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Why Two Different Creation Accounts in Genesis 1 & 2?

Close up of the first page of Genesis

At first glance, the book of Genesis appears to have two accounts of creation.  This has been the subject of ongoing debate among scholars.  However, the account in Chapter 2 is actually a particularization of the account in Chapter 1.  That is, the account in Genesis 2 expands upon the creation account presented in Genesis 1.  Genesis 2 provides details about a few aspects of creation, mainly the accounts of how man and woman were created.

In my studies of the Bible, I have noticed when something is especially worthy of  attention, it is a text that receives a lot of “press time” or provides very particular details about an event.  For example, the gospel of Matthew contains three chapters about the events surrounding the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  In the case of Genesis 1, it records that men and women were created in the image of God.  Then in Genesis 2, the creation of humans receives even more “press time” which expands the reader’s comprehension of the topic.

God created man out of dust and breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7).  God noticed that man was lonely and decided to create a helpmate for him (Genesis 2:18).  This helpmate, which the man would call woman, was created from the man’s flesh taken from his side (Genesis 2:22-23).

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Those extra details in the Genesis 2 account demonstrate several things.  First, the account in Genesis 2 affirms the account in Genesis 1.  There is no contradiction between the two accounts.  Second, there is nothing in this account that would hint at an evolutionary beginning. We are told specifically the manner in which God created the first two humans.  Third, this chapter affirms the institution of marriage presented in Chapter 1.  Marriage is to be between a man and a woman; after all, woman was created from man. Finally, there is a special relationship between a man and his wife that was established from the time of creation.  The woman was made from the man’s flesh, for the purpose of being his helpmate. She was given by God to man.  Of course, after the Fall, the roles of man and woman became distorted. There are definite attacks on the institution of marriage even today, and many who argue that humans evolved from animals over millions of years.

With so much “press time” given to the creation of man and woman in Genesis 1 and 2, we have complete confidence that God used His creative power to bring about the first two humans on planet Earth.  These two chapters give specific details about HOW they were created.  We did not have to be given these details.  It could have just been written that we were created by God, and then that would have left the door wide open for a variety of  ideas about how humankind originated and developed. However, it is perfectly clear from these texts that God desired that we know exactly how human life began.

Written by Stephanie Clark

I am the Director of Creation, Karate, and Christ Ministries. I schedule creation classes, Bible studies, and self-defense classes on behalf of CKC. I love studying about God's creation in the great outdoors! I have completed a few years of ministry training. Additionally, I am a mother of two, a preschool teacher, and an animal lover.

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  1. I certainly agree with the basis of your article, but I can’t help but have concern with some of your wording. In paragraph 3, you state “God noticed that man was lonely and decided to create a helpmate for him (Genesis 2:18).” I’ve consulted a number of different versions without finding any such thoughts. Every version I checked simply presents God making the statements that it wasn’t good that man should live alone and that He would make him a help meet for him. So, I’m not sure why you indicated that God discovered something in the middle of His process and made a spur-of-the-moment decision. Such a thought opposes what I understand about the foreknowledge of God, as presented in Scripture.
    I’d appreciate hearing any comments you might care to share concerning this.

    • I appreciate your comment and am pleased to address the issues you mentioned. I was not providing a critical analysis of the Hebrew text. The sentence you are concerned about was a paraphrase of what happened. I am not denying that God has complete foreknowledge. Rather, I am stating when He followed through, or took action, on His plan to create woman. The use of the word, “lonely”, in my paraphrase is actually a synonym for “alone.”

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