Doesn’t Genesis One Contradict Genesis Two?

by Rich Deem

Multiple Authors in Genesis?

Are Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 written by multiple authors, thus producing contradictions? A careful study of the text shows that Genesis 2 is merely a more detailed account of the short Genesis 1 narrative describing the creation of human beings.

Genesis chapters one and two describe the creation of the universe, the earth, and life on the earth. Some have said that these accounts are purely mythology. One of the reasons for this perception is because of the apparent contradiction between chapters one and two in the creation accounts. Chapter one describes the creation of plants followed by the creation of animals then humans. Chapter two seems to describe the creation of humans followed by the creation of plants then animals. If this assessment is true, it would seem that there is a contradiction between the creation accounts of Genesis 1 and 2.

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Genesis one, the first chapter of the Bible, begins with the creation of the “heavens and earth”1 – a phrase that describes the entire universe. The Genesis one account is notable for being sequential, since the events are listed numerically by the day in which they occurred. Where does this creation take place? Locations mentioned include the heavens (the Hebrew termshamayim can refer to the atmosphere, interstellar space, or God’s abode),2 earth (the Hebrew term erets can refer to the entire planet, a people group, or a local piece of geography),3 Sun, moon, and stars.4 How do we know the Hebrew term erets refers to the entire planet as opposed to local geography? Verse 2 describes the “surface of the deep,”5 which describes the primordial ocean.6 Subsequent verses indicate that there was no land until God caused it to appear from the midst of the waters.7 These facts, in the absence of specific place names, suggests that Genesis one describes creation on a global scale.

Besides describing the formation of land and seas, Genesis one describes the creation of plants and animals. The account begins with the creation on plants. Following this is the creation of birds, large sea creatures and swarming sea life. On the final “day,” God creates the large grazing mammals and carnivores, along with small scurrying mammals. Creation culminates with the creation of mankind – the last creatures God creates…

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Doesn’t Genesis One Contradict Genesis Two?