Genesis 1:1-2:3 forms a prologue to the book of Genesis which describes the creation of the heavens and the earth. The remainder of the book is divided into sections with the phrase “these are the generations of . . . .” These section heading act as a hinge. The named person is typically the subject of the preceding section and what follows recounts the genealogy or the “historical developments arising out of” from that person in his seed. In this case we are told the historical developments that arise out of the creation of the heavens and the earth. In fact, there is a literal sense in which man is generated from the earth, for God forms him from the dust of the ground.
The reversal of heavens and earth to “earth and heavens” occurs only here and in Psalm 148:13. McCabe notes, “By reversing the normal order of heaven and earth, attention is shifted to focus “on what happened on the earth after the creation of man, particularly in the garden.” Bartholomew notes there is a progression here from Genesis 1: “Narratively, therefore, the move from Genesis 1 to 2, rather than indicating a juxtaposition of two unrelated sources, involves a movement of progressive implacement culminating in the planting of Eden as the specific place in which the earthlings Adam and Eve will dwell."
One interesting fact about the land theme in Genesis 2 is the diversity of words used for land in the chapter. Genesis 1 primarily used the term אֶ֫רֶץ, whereas Genesis 2 uses אֶ֫רֶץ (earth, land), אֲדָמָה (ground), and שָׂדֶה (field).
From 2:5 onward אֶ֫רֶץ is probably best translated land rather than earth. In 2:5-8 it probably refers to the land of Eden. The interpretation of these verses is disputed, but the most likely interpretation is as follows. In the land of Eden no plants of the kind that grow in cultivated fields were yet growing. The primary reason for this lack of growth is the absence of a man to work the ground. In connection with this, the Lord made this land of the sort where rainfall does not supply the water for growth. In this land an inundation from water that springs up from the ground (in this case, probably the river mentioned later in the chapter) provides the water. But this inundation needs a man to manage it if it is to be beneficial for growing these plants. These verses thus expand on the teaching of Genesis 1:28 by providing a concrete instance of the kind of dominion man is to exercise over the earth.
Verse 7 indicates that the man who is to cultivate the ground is himself made from the ground. There is a play on words here between man (אָדָם) and ground (אֲדָמָה). As Wenham notes, “He was created from it; his job is to cultivate it (2:5, 15); and on death he returns to it (3:19).” The point seems to be that God made man in a way that intimately connected him with the ground, thus emphasizing the role that God has given to man to cultivate the ground.
Once the cultivator is created God plants a garden in Eden and causes trees to grow from the ground (2:8-9). In this context, the two trees are introduced, which are trees either of a blessing or of a curse (2:9; cf. 2:16).
Verses 10-14 provide a geography lesson. But this is a geography lesson with a theological point. It continues the second chapter’s expansion of the creation blessing. Up to this point Moses has emphasized Adam’s dominion in the garden, but 2:10-14 looks to possibilities beyond the garden. God never intended of human dominion to be limited to the garden; he intended for man to “fill the earth” (1:28). The river that provided water for garden (2:6, 10) also provides the highways into the lands beyond Eden. This river is uniquely suited for transporting people to lands beyond the garden. All other rivers grow larger as tributaries flow into it. But this river is unity as it flows into the garden from Eden and divides in the garden into four rivers that flow out into various lands. In addition these lands have other resources that that humans will harness that will extend their dominion beyond gardening. Kidner notes, “There is a hint of the cultural development intended for man when the narrative momentarily (10-14) breaks out of Eden to open up a vista into a world of diverse countries and resources. The digression, overstepping the bare details that locate the garden, discloses that there is more than primitive simplicity in store for the race: a complexity of unequally distributed skills and peoples, even if the reader knows the irony of it in the tragic connotations of the words ‘gold,’ ‘Assyria,’ ‘Euphrates.’”
Verses 15-16 wrap up this first section of chapter 2 by returning to the themes of dominion over the garden and of the blessing and cursing that stands before mankind in the two trees in the midst of the garden. The remainder of the chapter focuses on finding a helper fit for Adam. Genesis 2:4- 25 are thus a chapter length expansion on Genesis 1:28, with its themes of land, seed, and blessing. The first part of the chapter centers on exercising dominion over the earth, the last part centers on the wife necessary for man to be fruitful and multiply, and embedded in the middle are the trees that will bring blessing or cursing.
 Robert V. McCabe, "A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Account (Part 2 of 2), Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, 11, no. 1 (Fall 2006): 73.
 Albert M. Wolters, Creation Regained, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 43.
 Ibid.; Young, E. J. “The Days of Genesis: First Article.” Westminster Theological Journal 25, no. 1 (November 1962): 18.
 McCabe, 74; cf. Bartholomew, 24.
 Bartholomew, 25.
 שָׂדֶה does not always refer to cultivated fields, but it often does and this seems the best meaning in this context, which stresses the need for a man to cultivate the ground so that the plants mentioned will grow.
 Alan Jacobs aptly captures how a garden exemplifies human dominion over the earth in a way that brings God glory. “The gardener makes nothing, but rather gathers what God has made and shapes it into new and pleasing forms. The well-designed garden shows nature more clearly and beautifully than nature can show itself.” Alan Jacobs, “Gardening and Governing,” Books and Culture (March/April 2009): 18.
 Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary, ed. David A. Hubbard (Waco: Word, 1987), 59. Of course, the death aspect only comes into view with sin.
 I am indebted to Bryan Smith for this idea.
 Derek Kidner, Genesis, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, ed. D. J. Wiseman (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1967), 61.