Genesis 2:8-25 Life In The Garden.
As noted earlier, God created an environment for humanity to fulfill its purpose as God’s vice regents to exercise dominion stewardship in the whole earth. However, it began with a garden (v. 8), and in addition to all the fruit trees God planted both the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (v. 9). So important and symbolic were trees, that nations like Egypt would be spoken of as great trees (Ezek. 31:8-9). Whatever is meant by the knowledge of good and evil, we know that it was something not yet entered into by young children (Dt. 1:39). It is often viewed strictly as a matter of good and evil, but at this point there was no evil, and Adam and Eve were in the condition of innocence. However, there are at least two other points to be noted. Firstly, with this tree God made clear that humanity was dependent on God for knowledge. Secondly, it spoke to the idea of unlimited and comprehensive knowledge. The ultimate test to come would be whether humanity, represented in Adam, would accept God’s word as the first axiom of all thought and existence.
The garden was in Eden, and from within Eden a river flowed to water the garden and extended out from there. Being four river heads shows that there was no part of the earth where this mandate did not extend (vv. 10-14). Not only this, but as humanity spread out throughout the whole earth, they would find other valuable resources like precious metals and stones. In short, God gave humanity what it needed to fulfill the mandate to extend the conditions of the garden, into the whole earth. This would also be the renewed goal of redemption and the mission of the church, based on the law-word of the covenant (Is. 51:3-4). In this garden man was placed “to tend and keep it” (v. 15). In fulfillment of the dominion mandate the question would be, would Adam look to God for the needed knowledge or would he look to himself (vv. 16-17). There was only this one prohibition against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At this point there was no prohibition against eating from the tree of life. Adam was given a life and death choice based on epistemology.
From this expansion of the account of humanity’s creation we learn that it was not good for man to be alone. Previously we learned that it was only after the creation of man as male and female did God declare that everything He made was very good. Adam was a good creation, but being alone was not. Man would need a society and a culture if he were to fulfill the purpose for which he had been created. Furthermore, men and women would not be independent of each other (I Cor. 11:8-9). God gave Adam his name, and in so doing He continued to exercise His authority over him. In turn Adam would name the other creatures which God had put under Adam’s rule (Cf. Ps. 8:6). However, Adam was not able to find “a helper comparable to him (vv. 18-20). God therefore performed surgery (vv. 21-22). After putting Adam to sleep he made a woman from one of Adam’s ribs, and Adam would call her “woman, because she was taken out of man” (v. 23 Cf. I Tim. 2:12-13). This would be the basis for man leaving his parents and being united to his wife in the honourable bond of marriage (vv. 24-25 Cf. Mt. 19:5; Mk. 10:6-8; Heb. 13:4).