Fertility and Resurrection

“The entire picture is dominated by negatives,” writes Bruce Naidoff [1]. Genesis 2:5 describes only what is not:

No wild plant of the field was yet in the land
No cultivated field plant had yet sprung up

The reason for such infertility is then provided:

for Yahweh God had not caused it to rain on the land,
and there was no man to work the ground.

 Two things are lacking, without which life will not permeate the land – rain sent by God, and man (adam) to work the ground (adamah). Sooner or later, rain is sent by God [2]; in the next verse we see the creation of man from the infertile ground:

then Yahweh God formed the man (adam) of dust from the ground (adamah) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (v. 6)

Why the creation of man? Nomen est omen! The infertile adamah required a gardener, and what better gardener for the adamah than an adam, one who was “intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psa. 139:15b)? Just as no better helper for the man can be found than the one built out of his side (Gen. 2:21-23), so no better servant of the ground can be found than one formed from her own substance.

It is by design that Christ should be raised by God out of the earth in the early days of Spring, when creation is yearning to be fertile again. When we celebrate the work of God in bringing to life a man from the ground and rejoice in the new life that permeates the land, we should say, “This is what was intended from the beginning. This is how it should be.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him… (John 20:15a)


[1] B.D. Naidoff, “A Man to Work the Soil: A New Interpretation of Genesis 2-3,” JSOT 5 (1978), p. 4.

[2] For the view that the provision of rain is given in Genesis 2:6, see M. Futato, “Because it had Rained: A Study of Gen 2:5-7 with Implications for Gen 2:4-25 and Gen 1:1–2:3,” WTJ 60 (1998): 1-21, and M. Rogland, “Interpreting ED in Genesis 2.5-6: Neglected Rabbinic and Intertextual Evidence,” JSOT 34 (2010): 379-393. cf. Deuteronomy 11:14-15.

Published in: on April 5, 2015 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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