Brothers and sisters put on your full armor of God because we are about to go for a wild ride in apologetics. The following quote, found on the Internet, presents a smarmy interpretation of the creation story found in Genesis.
Most people don’t realize it, but there are two (yes, count ’em TWO) different and contradictory stories of Creation in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. The first story runs from Genesis 1:1 thru Genesis 2:3; the second story picks up at Genesis 2:4 and runs to the end of the chapter at Genesis 2:25.
In the first story, Creation takes six days and man (and woman) are created last after all the plants and animals are created. In the second story, Creation takes one day, man is created first, then all the plants and animals are created, and finally woman is created.
Warning: Most Creationist’s faith is not actually very strong – learning that the Bible has serious internal contradictions may lead to their ill-being – use this knowledge with caution! And the next time a Creationist tries to foist some Intelligent Design poppycock on you, ask them if the world was created as described in Genesis; then ask ’em “which version?”
Christian, do you know how contemptible you are in the eyes of the world?
Okay, let’s examine the creation account to see if it is, in fact, contradictory. Here is the complete text of Genesis 1:1 – Genesis 2:25.
The first thing we have to understand is that Scripture is the inspired revelation of God, but it was chronicled by human hands reflecting not only the personality of the author, but also the literary style of the culture. Ancient Semitic literature commonly utilized the method of recapitulation, or summarizing (often restating) what had previously been written.
In short, the creation story in chapter one is a chronological presentation (Days 1-7), while the account in chapter two details the central purpose of God’s handiwork, that is, the creation of man on Day 6.
To the casual reader, or one who is predisposed to finding Scriptural errors, it might appear that there are contradictory accounts — some will assert multiple authors.
Jean Astruc, a 19th century French physician, claimed that Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch, but that the first five books of the Bible were a compilation of several authors identified only by the letters “J”, “E”, “P” and “D”.
“P” (a priestly author) supposedly penned the chapter one creation story prior to (or during) the Babylonian captivity (ca. 586 BC), while the second account was written 300 years earlier by a divine author, “J” (Jehovah).
This is nothing more than a far-fetched liberal attempt to cast doubt on Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch, and to undermine the credibility of the Genesis account.
Let’s now examine the specifics. In Genesis 1:11, God created vegetation — literally, let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees …
This was the third day before God created man. But in Genesis 2:5 we read that no shrub or plant had sprung up prior to the creation of man. What are we to do with this seemingly awkward discrepancy? Somehow we must reconcile what clearly appears to be a valid contradiction.
Quite simply, the chronological account (Days 1-7) ends at the beginning of chapter two. (Be mindful that chapter breaks were inserted by translators.) Beginning, then, at Genesis 2:4 is the recapitulation of the creation story:
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the (proverbial) day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
In summary, this is the detailed history of God’s creation.
Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground (Genesis 2:5).
That concurs with the chronological record. There was, at first, nothing — no vegetation, no rain upon the earth and no man to till the soil.
But a mist rose up from the earth and watered the ground (Genesis 2:6).
This verse is the transitional key to unlock the meaning of chapter two. The necessary presumption is that vegetation then sprouted from the irrigated land.
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
Again, the account concurs with the chronological record, as the succeeding verses provide additional details about the Garden of Eden and the creation of Eve which were not disclosed in chapter one.
We have, then, not a contradiction but a clarification of the creation story.
There is only one remaining disagreement found in Genesis 2:19:
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
But didn’t God create animals before man in Genesis 1:24-26?
Remember, now, that chapter two is not a chronology, in the strictest sense, but a recapitulation. William Tyndale (1494–1536) was the first Bible scholar to edit an English translation directly from the Hebrew and Greek text. He noted that the Hebrew usage of formed ( וַיִּצֶר֩, way·yî·ṣer) should be interpreted in the pluperfect rather than perfect tense so that the verse should read (as it does in the Tyndale Bible, the NIV and ESV):
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky.
So we understand the verse to mean that God brought to Adam the animals He had made in order for man to give them a name.
Consider, finally, that vegetation in chapter one does not exclusively refer to farmable plants. Referring to the 1917 translation of the Tanakh by the Jewish Publication Society we see that the Hebrew word that is translated vegetation (דֶּ֔שֶׁא, de·še) literally means grass. Whereas, in context of the Garden of Eden in chapter two, we find that the wording there refers to cultivated plants.
It is often claimed that Genesis 1 and 2 contain two different creation-narratives. In point of fact, however, the strictly complementary nature of the “two” accounts is plain enough: Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the centre of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting (i.e., the Garden of Eden). There is no incompatible duplication here at all. Failure to recognize the complementary nature of the subject-distinction between a skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand, and the concentration in detail on man and his immediate environment on the other, borders on obscurantism. 
Critics have other issues with these passages of which you should be aware. They nitpick that Elohim (God) is used in chapter one while Jehovah (Yahweh) is used in chapter two. Not really an issue when you consider there are 16 names for “God” in the Hebrew Bible each reflecting a specific trait or character of the Holy One of Israel.
This has been a difficult and tedious study in the Book of Genesis that I hope has strengthened your faith in the word of God, and equipped you to defend the Bible against a deluge of lies and deception.
I pray that you have a desire to go deeper into Scripture to uncover those hidden truths which can only be known by those who are called by His name.
1. Ancient Orient and Old Testament, Kenneth Kitchen, pp. 116-117, (London: Tyndale, 1966).
Are There Two Creation Accounts in Genesis?, Wayne Jackson, M.A., Copyright © 1991 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Two Creation Accounts?, Paul F. Taylor, Answers in Genesis, June 15, 2009.
Do Genesis 1 and 2 Contradict Each Other?, Tim Chaffey, Answers in Genesis, September 3, 2010.
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