Barry Newman's Blog

March 13, 2011

Science and Genesis 2: 4 – 3: 24 (part X)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 6:10 am

Genesis 2: 5-7 – Setting the Scene (cont)

The relationship between 2: 5 ff and the six day creation account

Are we reading the beginning to a second account of creation and one which contradicts at certain points the six day creation account? I think the question presupposes too much. It suggests that one cannot have two different perspectives which certainly overlap at certain points but which fundamentally have different purposes in mind. The idea that the accounts conflict and taken together are simply to be seen as confused is to posit that a writer/editor cannot have two different ways of parading two generally different sets of truths and abut them one against the other.  We do not claim that an artist cannot produce two portraits that tell a different though related story and then hang them side by side.  In Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 3 the writer has outlined the grand account of God the creator of all things including mankind, his special creation. In Genesis 2: 4 – 3: 24 the focus is on first man and first woman, God’s provision for them, the relationships between them and God and how these relationships drastically deteriorate. 

My suggestion is that Moses, or whoever put the two accounts together, would have had no problem with their different perspectives, but would have seen each of them as necessary and complimentary.  True, they overlap a little – they have to.  Each of the accounts both touch on the creation of mankind, plants and animals. The second account, the second perspective on the nature of things, is introduced by a reference to the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created (looking backwards) and then to the earth and the heavens when they made by Yahweh Elohim (looking forwards).  With respect to the earth the situation to begin with was one where there was no vegetation – wild or cultivated (or perhaps two types of cultivated) because Yahweh Elohim had not brought about rain and there was no man to till the ground. But he brought the rain cloud into existence and making man from the soil he formed him into a living being and in an intimate manner gave him life.  The scene is now set for the planting of a garden, the making of a woman, the portrayal of wonderful possibilities for both and the unfolding drama of an almost indescribable collapse of relationships.



  1. Another perspective I have gained from the two accounts is to hold the 2 together as being truthful, but being reminded that I must be aware that the Bible does not only give the 7 day account as the only account. Both say God created. Both give explanations of why and how come things are as they are. Both are memorable. Both are referred to throughout the Bible, without hesistation or reservation. Maybe we try to see them too literally, or insist on applying the criteria of other genres upon them (such as reading the comic strips as if they were the financial reports).

    Comment by Robert Denham — April 2, 2011 @ 7:00 am | Reply

    • Hi Robert,

      Thanks for the comment. Tend to agree with a lot you have said.


      Comment by barrynewman — April 2, 2011 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

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