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Are there contradictions between the first and second chapters of Genesis?



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We've all heard the claims that there are many contradictions in Genesis. Many people, for instance, believe that there are inconsistencies between the creation accounts of Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2. So what about all of the supposed contradictions?

There are none!

If, with the NIV, we read “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east…” (Genesis 2:8) and, 'Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field…' (Genesis 2:19 with emphasis added), it is clearly seen that chapter 2 states that the plants and animals were formed before Adam. When Adam named the animals (Genesis 2:20), they obviously were already in existence. There is no contradictory significance in the order of animals listed in Genesis 2:20; it is probably the order in which Adam met the animals, while the order of their creation is given in Genesis 1:20-25. Dr Henry Morris comments:

“It was only the animals in closest proximity and most likely as theoretical candidates for companionship to man that were actually brought to him. These included the birds of the air, the cattle (verse 20—probably the domesticated animals), and the beasts of the field, which were evidently the smaller wild animals that would live near human habitations. Those not included were the fish of the sea, the creeping things, and the beasts of the earth mentioned in Genesis 1:24, which presumably were those wild animals living at considerable distance from man and his cultivated fields.” [1]

Concerning the names of geographical sites, we have no idea what the configuration of the land or the rivers was before the Flood, because the pre-Flood world was completely destroyed. The land areas and rivers named before the Flood do not correspond to similarly named features after the Flood.

The purpose of Genesis 2:18-25 is not to give another account of creation but to show that there was no kinship whatsoever between Adam and the animals. None was like him, and so none could provide fellowship or companionship for him. Why not? Because Adam had not evolved from them, but was 'a living soul' whom God had created 'in His own image' (Genesis 2:7 and 1:27). This means (among other things) that God created Adam to be a person whom He could address, and who could respond to and interact with Him. Here, as in many other places, the plain statements of the Bible confront and contradict the notion of human evolution.

There is therefore enough evidence for us to conclude that Adam most probably was the author of Genesis 2:4b-5:1, and that this is his record of his own experiences with respect to events in the Garden of Eden, the creation of Eve, the Fall, and in the lives of Cain, Abel, and Seth.

The next section is from 5:1b to 6:9a, and deals with the line from Adam to Noah, ending with, 'These are the generations [or origins] of Noah.'

The next section is from 6:9b to 10:1a, and deals mainly with the Ark and the Flood, ending with, 'Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.' The wording of this subscript suggests that this portion was written by one of Noah's sons, probably Shem, as Moses was descended from Shem. These chapters read very much like an eye-witness account because of the intimacy of detail which they contain. Consider Genesis 8:6-12 and note how this contains that ring of authenticity which is characteristic of an eye-witness account. It may even have been Shem's diary!

Genesis 8:6-12 (KJV):

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.

Such meticulous details are the stuff of authentic eye-witness testimony.

There is thus a substantial body of evidence that these portions of Genesis were written by the persons named therein, for the purpose of making and passing on a permanent record.

So then, were these first 11 chapters written as a record of authentic historical facts?

Answer:
Yes, for several reasons.

Reference

[1] Henry Morris The Genesis Record, p. 97. Return to text

Author: Russell Grigg, M.Sc. (Hons.), Creation Ex Nihilo Dec 93 - Feb 1994, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 38-41. Supplied by Creation Ministries International

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