Genesis 2:4-17   Lesson #3  Relationship of God and Man

Genesis 2:4-17 – The Bible Teaching Commentary     

Genesis 2:4-6 Relationship of God and Man


Many people ask about how to find meaning in life. Perhaps you sometimes wonder who you are and why you are living. Life seems so meaningless. We hope today that you will get answers to the chief purpose of man. Genesis 2:14-17 instructs us on what we should believe about man and his relationship with God.


Now that robots have become popular, we can more clearly think why God made people instead of robots. Afterall, He could have made perfect robots that didn't fall over when it made a turn or something. They would always do what He told them to! But God didn't choose to do this.Book on making robots!

Someone had a bright idea and gave us a book for Christmas on how to make robots from spare parts of dead tech equipment. I liked the idea of learning how to make robots with spare parts and junk. I liked the idea of working with my children and showing them how to learn. But I thought to myself that I would never find the time to do it!

Robots are interesting because they help us understand what God did when He made human beings. Not all robots are mechanical, at least in my thinking. A program is a robot of sorts. It is more like a programmed cell that is dependent on a host. Animals are a kind of robot; they are furry robots! They run on a program which we call instincts. Place them in a certain environment, and they do their thing.

Man is quite a different thing. In fact, with the way that man has messed up the world, we hardly can think why God didn't make robots instead of mankind!

When we step from chapter one of creation to chapter two of fellowship, we are forced to step back in unbelief. Why would such a great God associate at all with man, especially on the level that He did?!

Maybe it would help us think this through if our robot-making capabilities were generations beyond what they are now. Why would we (humans) want to make a robot? Would the robot be his friend? Would he entrust the robot with his possessions and rule? What powers would the robot need to carrry out his functions?

If he loved the robot, would the robot love him back? No, unless the robot was instructed to love man. But if love had to be programmed into the robot, then something would be lost. That something would be called love! If we wanted creativity in expression, then the robot would need to be programmed to be creative, but then that would limit creativity.

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When God chose to make man, it was because robots would not do the job. If He wanted man to be loving or creative, then man would have to be given a will. But if the robot had a will of its own, then he would no longer be a robot. What would happen if the robot decided to do something on its own that differed from what God wanted? Even worse, what if God gave man the authority and power to this thing called man, and he chose to regularly do something different than what God wanted and served some other purpose or being?

We will return to this subject at the end, but for the mean time, let us go through Genesis 2:4-17 and see what the scriptures do say about man and his relationship with God and man’s meaning and purpose in life.

Genesis 2:4-17 defines how man's relationship with God should function. We see God's great desire to hold an intimate relationship with man, which in turn becomes man's supreme purpose in life. This relationship is fortified by our complete obedience.

·         Show how important our relationship is with God .
·         Describe how the relationship between God and man works.
·         Encourage each person to have a personal relationship with God through Christ.
·         Convince our heart and mind that to maintain a good relationship with God is the most important thing in life and requires repentance as well as obedience and acceptance of His gestures of love.

Whenever man meets woman, confusion and distraction sets in. It is not all bad, but we find like usual the man and woman are thinking of each other. They talk and dream of each other. So if we really want to get a good picture of what happened, we better look carefully at what happened before Genesis 2:18-25. Fortunately, Genesis 2:4-17 gives us the inside scoop which we will expand with the Chinese characters..

A. Preparation for Man (Genesis 2:4-6)
B. Creation of Man (Genesis 2:7)
C. Purpose for Man (Genesis 2:8-10)
Quiz on Genesis 2:4-17

Fu - Chinese character for blessing, happiness.

The Chinese character for happiness and blessing.1

Intimacy with God brought the greatest happiness to man. The loss of his closeness with God became the greatest curse.

Our purpose then is to recover the greatest of all blessing if at all possible.


Chinese character for one.


Chinese character for breath, mouth.

Breath, mouth

Chinese character for garden, field.

Garden, field

Chinese character for blessing (fu2).

God and man in the garden together is blessing!

A. Preparation for Creating Man (Genesis 2:4-6)

God mentions the kingdom, before He mentions man. Some such as environmentalists might wonder whether it is moral to say that the world was made for man. They fear man's abuse because of his sin. God, however, charged man to watch over His creation.

1.) The Preparation of the Earth (Genesis 2:4)

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. (Genesis 2:4).

Genesis 2:4 initiates the first of a series of ten basic genealogical units unifying Genesis. Wby a common introduction. Most of them are marked by the words, “These are the records of ….” The NASB version is confusing because it does not, like the NIV, consistently use the same translation of the same Hebrew word (toledot). What an amazing book organization for that time period it was written.

This verse shows how both creation as a whole is generated from God as well as mankind. Man is dependent upon God because he is part of creation, just as a child is dependent upon his parents. These ten Genesis sections provide a continuum of life and purpose. Each depends on the previous one. This particular section establishes man’s dependence upon God as stated in Genesis 1:26.

The ‘heavens and earth’ refers to man’s largest framework in which he lives. Today, in the western world, we call this the universe. One can debate this interpretation and instead claim the heavens to mean merely the atmosphere, but this would limit its meaning. The earth and heaven used later in the verse show that these concepts, the universe and atmosphere, merge together for the author and mean all that visibly exists.

The use of the word ‘day’ here is interesting. It seems to mean a period of time rather than a literal 24 hours. Though perhaps, if the account started on the first day, then it could refer to the first literal day. The Hebrew word ‘day’ (yom) can mean a period of time perhaps like here, but it is always used with a limited perspective. The usage is important to some because they derive their argument for a literal six day creation from the word itself.

