Gen 2:8 NKJV – The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
Gen 2:9 NKJV – And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life [was] also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
An interesting piece to not throughout these passages is the change to the use of the term “LORD God”
LORD: Lots of stuff in this word. This is a VERY loaded word to use, and there have been books and whole lives spent wrestling with this. Since verse 4, this is the reference term for the creator. Until this point, only the term God had been used.
This word can appear in scripture many ways, with subtle difference, and yet those subtle things make ALL the difference. Literally right here, whole religions differ about this, primarily Jews and Christians. They may both use the term in their bibles, however they will not say the actual word.
In case anyone is reading this, and they are coming from the traditional, rabbinic Jewish practice, this might be VERY offensive/shocking
This simple string of 4 Hebrew letters has been the cause of turmoil, reverence, and death for people over close to 2200 years. Why?
This is a NAME (in Hebrew “shem”), not a title. This is the NAME of the Creator. Later in Torah/Tanakh we will read that the creator reveals this to someone, and it is very profound.
In rabbinic practice, the word Adonai, or Hashem is substituted for this word. They simply WONT say this name out loud, and when they write it, if they ever do, it is done in such a way (in their opinion) as to keep from making it common or profane in any way.
At this point in my studies, I can only encourage you to stop and pray and seek about this very issue. There are things to be learned and to be experienced that come simply from this one word, this name of the creator. Here are some basic things:
- Pronunciation: The best approximates are Yehovah (Yah-Ho-Vah) or Yahweh (Yah-Way/Yah-Vey). The knowledge of how to say this name has been lost since 200-300 BCE. The term Yah is a poetic reference to the name Yehovah, kind of like a special way to say it.
- Name vs Title: God is a title, Yehovah is a name. Its one thing to worship “a god” or someTHING and it’s a whole other thing to worship someONE. Names meant something in Hebrew culture, they still do. The whole idea of using your name, or giving your name, carries with it the idea of YOU.
- Meaning: There are lots oe people debating this still. I think the best summation is the term “I Am”. To go slightly deeper, with the interpretation of the verbs etc… it could be “I was, I am, I will be what I Am”. This is a profound, multi-layered context for the Creator.
***In my limited experience, the best resource you can get is to watch and read work done by Nehemia Gordon, as well as Keith Johnson about this topic. There is a mix of resources, but as you learn (prayerfully!) I hope you will have the same profound experience as I have had the last few years.
How does the person telling the creation account know this name? Why the change? We don’t know (at this point). It implies that this is retrospective. As well, the tone is different. The narrator changes from just the title, to the name once the story talks about making humanity.
Garden: This has an interesting element of being enclosed, a wall around it. As well, it can be used as a term (figuratively) of a bride, or a virgin/chaste woman. This is a place of purity, holiness, and life.
Eastward: Keep this direction in mind as we progress through scripture. The East is a significant direction in regards to several things coming.
Eden: This means pleasure and something special
Man was NOT created IN the garden, but in Eden, an area. Mankind was created outside it, then placed inside it after mankind was formed. This garden that was in Eden was a place to live, grow, develop, but wasn’t the “womb” itself, or the place where mankind was literally formed. Mankind was formed from/in the earth, the “dust”, and then placed in a luxurious sounding lace.
From this ground, meaning the garden, God caused every pleasing tree to spring up. These things are characterized as being pleasant to the eye, and good for food. Interestingly, Yah cause this to spring up from the “ground”, the adamah, same word and substance of mankind itself. I believe this can easily point to a metaphorical connection. Yah intended to do with mankind what had been done in Eden. A pleasing delightful creation. To go even further, is there a connection to mankind (metaphorically) being a source of food/nourishment in some way?
There are 2 specific trees mentioned here
Tree of Life: The words are literal and direct. Life, living, expressive etc…
Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil: Knowledge here is literal understanding, perception, awareness. Good is the same as good a few words earlier. Pleasing, Agreeable, Glad, Agreeable… truly an overall picture of good things. Evil is literal, bad, displeasing, disagreeable, no value etc…
The key here is the KNOWLEDGE of it. The awareness of it. Apparently until someone eats these thing, what they describe isn’t a component of humanity.