#8 - Two contradictory creation accounts?
The critic offers the first account as (Genesis 1:1-2:3) and then offers the second account as (Genesis 2:4-25).
Answer: There is only one account of Creation: Genesis Chapter 1....
The critic offers Genesis 2:4-25 as the 'contradictory' second account. However, after further review, one easily finds this is not a creation account, but a detailed summary of Chapter 1 and in more particular, explaining and enlarging upon that part of the history which relates immediately to man....
Matthew Henry Commentary Genesis Chapter 1
The foundation of all religion being laid in our relation to God as our Creator, it was fit that the book of divine revelations which was intended to be the guide, support, and rule, of religion in the world, should begin, as it does, with a plain and full account of the creation of the world—in answer to that first enquiry of a good conscience, "Where is God my Maker?’’ (Job 35:10). Concerning this the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, and became vain in their imaginations, some asserting the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms: thus "the world by wisdom knew not God,’’ but took a great deal of pains to lose him. The holy scripture therefore, designing by revealed religion to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it and supply the defects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of the precepts of the law of nature, lays down, at first, this principle of the unclouded light of nature, That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time and all worlds. The entrance into God’s word gives this light, Ps. 119:130. The first verse of the Bible gives us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful, knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers. The lively faith of humble Christians understands this matter better than the elevated fancy of the greatest wits, Heb. 11:3. We have three things in this chapter:—I. A general idea given us of the work of creation (v. 1, 2). II. A particular account of the several days’ work, registered, as in a journal, distinctly and in order. The creation of the light the first day (v. 3-5); of the firmament the second day (v. 6-8); of the sea, the earth, and its fruits, the third day (v. 9–13); of the lights of heaven the fourth day (v. 14–19); of the fish and fowl the fifth day (v. 20–23); of the beasts (v. 24, 25); of man (v. 26–28); and of food for both the sixth day (v. 29, 30). III. The review and approbation of the whole work (v. 31).Genesis Chapter 2
This chapter is an appendix to the history of the creation, more particularly explaining and enlarging upon that part of the history which relates immediately to man, the favourite of this lower world. We have in it, I. The institution and sanctification of the sabbath, which was made for man, to further his holiness and comfort (v. 1-3). II. A more particular account of man’s creation, as the centre and summary of the whole work (v. 1-7). III. A description of the garden of Eden, and the placing of man in it under the obligations of a law and covenant (v. 8–17). IV. The creation of the woman, her marriage to the man, and the institution of the ordinance of marriage (v. 18, etc.).
Response by Dave Marr
The skeptic's argument:
First Account (Genesis 1:1-2:3)
(Humans were created after the other animals.)
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image.... So God created man in his own image. Gen.1:25-27
(The first man and woman were created simultaneously.)Second Account (Genesis 2:4-25)
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Gen.1:27
(Humans were created before the other animals.)Explanation
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Gen.2:18-19
(The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man's rib.)
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them.... And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Gen.2:18-22
To understand these passages, a person must recognize changes in style in a literary work; unfortunately, the skeptic has not done that.
Genesis 1:1 through 2:4 describes the entire creation of planet Earth. This is an overview, or summary, of Creation, to help put everything that follows into perspective. It begins with verse 1:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”And ends with Chapter 2, verse 4:
“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.”It is evident to any experienced writer, or astute reader, that verse 4 is a concluding sentence, or a general conclusion. At this point, the presentation changes its approach, or style, to give a more focused examination of the Creation.
Verses 5-6 in Chapter 2 describe the plant growth.
At verse 7, the writer gives another, more detailed look at the creation of Man, specifically.
As stated earlier, Genesis 1:1 through 2:4 gives an overview, but it also establishes a chronology of the event. From these facts, man was created last on the sixth day.
When Man is discussed in 1:27, it is only speaking of the general way God fashioned them. It cannot be effectively argued that Adam and Eve were created simultaneously unless it specifically says “simultaneously”, “at the same time”, etc. It doesn’t, so we do not know from this description if Man and Woman were produced together, or separately.
To comprehend why the change in prose occurs, we must identify that the “setting” for the Bible is established in the first section, and the “characterization” is introduced in the second section(beginning at 2:7). Essentially, the literature moves from an objective approach, to a more personal style. Why is this done with Man? Because his interaction with God is the focus and message of the rest of the Bible. Therefore, it is only proper that we know more about how he was created.
Thus, an outlook is now obtained wherewith we can look at the skeptic’s other objections. From our proper understanding, Man was created first; Woman was created shortly after from Man’s rib. When the animals are introduced again in the characterization of section two, a brief synopsis is given of their creation:
“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them.” (2:19)As an element of style, for every creation discussed in the second narrative, the writer ensures that we know that it was created by God. The passage does not say when the animals were created, so we must rely on the first, chronological, account. The first part of the sentence of verse 19 describes Day 5 of Creation, and the semi-colon brings us into Day 6 again.
This 'so-called contradiction is also related to #259
#259 - Were plants created before or after humans?