GOD’S CREATION OF MAN (Genesis 2:4–7)

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Genesis 2:4–7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 This is the history[1] of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah[2] God made earth and heaven.
The Creation of Man and Woman
5 Now no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up, for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground.[3] 6 But there went up a mist[4] from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 Then Jehovah God formed man[5] of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;[6] and man became a living soul.

How to Interpret the Bible-1
  1. תֹּולְדֹות generations, products, developments. That which comes from any source, as the child from the parent, the record of which is history.
  2. יְהֹוָה This word occurs 6,828 times in Scripture. It is obvious from its use that it is, so to speak, the proper name of God. It never has the article. It is never changed for construction with another noun. A suffix never accompanies it. It is never applied to any but the true God. This sacred exclusiveness of application, indeed, led the Jews to read always in place of it אֲדֹונָי, or, if this preceded it, אֱלֹהִים, to intimate which the vowel points of one of these terms were subscribed to it. The root of this name is הָזָה, an older variety of הָיָה, which, as we have seen, has three meanings,—be in the sense of coming into existence, be in that of becoming, and be in that of merely existing. The first of these meanings has no application to God, who had no beginning of existence. The last applies to God but affords no distinctive characteristic, as it belongs equally to all objects that have existence. The second is proper to God in a sense, not of acquiring any new attribute, but of becoming active from a state of repose. But he becomes active to man’s eye only by causing some new effect, which makes its appearance in the world of sensible things. He becomes, then, only by causing to be or to become. Hence, he that becomes, when applied to the Creator, is really he that causes to be. This name, therefore, involves the active or causative force of the root from which it springs and designates God in relation with the system of things he has called into being, and especially with man, the only intelligent observer of him or of his works in this nether world. It distinguishes him as the Author of being and, therefore, the Creator, the worker of miracles, the performer of promise, and the keeper of the covenant. Beginning with the י of personality, it points out God as the person whose habitual character it has become to cause his purpose to take place. Hence, אֱלֹהִים designates God as the Everlasting, the Almighty, in his unchangeable essence, as He is before as well as after creation. יְהֹוָה distinguishes him as the personal Self-existent and Author of all existing things, who gives expression and effect to his purpose, manifests himself thereby as existing, and maintains a spiritual intercourse with his intelligent creatures.

The vowel marks usually placed under the consonants of this word are said to belong to אֲדֹנָי; and its real pronunciation, which is supposed to be lost, is conjectured to have been יַהְוֶה. This conjecture is supported by the analogy of the supposed antique third singular masculine imperfect of the verb הָוָה, and by the Greek forms ΙΑΩ and ΙΑΒΕ which are found in certain authors (Diod. Sic. i. 19; Macrob. Saturn i. 18; Theodoret, Quaest. xv. ad Exod.). It is true, indeed, when it has a prefix all its vowels coincide with those of אֲדֹנָי. But otherwise the vowel under the first letter is different, and the qamets at the end is as usual in proper names ending in ה as in others. יְהֹוָה also finds an anology in the word יְרחָם. In the forms ΙΑΩ and ΙΑΒΕ the Greek vowels doubtless represent the Hebrew consonants, and not any vowel points. ה is often represented by the Greek α. From יַהְוֹהָ we may obtain יְהוּ at the end of compounds, and therefore, expect יְהוּ at the beginning. But the form at the beginning is יְהוֹ or יוֹ, which indicates the pronunciation יְהֹוָה as current with the punctuators. All this countenances the suggestion that the casual agreement of the two nouns Jehovah and Adonai in the principal vowels was the circumstance that facilitated the Jewish endeavor to avoid uttering the proper name of God except on the most solemn occasions. יַהְוֶה, moreover, rests on precarious grounds. The Hebrew analogy would give יִהְוֶה not יַהְוֶה for the verbal form. The middle vowel cholem may indicate the intensive or active force of the root.

the Father’s personal name occurs in the Hebrew text 6,828 times as הוהי (YHWH or JHVH), generally referred to as the Tetragrammaton, which literally means, “having four letters.” By removing the Father’s personal name, Jehovah, modern translators have violated God’s Word where it says to not add nor take away, and they have failed to be faithful to the original. Instead, these modern translations have followed the practice of substituting titles such as “Lord,” “the Lord,” “Adonai” or “God” for the divine name. Before we take a brief moment to look into this allegation. Let us go back 1,900 years when there was the practice of substituting titles (e.g., Lord) for the Father’s personal name that developed among the Jews and was applied in later copies of the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and many other translations.

