4That's how God created the heavens and the earth.
The Garden of Eden
When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, 5no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. 6But streams came up from the ground and watered the earth.
7 The Lord God took some soil from the ground and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. 8The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there.
9 The Lord God filled the garden with all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of these gave life—the other gave the wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong.
10From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. 11The first one is the Pishon River that flows through the land of Havilah, 12where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. 13The second is the Gihon River that winds through Ethiopia. 14The Tigris River that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the Euphrates River.
15The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16But the Lord told him, “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!”
18The Lord God said, “It isn't good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” 19-20So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names.
None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, 22the Lord made a woman out of the rib.
The Lord God brought her to the man, 23and the man exclaimed,
“Here is someone like me!
She is part of my body,
my own flesh and bones.
She came from me, a man.
So I will name her Woman!”
24 That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.
25Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.
Take a moment to savour theStory today. It’s all about innocence. Yesterday’s reading describes the creation of all that exists, today we see God bringing all that now exists into context. Streams emerge from the earth to water the ground. From the ground a man is formed and in an act of intimacy God breathes the breath of life into his nostrils and he becomes a living being. God plants a garden, Eden, waters it with a great river and puts the man there to tend and work it. God next gives man a framework to live within; Adam, the man God created, is free to eat anything, except he must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he will die.
Life abounds on all sides; beasts of the field and birds of the air are created out of the ground. Adam is called to name and husband them; yet God sees that something is missing. Nothing in this new creation is a suitable match as companion for Adam. So God puts Adam into a deep, trusting sleep, and takes from Adam’s own body a rib and out of that flesh, fashions a mate. Now God’s creative work is complete. Not only is one more creature added but a relationship is created. A form of intimacy between two people, reflecting God himself, is now present in creation.
It’s significant that this chapter concludes with ‘they were both naked and felt no shame.’ It sums up their innocence with each other and in their relationship to God. And this is what God desired in creating us; an openness and transparency with him and each other where our hearts are open and no secrets are hid.
Father of creation, who made us in your image to reflect your glory alone, guide me today in each relationship I encounter to see your presence in the other and to serve them as your own, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.