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Sermon No: 40112-Are there 2 creation accounts



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SERMON TOPIC: Are there 2 creation accounts

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 7 September 2018

Topic Groups: GENESIS, CREATIONISM, APOLOGETICS

Sermon synopsis: A frequent claim is made that there are two different (and contradictory) creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2.

- This alleged contradiction is used to try and prove that two different authors composed these accounts.
- Critics and sceptics use it in their efforts to show the Bible cannot be trusted.
- Some Christians who believe in a universe that is billions of years old use it in trying to show that these chapters should not be understood in their plain sense.
- Others claim that 2 separate men were created, one by Elohim and one by Yahweh Elohim.

Let’s examine the passages in question, in particular Day 3 and Day 6.
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DO GENESIS 1 & 2 CONTAIN CONTRADICTORY ACCOUNTS OF CREATION?

A frequent claim is made that there are two different (and contradictory) creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2.

This alleged contradiction is used to try and prove that two different authors composed these accounts.

Critics and sceptics use it in their efforts to show the Bible cannot be trusted.

Some Christians who believe in a universe that is billions of years old use it in trying to show that these chapters should not be understood in their plain sense.

Others claim that 2 separate men were created, one by Elohim and one by Yahweh Elohim.

Let’s examine the passages in question, in particular Day 3 and Day 6.

2 CREATION ACCOUNTS?

Gen 1:9-10 (NASB) Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

DAY 3 - GENESIS 1

Gen 1:11-13 (NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

DAY 3 - GENESIS 1

Gen 1:24 (NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 1

Gen 1:25 (NASB) God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 1

Gen 1:26 (NASB) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

DAY 6 - GENESIS 1

Gen 1:27-31 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” … God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 1

After resting on the seventh day (Gen 2:1-3), we then read.

Gen 2:4-5 (NASB) This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:7 (NASB) Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:8 (NASB) The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:9 (NASB) Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:18-19 (NASB) Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:20 (NASB) The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:21-22 (NASB) So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Gen 2:23-24 (NASB) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

DAY 6 - GENESIS 2

Chapter 2 is not a second account. These so-called two accounts are complementary rather than contradictory.

Chapter 2 simply gives more detail on the creation of man. Moses employs a common literary device describing an event first in general and then “zooming in” to the specific account of the creation of mankind.

… the practice of writing an account of some story, first with a general outline, and then filling in the details of the story, was common practice in the ancient world. There are many such examples in both biblical and secular writings as to this practice. The author goes back to fill in the details that are not mentioned in the first chapter. 1

1 "https:// www.blueletterbible.org/ faq/ don_stewart/ don_stewart_694.cfm

RECAPITULATION

In Genesis 1 there is a broad outline of the events of the creation week, which reaches its climax with the origin of mankind in the very image of God. In Genesis 2 there is the special emphasis upon man, the divine preparation of his home, the formation of a suitable mate, etc. 1

Edward J. Young writes:

To prepare the way for the account of the fall, chapter 2 gives certain added details about man’s original condition, which would have been incongruous and out of place in the grand, declarative march of chapter 1. 1

1 An Introduction to the Old Testament (1960), Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, p. 53

RECAPITULATION

Gleason Archer observed that the “technique of recapitulation was widely practiced in ancient Semitic literature. The author would first introduce his account with a short statement summarizing the whole transaction, and then he would follow it up with a more detailed and circumstantial account when dealing with matters of special importance”. 1

Genesis 1 is chronological, revealing the sequential events of the creation week, whereas Genesis 2 is topical, with special concern for man and his environment. [This procedure is not unknown elsewhere in biblical literature. Matthew’s account of the ministry of Christ is more topical, while Mark’s record is more chronological.] 2

1 A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody). 1964, p. 118) 2 "http:// www.apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx

APPENDIX 2

6&article=1131

RECAPITULATION

Even Howard Johnston, who was (at least in part) sympathetic to the Documentary Hypothesis, conceded:

The initial chapter [Genesis 1] gives a general account of the creation. The second chapter is generally declared by critics to be a second account of the creation, but, considered in the light of the general plan, that is not an accurate statement. Evidently the purpose of this chapter is to show that out of all the creation we have especially to do with man. Therefore only so much of the general account is repeated as is involved in a more detailed statement concerning the creation of man. There is a marked difference of style in the two accounts, but the record is consistent with the plan to narrow down the story to man. 1

1 Bible Criticism and the Average Man, (1902), New York: Revell, p.90

RECAPITULATION

Kenneth Kitchen writes, 1 “It is often claimed that Genesis 1 and 2 contain two different creation-narratives. In point of fact, however, the strictly complementary nature of the “two” accounts is plain enough: Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the centre of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting. There is no incompatible duplication here at all. Failure to recognize the complementary nature of the subject-distinction between a skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand, and the concentration in detail on man and his immediate environment on the other, borders on obscurantism. 1

1 Ancient Orient and Old Testament (1966), London: Tyndale, pp. 116-117) 2 Obscurantism is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or full details of something from becoming known

RECAPITULATION

Are there differences in the inspired narratives of Genesis 1 and 2? Of course there are. But differences do not necessarily imply contradictions, much less multiple authorship. 1 Genesis 2 is not simply a retelling of Genesis 1. It says nothing about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the seas, land, sun, moon, stars, moon, sea creatures, etc.

