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1) Gen 2:4–6: Here the focus shifts from a cosmic view of creation in which God formed the world for his glory alone, with humanity as his final creative act of self-glorification, to an account of creation in which the Lord is near, living together with Adam in paradise.[1]

In each of the ten instances in Genesis where the phrase “These are the generations of” occurs, Moses switched to a new topic describing what or who came forth (eg. Gen 4:25–5:3; Gen 6:7–10Gen 9:28–10:1).

Consequently, this section does not describe the process of creating the heavens and the earth, but rather what they propagated.[2]

Therefore, a good translation of v. 4a is, “Here is what became of the heavens and the earth.”[3]

Much as in v. 6, the Sumerian myth Enki and Ninhursag says of the patron goddess of paradise’s father, “From the mouth whence issues the water of the earth, [he] brought her sweet water from the earth…makes her city drink from it the waters of abundance.”[4]

People did not yet work the ground to create irrigation canals,[5] which were like the ones used in Egypt even today.[6]

Image via Wikimedia Commons


a) Read Gen 2:4–6. What clue do we have that Gen 2 depicts what the heavens and the earth propagated, rather than how God created them? Why wasn’t agriculture taking place?



Go to The Lord Breathes Life (Gen 2:7)

[Related posts include In the Beginning of God’s Creating (Gen 1:1–2); Made in the Image of God (Gen 1:26 cont.); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); God Evaluates His Creation (Gen 1:31); The Lord Breathes Life (Gen 2:7); A Well-Watered Garden (Gen 2:8–14); Ancient Near Eastern Genealogies (Gen 5:1); In the Likeness of God (Gen 5:1–2); Author and Date of Genesis; and Ancient Literature]

[Click here to go to Chapter 5: A View from the Ground (Genesis 2:4–25)]


[1] Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 71–2.

[2] Hamilton, Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 152.

[3]Dr. Sarah Hall, personal communication (18 March 2015).

[4] S. N. Kramer, trans., “Enki and Ninhursag: A Paradise Myth,” in ANET, lines 557, 38.

[5]E. A. Zaghoul, et al., “Detection of Ancient Irrigation Canals of Deir El-Hagar Playa, Dakhla Oasis, Egypt, Using Egyptsat-1 Data,” The Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Science 16, no. 2 (December 2013): 153–61,

[6]Tour Egypt, “Egypt Picture – Water Buffalo Assists with Irrigation,”