It is claimed that the order of events in Genesis 1 and 2 are different. Here is day-by-day the creation order in Genesis 1:
Genesis 2, however, might seem to place humans before plants or before animals. Here's Genesis 2:5-7:
This seems to say that man was created before plants, but strictly speaking it only says that plants were not yet "in the land" or had not "sprung up". An anonymous reader of this page suggests that this could mean they existed but in some sort of dormant state, having not yet been "planted"; though this is a very unnatural natural reading.
Another suggestion is that plants "of the field" refers specifically to cultivated plants. This argument has some weight, since the passage notes that there was nobody "to work the ground" - i.e. there were no farmers yet. This part of the problem is Minor, I think.
Another problem is Genesis 2:18-20:
This appears to place the creation of man before animals. I suppose "the LORD God formed every animal" could mean "God created new specimens of creatures already in existence", though this is not the natural reading. Alternatively, the ESV and some other Bibles solve the problem by describing this creation in the past tense:
This way, God had already created these creatures. The NET Bible (which has extensive notes on translation) says this is dubious:
That is a bit too technical for me. However, note that God says he will make a helper for man, then we are told about animals being formed. It seems like these things are linked, the first explaining the second; and therefore that the creation of animals came after the creation of man (and in contradiction with Genesis chapter 1). For this reason, I've decided to classify this as Serious.
The standard explanation among non-evangelical Bible scholars is that Genesis 1 and 2 had different authors with different ideas or interpreting different traditions. Of course, that in itself is no problem; but it does tend to cause problems.
Back to errancy.org main index