Now, let us take a moment to look at when the Father’s personal name was restored to God’s Word. William Tyndale first restored the Father’s personal name, Jehovah, to the English Bible. In 1530, he published a translation of the first five books of the Bible into English. He included Jehovah’s name once, in Ex 6:3. In a note in this edition, Tyndale wrote, “Iehovah is God’s name … Moreover, as oft as thou seist LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing) it is in Hebrew Iehovah.” Following Tyndale’s footsteps, other translators of the time began to use the Father’s name in a few places out of the 6,828 times that it occurs in the Hebrew Old Testament. Instead, they chose to write “LORD” or “GOD” in most places where the Father’s personal name occurs in Hebrew. This is also true of the 1611 King James Version, where Jehovah’s name occurs only four times, namely, in Ex 6:3; Ps 83:18; Isa 12:2; 26:4.


Most translations use all capital letters to make the title ‘LORD.’ Exceptions are the American Standard Version, which uses ‘Jehovah,’ over 5,000 times. In contrast, the Amplified Bible uses ‘Lord,’ and The Jerusalem Bible, the Lexham English Bible, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible uses ‘Yahweh.’

How Does the Father Feel About His Own Personal Name?

Isaiah 42:8 American Standard Version (ASV)
8 I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.

Malachi 3:16 American Standard Version (ASV)
16 Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name.

Micah 4:5 American Standard Version (ASV)
5 For all the peoples walk everyone in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.

Proverbs 18:10 American Standard Version (ASV)

10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it, and is safe.

Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call.

More Is at Stake that the Correct Pronunciation

Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah has said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah does call.

This verse is quoted two times in the New Testament, by two apostles, Peter and Paul:

Acts 2:21 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
21 And it will be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’[a]

[a]Footnotes: Acts 2:21 A quotation from Joel 2:28–32

Romans 10:13 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
13 For “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”[a]

[a]Footnotes: Romans 10:13 A quotation from Joel 2:32

Young Christians

More is Needed than Just Being Aware of the Divine Name

Jehovah chose his own name, one rich in meaning. “Jehovah” literally means “He Causes to Become.” The divine name certainly was not new. The divine name was known and used clear back in the beginning with Adam and Eve. The Patriarchs also knew and used the divine name, as well as received promises from Jehovah. However, keeping in mind the meaning of God’s name, “He Causes to Become,” the patriarchs did not experientially know Jehovah as the one that would cause the promises to be fulfilled. (Genesis 12:1, 2; 15:7, 13-16; 26:24; 28:10-15.) They knew the promises, but Moses was about to experience the results. No matter what was to get in the way of Moses and the Israelites, no matter the difficulties they faced, Jehovah was going to become whatever they needed, to deliver them from slavery and into the Promised Land.

Exodus 34:5-6 American Standard Version (ASV)
5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.

Deuteronomy 32:3-5 American Standard Version (ASV)
3 For I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice: A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he. 5 They have dealt corruptly with him, they are not his children, it is their blemish; they are a perverse and crooked generation.

Leviticus 22:32 American Standard Version (ASV)
32 And ye shall not profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am Jehovah who sanctified you,

Psalm 8:1 American Standard Version (ASV)
1 O Jehovah, our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth, Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens!

Psalm 148:13 American Standard Version (ASV)
13 Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens.

Exodus 3:15 American Standard Version (ASV)
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Malachi 1:11 American Standard Version (ASV)
11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles, says Jehovah of armies.

Exodus 9:16 American Standard Version (ASV)
16 but in very deed for this cause have I made you to stand, to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Ezekiel 36:23 American Standard Version (ASV)
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, says the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

And may we be determined to stand firm for what was revealed to us in Scripture, not cowering to fainted hearted scholarship, who would instead please man than the Creator of heaven and earth. Let us say, as the prophet Micah boldly said many centuries ago,

Micah 4:5 American Standard Version (ASV)

For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God
forever and ever.

