Genesis: Why Two Different Creation Stories

Part III

It is normal to think of books as always being in chronological order—the first thing goes first, the second thing goes second—except that does not appear to happen in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. They are not in the same chronological order. Some believe what is outplaying is not another creation story in Genesis 2 but a more detailed look at day six in Genesis 1, in the creation of Adam and the animals. I will expound more on the plausibility of this theory. I presented some new ways to understand Genesis 1 in part II. Here I will present some new ideas to understanding Genesis 2 following the interpretation and understanding of those verses.

In recapping from part II, Genesis 1, God (Elohim) declares something and it is done in heaven "And it was so", while in some creation days, the Creation (Earth) carries forth God's edict responding "and God saw that it was good." God appears to have created all for His final creation: Man, "in our image". I mentioned previously the "us" meaning is unknown, although many Christians may understand it as a reference to the Trinity. Here is another thought on what the "us" might represent.

The 13th-century Spanish sage and Jewish philosopher Nachmanides (1194-1270) commonly known as the Ramban, has an interpretation similar to what I shared in part II with the earth bringing forth vegetation on the third day and on the sixth day the earth (land) brought forth living things. He writes the following: 

It was only on the first day of creation that God created something from nothing. From then on, He fashioned everything from the elements He had brought into being on the First Day. For example, He empowered water to give rise to living things, as it is stated "let the water swarm…", and He allowed animal life to emerge from the land, as the verse states: "Let the land bring forth living things (Gen. 1:24)."  When He created man, though, the Lord said: "Let us make man…". In so doing, the Almighty was speaking to the earth - the last "being" to bring forth life [see the immediately preceding verse about earth "bringing forth" the animals]. In effect, He was saying: "You and I together will make man. You will contribute the elements for the body, as you did for the animals, and I will contribute the soul, as it is written: 'and He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…"1

There are so many mysteries to God's plan. We can spend a lifetime trying to catch a glimpse of what that plan is through studying His inspired word. So few seem to have this perspective Nachmanides had centuries ago and Mark Moore (Early Genesis) has today. God brought everything into existence from the Light He manifested on the first day. Then God and creation/earth completed together the manifestation of vegetation and animal life on earth from that Light.

If you look at God's creation in Genesis 1 and 2 you will easily see major differences in the stories. Critics to Christianity and religion easily call these stories myths and then the differences between the stories are used as facts to prove that one or both are not supporting truth in a creator God. On the other hand, many Christians claim the stories are the same stories just told from a different perspective. Could that possibly be so? It should be obvious that this is not a detailed second account of creation as there is no mention of the heavens and earth, sun, moon, stars, atmosphere, land etc. The other plausible suggestion I mentioned above is that the first creation story describes the six days of creation while the second story tells only what happened on the sixth day but in more detail.

The following are the major differences between the two creation stories:

1. In the six-day creation story, the order of creation is plants, birds and fish, mammals and reptiles, and finally man to reign over all created before him.

In the Adam and Eve story, the creation order is reversed, with man coming first, then plants and animals.  

2. In the six-day story, the creation of humanity occurs through a single act and the creator, seeming more cosmic than human-like, is present only through a series of commands.  

In the Adam and Eve story, on the other hand, man and woman are created through two separate acts and God is present in a hands-on, intimate way.  

3. The pre-creation setting in the six-day story is a watery chaos.

In the Adam and Eve version, the setting before creation is a dry desert.  

4. In the six-day story, the creator is called “Elohim” (God in the English translation).

In the Adam and Eve story the creator is “the LORD God” (“Yahweh-Elohim”), which points to a personal, immanent, close, and covenant God of his people.

5. In the first creation story, God creates through speaking.

In the second version, God takes physical actions (planting a Garden, breathing into Adam’s nostrils, etc).

The Garden of Eden and the Sixth Day
I believe the Garden of Eden was not quite as physical as our planet is today. Eden was a place where the pre-incarnate Christ could walk and Adam could talk to. It was someplace between heaven and earth, maybe similar to what near-death experiencers see after they go through the tunnel and enter the light. Many see a place like earth but greener, with flowers and plants that are more beautiful than earth. There is still a sky and light but no sun to give it light. There are colors there that we don't have on earth, mountains, trees, and buildings, yet the buildings are made of light or precious stones.

