Do the two Genesis stories contradict each other?

Putting this in GD because of religious content…

It’s often said around here that there are two creation stories in Genesis and that they contradict each other. After having read them, it seems reasonable that G-1 is the big picture story, telling of the sequential events, and G-2 is focusing more on the creation of Man. Not really seeing the big contradiction…

Link to Genesis.

Am I missing something?

I think the claim is that the day sequence doesn’t seem to match up. In GI God creates man on the sixth day, after everything else. In GII it sounds like plants post-date humans, and that humans are created on the same day as when God “made the Earth and the Heavens”.

That said, I think there’s enough wiggle room to avoid contra-diction. Its not clear if the creation of plants are supposed to post-date man, or just that agricultural plants didn’t sprout until there was water and someone to till them. And its not clear if the creation of man is what happened on the day when God "made the Earth and Heavens"or if that is just a day where there were no plants and the ground watering and Man creating happened on a different day.

Yeah, 5 more. This Sunday our minister is preaching the third of a series of 7 creation stories from the Old Testament.

Maybe we need to look at the horrible way Jesus contradicted himself on what faith is like.

My minister showed up at hospital for a visit about the time I was going to call for a ride home. We talkeed about a number of things. I quickly got off my medical problems and onto stuff like the youth sports program we want to start. We agreed that we didn’t want to say God couldn’t have created the world in 144 hours, but neither of us feel that is how God works. Come on, 2000 years ago he said he was returning soon.

For one, the order of creation is different. In the first myth, humans were expressly created, male and female together, dead last - after animals - on the 6th day.

In the second myth, a primordial man was expressly created first, prior to animals.

Then animals:

And finally, a primordial woman.

Moreover, as can be seen, when primordial man was created, there was no vegitation -

Yet vegitation had been created on the third day of creation:

From what I recall, they are two different stories, with two different chronologies that were merged together. This is the documentary hypothesis of Friedman, IIRC.

Here’s a quick snapshot

Sorry, but since I am almost 64 years old, I am not likely to live long enough to tell you all that is wrong, absurd and contradictory in Genesis.

Take Adam having to name all the animals in one day. If he were to remain awake 24 hours, and name a species every 30 seconds, even if we assume the poor bastard takes no lunch or bathroom breaks, he still would not have time to name all the mammal species of which there are over 5,000 described and probably many more still undescribed. And that is just the mammals, mind you. If you add all the fish, birds, insects, reptiles. . . .well you get the point.

OK, I wasn’t reading closely enough. Interestingly, he creates plants before he creates the sun. How was that supposed to work? Maybe the plants were OK for a day or 2 without sunlight…

Also, I don’t really want to get into all the other issues in the Bible, just this one. What do modern theologians say-- it’s not supposed to be taken literally anyway?

While I appreciate this connundrum, I think the OP is expressly looking for contradictions between the two stories–stuff more along the lines of what Malthus lists out.

Of course there are many things about each story that don’t line up with reality/logic, but that alone doesn’t make them contradictory to each other…

I’ve also heard that people think these were two separate stories that were crammed together. I can see that might be the case, but what evidence do we have for that? I assume you would need to look at the original text for clues, too. Or the oldest texts, since we don’t have the original. I hope God backed it up on His cosmic hard drive!

Here’s an excellent book on who wrote the Pentateuch. Here’s the wiki on the Documentary hypothesis.

The origins of the OT are lost in the mists of time. The notion that the two are two different myths crammed together is I think based entirely on internal evidence.

There are plenty of perplexing apparent survivals in the text of myths that do not fit the religion as it eventually developed, and so appear at least at first glance as bits of much older mythology imbedded, as it were, in scriptural amber. For example, there is a mention of demigods in Genesis (the “fanwank” here is that they are angels, though they sound an awful lot more like the Greek notion of demigods). Genesis 6:

They were called the Númenóreans.

