Rich Mail --
Genesis 2 - The BEST of the Story

A Visitor's Writes...
This is probably a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway.

In Genesis 1:24-26, the Bible states that the animals were created before people (Adam and Eve). However, in the next chapter, Adam was created first, then the animals, followed by Eve.

So, which is it?
  God made the beast of the earth... Then God said, "Let Us make man..."
Gen 1.25a, 1.26a

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground... 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. Gen 2.7a, 2.19
Rich's Answer
A) This is by far not a dumb question. Let me explain why.

Liberal critics of the Bible assert that chapters one and two of Genesis contain two DIFFERENT accounts of the creation.

They allege that these two chapters reflect different writers, different sequences of events, different names for God, and so forth.

A foundational *assumption* of this so-called “higher critical” viewpoint is that the first five books of the Bible were NOT written by Moses.

B) According to this theory, several ancient writers contributed to the first five Bible books. These hypothetical writers are referred to as J, E, P, and D...

  • J stands for writers who mostly used the name Jehovah in referring to God
  • E stands for writers who mainly referred to God as Elohim
  • P refers to a group of writers who were Priests
  • D refers to a “Deuteronomic” writer

C) The above described concept is sometimes called the Documentary Hypothesis Theory [*DHT* for short].

Let me illustrate this bit of humanistic reasoning...

  • Let's say you have a brother named Josh.
  • In January you write a letter to your Mom. In this letter, you consistently refer to Josh as "my brother."
  • In a subsequent letter to your Mom, you discuss more personal matters, and consistently refer to your brother as "Josh."
  • According to the higher critics, you would be TWO writers -- the B writer and the J writer.
  • Or... so the *DHT* goes.
  [Jesus said...] Concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage [Exodus chapter 3], how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?" Mark 12.26

[The Bible offers abundant testimony to the fact that God used Moses as His writer for the first five books of the Bible. In addition to the verse quoted above, see also Ex 7.14, Lev 1.1-2, Num 33.2, Deu 1.1, Josh 1.7, 1 Kings 2.3, 2 Kings 14.6, Ezra 6.18, Neh 13.1, Dan 9.11-13, Mal 4.4, Mt 8.4, Lk 16.29, John 7.19, Acts 26.22, Rom 10.19, 1 Cor 9.9, 2 Cor 3.15]

More *DHT* stuff

  • In the Hebrew manuscripts of Genesis chapter 1, God is referred to as Elohim. In chapter 2, God is referred to by the combined title, YHWH Elohim -- LORD God.
  • Conclusion: Because Genesis chapters 1 and 2 use different names for God, they could not have been written by the same person.
  • Or... so the *DHT* goes.

NOTE: YHWH is the abbreviation of God's personal name, Yahweh. Some Bible translations choose to represent YHWH by the word LORD.

  Then God <'Elohim> said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God <'Elohim> saw the light, that it was good; and God <'Elohim> divided the light from the darkness. Gen 1.3-4

Then the LORD <
YHWH> God <'Elohim> took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD <YHWH> God <'Elohim> commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat..." Gen 2.15-17a
  • As you read the Bible beyond Genesis, you will notice that the books of Exodus and Leviticus have a distinctly "priestly flavor” -- altars, sacrifices, religious procedures, and such.
  • Keep on reading and you'll come to Deuteronomy -- a Bible book covering information that is substantially different from the previous four books.
  • Conclusion: The first five books of the Bible are so diverse that they could not possibly have been written by Moses or any other ONE person.
  • Or... so the *DHT* goes.
  When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock-of the Herd and of the flock. Lev 1.2b

You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.
Deu 2.4-5
The *Redactor Factor*

A) Proponents of the *DHT* claim that all of these writings were eventually collected and combined by a “redactor.”

This *Redactor Factor* theory became popular in the 19th Century when a French physician by the name of Jean Astruc claimed that He had isolated certain “source” authors in the first five Bible books.

Astruc's views were expanded and popularized by others, so that by the end of the 19th Century, a number of Bible commentators had bought into this liberal concept.

B) Proponents of the supposition that there are two creation accounts say that...

  • Genesis chapter 1 is an “E” document, dating from the Babylonian or Post-Babylonian captivity period
  • Genesis chapter 2 is supposedly a “J” narrative from the 9th century B.C.

The main arguments presented by these proponents are twofold...

  • #1- They claim that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 manifest different styles of writing.
  • #2- They further claim that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 reflect divergent concepts of Deity, as well as conflicting records of the order of the creation events.

