[Editor’s note: This article was taken, with slight modification, from The New Answers Book 2.]
The claim goes that there are two creation accounts: Genesis 1 and 2 give different accounts. In chapter 1, man and woman are created at the same time after the creation of the animals. In chapter 2, the animals are created after people.
This apparent contradiction is best illustrated by looking at Genesis 2:19.
Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them (NKJV).
The language appears to suggest that God made the animals after making Adam and then He brought the animals to Adam. However, in Genesis 1, we have an account of God creating animals and then creating men and women.
The difficulty with Genesis 2:19 lies with the use of the word formed. The same style is read in the KJV.
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.
The NIV has a subtly different rendition.
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them.
The NIV suggests a different way of viewing the first two chapters of Genesis. Genesis 2 does not suggest a chronology. That is why the NIV suggests using the style “the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the fields.” Therefore, the animals being brought to Adam had already been made and were not being brought to him immediately after their creation. Interestingly, Tyndale agrees with the NIV—and Tyndale’s translation predates the KJV.
The Lord God had made of the earth all manner of beasts of the field and all manner fowls of the air.
Tyndale and the NIV are correct on this verse because the verb in the sentence can be translated as pluperfect rather than perfect. The pluperfect tense can be considered as the past of the past—that is to say, in a narration set in the past, the event to which the narration refers is already further in the past. Once the pluperfect is taken into account, the perceived contradiction completely disappears.
Help keep these daily articles coming. Support AiG.
Discover how compromise starting in Genesis has filtered down from Christian seminaries and colleges to pastors—and finally to parents and their children. This erosive legacy is seen in generations of young people leaving the church—two-thirds of them. Get the facts, discover God’s truth, and help bring a new reformation to churches and families by helping to call them back to the authority of God’s Word.
Answers magazine is the Bible-affirming, creation-based magazine from Answers in Genesis. In it you will find fascinating content and stunning photographs that present creation and worldview articles along with relevant cultural topics. Each quarterly issue includes a detachable chart, a pullout children’s magazine, a unique animal highlight, excellent layman and semi-technical articles, plus bonus content. Why wait? Subscribe today and get a FREE DVD download!