“I was talking to my sister and she raised an issue about Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 that I had no way to answer,” said my friend. “My sister said that Genesis has two creation stories and that was one reason why she is skeptical of scripture. I read the accounts and knew there was an answer for such, but I just did not know how to answer.” Well my friend was right; there is an answer to this argument. When one reads the accounts, it appears that my friend’s sister is on to something, but when one really reads and studies this, we find that there is more to this than meets the eye and the evidence does not support the two creation story theory.

Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe address this theory in their text, The Big Book of Bible Difficulties. They point out that Genesis one is a chronological narrative describing the actual order of God’s creation. (Geisler and Howe, 1992, 35). Conversely Genesis 2 is concerned with detailing some additional facts about God’s creation (Geisler and Howe, 1992, 35).

Geisler and Howe explain the apparent discrepancy in the following manner,

“Genesis 2 does not contradict chapter 1, since it does not affirm exactly when God     created the animals. He simply says He brought the animals (which He had previously     created) to Adam so that he might name them. The focus in chapter 2 is on the naming of the animals, not on creating them. (Geisler and Howe, 1992, 35).”

Bible scholar Gleason Archer points out that when one looks at these two chapters in Genesis, he will find chapter 2 provides more specific details about certain aspects of God’s creation, but one cannot say such represents a chronological creation narrative because it lacks the common elements that are commonly present in creation narratives from this period of time. (Archer, 1982, 69). In order to correctly understand Genesis 1and 2, one must read them in proper context understanding that Genesis 2 builds on the chronological narrative of Genesis 1 defeating the argument advocating that there are  two creation stories (Archer, 1982, 69).

So going back to my friend’s conundrum, she was right. There are not two creation stories in Genesis. As the above cited experts point out, there is one chronological creation story and one that provides additional information about such. Now instead of feeling ill-equipped to deal with this challenge, she now has the information need to effectively explain this to her sister.

Grace and Peace.

One Comment

  1. Judy
    Thanks, Mike!

    Chadwick Walenga
    I always read the Genesis 1 account of creation as poetry. In the Hebrew there is a syncopation and rhythm to it that is much more poetic than it is literal. Kind of the opening musical number to a stage production if you will. It is calling the reader to settle in for something magnificent to come… which would be more of the literal account found it chapter two.

    I would not dare treat poetry as literal and technical… and I don’t believe the Bible writers would want us to.

    With that said… I would agree that two creation stories are not being presented… but rather one story… each told with a different function. One poetic… one more technical.

    Sid Salcido
    One other option to this dilemma is this: could it be possible that chapter two of Genesis is describing God creating within the GARDEN of Eden, while chapter one described the creation of the whole world.

    If that is the case, then it is possible that God simply created animals in the Garden which were like those outside the garden so when Adam named them, he would identify them outside the Garden after the fall. Then you don’t necessarily have to change the wording order in that case.

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