In Genesis 1 the seed-plants are made first. Then birds, aquatic and marine creatures are summoned from the water. Beasts of the earth are called forth from the earth. Man is shaped (SHAPE(V): (ברא / b.r.a) To fashion or form. Strong's: #1254) in God's image, both male and female together as the cherry on top of creation, then sent out to multiply, with "every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed" as food.

In Genesis 2 "every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew" (in seed trays and pots?) come first. Man is molded (MOLD(V): (יצר / y.ts.r) To give shape to; to press or squeeze, as when pressing clay into a shape to form a vessel. Alternate Translations: distress. Strong's: #3334, #3335) from dust, as are birds and animals. Woman is built (BUILD(V): (בנה / b.n.h) To construct a building or home with wood, stone or other material or a family with sons. Strong's: #1129) from a piece of Adam. God gives no reason for creating man in His own image, but Adam is shaped for a very specific purpose. Gen. 2:5 "...there was not a man to till the ground..." and Gen.2:15: "...And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it..."

The animals and birds are molded after the man, ostensibly to provide him with a "suitable companion", but when this idea fails, God makes a female version of the man and hands it to him. That is enough for now as there is a great deal more. How are these vast disparities to be explained?

  • 1
    Hello and welcome to the site. Questions need to be respectful of those with different opinions and interpretations.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 24 at 5:55
  • 3
    I've removed your requestion to not quote other people, because that's not how this site works. Answers need to provide supporting evidence for their claims and interpretations. You don't have to accept the supporting evidence people provide, but if we restrict from the beginning what kinds of supporting evidence are allowed then very few questions could be adequately answered. You yourself quote from Strongs, imagine if you couldn't do that! Please see this meta discussion: Where does external evidence fit on a hermeneutics site?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 24 at 6:26
  • 2
    I do not see "vast disparities" between the creation accounts in Gen 1 and 2. Indeed, I see no disparities at all. Gen 2 is simply an expansion of the description of what happened in Day #6 of creation week (of Gen 1). Gen 2:19, 20 is simply a flash-back to the previous day's activities (the Hebrew verbs do not have tense as English verbs do, but this is another matter).
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 24 at 8:31
  • 1
    Scripture states that God made humanity and he made humanity 'male and female'. It is incorrect to say that the woman is a 'female version of the man' : incorrect grammatically and semantically, but also spiritually, since man and woman set forth Christ and the Body of Christ, the Church.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 24 at 12:35
  • 1
    The major difference in the two accounts of Creation in the opening chapters of Genesis is the referencing of God as Elohim in the first account and Jehovah in the second. This is the main way in which the whole (twin) account may be understood : there are two revelations, demonstrating two aspects of creation. The natural creation and the first humanity. The new creation and another humanity. All the other differences fall into line with this major difference.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 24 at 12:39

3 Answers 3


There are, indeed, differences between the first account of creation in Genesis, and the second account in Genesis. The second account commences with chapter 2 verse 4. The points you raise may be due to the arrangement of words in the Septuagint version being followed too slavishly. The correct words are then set in the wrong place, resulting in an unintelligible contradiction. More on that later. First, the real significance of the two accounts:

"In the opening chapters of Genesis what immediately strikes the eye is the way in which the record of the Creation is repeated. There is not just one account. There are two accounts of Creation. These differ in length, content, and emphasis. This in itself indicates a profound mystery. Yet a mystery rarely noticed, seldom considered, and hardly opened.

The first account of Creation begins at Genesis 1:1 and ends at 2:3. These verses are characterized by the name ELOHIM - translated GOD in the English Bible - used exclusively in this passage and occurring thirty-three times.