The greatest indignity of modern translators is their rendering of the Father’s personal name as a title “LORD” or “GOD,” removing or the concealing of his special personal name. Before moving on, let us say that Yahweh is not an appropriate rendering of the Father’s personal name. First, the Father’s personal name, the Tetragrammaton (יהוה), has three syllables (Je·ho·vah), not two syllables (Yah·weh). Second, many Hebrew kings and others used by God personally in Bible times used part of the Father’s personal name in their name, like Jehoash, Jehoram, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jehohanan, Jehonadab, Jehoahaz, and even the wife of High Priest Jehoiada; daughter of King Jehoram of Judah, Jehosheba,  among many more. We notice that the beginning of the Father’s personal name is used in every one of these cases. Does anyone find it a bit troubling that the Bibles (JB, LEB, HCSB), which choose to use the so-called scholarly “Yahweh” rendering still spell the above names with Jeho? Why do these same translations not spell Jehoash “Yahash”? We will look at how the Holman Christian Standard Bible (and the HCSB revision, the 2017 Christian Standard Bible) and the Lexham English Bible render the Father’s personal name and how they render Jehosheba, Jehoram, and Jehoash.

Those who argue that we should not use the personal name of God because we do not know precisely how it was pronounced do not make that same argument for Jesus (Gr. Iēsous) name. First, we actually do know how God’s personal name was pronounced. However, setting that aside, for now, we will consider how these same ones will freely use the name, Jesus. Second, the pronunciation of the Son of God’s name is nothing like it is pronounced today. The name of the Son was likely pronounced Yeshua. Jesus (Ἰησοῦς), in the Roman alphabet (Iēsous) from the Hebrew (יֵשׁוּעַ), the Roman alphabet (Yeshua). And the title “Christ” was Mashiach. Greek was the dominant language of the Eastern part, and Latin was the official language of the Western Part of the Roman Empire until 330 C.E. Christians in the Eastern part likely called the Son of God Iesous Christos, while those in the Western region, Iesus Christus.

OTTC Genesis 2:4: Is the Father’s Personal Name Important?

  1. שָׂדֶה plain, country, field, for pasture or tillage, in opp. to גַּן, garden, park.
  2. נְשָׁמָה breath, applied to God and man only.

We meet with no division again in the text till we come to Gen. 3:15 when the first minor break in the narrative occurs. This is noted by the intervening space being less than the remainder of the line. The narrative is, therefore, so far regarded as continuous.

We are now entering upon a new plan of narrative and have therefore to notice particularly that law of Hebrew composition by which one line of events is carried on without interruption to its natural resting-point; after which the writer returns to take up a collateral train of incidents, that are equally requisite for the elucidation of his main purpose, though their insertion in the order of time would have marred the symmetry and perspicuity of the previous narrative. The relation now about to be given is posterior, as a whole, to that already given as a whole; but the first incident now to be recorded is some time prior to the last of the preceding document.

Hitherto we have adhered closely to the form of the original in our rendering, and so have made use of some inversions which are foreign to our prose style. Hereafter we shall deviate as little as possible from the authorized version.

The document upon which we are now entering extends from Gen. 2:4 to Gen. 4. In the second and third chapters the author uses the combination יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים the Lord God, to designate the Supreme Being; in the fourth he drops אֱלֹהִים God, and employs יְהֹוָה the Lord, alone. So far, then, as the divine appellation is concerned, the fourth chapter is as clearly separable from the second and third as the first document is from the present. If diversity of the divine name were a proof of diversity of authorship, we should here have two documents due to different authors, each of them different also from the author of the first document. The second and third chapters, though agreeing in the designation of God, are clearly distinguishable in style.

The general subject of this document is the history of man to the close of the line of Cain and the birth of Enosh. This falls into three clearly marked sections,—the origin, the fall, and the family of Adam. The difference of style and phraseology in its several parts will be found to correspond with the diversity in the topics of which it treats. It reverts to an earlier point of time than that at which we had arrived in the former document, and proceeds upon a new plan, exactly adapted to the new occasion.

The present section treats of the process of nature which was simultaneous with the latter part of the supernatural process described in the preceding document. Its opening paragraph refers to the field.

4. This verse is the title of the present section. It states the subject of which it treats,—the generations of the skies and the land. The generations are the posterity or the progress of events relating to the posterity of the party to whom the term is applied (Gen. 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 37:2). The development of events is here presented under the figure of the descendants of a parental pair; the skies and the land being the metaphorical progenitors of those events, which are brought about by their conjunct operation.

