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Allow me to explain (11 of 439)

February 8, 2011

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11. The two contradictory creation accounts. Gen 1:25-27 vs. Gen 2:818-22

I didn’t really think anyone still counted this as a “contradiction,” but I suppose if you’re going for quantity, you have to cover all the bases.

Genesis 1:25-27//
And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 2:18-22//
And the Lord God said, “ It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”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. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

There are 31 verses in Genesis 1. That means there are 21 verses between these two passages. Again, one has to be really trying to find a disparity to even assume there’s a contradiction here.

Moses is credited with Genesis – whether he penned it or compiled it is debated and irrelevant for now – so to read the first two chapters of scripture, and assume that your initial confusion is the result of conflicting reports and massive oversight, is to assume that Moses was an idiot.


Assuming the critic doesn’t believe any of the miracles recorded in the Old Testament, Moses was a man who somehow led a nation of people out of captivity, through and around a desert for 40 years, and into a new territory. You’re telling me that man didn’t notice that he’d written/arranged two contradicting stories on the same page? Really?

We shouldn’t even be having this conversation, but we will.

Genesis 2 is not a contradiction of Genesis 1, it’s an elaboration.

Genesis 1 outlines the big events: God, water, light, firmament, land, plants, celestial bodies, animals, people. It’s a main-events timeline. It ends with the first three verses of chapter two: a neat summary and the blessing of the day of rest.

Then, verse four, reads,

This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens …

It’s obvious that the author is telling the story again. Why tell the same story twice, in succession even, unless you were going to add information? Chapter one gives a very abridged list of facts, and chapter two tells a story. Both are valuable for understanding the character and nature of God, and the story – by nature – is going to include information that the timeline doesn’t.

Genesis 1:27 tell us that God made man in His image, male and female. That’s true. Genesis 2:7 tells us how, and there’s a beautiful message about the love of God in the details of how He created people.

Genesis 1:26 tells us that God gave people dominion over the gardens and the animals, and that’s true. Genesis 2:19 gives a picture of that dominion. (Further, Genesis 2:19 does not indicate the chronology of creation, as some like to assume.)

Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made us male and female. Genesis 2:18-24 tell us why, and creates another amazing parable of the love of Christ for His people.

Short answer: Detail

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