Creation according to Genesis refers to creation of the earth and heavens by God. This is depicted in Genesis which is the first book of the Christian bible. This is also the first book of Pentateuch. Creation accounts in Genesis have been hotly debated among scholars in the past years. This paper is comparing between the creation accounts found in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and in Genesis 2:4-3:24. (Anderson, 1994)
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Genesis is just part of the many scriptures in Judaism and Christianity. These scriptures are known to have been inspired by God. The first book of the bible tells of the creation story. There is a clear description of creation of earth and the heavens. Dualisms are established in this text. They include day and night, light and dark, and between heaven and earth. The entire creation is completed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The entire creation is completed using speech. For instance-let there be light-and there was light. Genesis the first chapter starts by saying that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form. Then God commanded-let there be light! This clearly elaborates God’s power.
There are scholars who believe that the entire report of Genesis account is actually dived into two parts. These two are written using two perspectives. The first one is from the book of Genesis 1:1-1-2:3. In this text there is a description of the earth from God’s perspective. The other scripture from the book of Genesis 2:4-3:24 has the description of the Garden of Eden using a perspective of humanity. There is the complementary nature in the two accounts which is very clear enough. (Benware, 1993)
In the book of genesis chapter one there is just the mention of the creation of man as the last of all the creations that were made by God. The focus is more on the power of God and his creations. For instance Genesis chapter one starts by acknowledging that in the beginning God created heaven and earth. In the third verse the bible goes ahead to say that and God said let there be light and there was light. Next is the elaboration of how God said that there be day and night. He then goes ahead to separate the waters and the land. The land was called earth and the mass of waters called seas. The first chapter of the book of genesis elaborates that God looked at all the things that he had created and saw that they were good. (Benware, 1993)
Genesis chapter one elaborates that God blessed all that he had created and told them to be fruitful and multiply. These included whales and all the living creatures that move. God said that all the living creatures to multiply and fill the seas. The fowl were told to multiply and fill the earth. After God has created all the other creatures, it is when he mentions that let us make man in our own image and likeness. Therefore looking at this scripture in Genesis chapter one, there is so much focus that is given to God and his power to create everything that is found on earth and in the seas. This indicates that it is very clear to note that this chapter does not have man as the centre of interest but God himself. (Anderson, 1994)
Comparing to the book of Genesis chapter two, man is the centre of interest and there are minute details that are given in relation to his setting. In chapter two verse seven the bible says that God made man from the dust of the ground and he went ahead to breath into his nostrils the breath of life. Therefore the result was that man became a living soul. In verse sixteen of the same chapter, God tells man and not any other creature created by him that he has to keep the Garden of Eden and dress it. Man was commanded to eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden except from the tree of knowledge and truth. The Lord also said that it is not good for a man to be alone and so he made for him a helper. In this chapter there is further elaboration of how Adam gave names to all fowl of the air, cattle and for every beast of the field.
Chapter two shows how the Lord caused Adam to sleep and created a helper for him who is Eve. This was done by God taking one of the ribs from man and used it to create the woman –Eve. Chapter three shows clearly man and his settings in the Garden of Eden. The scenario is shown where the woman (Eve) has a conversation with the serpent. The woman tells the serpent of how the Lord told them to eat the fruit of every tree except that from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tells the woman that when she eats she will not die like God had told them. The scriptures that follow show how the woman decided to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. (Benware, 1993)
When they ate the fruit of this tree their eyes were opened and they noticed that they were naked. Adam and Eve end up hiding when they when they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden in the afternoon. God then calls them and asks them where they are of which they answer by saying that they were afraid and decided to hide. The later verses show that God was very angry with both Adam and Eve and said to the woman that her sorrow and anguish during birth will be multiplied. She was told that she will have desire for her husband and yet he would rule over her. Looking at all these verses elaborated above shows the difference in the creation accounts. In the second account the focus is on man and his settings while the first one is on God and his power to create various things.
In the first chapter there is a clear association of Priestly source where God is portrayed as remote and transcendental. The second scripture, that is, Genesis 2:4-3:24 shows the human story in the Garden of Eden where there is a strong female character. This is quite typical of Jahwist source.
The first account in Genesis chapter one depicts a belief in regions of nature which consists of sky, earth, stars, moon water as being gods. The belief is such that there are gods of fertility, animals, vegetation, rivers, darkness and light. In this account, each creation day takes principal categories which are created in symmetrical order of entire divinity in line with pantheons of the day and there is a declaration these are not gods but God’s true creations. (Anderson, 1994)
There are inconsistencies in the order of events between the two accounts as shown below. For instance in Genesis 1:1-2:3, there is the following order of creation.
Then birds and marine animals
Animals found on land
Man and woman
In the second account that begins with Genesis chapter 2:4 the entire creation appears in this order;
All types of plants
Birds and land animals
The above order of creation shows differences between the two accounts. In genesis 1, there is indication that man was created last, and that is after animals. In the second account of Genesis 2, there is indication that man was created first then plants and land animals. The woman was created last, that is after birds and land animals.
While comparing the two creation accounts, there are some indications of the differences in authorship. A close analysis shows that Genesis chapter one has different authorship from Genesis chapter two. In Genesis chapter one, there is a broad outline of all the events of the creation week. This is climaxed when man is created, that is in the image and the likeness of God. In the second account that is found in Genesis chapter two, there is so much emphasis on man, how his home is divinely prepared and finally his mate is formed from his own rib. This clearly shows distinct emphasis in the two chapters. Therefore Genesis 1 is written in a chronological manner. This is whereby sequential events in the creation week are revealed. (Anderson, 1994)
In the second account, it is more of topical. That is where there is more concern on man’s environment and also man himself. There are so many crucial elements that are missing in Genesis chapter two. For instance in Genesis chapter one, there is the mention of creation of oceans and living water creatures like fish. There is also the mention of earth creation by mere word of mouth spoken by God. These are not mentioned in the second account. This is in the book of Genesis chapter two. The style in these two types of chapters is quite different.
There are also some small differences in these two accounts. These are evident in the names used to refer to God. In the book of Genesis chapter one, God is referred to as Elohim and in Genesis chapter two he is referred to as Yahweh Elohim. This is one of the differences between Genesis 1 and 2. The word Elohim is very much ascribed to the source. The use of Yahweh Elohim is ascribed to the Yahwist. This is thought to be the work of different author from the one who wrote Genesis 1.
Research reveals that Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-3:24 are closely related and that they have the same author. In all of them God is in control of the situation. For instance in Genesis 1, God was in overall control of creation as he commanded so many things to be and it happened. This is included the command of light and darkness, day and night, heaven and earth, land and waters and man too. In chapter two God still continues with creation of the woman to be the man’s helper. The following scripture illustrated below shows one of the commands carried out by God during creation and it came to be. It is found in the book of Genesis 1:11. (Anderson, 1994)
Gen. 1:11 and God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
The Old Testament is known to have several creation accounts. The first account is illustrated in Genesis 1:1-2:3 while the second account is in Genesis 2:4-3:4. Comparing these two accounts shows various differences and similarities. The order of creation in Genesis one starts with plants, birds, animals on land and then man and woman. In the second account it is man first, plants, animals and then last of all is woman. The second account found in Genesis 2:4 is humanistic in nature. This is where the focus is more on man. In Genesis 1:1-2:3 the similarity between the two accounts is that God is portrayed in both of them as powerful. He is the overall creator in both and whatever he says happens or comes to be.
Anderson, B. (1994): Creation in the Old Testament; New York; Macmillan Press
Benware, P. (1993): Survey of the Old Testament; Moody Press; Chicago IL