does Genesis give us 2 creation stories?

People who are critical of the Bible and who hate the God of the Bible often take aim at the account of creation found in Genesis.  They claim that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are two different stories that are contradictory in that they have two different sequences of the events.  Therefore, they conclude that Genesis was written by more than one author.  But is this really the case?

If a close look is done of Genesis chapters 1 and 2, there are truly differences, but the fact that there are differences does not mean contradictions exist.  It is clear from the wording and layout of the two chapters that each chapter has a separate purpose.  We should also note that the idea of telling a story more than once is not something unusual for the Bible and was not unusual for writings of Semitic people.  After all, the Bible gives us the books of Kings and Chronicles which tell some of the same stories.  And some of the stories in Kings or Chronicles also appear in the writings of prophets like Isaiah.  We also have four different accounts of Christ’s life, each gospel having a different purpose.

It is obvious from the language of Genesis 1 that its purpose is to give a broad outline of God’s creating the universe and things in it with the general sequence of the events.  When Genesis 2 is written, the focus changes to giving specific details about how each gender was created, the specific environment created for humans, and  how humans interacted with each other, with God, and with God’s creation in the beginning.  Chapter 2 is setting us up for what comes to pass in the next chapter–how humans messed everything up and the negative impact it had on human relationships, interaction with God, and interaction with God’s creation.

Since the main difference between the two chapters is simply the purpose of the chapters, we can conclude that the whole book was written by one person.  And it is believed that that one person is Moses.  This seems to be backed up by the resurrected Jesus Christ when he explains the scriptures to the two disciples he encounters on the road to Emmaus.  Luke 24:27 says Jesus began with Moses and then proceeded through the whole Old Testament to explain everything that was written about the Messiah and how he fulfilled them.  The fact he began with Moses tells us that must be who wrote Genesis since the very first prophecy about a Messiah appears in Genesis 3.

Critics also question how it was possible for all of the things that happen on the sixth day to occur in one day.  Namely, the creation of beasts of the earth, cattle, and creeping things followed by the creation of humans.  What really throws them off is how it was possible for God to bring animals to Adam for him to name them all and then making Adam fall asleep to create Eve from his rib and then Adam’s awakening to meet Eve and naming her–all in a single day. 

This was possible because God created everything in an instant.  Since Adam was superior to modern humans in that he was sinless at this time and therefore had the best mental capacity and physical prowess without any distractions of  human civilizations that came afterward, it would have been nothing for him to name animals in a very short time span, fall asleep, then awake to meet Eve.

Debunking the theories of Bible critics is rather easy when it comes to the Genesis account of creation.  These critics are often in such a hurry to tear down what the Bible says that they dismiss the simplest and most sound explanations of things.  “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” [Romans 1:22]

For a more detailed view of this topic, see the article “Are there two creation accounts in Genesis?” at apologeticspress.org.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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