Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Two Creation Stories in Genesis


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.


Genesis 2:
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?
Thanks.
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:
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.
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.

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.

18 comments:

Rhology said...

It doesn't look good as far as AntonBatey's coming over here to discuss. Apparently he prefers two sentence snippets and repeating himself over responding to arguments refuting his position.

Oh well, not everyone is built to back up his assertions.

Anonymous said...

As usual Rhology is an idiot christian caught up in the myopia of his faith and cannot seperate this fantasy from reality.

Rhology said...

What's worse is that I know how to spell "separate" and to capitalize the word "Christian".
But no one said being me was easy.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason to capitalize the word christian and I also know how to spell. Typo man....

Lucian said...

Dear anonymous,

don't mind Rhoblogy, he's just being his usual Jewish self again, majoring on minors, zealously fighting for every inch, jot, and tittle, defending the honour of the Holy TaNakh, and the good name of Moshe, his Teacher (may peace be upon him).

BTW, did You lose Your Christian name altogether with Your Christianity, and try to look like Malcolm-X with that whole anonymity mystique? ... I mean,... what's the point that You're trying to make here? Is the "anonymous" here supposed to stand for the "forgotten name" that Your 'atheistic ancestors' "lost" while being brought as slaves to the oppressive Christian ideology of the "white man" ? Or what ?

Or perhaps did the Priest or Pastor that baptized You just forgot the emersion-part of Baptism, and left You to drown there to death, in the Baptismal waters, thus leaving You bearing no name ?

Anonymous said...

lucian,

WTF, (nice bit about Rhology) I lost the christianity nonsense long ago when I learned how to think like a rational human being. Anonymous means what it always has, don't want my identity to be known, especially when dealing with crazy christian retards on the internet. But if you must have a name I shall sign off as "Zoltan The Master Of All".

Rhology said...

I don't know if I've ever seen two weirder consecutive comments in my life.
Gold star!

Lucian said...

Zoltan The Master Of All

LOL! I can't believe You saw that movie :-) My dear, life-long friend Zolly has been terrorized by my other dear long-life friends due to this movie: each time they met him, they put their hands together like a "Z" sign, just like in the movie, and looked at him with a serious face, saying with a serious voice: "Zoltan!".

:-)

Zoltan The Master Of All said...

lucian.

Hope Zolly is doing alright. However, Zoltan says pay attention daily and check your closet and under your bed and if you have a garage check there too, don't forget the attic either, or the basement.

Rhology says we ranked a Gold Star with the last exchange. Care to make it two gold stars ??

Lucian said...

Hope Zolly is doing alright

Funny You mentioned that: actually, he is (now). He had his knee sprung-from-place for the last week or so; the doctor that he went to only made his health-state worse (Romanian doctors, what else did You expect?); he rose up three times from bed in two days, to go to the bath-room (crying!); he accidentally tipped over two hard-drives: 500 GB and 250 GB (expensive ... AND full of usefull data) ... but now he's feeling ok. :-) Thanks for caring.

Paul Brown said...

Rhology, you have a marvellous talent for answering questions by denying that the question exists, like your "seven pairs makes seven animals" answer, or this little gem; that in mind, I have a more fun one for you to work out - does god appear in person to people or not? I'm not going to make this too easy on you this time by telling you where to find the relevant quotes (I'm sure by now that you can guess that there are parts of the bibble that claim both answers on this). See how you get on and I'll come back with the exact locations later if you need them - I just want to see what your personal feeling is.

TheCelticChimp said...

Rhology,

Just a question out of curiosity. Did Adam have a penis when God created him? If so, why? The was no such thing as female at that point. Would that also mean that GOD has a penis? Made in God's image and all that. If so, why? Are there female Gods?

This is am honest question.

Lucian said...

seven pairs makes seven animals

I frankly believe that this is so also ... and for two reasons: "two *pairs* of unclean animals" don't make any sense ... it makes rather more sense "two clean animals", i.e., a pair of them.

And secondly, I've written a stupid little essay on the mystical meaning of the number seven in Jewish and Christian traditions ... and I've observed that whenever it appears, it appears as an incrementation of the doubling of three:

- 3+3+1 Days of Creation.
- 3+1+3 Menorah branches.
- 3+3+1 points of the David-Star.
- 2+2+2+1 spirits of the Holy Ghost
- etc.

- 72 = 6*12 Nations outside Israel, and the Twelve tribes of Israel.
- 72 = 6*12 Apostles for those of UnCircumcision, and the Twelve for those of the Circumcision.
- (basically, what God does is seting apart for Himself the seventh part of the week's days [the Sabbath], and the seventh part of the earth's nations [Israel]).
- etc.