Before Eden was created Gen. 2:6 describes that there had not yet been any rain on earth until a mist came up from the earth and watered the ground (Gen. 2:5). Since there was no man to till the ground God formed man of the dust who became a living soul after receiving the breath of life (Gen. 2:7).

Out of the ground, the LORD God (the Heavenly Man in Gen. 1:27) planted a garden in Eden but He does not command Eden into existence, He plants it (Gen. 2:8) and puts the man He formed in it. God "made to grow" such trees that were not only pleasant and beautiful to look at, but they also had fruit which was suitable for man to eat (Gen. 2:9). The man that was put in the garden was commanded "to dress and keep it" (Gen. 2:15).

Young-earth creationists believe Adam was created on the sixth day and fell shortly afterward. Some realize that Adam and Eve couldn’t have sinned on the same day since God declared that everything was “very good" on that day. They rather surmise that they sinned a few days later or at the most a week later. Is it possible that Adam was created, named all the animals, then Eve was created, and then before the end of that day they had fallen? That would be some fast-paced life! If most of the Genesis 2 account occurred all on the sixth day, logically there is no way all of Genesis 2 can fit into one 24-hour day as many of these young-earth creationist Christians believe. So either this interpretation of 24-hour days is wrong or there is some other explanation for another time frame. As I mentioned in part 1 time is not the same from God's perspective with our 24-hour days.

When would Adam have had a chance to till the ground and tend the garden? Even after God gave the man the animals to name it would take some time to note that none were suitable to be the companion to till the ground with. From Eden came a mighty river that connected to several rivers (Gen. 2:10-14). The mist would not produce rivers and if there was a mist and then later rain, it would be a long period of time before the falling rains would form deep channels that eventually could become a river. These words lead us to see that a vast space must have elapsed between the mist period and that in which the Tigris and Euphrates became mighty rivers encompassing whole lands.

We may never know how much time elapsed between the sixth day and the fall of man or where Eden was. After Adam sinned and was cast out of Eden we hear no more of this beautiful place. it was probably a place where heaven and earth met, a place that is no longer available to any of humankind and no longer connected with the earth.

God's Name
It appears obvious that the two stories are told from different perspectives and not by the same person and there are major differences. Actually, the first story is not told by any man because man was not created yet! We can assume that someone got the story to write down and it could have been Adam since he appears to have fellowship with Yahweh who walked in the garden with Adam (Gen. 3:8). Adam could also have gotten the story from creation, as mentioned in part II with creation responding back to some of God's commands and fulfilling them. Since we have no idea what an idyllic relationship Adam had with the LORD God within the garden or with animals and the trees and plants that came forth, we could be open to the idea that Adam might have had a higher level of communication not only with God but also with nature.

In point 4 above, different names of God are used in each story of creation. Different names for God convey different features of God. Elohim2 focuses on God’s nature as our Creator and makes sense that it is used describing the creation of the heavens and earth. Genesis 2:4 introduces the covenant name, Yahweh combined with Elohim, possibly pointing to the fact that the covenant God of Israel is none other than the creator of the universe. The four-letter Tetragrammaton of the Hebrew name of God is  YHWH or JHVH and articulated as Yahweh or Jehovah. Jehovah, or LORD in English, denotes that God alone has His being of Himself and that He gives being to all creatures and things. Yahweh is a bit more of a personal name then Elohim and seems to highlight God’s personal fingerprints in creation with man, which makes sense it is used in Genesis 2 given the more personal nature of this story.

This LORD is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ who would later take on human form to save his creation from sin. In the Gospel of John we learn that the Word was Christ and was from the beginning and not created (John 1:1). As mentioned in part II The Man created in Gen. 1:27 is the future incarnate Word/Christ, the corporate body of Christ and His Church, not the Son of God who was from the beginning.

Who are the hosts?
Reconsidering the verses in Genesis with the view that Adam was not the first human. Instead, he was the first human aware of God's will, and eventually willingly behaved contrary to God's will, with this happening in an already populated world of humans, thereby yields many interesting possibilities in interpreting Scripture. Since few Christians adhere to the belief that there were any human beings on earth before Adam I will start there.

In Gen. 2:1 God said, "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them". Who and what are the 'host'? The "host of them" could be referring to the host of mankind God had just created as well as the heavenly host. The Greek word for host is tseba'ah meaning a mass of persons, especially organized for war (an army). Host would refer to all the things that God created in heaven and the earth. In Scripture, the host of heavens are the sun, moon, and stars. And the host of the earth they are the plants, herbs, and trees, the fowls, fishes, animals, and man.

