This article continues the narrative from an earlier article published on Ghanaweb. In this article the creation account of Genesis chapter 2 will be reviewed and compared to that of Genesis chapter 1. The objective of this comparative review will be to enumerate the similarities and possible differences of the two accounts and also to address several of the specific verses on their own merits, in a line-by-line manner. Christians generally posit that the Genesis 1 account provides the overall account of creation whereas the Genesis 2 account provides complementary details. In this article we shall also review this perspective to confirm or otherwise this generally accepted position. So following from the six day creation account in Genesis 1 we proceed to the seventh day where it is stated the creation was completed and God rested.
“001 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 002 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 003 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
COMMENT: So with the six day account completed we now proceed to the subject matter of Chapter 2.
“004 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,”
COMMENT: So it appears we are starting a new narrative from these words. A new narrative of what? Creation? This statement also says “in the day that the Lord created…” In other words in this next story the earth and the heavens were created in a single day.
“005 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 006 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 007 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
COMMENT: So in this account the plants were created but it was realized there was nobody to till the ground and so man - note “his” therefore singular, was created from the dust. Genesis 1 however states that after plants we had all the animals and then humans, male and female at the same time. So as of the time man was created there were no animals. Also the mist that caused the first rain was not mentioned in Genesis 1. This may be a considered a complementary detail of the Genesis 1 account as we taking the default position. Also no mention of the stars, moon, “lights” etc but we may grant there are no further details to share on those topics from Genesis 1..
“008 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 009 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 015 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 016 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 017 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 018 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
COMMENT: This write up is more concerned with the order of events given in this account and whether they are consistent with other statements in earlier passages so the issue of the Garden and Eden, and the tree of knowledge will be saved for another discussion. So now the perfect creation has been deemed to be lacking, incomplete, or even incorrect, so now man is all alone so the Lord decides to correct that and make a helper for this first man. Note that the original story told us everything done was “good”, yet now it is implicit that an error or omission has occurred in the divine plan of creation.
“019 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: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
020 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”
COMMENT: So now to correct man’s loneliness all beasts and fowls of the air are created and brought to him to see which one will make a good match as helper for him. Why was a trial and error of different species needed by an omniscient creator with a divine plan? Is this passage suggesting some form of bestiality was in the offing? So apparently in the next verses as this deficiency is noted by God he decides to intervene and again correct his “perfect” plan by creating a female human. Also note that Genesis 1 posits that all the animals were created BEFORE humans, yet here we are told the opposite. Also we were told that male and female were created at the same time, in this passage however it is clear man was first then after several trial and errors of finding a mate from animals for a human then it became necessary to create a female of the species. Read on.
“021 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 022 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 023 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 024 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 025 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
CONCLUSIONS: At this juncture one would like to revisit the notion that Genesis 2 provides details of Genesis 1 account. However it can be seen that the sequence of events are not consistent in terms of substance and in terms of the order. So the question arises, which one is correct and which one is incorrect? Or specifically which details are wrong in the grand scheme of both stories? Remember we are talking of a book that believers claim to be perfect, without error or contradiction and authored by men under the inspiration of an omnipotent creator being.
So it can be seen there are serious discrepancies with these two accounts. The truth and accuracy of the Bible is in question so far. In subsequent articles I will continue reviewing the Bible at Genesis chapter 3. We shall then look at some of the non-biblical secular or scientific evidence for the origin of the universe and the rise of humans on the earth.
kwaku ba © July 2010
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