Did God create the universe…twice?

Did you know that there are two very different Creation stories in the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis?  I challenge you to get out two Bibles, set them next to each other, and read the two accounts, one verse from each account, at a time.  You will be shocked at the number of major discrepancies.

How could Moses have told the same Creation story twice, one right after the other, but with so many, many discrepancies between the two versions?  It makes you wonder…did Moses really write the Book of Genesis??

Excerpts copied from:  contradictionsinthebible.com

Ancient and modern readers alike have long recognized the differences between the seven-day creation account of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the garden of Eden account of Genesis 2:4b-3:24.

…But the most notable differences, indeed contradictions, lie in their presentation of the order of creation and the manner through which man and woman come into existence. For instance, the first account describes how God creates—the Hebrew verb used is bara’—plants on the third day (1:11), then animals on the fifth and sixth days (1:20-24), and lastly male and female together in the image and likeness of the creator god (1:27), thus displaying how mankind is vastly different from the animals. The repeated emphasis is on a god who creates (bara’) by pronouncing the thing into existence, separating it out, and then claiming the goodness in the created thing and by extension in the created order of the world.

We find none of these features in the second creation account. Rather, we are now informed that Yahweh (here the deity’s name is specified) first forms—the Hebrew verb is yatsar—man from the dust of the earth (2:7), then plants (2:9), and then so that the man should not be alone, Yahweh forms (yatsar) animals from the earth that are in essence similar to the man (2:18-19), but since man is unable to find a satisfactory companion among the animals, woman is built (banah) from the man’s rib (2:22). Thus in our first account plants and animals are created (bara’) before both male and female are created together in the image of the god(s), but in the latter account man is formed (yatsar) from the ground first, then plants and animals, and then, woman is built from the man’s rib.

…One of the most prominent and distinguishable differences between these two creation accounts, especially in the Hebrew, is the manner in which each creation account depicts the creator god. Genesis 1:1-2:3 refers to the deity with the Hebrew word for god (elohim) in all 35 of its occurrences. The second account, Genesis 2:4b-3:24, refers to the deity as Yahweh1 in all of its 11 occurrences. This is inline with the larger textual traditions from which these two creation accounts originated. In the first creation account, the name Yahweh is not used nor is it known until it is revealed to Moses at Sinai (Gen 17:1; 28:3; 35:10; 48:3; Ex 6:2-3). Not so for the textual tradition of which this second account was its beginning; it always uses the personal name Yahweh and contradictorily professes that the name Yahweh was known and invoked throughout the whole patriarchal era (Gen 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 15:7; etc.). See #11.


3 thoughts on “Did God create the universe…twice?

  1. and if you continue perusing the same site, you'll discover that there are more creation stories in other books in the bible:


    The two creation accounts that open the book of Genesis, the Priestly and Yahwist, are not the only creation stories found in the Bible. A much older mythic tale is preserved in passages from the Psalms, the book of Job, and the Prophets.


    or from another site:

    There are even more creation stories. In Psalm 104 and Job 38, God begins by setting the Earth on foundations in the sea, like a huge oil rig. In Psalm 74, monsters are on the scene: God first slays Leviathan and the sea dragons, monstrous forces of chaos, in order to create the cosmos as a safe, orderly place. In Proverbs 8, God has a divine cohort, Wisdom (Hebrew Hokmah), who says she was there before the work of creation began.


    and also, haven't read this one yet, but seems related:


  2. Gary, isn't this amazing? When I was a Christian, the early chapters of Genesis were some of my favorites and I read them countless times. And in all those readings, I never saw the obvious contradictions between Gen 1 and 2. Never. My believing brain just automatically ironed these over, just like it ironed everything that could conceivably trouble my Faith.


  3. It is truly shocking. The fact that there are even MORE Creation stories in Job, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes, is mind boggling. These Creation stories say that Yahweh battled a great Sea Serpent and from it's dead body, created the land.

    And these accounts are almost identical to the creation stories of the Canaanites and the Mesopotamians. We Christians have been worshiping an ancient Canaanite mythical god.


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