About mist and cultivating fields (Genesis 2:4-6ff)
Genesis 2:4 “turns up the focus in the microscope” to a higher intensity and zooms in on a specific portion of the “previous paragraph” (Genesis 1:1 -2:3). Genesis 2:4 is “the statement” and the verses that follow are “hooked on” to that statement with the Hebrew letter “vav” (“and”). Keep in mind that in Hebrew the noun comes first, then the adjectives that describe the noun. So as you read each sentence think “subject first” and then “description of subject.”
Pre- and post-Flood agriculture
So what would be the difference between a mist watering the ground and rain watering the ground as it relates to cultivating fields? A mist happens every day, but rain is seasonal. If you had a daily mist as your water source that you could count on and no extreme seasons, you could harvest things all year round. On the other hand, rain is seasonal, so you have to plant before the seasonal rains, and you have to harvest during the dry season, so in that case you are under pressure because timing is critical. In verse 5 the key word is “all,” because after the Flood, the process of cultivating plants for food would have gone to a whole new level. Many of the food plants probably grew wild in their native soils before the Flood, and didn’t necessarily have to be “farmed.”
One thing that would have been different, is if the earth was “hyperbaric” as the fossil record indicates, then the weeds (thorns, thistles, etc. Gen 3:18) would have been enormous! It would have been a struggle as Noah’s Dad’s prophesy indicates. Genesis 5:29 from the Hebrew reads
And he calls et his name “Rest” (Noach) saying “This-one he comforts us from work ours and from painful-toil-of hands ours from the ground that [was] cursed [by] YAHWEH.”
Did it rain before the Flood? I don’t think so. See the following at Dr. Walt Brown’s website http://creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ210.html#wp4259334 Keep in mind that just one Giant Sequoia redwood tree puts out a swimming pool amount of water into the atmosphere every day, so if the earth had an abundance of trees, as the fossil record indicates, imagine the amount of moisture in the air.
Did they “flood irrigate” before the Flood? It sounds like they did because one of the ways the Flood of Noah is described in the Hebrew is “The floodgates of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). Apparently, beside the daily mist, they also learned to ‘flood irrigate’ as part of the cultivation of fields. If for no other reason, consider this: Rice is a crop that is planted in a flooded field.
Today, because we are dependent on rain & snow (frozen rain!) we’re still learning new ways to “cultivate” fields. My Dad, who lives in the outback of Australia, uses a drip system invented by the Israelis (last century) in order to grow his garden. Recently I was over at a friend’s house and she was showing me her huge garden plot. She has so much room, she gave a couple rows to some other friends to farm. The other friends put a rock next to each plant, and a whole bunch of rocks around the onions. I had never heard of such a thing, so I asked why? Apparently in Israel before the drip system was invented, a rock was placed by each plant, if they were farming in the desert, so that the dew would condensate on the rock and then soak into the ground around the plant. The rock also sheltered the young plants and provided some radiant heat at night. (That’s one of those things you say “Huh!” to.) And as for the rocks around the onions? Well… my friend’s cat loves the smell of her onions, and insists on rolling in them… I guess the cat doesn’t like to roll around on rocks that are either hot or wet!