I decided to read bible from the beginning and picked up the NIV version since it seemed to have a large number of annotations. I got as far as judges when I heard about this contradiction in Genesis. Since I didn’t remember such a contradiction I went back and compared versions

So apparently some translations try to brush this under the carpet by changing the tenses to avoid contradiction. Based on this I started over from the beginning with the Oxford annotated version.

G1 also has the mind-bending internal contradiction of having “evenings” and “mornings” and thus “days” prior to having a sun, which he didn’t get around to creating until day 4.

So we get light and dark, and thus days and nights, but without any sort of source for three days or so. I’m guessing the ancient Hebrews didn’t consider that the sun and the moon were the sources of the light we see?

From what I have read the second story is most likely from a very early polytheistic Babylonian creation myth. The first part was added by the Deuteronomist authors when they went back to modify the original Canaanite myths to fit in with the new monotheistic views.
IIRC “Adam” comes from the word for dirt and or earth.

Sorry it was the first creation myth.

They believed the sky was a Firmament or a rock dome.

I guess it fits with that.

It seems to me that two different stories that are come from two different traditions in ancient Judaism are being placed in the ‘magic’ book to reconcile some ancient schism.

This seems to be associated with Talmudic myth of Lilith.
What we read now, appears to be a successful attempt by latter-day priests of Judea to subvert the history of the early matriarchal and matrilineal traditions in place before the time of Abram.

Being born from Adam subverts the very being of Eve.
Being created alongside him doesn’t.

The order of creation is obviously silly, and can be recognized by the ignorance of the time or perhaps even by some one or few priests who just ‘pushed it through committee’ because it was late in the day and they were hungry.

This wasn’t created by a bunch of Rhodes scholars, after all. These guys were just barely agricultural. Apparently mostly goat herders (not that there is anything wrong with that).

When do we think the oral traditions of this myth occurred? ~6000 years ago?

We, our modern culture, have a serious difficulty understanding the underlying movements of mind and word of the men (and some women, I suppose) who created this myth. I wonder if they ever imagined that we, this post-modern world of Internet connected semi-anonymous tribes-folk, would still be even be aware of what they wrought.

It still astonishes me that we care.
It is so obviously a transparent “Just So” set of stories, that even when told well, come off as being contrived from the very air.

Humans aren’t made of clay. Women are equals (if not superior) to men. Plants don’t grow without sunlight, and danggit the entire freaking planet would have been frozen before the ignition of Sol. Don’t even get me going about talking serpents and who lied in the Paradisio.

Some of my colleagues have tried to tell me that most Middle-eastern stories were told twice. Once for context, the other for value. I think they are fitting things into what they want to be true.

But, I am not a biblical scholar.
I could be wrong.

I would love to see what others say about this.

Evidence that the two creation stories in Genesis were originally separate (and not necessarily compatible) and were later stuck together of course includes the chronological contradictions between them, already discussed above. There is also internal evidence from the language used.

For example, the way God is referred to changes in the two versions. In Genesis 1:1-2:3, the Hebrew word 'Elohiym (essentially “God with a captal G”) is used by itself. From Genesis 2:4 on, God is now (in English) referred to as “the LORD God”, but the word being rendered here as “LORD” is actually a combination of the Hebrew word for “lord” or “master” and a word traditionally rendered into English as Jehovah and probably more accurately as Yahweh. Whereas 'Elohiym is basically God-with-a-capital-G, Yahweh seems to be more in the nature of God’s personal name.

This online version of the Bible allows you to look at a verse and, by clicking on the letter “C” in that block to the left of the text, pull up a concordance and lexicon showing the original Hebrew (for the Old Testament; it would be Greek for the New). For Genesis 1:1 we see 'Elohiym; for Genesis 2:5 we now also see the underlying Hebrew that is rendered as “LORD”. (It’s actually a combination of the Hebrew letters "YHWH"and the vowels from 'Adonay, that is, “lord” or “master”.)

It is also quite clear that the first myth has a liturgical purpose to justify the worship cycle.

The OP may want to look up the “Priestly Source” as that will explain a lot about the current understanding of the sources of the first myth.