Correlations With Providence In Genesis 2 -- By: Vern Sheridan Poythress

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 78:1 (Spring 2016)
Article: Correlations With Providence In Genesis 2
Author: Vern Sheridan Poythress

Correlations With Providence In Genesis 2

Vern S. Poythress

Vern S. Poythress is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary.

In an earlier article I put forward the principle that we could best understand Gen 1 by using correlations between creation and providence.1 Let us explore the same principle with Gen 2.

God’s acts of creation cannot be equated with his later acts of providence, but there are analogies between the two, which enables us to understand the acts of creation. The analogies deal with aspects of providence that can be observed by ordinary people, including Israelites in the ancient Near Eastern context and contemporary people in non-modern cultures. Such analogies are available to us as well, and awareness of them may help us to avoid improperly reading in modern scientific assumptions when we interpret Gen 1–2.

I. Interpreting Correlations In Genesis 2:4–25

We may now explore in detail how these principles work for Gen 2. My earlier article discussed Gen 1:1–2:3. So in this article we continue from Gen 2:4 onward. As with the preceding article, we will leave most issues of interpretation to commentaries,2 and focus only on the correlations between Gen 2:2–25 and providence.

1. Genesis 2:4

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. (v. 4)3

The expression “these are the generations” introduces the first of a number of sections of genealogical history in the Book of Genesis.4 It is succeeded by

analogous headings, such as “This is the book of the generations of Adam” (5:1) and “these are the generations of Noah” (6:9). It is clearly an expression that uses analogy, since the heavens and the earth do not father (“beget,” “generate”) children in the same way that human beings do.

The first section of generations, extending from ...

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