Skip to comments.Genesis contradictions?
Posted on 12/29/2015 7:13:32 AM PST by GonzoII
In Genesis chapter 2 the order of creation seems to be different to that in chapter 1 with the animals being created (2:19) after Adam (2:7). Doesn't the Bible contradict itself here?
Between the creation of Adam and the creation of Eve, the KJV/AV Bible says (Genesis 2:19) 'out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air'. On the surface, this seems to say that the land beasts and birds were created between Adam and Eve. However, Jewish scholars apparently did not recognize any such conflict with the account in chapter 1, where Adam and Eve were both created after the beasts and birds (Genesis 1:23-25). Why is this? Because in Hebrew the precise tense of a verb is determined by the context. It is clear from chapter 1 that the beasts and birds were created before Adam, so Jewish scholars would have understood the verb 'formed' in (Genesis 2:19 to mean 'had formed' or 'having formed'. If we translate verse 19 as follows (as one widely used translation1 does), 'Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field ...', the apparent disagreement with Genesis 1 disappears completely.
The question also stems from the wrong assumption that the second chapter of Genesis is just a different account of creation to that in chapter 1. It should be evident that chapter 2 is not just 'another' account of creation because chapter 2 says nothing about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the atmosphere, the seas, the land, the sun, the stars, the moon, the sea creatures, etc. Chapter 2 mentions only things directly relevant to the creation of Adam and Eve and their life in the garden God prepared specially for them. Chapter 1 may be understood as creation from God's perspective; it is 'the big picture', an overview of the whole. Chapter 2 views the more important aspects from man's perspective.
Genesis 2:4 says, 'These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens'. This marks a break with chapter 1. This phraseology next occurs in Genesis 5:1, where it reads 'This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man'.
'Generations' is a translation of the Hebrew word toledoth, which means 'origin' or 'record of the origin'. It identifies an account or record of events. The phrase was apparently used at the end of each section in Genesis2 identifying the patriarch (Adam, Noah, the sons of Noah, Shem, etc.) to whom it primarily referred, and possibly who was responsible for the record. There are 10 such divisions in Genesis.
Each record was probably originally a stone or clay tablet. There is no person identified with the account of the origin of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1-2:4), because it refers primarily to the origin of the whole universe, not any person in particular (Adam and Eve are not mentioned by name, for example). Also, only God knew the events of creation, so God had to reveal this, possibly to Adam who recorded it. Moses, as 'author' of Genesis, acted as a compiler and editor of the various sections, adding explanatory notes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The toledoths acknowledge the sources of the historical records Moses used. This understanding underlines the historical nature of Genesis and its status as eyewitness history, contrary to the defunct 'documentary (JEDP) hypothesis' still taught in many Bible colleges. [Ed. note: for a refutation of this fallacious and anti-Christian theory, see Did Moses really write Genesis?.]
The differences in the toledoth statements of Genesis 2:4 and 5:1 affirm that chapter 1 is the overview, the record of the origin of the 'heavens and earth' (2:4)-whereas chapter 2 is concerned with Adam and Eve, the detailed account of Adam and Eve's creation (5:1,2). The wording of 2:4 also suggests the shift in emphasis: in the first part of the verse it is 'heavens and earth' whereas in the end of the verse it is 'earth and heavens'. Scholars think that the first part of the verse would have been on the end of a clay or stone tablet recording the origin of the universe and the latter part of the verse would have been on the beginning of a second tablet containing the account of events on earth pertaining particularly to Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4b-5:1a).
Let us apply this understanding to another objection: some also see a problem with the plants and herbs in Genesis 2:5 and the trees in Genesis 2:9. We have already realized that Genesis 2 focuses on issues of direct import to Adam and Eve, not creation in general. Notice that the plants and herbs are described as 'of the field' in Genesis chapter 2 (compare 1:12) and they needed a man to tend them (2:5). These are clearly cultivated plants, not just plants in general. Also, the trees (2:9) are only the trees planted in the garden, not trees in general.
Genesis was written like many historical accounts with an overview or summary of events leading up to the events of most interest first, followed by a detailed account which often recaps relevant events in the overview in greater detail. Genesis 1, the 'big picture' is clearly concerned with the sequence of events. The events are in chronological sequence, with day 1, day 2, evening and morning, etc. The order of events is not the major concern of Genesis 2. In recapping events they are not necessarily mentioned in chronological order, but in the order which makes most sense to the focus of the account. For example, the animals are mentioned in verse 19, after Adam was created, because it was after Adam was created that he was shown the animals, not that they were created after Adam.
Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are not therefore separate contradictory accounts of creation. Chapter 1 is the 'big picture' and Chapter 2 is a more detailed account of the creation of Adam and Eve and day six of creation.
The final word on this matter, however, should really be given to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Matthew chapter 19, verses 4 and 5, the Lord is addressing the subject of marriage, and says: "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?"
Notice how in the very same statement, Jesus refers to both Genesis 1 (verse 27b: 'male and female he created them') and Genesis 2 (verse 24: 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.'). Obviously, by combining both in this way, He in no way regarded them as separate, contradictory accounts.