It then notes the date at which the new narrative commences. In their being created. This is the first or general date; namely, after the primary creation and during the course of the secondary. As the latter occupied six days, some of the processes of nature began before these days had elapsed. Next, therefore, is the more special date,—in the day of Jehovah God’s making land and skies. Now, on looking back at the preceding narrative, we observe that the skies were adjusted and named on the second day and the land on the third. Therefore, both were completed on the third day, which is the opening date of the second branch of the narrative.

Therefore, the peculiarity of the present section is that it combines the creative with the preservative agency of God. Creation and progress here go hand in hand for a season. Then, the narrative overlaps half the time of the former, and at the end of the chapter has not advanced beyond its termination.

Jehovah Elohim, Jehovah God. This phrase is here for the first time, introduced. The first occurrence of God’s personal name, יהוה (JHVH/YHWH), which is found in the Hebrew Old Testament 6,828 times. Elohim, as we have seen, is the generic term denoting God as the Everlasting, and therefore the Almighty, as he was before all worlds, and still continues to be, now that he is the sole object of supreme reverence to all intelligent creatures. Jehovah is the proper name of God to man, self-existent himself, the author of existence to all persons and things, and manifesting his existence to those whom he has made capable of such knowledge.

Genesis 2:4 BDC: “God” is used in Genesis chapter 1, while chapter 2 changes to Jehovah God. Does this mean that there are two different authors of Genesis?

Hence, the latter name is appropriate to the present stage of our narrative. God has become active in a way worthy of himself and peculiar to his nature. He has put forth his creative power in calling the universe into existence. He has now reconstituted the skies and the land, clothed the latter with a new vegetation, and peopled it with a new animal kingdom. Especially has he called into being an inhabitant of this earth made in his own image, and therefore capable of understanding his works and holding intercourse with himself. To man, he has now come to be in certain acts by which he has discovered himself and his power. And to man, he has accordingly become known by a name which signalizes that new creative process in which man forms a prominent part. Jehovah—he who causes the successive events of the time to come to pass in sight and in the interest of man—is a name the peculiar significance of which will come out on future occasions in the history of the ways of God with man.

The union of these two divine names indicates him who was before all things, and by whom now all things consist. It also implies that he, who is now distinguished by the new name Jehovah, is the same who was before called Elohim. The combination of the names is especially suitable in a passage that records a concurrence of creation and development. The historian continues the apposition of the two names through this and the following chapter. The abstract and aboriginal name then gives way to the concrete and the historical.

The skies and the land at the beginning of the verse are given in order of their importance in nature, the skies being first as grander and higher than the land; at the end, in the order of their importance in the narrative, the land being before the skies, as the future scene of the events to be recorded.

GENESIS 2:4 OTBDC: “God” is used in Genesis chapter 1, while chapter 2 changes to Jehovah God. Does this mean that there are two different authors of Genesis?

Genesis 2:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

 4 These are the generations[1] of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah[2] God made earth and heaven.

The higher critics argue that every Bible verse that contains the Hebrew word for God, (Elohim), set off by itself has its own writer, designated by the capital “E” (“Elohist”). On the other hand, any verse that contains the Tetragrammaton, (Jehovah, Yahweh), God’s personal name, is attributed to yet another writer, “J” (“Jawist”). (Cassuto, 18-21) Let us see how they explain this. The critics argue that “God” (Elohim) is restricted to use exclusively in the first chapter of Genesis (1:1–31) in relation to God’s creation activity, and that starting in Genesis 2:4 through the end of the second chapter we find God’s personal name.

R. E. Friedman speaks of a discovery by three men: “One was a minister, one was a physician, and one was a professor. The discovery that they made ultimately came down to the combination of two pieces of evidence: doublets and the names of God. They saw that there were apparently two versions each of a large number of Biblical stories: two accounts of the creation, two accounts each of several stories about the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, and so on. Then, they noticed that, quite often, one of the two versions of a story would refer to God by one name and the other version would refer to God by a different name.” (R. E. Friedman, 50)

Different settings, however, require different uses. This principle holds true throughout the whole of the entire Old Testament. Moses may choose to use (Elohim) in a setting where he wants to clearly show a particular quality, like power, creative activity, etc. On the other hand, Moses may choose to use God’s personal name (Jehovah, Yahweh) when the setting begs for that personal relationship between the Father and his children, the Israelites, or even more personable, a one-on-one conversation between Jehovah God and a faithful servant.

