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I know God Created man on the 6th day (Genesis 1:27) so I was questioning why it talks about God forming man again in (Genesis 2:7). I do get it but I need a full clarification.

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    Welcome Dorinda! It's a question many have wondered about and you have already gotten some answers that will provide you with plenty of food for thought. Please take a look at the Tour and the Help pages (links below, left) to get better acquainted. Dec 28, 2023 at 21:45
  • Welcome to SE-BH. Your question up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 28, 2023 at 23:55

4 Answers 4

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That is because the creation account at the start contains two accounts, which are not contradictory, but complimentary. It starts with the Elohim Account : Genesis 1:1 to 2:3. This is immediately followed with the Jehovah Elohim Account : Genesis 2:4 to 3:24. Notice how in the first account God [Elohim] is the word used to identify the Creator, but in the second account Jehovah God [Yahweh Elohim] is used?

A thorough comparison between the two accounts needs to be undertaken to assist in finding the answer to the question. This shows very different emphases, which indicate a spiritual meaning, and of things to come. Now I will quote from a book on the subject of Genesis, points pertaining to this.

"There is a first Adam and his seed or posterity; and there is a last Adam, which is Christ. The first Adam in the garden was called 'the figure of him that was to come', Rom.5:14. But if a figure, Where is that figure but in Genesis? And if two accounts appear, Why but for this same reason?

In the beginning obviously there was but one Creation, for which but one record would have sufficed. But in the foreknowledge and counsel of God another Creation was yet to come. Likewise in the beginning but one man appeared. But in the eternal purpose of God another Man was yet to come. This hidden mystery, kept secret from the foundation of the world, was signified in a hidden way from the very beginning.

That is why there are two accounts. That is why the two records are written in such different ways. Because aspects are included and excluded respectively to stress the difference between what was in Adam and this Creation, and what would be in Christ and the new Creation. Why? Because two men, and their seeds respectively, were in view from the very beginning." Creation, John Metcalfe, pp. 33-34, http://www.johnmetcalfepublishingtrust.co.uk/contact_us.htm

Missing from the first account are - Jehovah, Adam, soul, dust, garden of Eden, the Fall, serpent, Tree of Life and the other tree. Yet being made in the image of God is stated in both accounts! That must be highly significant, and it is, when it is understood why there are two accounts. The book goes on to explain the significance but there is far too much on this to copy here. Here are some key points that might help understanding to begin, first regarding Genesis 1:27.

"But the life which is in his image reflects divine life and vigour. Death has no place in this... God is a Spirit, Jn.4:24. Then, above all, the image and likeness of God in man must reflect spirituality, just as every quality and characteristic of true humanity - in the image and likeness of God - must be spiritual." (Ibid. p.60)

The first account speaks, be it ever so faintly, of the world to come, the New Creation in Christ, and we should then be looking in the rest of the Bible for how he is "the image of God" and how believers in Christ are conformed to the image of Christ. Try studying these New Testament texts: Colossians 1:15-27; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 11:7; Romans 8:29. Then study 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 which ties Adam in the garden in together with Christ - the first man, and the second man who is the Lord from heaven.

With regard to "the image of God" in the first account, the main emphasis lies in the concept of 'image and likeness', together with that of 'dominion'. In the second account, note that the created man is now named as Adam (the first Adam). Further:

"This is not to say that nothing at all in the subsequent Jehovah Elohim account is prophetic of Christ [cf. 2:21-24 with Ephesians 5:30-32]. This shows that in the eternal purpose of God - even before the Fall - Adam himself in innocence was to look for and hope in Another yet to come, of whom he himself was but the figure, and therefore in whom he should put all his confidence. Then why should it come as any surprise to see Christ foreshadowed so early as Genesis 1:26-28?" (Ibid. p.74)

Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2:5 relate to all of this, too much to detail here, so follows a concluding quote from the book:

"Moses now shows how Jehovah Elohim formed the man that should till the ground. He was made of dust... He is earthy. But how can this convey the image of God, who is spiritual, a Spirit? Because 'Jehovah Elohim breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.' Then man became 'a living soul'. Genesis 2:7.

...Since it was not given to him to have life in himself, and because he had received life from above through his nostrils by the breathing of Jehovah Elohim, it behoved the man in all things to be subject to him on whose constant inbreathing he depended for life.

...chapter 2:7 teaches uniquely that man, formed from the dust of the ground, proceeding from the earth, was sustained by breath from above. Far from having strength or ability, man in innocence - let alone after the Fall - did not so much possess life in and of himself.

...Abiding in dependent subjection, he stood. But turning from his Maker to supposed knowledge and strength within himself in order to sustain his life independently, it was impossible for him to stand." (Ibid. pp 79 & 81)

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The book of Genesis contains two creation accounts:

  1. Gen 1:1-2:3 describes the creation of the "the heavens and the earth" in six days

  2. Gen 2:4-25 describes, ie, expands upon the creation of mankind that occurred on the sixth day. That is, the second account is an expansion of Gen 1:26-29

This is typical of the layout of the entire book of Gensis - each succeeding section of Genesis is an expansion of some portion of one of the previous sections. See the appendix for more detail.