In this first verse the plural of "heaven" is used "thus the heavens", affirming the hosts are of more than one heaven. The three heavens are the atmosphere, the firmament (cosmos), and the heaven of heavens (where God and the heavenly hosts dwell).

One Bible commentator states:

"The word translated host does not refer to military arrangement, but to numbers gathered in crowds. This crowded throng of heaven sometimes means the angels, as in 1Kings 22:19; oftener the stars. Here it is the host both of heaven and earth and signifies the multitudes of living creatures which people the land, and seas, and air."

Yet, another Bible commentary states it is related to military:

"all the host of them," which suggests the picture of a military armament arranged in marching order... the conception being that when the heavens and the earth were completed they were a brilliant army.

Every instance in the Bible where the word hosts are referring to things on earth, it is talking about humans or warfare by humans. The Bible gives several descriptions of angels in heaven in military terms, such as their encampment, command structure, and combat. In Rev. 12:7 it describes a war in heaven between angels led by the Archangel Michael against those led by "the dragon", identified as the devil or Satan, "he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

The first command3 addressed to humanity in the entire Bible is "to be fruitful and multiply" and then to "subdue (the earth) and have dominion" (Gen 1:28). This differs greatly with the mission of Adam. He is asked to name the animals (Gen. 2:19)! He is given an idyllic garden to tend in a protected environment and was told nothing about multiplying or subduing the earth. Adam does not even start having children until after the Fall. This viewpoint is not the consensus of most scholars and Christians. Rather, most see God is commanding Adam—who is the first of mankind—in Gen. 1:28 "to be fruitful and multiply" and then Adam's lineage (all mankind on earth) by default. Still, the focus in this second chapter is on Adam and his obedience to God's personal direction. His first personal command from the Lord God recorded in Gen. 2:17 is not to eat of the tree of good and evil that God planted in the garden.

If we look at the Garden of Eden with no other humans, full of good trees, flowing rivers, no rain, and a temperate climate, with all vegetarian eaters, what is there for Adam to subdue? Strong's definition of subdue is to "bring into bondage". The word dominion is defined as "to tread down, to subjugate, to prevail against, reign". This might be more applicable after the fall, but not before. Thus, Gen. 1:28 better describes the world outside of Eden where mankind who were created was the host on earth who might have a greater need to rein in over the animals and protect themselves.

The Seventh Day
The seventh day is not mentioned in Genesis 1 but in Gen. 2:2. It is then that God finished His work and the seventh day is mentioned as God's day of rest. There is obviously a spiritual connotation to this 'rest' as God is not like us needing rest because He is beyond time and space. It would be reasonable to see that God does not need to rest but we do and the sabbath was created for us (Mark 2:27). Yet the word rest implies that God finished the work He did with creation and he desisted from His efforts.

The Jewish Kabbalah defines that God's creation in six days is all about man. Kabbalah is not about the events in our world but rather the Upper world. That world is from where all powers descended into our world and generated and instigated all that happens here. According to Kabbalah the Creator made the governing forces of the Upper world during the six days of creation. These days are not in time (or literal 24-hour days) but outside of time.

"The Torah describes the emergence of the Upper world, its structure, and evolution and then it depicts the process of our creation. But this is not a person in our world. The Torah talks about the creation of the will to receive (called the Soul or Adam) with the goal to fill this creation-desire-soul with eternal and absolute delight. This desire to delight is the only creation. Besides it there is only the Creator. Thus everything besides the Creator is nothing but various measures of the desire to delight...The Creator wishes to completely fill creation with pleasure until creation senses perfection and eternity. This is because the Creator Himself exists in this particular state, and wishes to bestow it to us."4

The view of creation from Kabbalah aligns with Christianity in that Adam (man) was the final act and purpose of the Creator for creation. All was created for him. Kabbalah states that Adam’s destiny is to attain similarity with the Creator, become completely equal to Him (as he is made in God's image), and himself rule over the entire existence and his own destiny. The interesting point is that man must reach this highest and perfect state on his own but not before having reached the worst state (opposite the state of the Creator) whereby he must rise from it by his own accord.