The Divine Names: The weakness of claiming multiple authors because of the different names used for God is quite evident when we look at just one small portion of the Book of Genesis in the American Standard Version (1901). God is called “God Most High,” “possessor (or maker) of heaven and earth,” “O Lord Jehovah,” “a God that seeth,” “God Almighty,” “God,” “[the] God,”[3] and “the Judge of all the earth.” (Genesis 14:18, 19; 15:2; 16:13; 17:1, 3; 18:25) It is difficult to believe that different authors wrote these verses. Moreover, let us take a look at Genesis 28:13, which says: “And, behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah, the God [“Elohim”] of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.” Another scripture, Psalm 47:5, says: “God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet.”[4] (ASV) In applying their documentary analysis, we would have to accept the idea that two authors worked together on each of these two verses.

Many conservative scholars have come to realize that in a narrative format one will often find a ruler being referred to not only by name but also by a title, such as “king.” M. H. Segal observes: “Just as those interchanges of human proper names and their respective appellative common nouns cannot by any stretch of the imagination be ascribed to a change of author or source of document, so also the corresponding interchanges of the divine names in the Pentateuch must not be attributed to such a literary cause.”* If one were to look up “Adolf Hitler” using Academic American Encyclopedia, within three paragraphs he will find the terms “Führer,” “Adolf Hitler,” and simply “Hitler.” Who is so bold as to suggest that there are three different authors for these three paragraphs?

Dr. John J. Davis[5] helps us to appreciate that there is “no other religious document from the ancient Near East [that] was compiled in such a manner; a documentary analysis of the Gilgamesh Epic or Enuma Elis would be complete folly. The author of Genesis may have selected divine names on the basis of theological emphasis rather than dogmatic preference. Many divine names were probably interchangeable; Baal and Hadad were used interchangeably in the Hadad Tablet from Ugarit[6] and similar examples could be cited from Egyptian texts.[7]

In fact, we now know that there were many deities in the ancient Near East that had multiple names. As stated above with the Babylonian Creation account, the Enuma Elish, the god Marduk (Merodach), chief deity of Babylon, also had some 50 different names.[8] It would not even be thinkable to apply any of the Documentary Hypothesis analysis to any of these works. Why? Not only can we see that ancient writers are no different than modern writers and can use different names and titles interchangeably within their work, but they were written on stone, so to speak. If one has one clay tablet that has both a personal name and two different titles for the same king, it would be difficult to argue that there were two or three different authors for the one tablet. Bible scholar Mark F. Rooker has the following to say about the use of Elohim and Yahweh in the Old Testament:

Moreover, it is clear that throughout the Old Testament that the occurrence of the names of God as Elohim or Yahweh is to be attributed to contextual and semantic issues, not the existence of sources. This conclusion is borne out by the fact that the names consistently occur in predictable genre. In the legal and prophetic texts the name Yahweh always appears, while in wisdom literature the name for God is invariably Elohim. In narrative literature, which includes much of the Pentateuch, both Yahweh and Elohim are used.[9]* Yet consistently the names do not indicate different sources but were chosen by design. The name Elohim was used in passages to express the abstract idea of Deity as evident in God’s role as Creator of the universe and the Ruler of nature. Yahweh, on the other hand, is the special covenant name of God who has entered into a relationship with the Israelites since the name reflects God’s ethical character. (Cassuto, 31) Given the understanding of the meaning of these names for God, it is no wonder that the source which contains the name Yahweh would appear to reflect a different theology from a selected group of texts which contained the name Elohim.”[10]


Let us, on a small scale, do our own analysis of the divine names in the first two chapters of Genesis. The Hebrew word (elohim) is most often agreed upon to be from a root meaning “be strong,” “mighty,” or “power.”[11] It should be said too that by far, most Hebrew scholars recognize the plural form (im) of this title elohim to be used as a plural of “majesty,” “greatness,” or “excellence.” The Hebrew word (elohim) is used for the Creator 35 times from Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a. Exactly what is the context of this use? It is used in a setting that deals with God’s power, his greatness, his excellence, his creation activity, all of which seems appropriate, does it not?