APPENDIX - Genesis Structure

Almost all commentators now structure the literary form of the book of Genesis around the “Toledoths” – a Hebrew word that is variously translated as, “the generations of”, “the history of”, “the account of”, “the record of”, etc. The debate in Genesis concerns the function of these Toledoths – do they form a heading (for what follows) or a colophon (footnote and “signature” of what has preceded)? Wiseman suggested, after studying Akkadian documents, that these Toledoths were colophons containing the identity of the author, and created an elaborate Tablet theory about Genesis. What are the facts? The 11 Toledoths in Genesis are:

  1. Gen 2:4 toledoth of Heavens and Earth
  2. Gen 5:1 toledoth of Adam
  3. Gen 6:9 toledoth of Noah
  4. Gen 10:1 toledoth of Shem Ham and Japheth
  5. Gen 11:10 toledoth of Shem
  6. Gen 11:27 toledoth of Terah
  7. Gen 25:12 toledoth of Ishmael
  8. Gen 25:19 toledoth of Isaac
  9. Gen 36:1 toledoth of Esau
  10. Gen 36:9 toledoth of Esau in Hill Country
  11. Gen 37:2 toledoth of Jacob

If the Toledoths are intended as a Colophon (footnote containing the author’s “signature”) to each section, then:

  • The last third of Genesis has no author
  • Some sections were written by people who did not witness the events or were antagonistic to the events and people, eg, most of the last 5 except Gen 36:9.
  • The first section was written by the heavens and the earth (!?!)

By contrast, if each Toledoth is a section heading:

  • Each section is about what the heading states without exception
  • Gen 1:1 – 2:3 was clearly written separately and in a very different style, verging on poetic.

This leads to a simple idea about the possible origin of the book of Genesis. It is probable (in agreement with Wiseman) that each Toledoth was written by a different (unstated) person (NOT the person in the Toledoth), and later, Moses collected and collated them, edited and arranged them, with an added introduction about creation, to create the book of Genesis, essentially as we now have it.

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  • + 1.... very informative. And I congratulate you on a creative way of combining a source-critical approach to the text with the idea of Moses as the ultimate author. Dec 28, 2023 at 20:37
  • Out of all the answers here, which may, or may not include my own, I think this is the most on point. Well done, + 1. Dec 29, 2023 at 7:10
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Why does Genesis 1:27 say man was created in God's image, and then in Genesis 2:7 is when God actually creates man?

Before I get into this, let me say at the outset that I am not a believer in the so called "Documentary Hypothesis", as outlined by one poster here. I am for Moses being the author, through and through, and that goes for the other four books of the "Pentateuch".

The two verses mentioned and in question make reference to, and firstly, the creation of man, and secondly, the formation of that said man, Adam. In the first instance, where God is referenced, the generic term for deity as well as a proper name for the true God, is used, Elohim in actual fact, an intensive plural, denoting greatness and majesty (the Being to be feared), rather than a plurality of Gods (the predicate verb in Gen, 1:1 is masculine/singular, as are the other predicate verbs regarding Elohim, at least through Gen, 2:3). In the second instance, we find a softening of our Deity, in that the proper name of God is more personified and becomes JHVH, or YHWH, Elohim (Jehovah, or Yahweh, God) - not withstanding the fact that most modern day bibles prefer "Lord God", mistakenly deferring away, IMO, from any actual name reference - Jehovah, or Yahweh, being the most significant name for God in the O.T. It has a twofold meaning: the active, self-existent One (since the word is connected with the verb meaning "to be", Exod, 3:14); and Israel's Redeemer (Exod, 6:6).

In Gen,1:1-2:3, it is all about the creation of "the heavens and the earth" in six days, including the creation of mankind on the sixth day. Whereas a subtle change in the narrative comes about in Gen, 2:4-25, swelling the narrative with regard to mankind's beginning. In verse 7, in particular, when referring to the creation of Adam, we now have the formation of Adam:-

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.

A note to the wise: Gen, 1:26, which obviously immediately precedes Gen, 1:27, does not say that - man was created in God's image - it actually says:-

Gen, 1:26, NASB (bolding mine)

Then God said,"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ......"

Many a theologian has put forward their own theories as to what these "1st Person plurals" could be in reference to. I have already implied that God, here referenced, i.e. Elohim, Himself, may well indeed be an intensive plural, denoting greatness and majesty, but that hardly explains the "Us" and "Our". For the possible answer, we should probably compare with John 1:1-18, where "Word" has it, that we could be talking about two divinities, after all is said and done.

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A simple way of understanding the reason for the two accounts is that when the Bible was put together, two separate traditions were combined - one mostly in chapter one and the other beginning at Gen. 2:2. Note the transition between the two accounts:

Genesis 2

1 Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. 2 On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

[new account begins here] 4 This is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens— 5 there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the Lord God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the ground, 6 but a stream[d] was welling up out of the earth and watering all the surface of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

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As @Anne mentioned, the first account uses the word "elohim," translated as "God," while the second uses the word YHWH, usually translated as "the LORD" or Jehovah. Scholars who ascribe to the so-called documentary hypothesis actually see several sources at work in the book of Genesis. For more information on this follow the link. On the other hand, scholars who reject this hypothesis look for other explanations, such as the first chapter speaking of the physical creation and the second speaking about the creation of the human spirit.

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  • I commend @Dottard's answer to readers who recognize more than one hand at work but also want to maintain the idea that the Torah was ultimately written by Moses. Dec 28, 2023 at 20:48
  • Many thanks for your kindness. While I believe the evidence for the documentary hypothesis is flimsy at best, I would not downvote anyone who holds that view. However, it appears that a few on this site cannot tolerate the thought of anything that even smells of the DH.
    – Dottard
    Dec 29, 2023 at 0:31
  • I appreciate all views that try to understand God sincerely. If I were a communist, I suppose I would join Chairman Mao in saying: "let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend." Dec 29, 2023 at 3:12
  • Cannot go along with this, but just so you know I am not one of the "down voters" here. Dec 29, 2023 at 7:13
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    It is only natural justice that the down voters explain the reasons of such, by adding comments. Otherwise one feels like summoned to the court without knowing the charges against (reminding the old Inquisition days)! And we often discuss about justice of God!! Dec 29, 2023 at 9:15

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