The remainder of chapter two - that is, verses 4 to 25 - presents the second record of the Creation. This is worded in a completely different manner and considered from an entirely distinct aspect. Throughout this passage the divine name Elohim is marked by the addition of the name JEHOVAH, so as to read Jehovah Elohim, translated LORD God in the English Bible. This name occurs eleven times in these verses." Creation, John Metcalfe, pp.64-65, fifth impression 2008, http://www.johnmetcalfepublishingtrust.co.uk/contact_us.htm

Notice needs to be taken of such things as why the first account makes no mention of Adam, or even the ground (Adamah), nor the fact that the man was to be a living soul. Eden is not mentioned, nor the trees of life and of the knowledge of good and evil. But the second account is concerned to introduce the man by name - Adam - and goes on at length about him, his manhood, his history and his posterity. He can then be seen as the head of the fallen race.

As the covenant name of God is only introduced on the seventh day, so did God only bring his covenant name to his people, Israel, via Moses. They had the first volume of the Torah - Genesis - and could now go back in time behind Jacob, Isaac and Abraham, to find their ultimate origin and root in Adam under the divine name Jehovah Elohim. Genesis 2:4 shows the beginning of the revelation of Jehovah to Israel, made known in Adam.

Therefore, without grasping the two accounts of Creation, and their deliberate use of certain words and avoidance of other words, there will be confusion. A strictly literal translation of Gen. 2:5 gives, "And every bush of the field not yet was it in the earth; and every green herb of the field not yet was it sprung up." (John Metcalfe, Ibid. p. 68) Also, "And no shrub of the field is yet in the earth, and no herb of the field yet sprouteth, for Jehovah God hath not rained upon the earth, and a man there is not to serve the ground" (Young's Literal Translation). And also, "And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up. (Revised Version)

If the word 'before' is brought to the front of the clause, and then the word 'it' is dropped, the verse now reads, "And before any plant of the field was in the earth, and before every herb of the field grew". This makes sense in view of verse 4:

"Observe the wording of verse 4 again: 'These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah Elohim made the earth and the heavens.' Now, that day was the first day, Genesis 1:1. But - again note the translators' comma at the end of 2:4 - Genesis 2:5 continues to speak of the condition of things - described in Genesis 1:2 as being without form and void - on that same day. That is, the first day. three days before any plant was in the earth, and before any herb of the field grew. It was the first day of Creation, Genesis 1:1-5. Of this day, Genesis 2:4-5 speaks. Not until the third day - Genesis 1:9-13 - did vegetation appear on the earth.

To summarize: the words 'in the day' - Genesis 2:4-5 - correspond with the first day of Genesis 1:1-5." (Ibid. pp. 68-69)

More is explained by the author to show that the earth was clothed with verdure on the third day, whereas man was not created until the sixth day. As to rain, this did not fall until the Flood, so lack of rain and the absence of man could not be the reason for lack of verdure. On this point he concludes:

"Because of the difference in the viewpoint of the narrative, Chapter 1:1 to 2:3 states the events that took place in seven days, and the view of man on the sixth day uses the narrative of those events so as to point to and foreshadow a Man and a Creation yet to come.

Not so chapter 2:4-5. Creation is briefly mentioned, but here the first man Adam is the subject of the narrative. The Creation awaited his being formed, to reach the fulfilment of its purpose Israel, chosen of Jehovah, should consider his origins, and ponder that purpose." (Ibid. p. 70)

  • As I've noted before, the Genesis creation as described seems to be a set of separations (light from dark, etc.) and elaborations from the basic to the refined. Notice that God created Adam from dirt but created Eve from Adam, not from dirt. She was supposed to be a suitable helper, which should remind us of Jesus promising that he will send us a helper, the Holy Spirit. The fall changed everything! Even the creature called "serpent" didn't start out as a snake, but was, as a result, condemned to crawl along the earth and eat dirt.
    – Dieter
    Commented May 19 at 19:57

Some people believe that the two stories in Genesis fit well together. Myself being one of them. Let me explain: Genesis 1 talks about the creation of the world and humanities role. Genesis 2 looks more closely at the sixth day and how the Garden of Eden came to be. In this case, the stories are not at odds but each one looks at different things. If their focus is different it only makes sense that there will be some disparities, in the sense that they lack certain similarities simply because their focus is different.

