A Tale of Two Stories
by Mikel Del Rosario
Ever met someone who said you shouldn’t trust the Bible because of contradictions in the text?
I remember talking with a skeptic I’ll call “Julie” while travelling to Northern California from down south. I don’t remember how the conversation began, but I do remember that she was pretty sure that we couldn’t trust anything written in the Bible. Why? She told me it was “because the Bible contradicts itself right from the beginning!”
I guess she’d read something about there being a contradiction in Genesis but she couldn’t quite remember what the problem was. I asked her what she meant by that and eventually she said, “In chapter 1, God made Eve before Adam, but in chapter 2, God made Adam before Eve.”
I gave her a kind of a curious smile and asked, “Really? Could you show that to me?”
I turned to Genesis 1 and handed her my Bible. Of course, she couldn’t find what she was looking for, because it’s just not there.
Answering the Challenge of “Two Different Creation Stories”
In this post, I’ll share two alleged contradictions in Genesis 1 and 2 and an easy way to look into them so you’ll be ready if this whole idea of two different creation stories comes up in conversation.
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Why write about two challenges in one post? Because I think Julie heard them both, got confused, and they somehow got merged into one problem in her mind.
Challenge 1: When Did God Created Eve?
The first challenge I think Julie heard is the allegation that God created Adam and Eve at the exact same time in Genesis 1 and that this contradicts the account of Eve being created after Adam in Genesis 2.
The thing is, Genesis 1 doesn’t say anything about who God created first. Here’s what Genesis 1:27 says (NASB):
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
All this says this that God is the one who created humankind—which is what the first word, “man” actually refers to. I like how the NET Bible brings this out by translating the first part like this: “God created humankind in his own image.” So God created both male and female humans. It’s just a general statement that doesn’t say anything about who God made first.
Genesis opens up with a broad, birds-eye view of the action in chapter one before featuring the narrative of Adam and Eve in chapter 2…