C) Although the notion of the Redactor Factor is widely circulated and advocated today (especially on college campuses) it will not stand the test of objective analysis.

Solid Biblical research clearly demonstrates that the use of different names and titles for God reflects a purposeful theological emphasis...

  • Genesis chapter 1 records that God created the entire universe and all forms of life. Accordingly, chapter 1 refers to God as Elohim -- a Hebrew word that denotes God's immeasurable power. The use of Elohim rightfully exalts God as the Mighty Creator.
  • Genesis chapter 2 gives intimate details about God's creation of the human race. Moreover, it reveals the personal names of your earliest ancestors. Thus, God reveals Himself to you, the reader, by His own personal name -- Yahweh [YHWH, translated LORD]. The use of God's personal name exalts His holiness, and His deeply personal involvement with the people of His covenant.
D) Also, consider Genesis 28.13a wherein the Lord speaks to Jacob and says, "I am the LORD <YHWH> God <'Elohim> of Abraham your father and the God <'Elohim>of Isaac..."

Would someone argue for the multiple authorship of this single verse because it uses two Hebrew names for the Creator?

It is completely erroneous to think that differences in style and vocabulary indicate a plurality of writers.

Writers often vary their styles and select vocabulary to fit the themes they are seeking to develop, and the people they are addressing.

It must be concluded that arguments for “two creation accounts” in Genesis, based upon a subjective view of “style,” and choice of “Words” are purely specious, speculative, and absolutely unconvincing.

E) So what about the alleged discrepancies in chapters 1 and 2? Let’s analyze these more closely...

  • Critics argue that in Genesis 1, the Creator is a very transcendent being, majestically and distantly bringing the creation into existence.
  • On the other hand, in Genesis 2, God is characterized by anthropomorphisms (human traits applied to Deity), which imply an inferior status.
  • For example, in Genesis 2 the writer says that the LORD “formed,” “breathed,” “planted,” etc.
  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 being.

The LORD God
planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Gen 2.7-8
While it is true that such expressions are found in chapter 2, what the critics have failed to notice is that anthropomorphic terminology is also employed in Genesis 1:1-2:4. In that section, God “called,” “saw,” “rested,” etc.   God called the firmament Heaven Gen 1.8a

saw that it was good. Gen 1.12c

rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Gen 2.2b

Which came first the Heavens or the earth?

As already stated, many critics argue that the reversed language order, as seen in the two chapters, demonstrates conflicting creation accounts...

  • Chapter 1 starts out with the creation of "heavens and earth."
  • Chapter 2 begins with the making of "earth and heavens.”

This explanation of this *alleged discrepancy* is easily understood...

  • In chapter 1, the main focus is on God's creation of the overall universe, and ALL forms of life.
  • In chapter 2, the main focus is on God's deeply personal involvement with those whom He created in His own image -- the human race.
  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth Gen 1.1

...the LORD God made the
earth and the heavens Gen 2.4b
To finish off our discussion of the sequential differences between Genesis chapters 1 and 2, read carefully Genesis 2.4 in the panel alongside.

Notice that this ONE verse contains TWO different word orders: “heavens and earth,” and “earth and heaven.”

Would this different sequence of words in Genesis 2.4 cause you to decide that this single verse had *two* different writers?
  These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven. Gen 2.4

How can people be in God's image when the Bible says they are made from dirt?

  • Genesis 1.27 says that God created people in His own image.
  • On the other hand, Genesis 2.7 says that God formed mankind of the dust of the ground.
  • Some critics offer this contrast as yet another *proof* that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 present differing accounts of the creation.
  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen 1.27

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 being. Gen 2.7

Let me explain this SEEMING conflict...

  • God is spirit. The image of God is immaterial. It is not made from matter.
  • Your BODY is made from matter -- the dust of the ground. However, your body is merely a *suit of clothes* worn by the real you.
  • It is the real you -- your SPIRIT, not your body -- that bears the image of the living God.
  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4.24

The body without the spirit is dead Jam 2.26

Which came first -- vegetables? or people?

  • Some folks say that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other in the relative creation-order of plants and people.
  • Genesis 1.12-13 states that plants were created on the third day.
  • Genesis 1.27-31 records that people were created on the sixth day.
  The earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Gen 1.12-13

God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. ...So the evening and the morning were the
sixth day. Gen 1.27, 1.31b
  • On the other hand, Genesis 2.5-9 would seem to indicate that plants and herbs did not appear until AFTER the creation of people.
  God formed man of the dust of the ground... And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. Gen 2.7a, 2.9a

Take a good close look at the word of God. Notice that...

