The Events of Creation Day Six
by Gary Patterson, April 30, 2015: Genesis 1:24-2:22, NIV
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens — and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground — the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Taken from Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 46 to 51
After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them “there was not found an help meet for him.” Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.
God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him”—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one.”
God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. “Marriage is honorable;” it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” Everything that God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing seemed wanting that could contribute to the happiness of the holy pair; yet the Creator gave them still another token of His love, by preparing a garden especially for their home. In this garden were trees of every variety, many of them laden with fragrant and delicious fruit. There were lovely vines, growing upright, yet presenting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping under their load of tempting fruit of the richest and most varied hues. It was the work of Adam and Eve to train the branches of the vine to form bowers, thus making for themselves a dwelling from living trees covered with foliage and fruit. There were fragrant flowers of every hue in rich profusion. In the midst of the garden stood the tree of life, surpassing in glory all other trees. Its fruit appeared like apples of gold and silver, and had the power to perpetuate life.
The creation was now complete. “The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The mysteries of the visible universe—“the wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge” —afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged men’s study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters to the insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature and habits of all.
Taken from Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1, page 226
Adam was to study these animals and to engage in the important exercise of giving appropriate names to them, for which task he would require an understanding of them and their habits. This would qualify him or, perhaps, prove him qualified to rule over them. At the same time he would become aware of the family life they enjoyed and so his own lack of companionship. Recognizing also that God had created him infinitely higher than the animals, he would realize that he could not choose a companion from them. If the formation of woman was to meet fully the purpose of the Creator, Adam must come to feel his need of companionship – that “it was not good,” in other words, that he should remain alone.
He was introduced thus to the natural sciences, and by naming the animals began his dominion over them.
God Himself solemnized the first marriage.
Creation of land animals (avian and marine creatures were created previously). Genesis 1:24 and 25.
Creation of man. Genesis 1:26 to Genesis 2:7.
Man held converse with the plants and studied the nature, family and habits of all living creatures, learning natural sciences from the study, thus qualifying him to name them. Genesis 2:19 and 20; Patriarchs and Prophets, page 51; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1, page 226.
Man appointed ruler over all living creatures. Genesis 1:26.
Man recognizes that there is no companion for himself and experiences a sense of incompleteness. Patriarchs and Prophets, page 46; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1, page 226.
Companion created. Genesis 1:27, and Genesis 2:21 and 22.
God introduces the man and woman, performs the marriage and gives instructions. Genesis 1:28 and 29; Patriarchs and Prophets, page 46; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1, page 226.
God places the man in the garden and instructs him. Genesis 2:15 to 17.
Creation is completed in time for the initiation of the first Sabbath on the seventh day. Genesis 1:21 to Genesis 2:1; Patriarchs and Prophets, page 47.
Is it plausible to assume that all these events could be accomplished in one literal, contiguous 24-hour day?
Should we place technical language in fundamental beliefs that is not contained in the scriptural record?
Dr. Gary Patterson is a retired pastor and church administrator who served in the officer group at both the General Conference and the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Earlier in his career he was senior pastor of some large congregations (including Collegedale, Tennessee) and a conference president in both the North Pacific Union Conference and the Southern Union Conference.