Moving on to Genesis 2:4b–25, we find God now being referred to by his personal name, the Tetragrammaton (YHWH, JHVH), which is translated “Jehovah” (KJV, ASV, NW, NEB, etc.) or “Yahweh” (AT, NAB, JB, HCSB, etc.). It is found in verses 4b–25 a total of 11 times; however, it comes before his title (elohim).[12] Why the switch, and what is the context of this use? This personal name of God is used in a setting that deals with his personal relationship with man and woman. This is not a second creation account; it is a more detailed account of the creation of man, which was only briefly mentioned in chapter one in passing, as each feature of creation was ticked off. In chapter two, the Creator becomes a person as he speaks to his intelligent creation, giving them the prospect of an eternal perfect life in a paradise garden, which is to be cultivated earth wide, to be filled with perfect offspring. Therefore, we see a personal interchange between God and man as He lays out His plans to Adam, which seems very appropriate, does it not when switching from using a title in chapter one to using a personal name in chapter two? In chapter two, we have the coupling of the personal name “Jehovah” with the title “God,” to show that we are still talking about this ‘great,’ ‘majestic,’ ‘all powerful’ Creator, but personalized as he introduces himself to his new earthly creation.

Thus, there is no reason to assume that we are talking about two different writers. No, it is two different settings in which a skilled writer would make the transition just as Moses did. It would be no different from if a modern-day news commentator were giving a report about the United States President visiting Russia to meet with Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, in which he used the title President predominately. The following week the same news commentator may be covering the President visiting a hospital with injured children who had survived a tornado and refer to the President as Donald Trump. It isn’t difficult to see that one is an official setting where the President needs to be portrayed as powerful, while in the other setting; he needs to be portrayed as personable. The same principles used herein apply to the rest of the Pentateuch and the Old Testament as a whole.

5. This verse corresponds to the second verse of the preceding narrative. It describes the field or arable land in the absence of certain conditions necessary to the progress of vegetation. Plant and herb here comprise the whole vegetable world. Plants and herbs of the field are those which are to be found in the open land. A different statement is made concerning each.

Not a plant of the field was yet in the land. Here it is to be remembered that the narrative has reverted to the third day of the preceding creation. At first sight, it might be supposed that the vegetable species were not created at the hour of that day to which the narrative refers. But it is not stated that young trees were not in existence, but merely that plants of the field were not yet in the land. Of the herbs, it is only said that they had not yet sent forth a bud or blade. And the actual existence of both trees and herbs is implied in what follows. The reasons for the state of things above described are the want of rain to water the soil and of man to cultivate it. These would only suffice for growth if the vegetable seeds, at least, were already in existence. Now, the plants were made before the seeds (Gen. 1:11, 12); therefore, the first full-grown and seed-bearing sets of each kind were already created. Hence, we infer that the state of things described in the text was this: The original trees were confined to a center of vegetation, from which it was intended that they should spread in the course of nature. At the present juncture, there was not a tree of the field, a tree of propagation, in the land; even the created trees had not sent down a single root of growth into the land. And if they had dropped a seed, it was only on the land, and not in the land, as it had not yet struck root.


And not an herb of the field yet grew. The herbage seems to have been more widely diffused than the trees. Hence it is not said that they were not in the land, as it is said of field trees. But at the present moment, no herb had exhibited any signs of growth or sent forth a single blade beyond the immediate product of creative power.

Rain upon the land, and man to till it, were the two wants that delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment of vegetation. These two means of promoting vegetable growth differed in their importance and in their mode of application. Moisture is absolutely necessary, and where it is supplied in abundance, the shifting wind will drift the seed in the course of time. The browsing herds will aid in the same process of diffusion. Man comes in merely as an auxiliary to nature in preparing the soil and depositing the seeds and plants to the best advantage for rapid growth and abundant fruitfulness. The narrative, as usual, notes only the chief things. Rain is the only source of vegetable sap; man is the only intentional cultivator.