Christianity has a lot of scriptural support with a similar understanding that we must use our own free will to choose God. The difference is that Christians have Christ and Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection whereby we do not have to do it by ourselves but can do it only through Christ's sacrifice on the cross. We must believe in Christ as the savior.

In the Kabbalistic tradition, the Creator is referred to as Ein Sof, meaning “without end”. The Creator exists beyond all space, time, and limitation and thereby is endless and without limits. One Kabbalist idea about the beginning of creation is a doctrine called tzimtzum, defined as "contraction".

God began the process of creation by "contracting" his infinite light in order to create a “Place” for creation to occur, and a way for apparently separate beings to exist. This created a "vacant space" into which new creative light could beam. God created the light and darkness (Isaiah 45:7) and from this Kabbalah interpretation, we can see how the darkness possibly was created. Most Bible versions do not translate the word "hoshek" into "evil" in this verse, rather they use the word "calamity". Calamity comes as the result of mankind's sins and choosing darkness over the light.

According to the Gospels, Jesus healed more people on the Sabbath than any other day. For this, the Pharisees condemned Him many times. When Jesus healed a man with a 38-year infirmity on the Sabbath His reply to the Pharisee's condemnation was, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). The rest on the seventh day was the completion of the works of creation, not (or ever could be) a cessation in divine work, or in the flow of divine energy that flows unrestricted by our days and nights. God rested on the seventh day, He stopped doing the one thing He had done on all previous days, and he would never take it up again, His work of creation. Yet, this doesn't mean that he stopped doing good. He works to help people grow spiritually and to help bring people into His Kingdom ceaselessly. Jesus was showing that doing good on the Sabbath is righteous.

Was Adam the First Man?
The creation of man in Genesis 1 has predominantly been understood to mean that Adam was the first human God created. Yet, is this what these verses really say? What it does say is that God created man, male and female, on day 6, then at the beginning of chapter 2 God rested on day 7, then comes the story of Adam's creation. So, was Adam the sole progenitor of the human race? Since it is well documented scientifically that early mankind were hunter-gatherers, not farmers, this could be why in Gen. 2:5 "there was not a man to till the ground". So the Lord God formed man, who would be called Adam, and put him in the garden God created (Gen. 2:8) "to dress it and to keep it" (Gen. 2:15).

Acts 17:26 is the main verse cited to support that Adam was the first man created. And yes, it does appear to support this belief depending on which translation you read, and no, it doesn't really support the idea if you go back to the original Greek. The American Standard Version translates this verse as "He made of one every nation of men" and this is the correct Greek translation. The Greek does not actually say "From one man", it says "From one". John 11:50 uses the words "one man" in connection with the word "nation" and is not the same Greek word for "one man" that Paul used and recorded in Acts.

Paul’s statement "From one, he made every nation of the human race" draws on Greek ideas and addresses Greek concerns. Paul is saying that all ethnic groups come from one common human group. He is not referring to Adam as the first human being who ever lived, nor is he saying all humans are the descendants of Adam. The Greeks had never heard of Adam or read the Old Testament. Paul most likely had no intention of making a statement about Adam but is just trying to find common ground to make his real point about God.

Paul contrasts Adam and Jesus several times in 1 Cor.15. Paul calls Adam the first man and Christ the second man. He also calls Jesus the last Adam. Jesus was not the second man, far from it. Paul would have to be referencing something else as the first and second man. Jesus was born holy, sinless and pure through woman but by the Holy Spirit. Adam was also made holy, sinless and pure by God and the Holy Spirit and was the first man to provide a genealogy leading up to the birth of Christ. He was also the first man in God's plan to bring mankind in harmony with Himself and God's image. Jesus was the last man in Adam's lineage to fulfill that plan. The "first man" in Paul's words has nothing to do with the first man God created, but the first man (Adam) in God's plan to redeem mankind and is finished in the superior Adam (Jesus), who remained sinless as the first Adam did not.5

Adam was also the first man to have sinned under the law. Romans 5:13 states that where there is no law there is no sin. Romans 5:12 is often used to point out that Adam was the first man to sin and death passed to all men because of that one man, making Adam the first man on earth. With the understanding that there were others of mankind who were on the earth with Adam but outside the garden, Adam was not the first sinner. Mankind was sinning before Adam but they were doing so in a state of innocence. When Adam was given the law and chose to determine for himself what was good and evil he lost the protection of God. As the first Adam, he would have been given responsibility for knowing the law, along with the perfection he was surrounded with from personally knowing the LORD God. He had the best opportunity to stay sinless and to fulfill his destiny as the son of God yet he failed.