I gain this sense from the numbering of days and the reference to ‘morning and evening’ in its context rather than to press the word to exclusively mean to always mean a 24 hour period of time. Most important is the foundational statement that God has made earth and heaven. He has made all things. This observation is important though often overlooked. Everything owes its existence to God.

Nature has been made by God for His own purposes. This is later shown in the scriptures in the way God blesses through good weather or causes storms to bring correction or judgment such as in Noah or Jonah’s case. The use of ‘mother nature’ to describe nature as an entity of itself is likewise in complete contrast to what this verse says.

Man has been made by God for His own purposes. Man is not a ruler to himself. He should not make laws without reference to God. He dare not do anything without first observing what God wants. His roots are in God Himself.

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis 1:26, NASB).

This is will be later reinforced in Genesis 5 and Luke's genealogy where we see Adam is named as the son of God. The Chinese character for ancestor also suggests this. Man has his origins from God. Man was made in God’s image (like God).

Chinese Radical for God.


Chinese character for also, besides.

Also, besides

Chinese character forancestor.


Man was made in God's image (like God).

Chinese radical for life or action.

Life, motion

Chinese character for dust, dirt, soil.

Ground, Dust

Chinese radical for person.


Chinese character for first.


Man was made a living soul from the ground.

Adam then is the first ANCESTOR, made from the ground into a living soul in God's image.

Chinese character forancestor.Chinese character for first.

Modern Chinese word for ancestor.

2.) The Preparation of the Habitat (Genesis 2:5-6)

The Lord provides a few of the details general habitat. God was getting everything ready. The garden, however, was not 'planted' until verse 8.

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. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. (Genesis 2:5-6).

Genesis 2:5 mention two things that were not yet, even though they were already prepared for.
     1) No shrubs (inedible fruit) on earth yet.
     2) No plants (grains) have yet sprouted.

This seems contradictory to what we see in everyday life so the Lord tells us two good reasons for it!
    1) The Lord had not yet sent rain.
    2) There was no man (literally 'Adam') to cultivate the ground.

Seeds provided for the decorative (fruitless) bushes and grain, but were held back from growing. Some suggest that this is perhaps a precursor to the fall. If man fell from grace, then these plants would be needed. For example, because of sin, man would need more substantial grains, but he would have to work hard for it. The male has the strength to care for the fields. “There was no man to cultivate the ground.”

Chinese character for garden, field.


Chinese character for strength.


Chinese character for male.


The male has the strength to care for the fields.

"There was no man to cultivate the ground."

Verse 2:6 serves as a pause to allow his readers to catch up with what is being said. The readers of Genesis were familiar with rain. In order not to confuse the readers, the Lord told us how at that time a mist used to rise from the earth and water the ground. Mist, not rain, was used by God to water the ground.

Some conclude from this that there was no separation in the cloud cover as of yet. One solid cloud mass protected man and earth and allowed mankind and beasts to live longer as they were better shielded from the sun’s dangerous rays. This would change with the flood. From after the flood we see the ages of man suddenly decline.


This is the world God brought into being for man. He readied everything for him. God has a purpose for all of this. Before introducing the game, He introduced the pieces. But now He will more detailed introduce man and how Yahweh made man. This will help us understand how mankind is to relate to God and how he functions. If we are going to find the meaning of life for man, we need to understand more about him. This is where the following passages play an important part in the process.

The Genesis Index

Genesis Introduction:  Introduction to Genesis |  Outline and Genealogies  |  Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) |   Unified Themes of Genesis
Genesis 1-2:3:   The Worship of the Creator |  The Meaning of Creation  |  Creation Lessons on God.  |  God and the World's Religions
Genesis 2:4-17:    Preparation for Man (Genesis 2:4-6) |  Creation of Man (Gen. 2:7, 1:26-27) |  Purpose for Man (Genesis 2:8-17)
Genesis 2:18-25: The Foundations of Marriage
Genesis 3:1-13: The Fall of Man | Temptation (Genesis 3:1-6) | The Fall (Genesis 3:7-13) | Questions 3:1-6 | Questions 3:7-13
Genesis 5-9: Genesis Flood | Genesis 05 Genealogical Chart
Genesis 10-11: Noah's Sons| Questions | History Genesis 10:6-11 | Tower of Babel Genesis 11:1-9 | Questions | Culture Genesis 11
Genesis 12-22:   The Call: Genesis 12.1The Promises: Genesis 12.2-3  |  The Means: Genesis 15The Testing: Genesis 22
Genesis 12-16: Introduction |   Place Detour: Genesis 12:10-20; 20 |  Person Detour: Genesis 12:13-14Procedure Detour: Genesis 16-17
Genesis 14:1-24: Three Steps to Spiritual Growth | #1 Observe | #2 Utlilitize | #3 Secure
Genesis 18-19: Cultural Woes of Sodom | Appearing to Abraham | Visit to Sodom | Debate of Homosexuality and Sodom
Genesis 21-26: Isaac's Model for Godly Marriages
Genesis 27-36: Genesis 27-36 Jacob's Life of Faith
Genesis 25-37: Influence of Sin | God and Man's Sin | Understanding Man's Sin Nature | Understanding Jacob's Sins
Genesis 37-50: Joseph’s Dillusonment | Genesis 42-47:12: The Big Picture | Conclusion | The Reason

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(1) The idea for many of these Chinese characters came from the book "The Discovery of Genesis" by C.H. Kang and Ethel Nelson (Concordia). Many more characters are described in the book.