There are several questions on this site concerning the differences between the account of creation in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and some related topics. A few: Differences in Genesis creation stories ** Are the two creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 likely to be from different sources? If so what sources? ** What are the similarities and differences between the Genesis creation account and other creation stories of the time ** Creation of Man narrated twice with different God name ** What is the significance of the author of Genesis using two different designations for God?

The common understanding of modern scholars is that these two accounts were written by different authors at different times. Leon Kass (In The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis) on pages 55-57, concludes the second story is not just a magnified version of the human portions of the first. He says it is utterly distinct and independent, and once we recognize the independence of the two creation stories we are compelled to adopt a critical principle of reading if we mean to understand each story on its own terms. 1

Kass continues and states: we must scrupulously avoid reading into the second story any facts or notions taken from the first, and vice versa. 1 This means that the seven days of the Genesis 1 account should not be used to understand the events described in Genesis 2.

If the Genesis 1 account is used, the events in Genesis 2 would be placed on the 3rd and 6th day. However, when that information is ignored and only the second creation is examined with the element of time in mind, there is just one reference to time:

This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens (Genesis 2:4 NKJV)

If this second account is taken literally and without considering the Genesis 1 account which reports events taking place over a period of seven days, should we conclude the events of Genesis 2 and 3 all took place on the same day?

If not, what textual evidence is there to indicate the author did not intend to place all of the events on the same day?

The concept that everything takes place on a single 24-hour day is contrary to what is described if both accounts are considered which is the correct way to study the texts: Are the two creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 likely to be from different sources? If so what sources? ** In Genesis 1:11-13, were there trees by the end of Day 3? ** Plants created before the sun?

However, I am interested in what conclusions are supported solely by the text of Genesis 2 (and 3).

1. From Dick Harfield's answer:In Genesis 2:18, was Eve made during or after the 7 days?

2 Answers 2


Backdrop to explain my answer

The opening chapters of Genesis provides an interesting framework for understanding the rest of the Bible. That is, the creation narrative of chapters 1-2 includes, within its own framework, the introduction of creation, and a "new" creation. That sounds confusing so let me explain.

In Genesis 1 we're given an account of the earth's creation. This includes a day by day account of God's creative furnishing of the cosmos, earth, its wildlife, then ending with man. The creation narrative appears to be exhaustively explained by 2:2.

Gen 2:2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

But similar to the progressive parallelism of the Book of Revelation (which also chronicles a new beginning), Genesis then shifts to the narration of a construction of what Moses called "the field" as opposed to the "earth" of previous accounts. (This field will be developed into the Garden of Eden). I like to think of this shift in narration as providing a panoramic view.

Gen 2:5 No plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Yahweh God had not caused it to rain on the earth. There was not a man to till the ground,

The introduction to this yet to be developed field explains why: 1.) There was no plant life. 2.) God had not caused it to rain there. This is logical considering point 1. 3.) There was no man (in this case Adam) to till the ground. Man would be placed there following his dominion of the earth. (1:28)

So what we have is not two separate accounts of creation, as some textual critics claim, but a complementary addition to explain the exclusivity of Eden--man's sanctuary/meeting place with God. Although In order to appreciate the distinction of the "earth" from the "field" we must compare and contrast verses of chapters 1 and 2.

Gen 1:11 God said, “Let the earth yield grass, herbs yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with their seeds in it, on the earth;” and it was so. Gen 1:12 The earth yielded grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with their seeds in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

Then consider the yet to be explained "field" which would have its own glory and purpose (2:9-14). Its origin narrative found beginning in chapter 2:5. Note: From chapter 1 up until this point of the narration the word field is not mentioned.

Gen 2:5 No plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Yahweh God had not caused it to rain on the earth. There was not a man to till the ground,

In short, the Garden was no less on earth but an exclusive piece of real estate within it. God had given man dominion over the entire earth. But as we notice, once placed in Eden man was under the explicit commandments of his Creator. Man was to "cultivate and keep" the garden. I believe these duties were not isolated to manual labor, but to included worship and fellowship. Consider doing a study of the garden, the tabernacle/temple and the imagery of new heaven and earth of Revelation 21-22. It's fascinating.

The placement of Adam within the garden occurred the day he was created.

Gen 2:8 Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Events of 2:4 thru 3:24 the same day?

Short answer? Most likely. From 2:16-25 Moses informs us of Adam's specific commands regarding Eden's fruit, the formation of woman, and the first couple's innocence (2:25). The artificial chapter break of 3:1 somewhat obscures the narrator's continuing description of the garden's environment and animal life. Specifically the serpent, whose aim was to reverse man's dominion over all created beings, particularly itself.

  • Nice insight on "the field." (+1) Although you could strengthen your conclusion by including the use of "the field" in Genesis 3:1,14,18. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 19:28
  • Good insight on your part. I will soon add an addition concerning scholarly sources also. Though they're few and far between on this issue. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 19:46

According to an answer given by the author of this question, a couple of days had transpired:


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