I was happy to find out my Douay Rheims had caught that subtle difference also:
And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam...
That's all you really have to know about this issue and the Holy Spirit, who wrote the Bible, will clarify it for anyone who is willing to be taught.
Jesus said God's words are spirit and life. He also said man's carnal mind cannot discern God's spirit. It takes a regenerated mind with the help of the Holy Spirit to read and understand the Bible the way God intended it to be understood.
Helpful teaching. Thank you for posting it.
Seeing The Bible as a “library” of information also aids its understanding.
Interesting website. Thank you.
The HUGE mistake that many people make is to take an English version of the Hebrew Bible and accept it (no pun intended) as gospel. No, it isn’t. It was written in Hebrew, which is a very complex language with many subtleties that get lost when translating it to other languages. Then it was translated into Greek; then to Latin and then to old English, and finally to the English that we speak, read and write today. MUCH understanding has been lost by the vast majority of the world, which doesn’t read or understand Hebrew (and doesn’t care to, for that matter).
Someone thinks that the set of questions posed in this article are new? Well, not quite, they’re only off by about 3,400 years. While I’m no scholar, I am about as certain as I can be of anything that this was discussed in detail in the Oral Torah (also called the Mishne Torah), which was given by G-d to Moses on Mt. Sinai (what do you think that he was doing up there for 40 days?), and that both the Torah and Oral Torah accounts of these events was discussed at great length over the course of over a thousand years by hundreds of great members of the Sanhedrin and great rabbis - all of whom spoke, read and wrote in fluent Hebrew.
In a college class long time ago we discussed this topic and the current theory then was Genesis was a composite of the same event as told by 3 different groups.
Another oddity is that God is addressed three ways, and parts of Genesis are often repeated under each different name. God, Lord, and Lord God.
But it’s been many many years.
After working take regular rest. Seventh day.
God has made a place for you, take care of it. Garden.
Learn about the other creatures of the world, it will teach you lessons you need to know. Unlike you the rest of the creatures have mates.
Be thankful to your creator who has given you a mate that you can become one with.
These are just a few of the things I see in chapter two. There are very likely others. It is not a repeat of the creation account as you have said.
This thread is another opportunity for us to re-visit the "Genesis 1 vs Genesis 2 'Adam & Eve'" conversation we were having a month or so ago -- and which I, for my own reasons, truncated.
Did you realize that there is no contradictions at all, in any way, between every sequence of every step in Chapter I Genesis and today’s modern physics version?
Even to today’s snakes evolving/being formed last - after all other creatures. The nuclear physics is right, the planetary formation is right, the geology is right, the biology and the formation of life is right.
Yes, God brought the animals to Adam .. and Adam named all the animals.
Awesome. God did not create dumb animals, or a dummy human either.
Unless you're reading a really antiquated translation, it's translated at least "with reference to" the original languages.
But honestly, you're right. It's worse than you describe, in fact. If you've ever done any translations of any text (Biblical or otherwise) with any complexity to it ... you know it's a very messy business. The plays on words, idioms, and word connotations in one language are impossible to carry over into another.
I like your insights.
If God says that he created the heaven and the earth, and all therein, in 6 days, so be it.
Which is harder, doing that, or making a completely dead body (every last cell dead) alive again?
I have a 61 yr old brain. Just the massive audio/video storage ability is amazing, let alone the other capabilities. God can restore all of that memory, even after that brain has been totally and completely dead for days. Contrary to the doctors opinion of when death takes place; you are dead when the blood is dead.
God’s creation is a miracle to us, but, routine for God. His ways are simply past finding out.
Quote-MUCH understanding has been lost by the vast majority of the world, which doesnât read or understand Hebrew..
I saw a study that differentiated the Hebrew ‘man’ used in Genesis 1 with ‘the man’ that is used in Genesis 2.
It would denote a specific man in Genesis 2 as opposed to all mankind.
And their claim was ‘the man’ ,Adam, was created on the 3rd day, before all the animals and before all the rest of ‘mankind’. Hence dominion over.
Created the same day the earth brought forth vegetation, which is recorded as His 3rd day.
It was an interesting study. I think they were trying to find a way for Cain to find a wife that was not related to the parents. and certainly mankind being created after ‘the man’ would help their premise..
Hebrew is complex.
I would love to have an expert in Hebrew tell me how Erev, tranliterated as ‘evening’ in Genesis- (which can also mean ‘twilight’ and ‘fading of the day’ in the Concordances I have seen) , means that is when a day begins.
Because logic and creation says before ‘twilight’ or’fading of the ‘day’ can happen, ‘light’ would come first.. And considering Scripture says he called the light ‘day’, it seems to be pretty clear. Except in religion.
And that little complexity have people beginning days when His Creation and His Word says that is when ‘night’ starts..not ‘day’..
Quite a complexity for sure!
God can restore all of that memory, even after that brain has been totally and completely dead for days. Contrary to the doctors opinion of when death takes place; you are dead when the blood is dead.You're dead when your bain is dead.
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