Adam is Formed
In Genesis 2 God forms the man out of the dust of the earth who I propose is part of mankind yet a different man from the mankind created in Genesis 1. In Genesis 1 God states His intent to make man in His image and then He creates man, male and female. In Gen. 2:7 the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground with the gift of the Holy Spirit and a living soul and then made a woman from him (Gen. 2:22). God did not create Adam but forms him from the elements of the earth.

Mankind created in Genesis 1 was not formed. Scripture tells us they were created. They were not given the detail and individual purpose that Adam had been given. Adam was formed to be a tender of a garden (all of the other mankind were hunter/gatherers, not gardeners or farmers) but the Creator, the Lord God, made it a reality that Adam was the highest of mankind in that He created him to be a figure or type of Christ to help all of mankind that had gone astray. All this is not specifically spelled out in Scripture.

There is another in Scripture who was also formed. The Lord told the prophet Jeremiah "before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jer 1:5). Jeremiah was formed as Adam was formed, except he was to be a prophet. As mentioned earlier, much of Genesis is a mystery. Yet if you see that Adam was specially formed beyond the first created mankind, and how much special care he was given with Eden and all life within the Garden, and then Eve, it is not hard to see that there could be a good reason why Adam was singled out in this story.

St. Paul made a comparison between the first Adam and the second (Jesus Christ) in Romans and concluded that Adam is a "type of Him who was to come". Adam was either going to do something special in Christ with, or for, mankind as he was a type or foreshadow of Christ (Romans 5:14) or God would use his lineage to bring in the Christ incarnate if he could not remain sinless. In the Bible, a type is always a historical person, action, or event appointed by God to be a foreshadowing, to the fulfillment, yet to come.

Adam represents Christ in many aspects while he yet differs from Him in others. Adam was without father or mother and was “The son of God” (Luke 3:38), and the second Adam is The Son of God. (Luke 1:32).  The first Adam brought sin into the world. The second Adam saved us from sin. Adam was of the earth, made of dust, The Man (pre-incarnate Christ) is the Lord from heaven. 

Very Good but Not Perfect
God had already stated all was finished and that everything was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). Yet, the Lord God tells Adam that something is not good. “It is not good that man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18). Throughout Genesis 1 God says after some creation days, "that it was good". If "good" was perfect, what is "very good"? The belief that creation was perfect before the fall is quite common. Yet, the Serpent (Satan) had already fallen before he tempted Eve. Whether he was fully physical or spirit, he still had contact with the physical earth and within the Garden of Eden. This would surely imply that "goodness" was not perfect in the sense of moral perfection. So what did God mean when He said: "it was good"?

I can't speak for God but the Bible gives us the keys to interpreting the words within it. The words to describe God's creation was "good", not perfect or something similar as flawless or pristine. Instead, the word used is a milder word, towb, that Strong's defines as "pleasant, agreeable, good". So creation is not perfect, but very suitable for God's purposes. We can discern God's purpose throughout Scripture. Creation, and man as the creation in God's image and given dominion over all the earth, was given free will. The physical creation is a place of choices and is between Heaven and Hell. Every choice man makes either takes him closer to God and the Light or further away into darkness and closer to hell. The plan from the beginning to the end of Scripture is all about the redemption of man.

If mankind took dominion of the earth and all therein in a moral and righteous manner, all of the earth could become more like heaven. Apparently, mankind was not doing so well and God implemented the next step, the creation of man (ha-adam), who was given everything idyllic. He even talked with God and received personal instruction in what he could and could not partake of (Gen. 2:16-17). If he could remain morally perfect, he thereby could possibly be the means to lead the rest of mankind towards the light and closer to their creator. Alas, Adam fell, and sin and death entered the world. Prior to that time, mankind was in a state of innocence. They still died but not in sin until Adam brought sin into the world by directly disobeying God's command and thinking he knew better than God.

In chapter one man and woman are created in God's image. In chapter two, man (ha-adam) is formed in the likeness of Christ and in God's image. The woman comes along afterward, emphasizing that she is to be a helper to man. First, Adam is told that it is not good that he is alone (Gen. 2:18) so God creates some animals and brings them to Adam to name (Gen. 2:19-20). The point seems to be to show Adam that the animals are not the ones that will fit him and be his helper. In the next verses, woman is created from Adam's side and God institutes a relationship (marriage) between them where they are to become one flesh (Gen. 2:22-24).