Now, there are two primary "claims" of Genesis 1 and 2 being contradictory.

  1. In regard to plant life.
  2. In regard to animal life.

First, let me give a quick summary in regards to plant life:

  • Genesis 1:11 mentions vegetation created on the third day.
  • Genesis 2:5 notes no plant life before man, attributed to no rain and no one to cultivate the land.
  • No contradiction as Genesis 2:5 likely refers to the period before the third day.
  • Genesis 2:6-7 covers several days, with man created on the sixth day.
  • Genesis 2:9 focuses on the specific growth of trees in Eden, post-creation of vegetation.
  • Conclusion: No contradiction between Genesis 1:11 and Genesis 2:5,9; the texts refer to different times and contexts.

Second, let me give a quick summary in regards to animal life:

  • The perceived contradiction involves the timing of animal creation relative to humans in Genesis 1:24-25 vs. Genesis 2:19.
  • Some translations of Genesis 2:19 suggest animals were created after humans which would cause a contradiction.
  • A plausible interpretation of Genesis 2:19-20 indicates animals were created before humans.
  • The text does imply God had already created animals before introducing them to man for naming.
  • Conclusion: No contradiction exists; animals were created first, followed by humans, who then named the animals.


This problem can be solved when we read Gen 2:5 onwards right after Gen 1:25 as explained below.

This is because, in Genesis first chapter, a global (i.e., worldwide) creation of things are described.

In Genesis second chapter, the creation of the Garden of Eden is described.

Hence, the seeming contradiction, which actually is no contradiction at all.


  1. In Genesis 1, the creation is done on “the earth” (Ehrets - H776).

But in Genesis 2, the creation is done on “the field” (sadeh - H7704).

H776 Ehrets = “From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land)” – Strong.

H7704 Sadeh = “From an unused root meaning to spread out; a field (as flat)” – Strong.

So, we can see that “Ehrets” is the earth or a continent or a large geographical area like a country whereas “Sadeh” is a local area like the Garden of Eden and the surroundings.

The word “sadeh” is not found in the first chapter. It appears first time in the second chapter where the Garden of Eden is mentioned.

Besides, “Sadeh” is found in “Ehrets” (Gen 2:5).

In the first chapter, “the beasts of the Ehrets” (global) are created whereas in the second chapter “beasts of the Sadeh” (local flora and fauna) are created.

  1. In the second chapter, the Garden of Eden is created in the Sadeh. Most of the descriptions here are about the Sadeh and the Garden. These are “localized” descriptions.

  2. It would be impossible for Adam to name all the things created on the earth in a single day. Remember, he was created on the 6th day and by evening would start the Sabbath. So he had to name the creatures before the evening.

But God made him name only the localized creatures – the creatures of the sadeh/field which were less in number compared to the creatures of the ehrets/earth. (These could be mostly ‘domestic’ creatures?)

  1. The fact is, the second chapter is a “blow-up” description of Genesis 1:26-27.

That is, the entire second chapter describes what exactly happened in Gen 1:26-27.

So the order of reading should be:

Start from Genesis 1:1 to 1:25 (living things are created on the earth and man is created);

Next read from Genesis 2:5 to 2:25: man is created and then the “local” (on the field) flora and fauna in and around the Garden of Eden are created;

Then, come back and continue reading from Genesis 1:28 to Genesis 2:4.

So, 1:1 – 1:25;

Then, 2:5 – 2:25; and

Continue, 1:28 – 2:4

This will give a comprehensive picture of the whole creation.

Why the Confusion

The Scripture describes itself as a Jigsaw puzzle with details scattered “here a little and there a little” (Isaiah 28:13).

Interestingly, this feature starts from the first chapters themselves!

Strangely, the purpose is to hide the meaning; not to reveal (Mat 13:13).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.