... so, the fact -in coherence with Himself- He picks three pairs of clean animals, and selects one for Himself (i.e., the seventh is reserved for sacrifice -- as we also see it happen after Noah leaves the Ark) ... well, it just 'fits', and for me it makes perfect sense ...

does God appear in person to people or not?

The Jews are silent about the O.T. Theophanies, and treat them with the deserved reserve and respect; the Christians (and Philo) see them as manifestations of the Logos, the Face or Image of God.

Was Adam a sexuate being when God created him?

We don't know that. The interpretations set forth by either Jews or Christians suggest that he might've been androgenous (the Jews are an ancient culture, and the ancients had this "myth of the androgen"; and as for Christians, they saw Adam's innitial androgeny as an image of the perfection and completion of the Trinity); OR that the woman spoken off in Gen. chp. 1 or 2 is Lilith (who was taken from the same ground as Adam, and thus subsequently rebelled against him); OR that he was a normal man.

Regarding the last possibility, the Jews see in this a statementr of the uniqueness of the Godhead, as recorded in the Shema (One God makes one man). And, as far as the Christians are concerned, they see here an image of the Trinity: Elohim (a plural), created Adam (another plural) in *HIS* Image; Adam is thus the Image of the Father; his begetting of sons from his loins mirrors the Birth of the Only-Begotten before all ages from the fatherly bossom; and the taking of Eve ('Life') from his ribs parallels the eternal procession of the Holy and Life-Giving Spirit from the Father.

Are there female Gods?

No, but the family is the image of the Trinitarian God in man. (Eve = Life; the Holy Ghost = God's Life-Giving Spirit).

Neither does God possess magnetism for that matter (apart from his obvious lack of sexuality) ... but the atom is in God's image also (consisting of pozitive, negative, and neuter paricles, out of which the most representative are the proton, the electron, and the neutron).

If so, why? The was no such thing as female at that point

True, but think a bit: the Bible depicts all things as being made for man's sake; and yet -when God made all of them- man was not yet made; he wasn't even there yet ...

The same, I think, can be said of the woman: she is done for man's sake, for his existential and ontologocal fulfillment ... NOT to satisfy his *utilitarian* needs (as the animals made *before* him), but to perfect his very being (Genesis 2:24).

So, just like the animals were made for Adam's sake before Adam was even present at the spot, so Adam's-creation-as-a-sexuate-being was made for Eve's sake, even before she was taken from his ribs.

Rhology said...

Just for the record, I'll answer your questions but I don't want you to think that I endorse anything Lucian says. He gets lucky on true things from time to time but by and large I hope you understand that I consider him a member of a completely different religion, a different worldview, than my own.

Lucian said...

I just wanted to give You this link.

Rhology said...

Hi all,

I'm way behind so I apologise for the egregious delay. Thank God for RSS subscriptions!
And let me reiterate yet again that Lucian is a weird, weird guy. Please don't waste your time asking me to defend any of his assertions; I will not do so. He can answer for his bizarre assertions himself. Just don't expect them to make much sense.


Paul Brown said:

like your "seven pairs makes seven animals" answer

You refer no doubt to this thread. Let the reader judge whether I answered it.

does god appear in person to people or not?

Yes He does.



Celtic Chimp said:
Did Adam have a penis when God created him? If so, why?

Yes. So he could have children, multiply and fill the earth, etc.
And so he could be distinguished as a man, make masculine hormones and such.


The was no such thing as female at that point.

So?

Would that also mean that GOD has a penis?

God is not physical. He not only doesn't have a penis, He doesn't have a liver, a mouth, a lung, a leg, etc.
That said, Jesus took on a human nature when He was incarnated and will keep that human nature forever. So He has a penis NOW, yes.

Are there female Gods?

No, there is one God. He does not have a gender like humans do.
You may have noticed also that though we are made in the image of God, we don't have ALL His attributes, nor does He have all of ours.
The image of God refers to a communicative, decision-making, voluntary, intelligent, 'indestructible' spirit, among other things.

Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

Rhology,

I didn't make that stuff about the seven cleasn animals of each kind on the Ark being grouped in three pairs and one 'loner'; read this:

tektonics.org/af/arkbeasts.html

Of course, my own little private research fastened that idea for me, but I'm not the only one to think so, or who has arrived at this conclusion.

Rhology said...

OK, thanks for that! :-)