It is possible that there was no institution of marriage between man and woman (mankind) before this relationship was created between Adam and Eve, if there was a creation of mankind in general before Adam. It is a horizontal relationship that even supersedes the parent/child relationship. The man and wife are to form a complementary relationship that will make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. This couple was to be different than the earlier mankind created.

Animals and the Beginning of Death
One difference between the two creation stories is the creation timing of the animals with that of man. This can be better understood if you look at these verses more closely and note the animals described. In chapter one God told the earth to bring forth the beasts of the earth, creeping things and cattle and then God created them. Mankind was created next. In chapter two the animals are made after Adam and they are formed as Adam was formed.

Adam is brought every beast of the field and every fowl of the air that the Lord God made from the earth. Beasts of the field would be more appropriate for Adam tending the garden, being he was to be an agriculturist. These animals would be better suited to help Adam and could be domesticated rather than the beasts of the earth such as lions and bears that were created in chapter one. The "creeping things" and the "fish of the sea" were also created in chapter 1 but not for Adam. Thus, it is possible these verses in chapter two are not describing a subcategory of the animals in chapter one.

In Gen. 1:29-30 God gave both animal and man plants and fruit to eat. Does that verse mean there were no predators on the planet? Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) believed that God’s original creation included animals that killed each other, writing that “the nature of animals was not changed by man’s sin.”

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul contrasts and compares Christ and Adam, highlighting Adam’s fall as the cause of physical death for the whole human race. Then again in Romans, he speaks of sin and death came on man by man and in Romans 5:12 that “death passed unto all men“. Adam and Eve did not die immediately, Adam is said to have lived for 930 years! Yet if he hadn't sinned his destiny might have been to be taken up to heaven in a whirlwind or chariot (2 Kings 2:11) as Elijah did or like Enoch who "walked with God: and he was no more; for God took him" (Gen 5:24). God planted the Tree of Life in the garden before the fall (Gen. 2:9) which gives immortality to the one who eats it (Gen. 3:22). If God created humans as immortal, what was the purpose of the Tree of Life? It would only be needed if humans were mortal to begin with.

As suggested above, God's statement of "very good" does not connotate that creation was perfect, as heaven is perfect. If God has established something as the "natural order of things," and it is very good, who are we to suggest otherwise? Predators keep the balance within animal life and the ecosystem helping to establish the "natural order". When one species might propagate itself to the point of crowding out others, predatory animals help bring back the balance. Plantlife would have to die to some degree to be the main source of food for animals. And mankind's command to subdue and have dominion over all life would be inapplicable if all the creatures were already tame and unafraid of mankind.

If suddenly a group of animals was to change their behavior after the fall and become carnivorous would not this important step be referenced in the Bible? Since God was finished in His creation He would not have created new carnivorous animals after the fall but would have had to do a big overhaul of certain animals to make them suddenly hunters. They would have to change their entire digestive system, starting with the saliva and teeth down to the stomachs and digestive tracts. What would be right or fair about God making some previously created herbivore animals to suddenly become carnivorous? 

This is not to say that if the world had carnivores before Adam fell that they would be a part of the New Jerusalem or is a part of heaven today. It is what God would have established in the nature kingdom that would contribute to help mankind to learn and grow in the image of God and how to become God-like through their own free will choice. In heaven, there is no choice. Look what happened to the angels who rebelled against God's plan. Rather, the death that entered the world with Adam is understood as something that takes man apart from God, a spiritual death, in the sense that the access to God is now closed and can be restored only through faith in Christ. It says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ."

One other point on Adam's mortality. As mentioned above, God planted the Tree of Life in the garden before the fall (Gen. 2:9) which gives immortality to the one who eats it (Gen. 3:22). Adam was free to eat of the Tree of Life. It was only the Tree of the Knowledge that he was forbidden to eat its fruit. If God created Adam as immortal before his fall what would be the meaning to having the Tree of Life in the garden unless Adam was mortal to begin with?