Chapter 2 mentions only things directly relevant to the creation of Adam and Eve and their life in the garden God prepared specially for them. Chapter 1 may be understood as creation from God’s perspective; it is ‘the big picture’, an overview of the whole. Chapter 2 views the more important aspects from man’s perspective. 2

1 "http:// www.apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx

APPENDIX 2

6&article=1131 2 "https:// www.blueletterbible.org/ faq/ don_stewart/ don_stewart_694.cfm

RECAPITULATION

A particular issue that some people have with Genesis 2 is that the order of the creation of man and animals appears to be contrary to the order given in Genesis 1.

In Gen 1:24-25 God creates the land animals on the sixth day. Thereafter (v 26-27) he creates mankind. Gen 2:7 also describes the creation of man. Then Gen 2:19 mentions the creation of certain land animals.

Gen 2:18-19 (KJV) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam…

At first this seems to be a contradiction because Genesis 1 has the animals created prior to the creation of man.

CREATION OF ANIMALS

According to Jeff Benner, who has taught Biblical Hebrew and Bible interpretation for over 20 years, “The Modern Hebrew language uses the same verb tenses that we do in English; past, present and future. However, in Biblical Hebrew they only had two tenses; perfect and imperfect. The past, present and future tenses are related to time, but the Biblical Hebrew tenses, perfect and imperfect, are related to action. A perfect tense is a completed action and an imperfect tense is an action that is not completed. This does make translating verbs difficult as there are no equivalent tenses in English. For the most part, perfect tenses are translated into the past tense in English and the imperfect tense into the present or future tense (as an action may be completed or it may have begun, but not yet completed). But this doesn’t always work…”

CREATION OF ANIMALS

The KJV, NKJV and NASB translates the Hebrew verb (yatsar) in its perfect form. However, the word may also be translated in its pluperfect form. It would then read that God “had formed” these creatures, as rendered in some translations e.g. ESV, NIV, Darby.

Gen 2:19 (NIV) Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man…

(ESV) Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man…

(Darby) And out of the ground Jehovah Elohim had formed every animal of the field and all fowl of the heavens, and brought [them] to Man…

CREATION OF ANIMALS

Interestingly, the first translator of the Hebrew into English, William Tyndale, agrees with the NIV and ESV. Tyndale’s translation predates the KJV.

Gen 2:19 (Tyndale) And after yt the LORde God had make of the erth all maner beastes of the felde and all maner foules of the ayre he brought them vnto Adam…

CREATION OF ANIMALS

A similar issue raised is that the order of the creation of man and plants in Genesis 2 appears to be contrary to the order given in Genesis 1.

In Genesis 1, God creates vegetation on the third day (v 11-12) and man on the sixth day (v 26-27).

In Gen 2:5 mankind and rain are seen as a prerequisite for shrub and plant cultivation.

Gen 2:5 (NASB) Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

PLANT LIFE

The Hebrew words for “vegetation” are different in the two passages.

Gen 1:11 (NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation [deshe’]: plants yielding seed [‘eseb mazria zera], and fruit trees [ets pariy] on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.

PLANT LIFE

Hebrew scholar Mark Futato defines the terms in Gen 2:5 as “wild shrubs of the steppe” and “cultivated grain” respectively. 1

Gen 2:5 (NASB) Now no shrub of the field [siah hassadeh] was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field [eseb hassadeh] had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

Grasses, fruit trees and seed-yielding herbs were created on Day 3, with the exception of those in the garden. Herbs of the field were not around because Adam had not yet been created to cultivate the ground. The shrubs and cultivated grains came about after the creation of Adam.

1 "https:// answersingenesis.org/ biology/plants/planting-confusion

PLANT LIFE

Cultivation is the process whereby humans deliberately encourage the reproduction of plant species by interfering with them in some way. This allows some plants to be grown beyond their natural range and genetic changes to accumulate that further increase the plant’s usefulness.

