To begin with: In chapter two, the creation of man is described again, now with more details. Note that, in Hebrew, “the earth” is “adama” and a man is “adam”. The word Eden means the land of happiness and refers to a real geographical location. Note that paradise is not Eden, but it was located in Eden.
• Compare verses 2:7 and 1:27. Why did God want to describe the creation of a man and a woman first together and then separately? (How would the text be if the creation of a man alone would have been described in the first chapter and the creation of the woman only in the second chapter two? Would that change the view of the woman in the Bible?)
• Why did God form the man from dust and not, for example, from an animal?
• Imagine what the first people’s home was like and how their everyday life would have been, compared to our home and life today (8-9).
• What was the tree of life needed for?
• What was the function of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? (Is there a connection between people’s morality and that tree?)
• What if the tree had been called “the tree of knowledge”? How would that change its function?
• Why did God want to plant those two trees in the middle of the garden, not in a remote corner of the garden?
• Why do there have to be temptations in your life, too?
Verses 10-14. Gihon must mean the river Nile, because Cush is in Africa. The location of the Pishon is unknown unless it is the Blue and White Nile. The other two rivers are the Euphrates and the Tigris.
• What difficulties do we face if we try to locate Eden on the current world map?
• What was, perhaps, God’s motive for leaving the location of Eden as a secret for posterity?
• Why does the text mention the good gold, bdellium and onyx stone found by the river Pishon at this point of the story (11-12)?
• Why did Jesus say to a criminal hanging on the cross next to him: “Today you will be with me in paradise”?
• What was Adam’s first task?
• What does it show that the nature in the paradise should be cared for, even though the man was not yet fallen into sin (15)?
• Verses 16-17 include the first Bible for mankind. Where is its law and gospel?
Verses 18-20. The Hebrew word ”helper” (ezer) in the verse 18 does not mean an assistant, but it is widely used in the Bible when describing the help from God. The words “companion”/“a suitable help” include also the idea of a counterpart.
• What do you think about the fact that the woman was formed as a suitable help and companion for the man?
• Why did Adam have to live without a wife for a while?
• Why did God name the light, the dark, the sky, the earth and the sea but let the man give a name to everything else (19, compare 1:5, 8, 10)?
• What was mankind’s first task? How would yo describe it with the words of our time? (How has this task of naming creatures continued until our days?)
• What does it tell us about man that God’s friendship, the company of animals or work were not enough for him?
• Can you find a deep meaning for the fact that God did not form the woman of dust but of the man’s rib?
• Imagine how Adam and woman felt when they saw each other for the first time.
• In verse 24, God instructs all the coming generations the way of getting married. What does it mean in practice that a man should leave his father and mother before he is united to his wife?
• Why does God ask man to leave his parents, but woman does not get the same command?
• What happens to a relationship unless spouses leave their parents and form a new unit publicly in society?
• What does it show that the man and woman were not ashamed of their nakedness in front of each other?
• Jesus comments on this part the the creation story by saying: “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female… Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (Matt. 19:4-6). What does Jesus teach about marriage? Finally: The tree of the cross is the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil joined together. That tree bears fruit which let those who eat it live forever. In the new Jerusalem there is the tree of life, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is no longer there.