detail and the Woman in God’s pursuit of her. Both are keys to the author’s perceived purpose in creation. Taken as independent components it is hard to see the connection, but seen from another angle, from the perspective of Man, the Garden gives Man purpose and place, Woman gives Man communion and relationship, and finally, God, Himself, gives Man direction and vision.