Creation of Eve
In the first creation story, man and woman are made at once (Gen. 1:27]. In the second story, man is made first and woman is taken from his rib (Gen 2:21). The word here that is translated as rib is tzela. It appears about 40 times in the Bible, but nowhere does it mean rib—except in Genesis 2. It usually refers to the side room of a building or the side of an object. It was first translated rib in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, and it was the correct translation.

Not only is tzela "rib" in post-biblical Hebrew, but there is also a common word meaning rib in practically every Semitic language we know. Aramaic has ala, Arabic has dhala, Akkadian has tzela indicating that tzela meant “rib” thousands of years before proto-Semitic split up into the different Semitic languages, according to one Jewish newspaper, Haaretz.

A man who survived a major road accident noted that the surgeon continually went to his same rib for bone for the many reconstructive face surgeries he had. When he asked why he was told that ribs are commonly used for bone grafts because they often grow back, in whole or in part. A lot depends on the care with which the rib is removed, he was told. With this knowledge, it is amazing to see that there was a good reason God chose that bone from Adam to make Eve.

Although Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 likely had divergent origins, we can see their relationship and why they both appear side-by-side in Scripture even with their differences. In Genesis 1 we find God calling the cosmos (heaven and earth, and all that is in them) into existence. Then in Genesis 2, we have the account of a personal God, Yahweh with His creation of one man and his garden and then later a companion for him.

Although two chapters have differences, I have presented some ideas as to how we can look at those differences as not necessarily contradictive but complementary, if we open our eyes to looking deeper. There is no way we can resolve all the many interpretations because various groups and individuals hold on to their beliefs with a strong determination that their view is the only correct one and that every other view is in error.

It is possible God planned it that way for a higher purpose in that we would have so little detail to form concise conclusions as to what happened. In that way, everyone can make their own conclusions and decisions on what the text means to them personally, and in different ways in different ages depending on culture and the advancement of science. For example the creation days. While there are several patterns to all the days, we are not in agreement with what the day constitutes. Genesis 1 does not require us to conclude that God created everything in six, 24-hour days, nor do the creation stories of Genesis necessarily conflict with some scientific conclusions like the formation of the earth taking billions of years.

The use of the word Adam changes the meaning of each verse where it is used depending on the translator. The meaning on 'adam in Genesis can be collectively ("mankind", Gen. 1:27), individually (a "man", Gen. 2:7), gender nonspecific ("man and woman", Gen. 5:1-2), and a proper name for a male (Gen. 2:23-24).

We also see things differently with how many humans God created. While many believe the first humans created was the couple in Genesis 2, we need to balance that picture with that in Genesis 1. In that story, God creates not individuals, but different population groups for various purposes such as the birds, fish, and land animals and finally humans (the latter designated by the collective noun ’adam). Christians might only read this account of mankind as an original couple because they project the account from Genesis 2 back into chapter 1 without respecting the different portrayals of creation in each account.

In conclusion, we should not take these texts as having a “literal” chronological order and thus corresponding to realities in our modern world. Nor should we discount one or the other story as false because they do not correspondent exactly. Rather, Christians must have faith that these chapters were God-inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit to be there as they are for our own edification and growth.


1Commentary, Ramban on Genesis, composed in Middle-Age Spain (c.1246 - c.1286 CE).

2In the Hebrew Bible the word Elohim occurs more than 2500 times, as well as it is used to denote "gods," "goddesses," and things divine or mighty an additional hundred times. The Hebrews believed their God was the only deity who embodied all definitions of the title God, Deity, and Supreme Power. So they amplified the noun with the ending "–im" making the word a plural masculine noun. Therefore, it doesn't mean "Gods" but something like "the Greatest God of all.

3As some Bible commentaries express this is less a command and more so a benediction and a promise. as appears from Genesis 1:22, where the same words are applied to the brute beasts, which are not capable of understanding or obeying a command. It is therefore a permission rather than a command.

4From The Wisdom of Kabbalah.

5Note that God is omniscience and all-knowing, meaning that He has all knowledge of the universe past, present, and future. He knew Adam would eventually sin, and thus before even creating Adam He created the Man, the future incarnate Word/Christ and His Church. The Son or Logos already existed in God. The Christ would later walk and talk in the Garden with Adam as a Christophany (pre-incarnate Jesus Christ). Since no man can see God's face and live (Exodus 33:20). Jesus said when you have seen me you have seen God the Father (John 14:9 and John 1:18). Jesus is our personal God that we can see and face.