6. As in the former narrative, the remaining part of the chapter is employed in recording the removal of the two hindrances to vegetation. The first of these is removed by the institution of the natural process by which rain is produced. The atmosphere had been adjusted so far as to admit of some light. But even on the third day, a dense mass of clouds still shut out the heavenly bodies from view. But on the creation of plants the Lord God caused it to rain on the land. This is described in the verse before us. A mist went up from the land. It had been ascending from the steaming, reeking land ever since the waters retired into the hollows. The briny moisture, which could not promote vegetation, is dried up. And now he causes the accumulated masses of cloud to burst forth and dissolve themselves in copious showers. Thus, the mist watered the whole face of the soil. The face of the sky is thereby cleared, and on the following day, the sun shone forth in all his cloudless splendor and fostering warmth.


On the fourth day, then, a second process of nature commenced. The bud began to swell, the tender blade to peep forth and assume its tint of green, the gentle breeze to agitate the full-sized plants, the first seeds to be shaken off and wafted to their resting place, the first root to strike into the ground, and the first shoot to rise towards the sky.

This enables us to determine with some degree of probability the season of the year when the creation took place. If we look at the ripe fruit on the first trees, we presume that the season is autumn. The scattering of the seeds, the falling of the rains, and the need for a cultivator intimated in the text point to the same period. In a genial climate, the process of vegetation has its beginnings at the falling of the early rains. Man would be naturally led to gather the abundant fruit which fell from the trees and thus even unwittingly provide a store for the unbearing period of the year. It is probable that he was formed in a region where vegetation was little interrupted by the coldest season of the year. This would be most favorable to the preservation of life in his state of primeval inexperience.

These presumptions are in harmony with the numeration of the months at the deluge (Gen. 7:11) and with the outgoing and the turn of the year at autumn (Exod. 23:16, 34:22).

7. The second obstacle to the favorable progress of the vegetable kingdom is now removed. And the Lord God formed the man of dust from the soil. This account of the origin of man differs from the former on account of the different end the author has in view. There his creation as an integral whole is recorded with special reference to his higher nature, by which he was fitted to hold communion with his Maker and exercise dominion over the inferior creation. Here his constitution is described with marked regard to his adaptation to be the cultivator of the soil. He is a compound of matter and mind. His material part is dust from the soil, out of which he is formed as the potter molds the vessel out of the clay. He is אָדָם Adam, the man of the soil, אֲדָמָה adamah. His mission in this respect is to draw out the capabilities of the soil to support by its produce the myriads of his race.

His mental part is from another source. And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The word נְשָׁמָה is invariably applied to God or man, never to any irrational creature. The “breath of life” is peculiar to this passage. It expresses the spiritual and principal element in man, which is not formed, but breathed by the Creator into the bodily form of man. This rational part is that in which he bears the image of God, and is fitted to be his vicegerent on earth. As the earth was prepared to be the dwelling, so was the body to be the organ of that breath of life, which is his essence.

And the man became a living soul. This term “living soul” is also applied to the water and land animals (Gen. 1:20, 21, 24). As by his body, he is allied to earth and by his soul to heaven, so by the vital union of these he is associated with the whole animal kingdom, of which he is the constituted sovereign. This passage, therefore, aptly describes him as he is fitted to dwell and rule on this earth. The height of his glory is yet to come out in his relation to the future and to God.

The line of narrative here reaches a point of repose. The second want of the teeming soil is here supplied. The man to till the ground is presented in that form which exhibits his fitness for this appropriate and needful task. We are, therefore, at liberty to go back for another train of events which is essential to the progress of our narrative.

Genesis 2:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 Then Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The Christian apostle Paul, writer of fourteen books of the Bible, supports Moses’ writings, saying, “So also it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul’ … The first man was from the earth, a man of dust.” (1 Cor. 15:45, 47, UASV)

Human soul = body [dust of the ground] + active life force (“spirit”) [Hebrew, ruachwithin the trillions of human cells that make up the human body + breath of life [Hebrew, neshamah] that sustains the life force from God.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that God formed man out of the “dust of the ground.” In other words, he was formed from the elements of the soil. This body needed life, and so God caused the trillions of cells in his body to come to life, giving him the force of life. Ruach “spirit” is the active life force that Adam now possessed. However, for this life force to continue to feed these trillions of cells, there needed to be oxygen sustained by the breathing. Therefore, we all know what God did next: he “breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life.” At this point, Adam’s lungs would sustain the breathing the life force into those body cells.