E.g. Wild carrot is the progenitor of the cultivated carrot… and the two subspecies are sexually compatible. The cultivated carrot was likely domesticated in Central Asia roughly 1,100 years ago and is grown worldwide from both open pollinated and hybrid seed. 1

1 "http:// www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/ wild.html

PLANT LIFE

Gen 1:11 uses a term referring to vegetation in general.

Gen 2:5 uses a more specific term referring to vegetation that requires cultivation, i.e., a person to tend it, a gardener or farmer.

The passages do not contradict. Genesis 1:11 speaks of God creating vegetation, and Genesis 2:5 speaks of God not causing “farmable” vegetation to grow until after He created man. 1

1 "https:// www.gotquestions.org/ two-Creation-accounts.html

PLANT LIFE

After the creation of man (Gen 2:7), v 8-9 mentions the creation of shrubs, plants and trees. The trees in v 9 are only the trees planted in the garden, not trees in general.

Gen 2:8-9 (NASB) The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man

PLANT LIFE

whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In Genesis 1 God is referred to by the name Elohim. However from Gen 2:4 onwards, to the end of chapter two, he is referred to by the compound name Yahweh-Elohim.

Why do Genesis 1 and 2 use two different names for God? Does this mean the account refers to two separate gods? Or is it - as some have suggested - that the accounts were compiled by different people in different periods of time, therefore the different terminology?

Advocates of the so-called documentary hypothesis of pentateuchal authorship argue that the introduction of the name Yahweh (LORD) here indicates that a new source (designated J), a parallel account of creation, begins here. In this scheme Gen 1:1-2:3 is understood as the priestly source (designated P) of creation. (NET Bible notes - Gen 2:4)

2 DIFFERENT NAMES?

God has many names or more correctly titles, much more than two. There are many passages in the Bible which refer to God using more than one title. Why should this somehow be especially significant in Genesis 1 and 2?

E.g. in the same ministry, I might refer to Jesus as “Lord” or “Jesus”, “Christ”, our Saviour, Redeemer, or the King of Kings. You wouldn’t conclude that I was speaking about 6 different people or that the sermon was written by 6 different authors. Yet this is the strange logic some people use when commenting on Genesis 1 and 2.

2 DIFFERENT NAMES?

On the basis of archaeological evidence, Professor Kenneth Kitchen of the University of Liverpool has shown that the “stylistic” theory simply is not credible. For example, a biographical inscription of Uni, an Egyptian official who lived about 2400 BC, reflects at least four different styles, and yet no one denies the unity of its authorship. 1

Second, the multiple employment of titles was common in the literature of antiquity as a device of literary variety. Archaeological discoveries have amply illustrated this point. Consider Genesis 28:13. The Lord speaks to Jacob and says: “I am Jehovah (Yahweh), the God (Elohim) of Abraham, the God (Elohim) of Isaac.” Would one argue for the multiple authorship of this single sentence upon the basis of the use of two Hebrew names for the Creator? Hardly. 1

1 "http:// www.apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx

APPENDIX 2

6&article=1131

2 DIFFERENT NAMES?

John Davis remarked:

To conclude that differences in style or vocabulary unmistakably indicate different authors is invalid for any body of literature. It is well known that a single author may vary his style and select vocabulary to fit the themes he is developing and the people he is addressing. It goes without saying that a young graduate student’s love letter will vary significantly in vocabulary and style from his research paper. 1

It must be concluded that arguments for “two creation accounts” in Genesis, based upon a subjective view of “style,” are speculative and unconvincing. 1

1 Paradise to Prison—Studies in Genesis (1975), Grand Rapids: Baker, p. 23)

2 DIFFERENT NAMES?

But the strongest argument that Genesis 1 and 2 are not 2 separate accounts of Creation comes from Jesus himself. Addressing the subject of marriage, he says:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matt 19:4-5, ESV)

In the same statement, Jesus refers to both Gen 1 (v 27: ‘made them male and female’) and Gen 2 (v 24: ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’). By combining them in this way, it’s apparent that he never regarded them as separate, contradictory accounts – so why should we?

2 CREATION ACCOUNTS?

Wayne Jackson points out:

If the liberal viewpoint is true, how very strange that Christ should have given not the slightest hint that the two accounts involved a multiple authorship and contradictory material! Obviously, the Son of God did not endorse the modern Documentary Hypothesis. 1

When the texts of Genesis 1 and 2 have been considered carefully, one thing is clear: an objective evaluation reveals no discrepancies, nor is a dual authorship to be inferred. Devout students of the Bible should not be disturbed by the fanciful, ever-changing theories of the liberal critics. 1

1 "http:// www.apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx

APPENDIX 2

6&article=1131

2 CREATION ACCOUNTS?

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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