I looked for answers in Genesis...and only got confused. Did God Create animals and then man, as in the first book of Genesis, or did He Create man first, as in the second book? Did he create Eve at the same time as Adam, as in the first, or later, as in the second? Patiently waiting for an Answer, because all I found searching your site for the past hour was endless pages about how Adam could name all the animals in a day, which I think is a rather insignificant problem compared to God’s inability to lay down a proper chronology and stick to it.

—S.J.


This feedback, which comes from a well-known skeptic and nay-sayer, highlights some of the misunderstandings that can arise by careless reading of the first two chapters of Genesis. Although the feedback falls foul of our rules—because the answers to the two issues are easily found on our website—it is worth restating them in simplified form.

I looked for answers in Genesis...and only got confused.

In order to assist you with your confusion, it is necessary to be clear as to how to interpret Genesis. The accounts of Abraham from chapter 12 onwards read like a historical account. The first 11 chapters are written in the same style, so it makes sense to interpret them also as historical. Therefore, we do not expect to find hidden meanings in these chapters. They are best interpreted by plain reading.

A True Revelation

I know you must recieve numerous messages like this a day, but your ministry is such a blessing. I have been looking into the Creation/Evolution debate for a long time, and not even a year ago I was a die-hard evolutionist myself. I wasn’t an evolutionist because I had chosen out of a number of views, but because I was indoctrinated at school to believe that there simply were no other viable alternatives. Then I found your ministry, and after reading some of the material I was simply blown away! I was astounded to find that it didn’t simply LOOK like science, it WAS science.

The realization that evolution wasn’t true was a revelation to me. I have even started an email newsletter on the debate, called Genesis vs Darwin (GvD) thanks to your inspiration. The world needs more organizations like you, willing to defend the Bible literally “from the first verse.” You have been an integral part in restoring my faith in the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you.

—S.J., U.S.

Did God Create animals and then man, as in the first book of Genesis, or did He Create man first, as in the second book?

I assume that, by referring to the first and second books of Genesis you really mean the first and second chapters. It seems you have adopted the common presupposition that chapters one and two contain different creation stories. They do not. I have written on this matter before, in a web article about a Catholic Bible study guide1 and in my book, The Six Days of Genesis2 (see also Get Answers: Genesis: Do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other?).

Genesis 2 is not a different account of creation. It is an expansion of, and comment upon, the events of Day Six of creation. When Genesis 2:19 states “The LORD God formed every beast of the field ...,” the Hebrew verb can be translated as a pluperfect. A better translation would be “Now the LORD God had formed ...,” which is how it is rendered in the NIV. When read as a pluperfect, there is no contradiction between the order of creation. God made animals first, then people. Correctly read, Genesis 2 does not contradict the order given in Genesis 1. Even if one accepts the translation of Genesis 2:19 with a simple past tense, there are ways of interpreting the whole verse that do not contradict the order of creation given in Gen. 1.

Did he create Eve at the same time as Adam, as in the first, or later, as in the second?

Once again, the two-stories interpretation prevents those who employ it from seeing the plain harmony of the two chapters. When we understand that Genesis 2 is an expansion of Genesis 1 Day 6, we realize that Genesis 1:27 is just a summary of the fact that God made humankind. Genesis 2 then supplies us with the detail of how God made the first man and woman. Once again, there is no contradiction.

Patiently waiting for an Answer, because all I found searching your site for the past hour was endless pages about how Adam could name all the animals in a day, which I think is a rather insignificant problem compared to God's inability to lay down a proper chronology and stick to it.

Unbiased readers will see how simple it is to understand the relationship between Genesis chapters one and two. Of course, the easy interpretation is hidden if one tries to force the two-story presupposition onto the text. God’s Word makes sense, so long as one is prepared to accept what it says.

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Footnotes

  1. Dr. Monty White and Paul Taylor, The Gift of Scripture—it’s an authority issue, 7 October 2005. Back
  2. Taylor, Paul, The Six Days of Genesis, Master Books, 2007. Back