On the last installment of a webradio show featuring a presuppositionalist apologist (Gene Cook of Unchained Radio) debating an atheist, AntonBatey, on the existence of God, I thought I'd throw in one of those tiny little YouTube comment responses to Batey's assertion that the two creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2 are contradictory.
Keep in mind how YouTube comments are - there is a character limit so no comment can be very long. It's frustrating because you can't really get anything useful done in such a format, but it can lead to larger things like a blog entry. Not much larger, but there's not much of a character limit here.
I'll tackle two types of contradictions I've heard alleged in the past, one of which appears in our conversation.
Once finished I'll probably go ahead and post a link to this on AntonBatey's YouTube user page. I'm not sure how well posting a link on vid comments works on YouTube.
First, the passage in question:
Genesis 1:11And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
20And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens." 21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
...And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
The Creation of Man and Woman
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created,in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
5When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
18Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Alleged contradiction #1 - follows this conversation.
AntonBatey: ...The Bible is not historically accurate either, as the first two chapters of Genesis contradict each other.
Me: How do they contradict each other? Would you be interested in a brief blog conversation on that topic?
AntonBatey: The order of creation is contradictory. Chapter 1 says animals were made first, then humans simultaneously, then Chapter 2 says clearly that Adam was make, THEN animals, and then Eve die to Adam's boredom. (No, I don't know what he means by that last phrase.)
Me: Where does the text rule out the animals in Chapter 2 just being one animal per kind, created *again* for Adam to name?
AntonBatey: Because it doesn't say that, lol. It's pretty clear. Chapter 1 says in verse 24 that "THEN God" made the animals, and verse 26 says "THEN God" made man and woman simultaneously, and then Chapter 2 comes along and claims in verse 7 that God took the dust from the ground and made man, verse 18 says "THEN " God made "every wild animal", and verse 22 says, "the LORD God THEN" made Eve. It's clear, man.
Me: So the answer is "it doesn't rule it out," then?
What makes your 'clarification' necessarily the case? Why couldn't it go either way?
AntonBatey: No, it does rule it out. Notice it kept saying "THEN", an adverb that indicates order. Well, the "order" is contradictory. So no, it's not possible what you proposed.
Me: Great, it says THEN. But the stories are different, different foci.
The narrative doesn't continue on to Chapter 2.
And you still haven't proved that these animals in Ch 2 aren't just MORE animals.
AntonBatey: But Chapter 2 says "every" animal.
Me: "Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man"
So He did it again, after the 1st creation.
Good try, thanks for playing.
AntonBatey: So was there two Adam and Eves then too? By your line of reasoning, there would have to be. Also, you're clearl just making up what you're saying, and you're aware that the text doesn't say what you're saying.
Me: eh, this is too short a format. I'll post a link tomorrow.
AntonBatey: You can't sum it up? The text is very obvious. They give two different accounts.
AntonBatey: And as you quoted, Chapter 2 says "every" animal was created, which means Chapter 2 is reverting back to creation.
Before I delve into these, I remind the reader of the rules for proving a contradiction: here and this:
Those who would point out a "contradiction" in the Bible usually forget a couple of things:The account in ch 2 is a telescoping and amplification of certain elements of the account in ch 1. It focuses on different things, different aspects of the issue, as I argued above.
1) NO harmonisation can be possible for the scenario to qualify as a contradiction.
2) An author doesn't often completely lose his total train of thought just a few chapters later after writing something.
Apart from the unintentional and ironic humor of an atheist attempting to exegete Scripture, does Anton's argument answer the resolutions I raised? Does the "then" in ch 2 necessarily mean a contradiction?
V. 7 describes the formation of the man, on Day 6.
Vv. 8-9 describe the creation of the garden and the trees in it.
Vv. 10-17 describe the location of the garden and the command not to eat of certain trees.
Vv. 18-20 describes God bringing the animals before Adam.
But look at the vagueness of the text: "And out of the ground the LORD God had formed" or "...the LORD God formed..." It says nothing about WHEN they were formed. Why would this necessarily have to be an action that directly followed the creation of the man? It doesn't.
Even if I granted that it did have to be thus, this does not rule out a 2nd act of creation out of dust, God bringing the animals created in the 2nd go-round before Adam (as opposed to rounding up all the animals that He had created the day before or whenever this was - the text doesn't tell us on what day the events in ch 2 occur besides the creation of man).
Anton then argued that it would mean that there were 2 Adam and Eves. I don't know why he'd say 2 Eves, but why can't the ch 2 account amplify the more barebones account of ch 1? Such does not necessarily follow from the text, so the attempt to prove a contradiction has failed. Again.
Perhaps Anton would let us know why he thinks there would have to be 2.
Alleged contradiction #2 - On Day 3, God created the plants and such in Ch 1, but it says "no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up" in Ch 2, and then the man is created.
Answer: The context informs us that ch 2 is speaking of bushes and plants of the field. The text continues: "for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground" (emph mine).
The plants that had sprung up by that time were wild plants, not of the kind that would require cultivation by a man. Whence came those cultivated plants later on? The text doesn't say, but that is irrelevant to the charge of contradiction. Perhaps they were adapted to require intensive efforts of cultivation after the fall, where God cursed the ground, causing man to have to eat his bread "by the sweat of his brow".
Please consider the combox restricted to discussions of the text ONLY. Comments related to off-topic issues will not be deleted, just ignored.