If we are to understand fully what the “soul” is, we must investigate what the Hebrew and Greek words mean. The Hebrew word translated as “soul” is nephesh. What does “nephesh” mean? The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says,

In the Hebrew OT, the word generally translated “soul” is nephesh. The word occurs over 750 times, and it means primarily “life” or “possessing life.” It is used of both animals (Gen. 9:12; Ezek. 47:9) and humans (Gen. 2:7). The word sometimes indicates the whole person, as for instance in Gen. 2:7 where God breathes breath (neshamah) into the dust and thus makes a “soul” (nephesh). A similar usage is found in Gen. 12:5 where Abram takes all the “souls” (persons) who were with him in Haran and moves on to Canaan. Similarly in Num. 6:6 it is used as a synonym for the body—the Nazirite is not to go near a dead nephesh (Lev. 7:21; Hag. 2:13). (Brand, Draper and Archie 2003, 1523)

The American Standard Version has our literal rendering of nephesh at Genesis 2:7, “and man became living soul.” The English Standard Version offers an interpretation of nephesh, “and the man became living creature.” (LEB same) The Holman Christian Standard Bible offers an interpretation of nephesh, “and the man became living being.” (NASB same) You will notice that Genesis 2:7 makes it all too clear that Adam was not given a soul; he does not have a soul, but that he became a living soul, i.e., a living creature, a living being. Therefore, the “soul” is the person, the creature, the being, not what we have. This is born out when we look at the Hebrew Old Testament using a literal rendering.

By James G. Murphy and Edward D. Andrews


  • Edward D Andrews, BIBLE DIFFICULTIES: How to Approach Difficulties In the Bible, Christian Publishing House. 2020.
  • Edward D. Andrews, INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, Christian Publishing House, 2016.
  • Gleason L. Archer, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982).
  • Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., “Appearance,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988).
  • Hermann J. Austel, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999).
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003).
  • James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
  • John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, vol. 1-4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989).
  • John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  • Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).
  • Thomas Howe; Norman L. Geisler. Big Book of Bible Difficulties, The: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. Kindle Edition.
  • Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Chronology, Old Testament,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988).
  • W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996).



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[1] Or the generation of … The Greek word genesis is used in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) to render the Hebrew term tohledhohth, which generally has a similar meaning, denoting the history in numerous places within the book of Genesis, which is usually rendered “generations” in the Book of Genesis (ASV, ESV, LEB, NASB) or “history.” It is used as a heading to set up the historical account that is to follow. – Gen. 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1, 9; 37:2.

[2] The first occurrence of God’s personal name, יהוה (JHVH/YHWH), which is found in the Hebrew Old Testament 6,828 times.

[3] Or cultivate the ground

[4] Or spring

[5] “Man” occurs with the definite article (i.e., “the man” and indicates the noun is singular

[6] Heb., neshamah [“breath”] chaiyim [“of life”]

[1] Genealogy: (Heb. toledoth; Gr. genesis) Genesis literally means an “origin,” “line of descent,” or “birth,” which is translated “generation” (ASV), “genealogy” (UASV, ESV, NASB), “historical record” (LEB) in Matt. 1:1. The same Greek term genesis is used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew toledoth, which generally has the same meaning, denoting the history in numerous places within the book of Genesis. (Gen. 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1; 37:2). It is used as a heading to set up the historical account that is to follow. In other places within the Hebrew Scriptures, toledoth is used to refer to that which precedes its use.

[2] The first occurrence of God’s personal name, יהוה (JHVH/YHWH), which is found in the Hebrew Old Testament 6,828 times.

[3] The title Elohim preceded by the definite article ha, giving the expression ha Elohim.

[4]. See also Psalm 46:11; 48:1, 8.

[5]. John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Salem: Sheffield, 1975), 22–23.

[6] . G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends (New York: T. & T. Clark, 1971), 70-72.

[7]. For example, see the “Stele of Ikhernofret” in James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955, pp. 329–30.

[8]. K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 424–5.

[9] Similarly, Livingston has pointed out that the cognate West Semitic divine names il and ya(w) appear to be interchangeable in the Eblaite tablets. (The Pentateuch in Its Cultural Environment, 224.)

[10]. Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus: The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 26–27.

[11]. Ibid., 27.

[12] “Jehovah God.” Heb., Yehwah Elohim.

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