Apparently there were no deserts before the Flood. If the earth was tilted on its axis, then there had to be seasons, although seasons aren’t mentioned until the last verse in Genesis chapter 8. (They aren’t mentioned in the Creation account in Genesis 1 in the Hebrew Text, despite what the English Texts say. The word instead is “mō-ă-deem” which is the Hebrew word for specific holidays like Passover or Hanukkah.) Apparently, if there were seasons, they weren’t extreme. I have been told that in fossilized wood, some of them have tree rings and some do not. That would be an indication to me that there were seasons before the Flood. [The following pictures are of petrified wood found at the Ginko Petrified Forest Interpretive Center in Vantage, Washington. They were buried under lava flows. However, that doesn’t mean that they are pre-Flood. They could have grown right after the Flood and then were later buried in the lava flows. I don’t know enough about them yet to decide one way or the other. They are found in an area along the Columbia River Gorge. Notice how one of them has tree rings and the other one doesn’t. ]
Here’s something else to think about: Genesis chapter 3:8 in the Hebrew Text says that there was a breezy time of day. In the English Bibles it says the “cool” of the day. But the word in Hebrew is “ruach” which means “wind” or “spirit.” [In Hebrew the Holy Spirit is known as the “Ruach ha kodesh” (Lit. “Spirit the Holy”).] Where I live, the breeze begins when the light of the sun appears, creating a heat exchange between things lit up and what’s still in the shadows of the mountains. After a while everything evens out and then the rest of the day depends on the jet streams above us. In the pre-Flood topography, if there was a daily mist rising up, what would be the triggers for heat exchanges? I collect and study ocean floor maps. The story they tell indicates that there was a lot more dry land before the Flood, and the oceans were smaller. How would that affect the jet streams? There had to have been some kind of air movement systems before the Flood, because otherwise the air would have become stagnant. Also it takes the wind to pollinate some trees and grass lands. (Recently I saw the wind pick up and then start blowing through a tree below my house, exit that tree with a cloud of yellow pollen, and then blow through the next tree! It was profound to watch!)
Ok, let’s go back to verses 5 and 6. It’s describing the whole earth in general. It was in a “wild state” to begin with. There weren’t cultivated fields, because there was only one man and one woman and they were in an enclosed garden, and that was the only place where any sort of cultivation was going on.
“Genesis” of Adam
Now we’re going to go to verses 7 through 9 and then we are going to skip over to verse 15 because we’ve already dealt with the verses concerning the Rivers of Eden in the previous segment.
God is practical. There were some things about that garden that needed the man’s help. The soil had to be worked in order for the plants to grow to their best potential. The garden was an enclosed area. It needed protection from hungry critters and their hoofs & body weight. For some reason the snakes could still get in there. The garden had to be in a zone where fruit trees of every description could be grown, from bananas, mangoes, and coconuts to apples, plums and grapes…so there must have been a variety of mini-environmental systems within the garden, with the help of the water, and a mountain (Ezekiel 28:13-16). It was a place on the surface of the earth in the land of Eden…It wasn’t located in Heaven, as some have thought.
OK, so if Adam is in a garden, in an enclosed area, and God is about to create some animals that He will allow in that enclosed area, which animals do you think He is going to make inside of that garden? [Most of us assume that when God brought the animals to Adam to name, that it was every single animal that God ever created, but is that what the Hebrew Text says?]
This verse says that it was the animals that live in the field. I have one of those next door. The kind of critters I’ve seen in that field, and others like it are llamas, sheep, cattle, goats, horses, donkeys, deer, elk, one moose, foxes, skunks, coyotes, rabbits, mice, snakes, and ground squirrels that behave like prairie dogs. That’s about 16 different animals. Some of them are characterized with straight legged mobility. They stand on all four legs and lower their heads to eat grass. That is the “behemah” classification in Hebrew. [The long necked dinosaur described in Job 40:15 also fits into that category. When you break down the word, it means “in-the-everywhere.” Probably when Adam saw that first long necked dinosaur with its long, long tail he exclaimed “It’s in the everywhere!” and so he named it “Behemoth.” The question is, “Although it ate grass like an ox, did it hang out in the fields, or in the wet lands with the moose?”]
There’s also another classification for mobility called “remes” which is the ability to creep. Cats, dogs, foxes, skunks, squirrels, lizards all have the ability to creep. It doesn’t specify that category here. Instead it says “all living the field.” Maybe that also included snakes, earth worms, grasshoppers, lady bugs, bees, yellow jackets, etc.
As for the type of birds that hang out in local fields around here, that would include chickens, geese, pigeons, robins, magpies, crows, finches, sparrows, swallows. blue birds, eagles, hawks, meadow larks, and turkeys.
Only 35 critters would be a lot to name in one day! In Adam’s day there may have been many more field types.
One last thought: Adam was looking for a “critter” corresponding to him. Monkeys, as far as I know, don’t live in fields, and they certainly aren’t considered as “livestock”! So what do you think? Do you think he named any monkeys on Day 6?