  • In Genesis 1, the original creation of the botanical world is in view.
  • In Genesis 2, the emphasis is upon the fact that plant cultivation had not commenced. Why? Because God had not yet provided a CULTIVATOR. Neither had He yet provided rain.
  • Genesis 1 talks about vegetation in general.
  • Genesis 2 discusses a specific KIND of vegetation -- namely, the kind which requires human cultivation.
  • Notice that the words “plant | field | till” are never used in Genesis 1, whereas they ARE repeatedly used in Genesis 2. Why? Because those words denote the fruit of human labor and cultivation.
  • Clearly then, Genesis 2:5 does not deal with the earth at large, but with a lovely garden wherein people were to live, and work the land, and enjoy daily fellowship with God.

...before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For...

  • the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth,
  • and there was no man to till the ground Gen 2.5

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Gen 2.15

Which came first -- animals? or people?

  • Genesis 1.25-26 records animals as being created before man.
  • It might seem to some that Genesis 2.19 has God creating animals and bringing them to an ALREADY existent Adam for naming.
  • However, the Hebrew text of Genesis 2:19 says nothing about the relative sequence whereby God created Adam and the animals.
  • Instead, the verse merely states two straightforward facts: (1) God made animals, and (2) God brought the animals to Adam to be named.
  God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness Gen 1.25-26a

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 Gen 2.19a

A) Are there differences in the inspired narratives of Genesis 1 and 2? Of course there are. Otherwise, why would God have given us two separate chapters?

As we already have demonstrated, the differences do not at all constitute contradictions, much less multiple authorships.

Over and above the information we already have presented, there are several additional factors that militate against the notion that Genesis 1 and 2 are independent and contradictory accounts of the creation.

Gen 1- The Big Picture | Gen 2- Up Close & Personal

  • Genesis 1 is the *Big Picture.* It covers all six days of creation. It records God's creation of EVERYTHING.
  • Genesis 2 focuses on the sixth day of creation. It is an *Up Close & Personal* report on God's creation of the human race.
  • Genesis 2 gives intimate details such as God's creation of a special Garden to be our first home, and God's provision of two genders, for companionship and marriage and marital relations and procreation.

C) Gen 1- Chronological | Gen 2- Topical

  • Genesis 1 is chronological, revealing the sequential events of the creation week.
  • Genesis 2 is topical, with special concern for the human race and our environment.
  • God's Bible uses this same procedure in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. In Matthew, the ministry of Christ is arranged topically. In Mark the arrangement is mainly chronological.

D) Gen 1- God's power | Gen 2- God's love & provision

  • Genesis 1 focuses on God's power and design in bringing about the physical events of creation.
  • Genesis 2 focuses on God's love and personal involvement in the lives of the people He has created.
  • More specifically, Genesis 1 describes those miracles God performed to prepare the earth for residency and dominion by the human race.
  • Genesis 2 presents God’s intimate and endearing provisions for our "human" needs such as food, shelter, companionship, love, sex, babies. It also covers God's assignment of human RESPONSIBILITY -- to have dominion over the earth, and fill it, and replenish it.

E) Gen 1- The Story | Gen 2- The *Rest of the Story*

  • As a discerning reader can readily see, when God included Genesis 2 in His Bible, He did NOT do it in order to give you an independent creation account. Genesis 2 lacks far too many crucial elements for that to have been God's purpose.
  • For instance, there is no mention in Genesis 2 of the creation of the earth. There is no reference to the creation or existence of oceans or fish. There is no allusion to the sun, moon, and stars.
  • As radio commentator Paul Harvey might say it, "God put Genesis 2 into His Bible so as to give you *the REST of the story!*"

F) Gen 1- The Story | Gen 2- The *Best of the Story*
In Genesis 1 God is revealed as Almighty. All He did was speak, and BOOM! an entire universe was created!
In Genesis 2 God is revealed by His personal name, Yahweh....

  • God who hears you
  • God who speaks to you and touches you
  • God who PERSONALLY crafted and modeled your forbears from the dust of the earth
  • God who breathed His life and Spirit into you

Do you see it? Genesis 2 is much more than the "rest of the story." Genesis 2 is truly *the BEST of the story!*

In closing, dear readers, I hope that none of you will ever again preface a question about the Bible as possibly being dumb.

There is only ONE dumb question about the Bible. What is it? The question that you don't ask!

Keep on for the Lord.
Much love, Rich


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