Genesis 1 & 2

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Wed Dec 1 04:19:46 EST 1999

I have to say that I completely fail to see how Genesis 2 can be called an account of 
creation of the world. The account lacks any mention of astonomical bodies, speaks 
only of beautiful trees producing edible substances (thereby lacking mention of the 
vast majority of plant life), and completely fails to mention swarming things, creeping 
things, sea things, etc. in the account, restricting itself to fowls, cattle, and beasts of 
the field.

Mentioning of the rivers seems to locate the story in a specific geographical area, and 
the type of trees and animals seem to indicate to me that the story is relating the 
creation of the Garden of Eden. This supposition is STRONGLY reinforced by Gen 2:8. 
The sequence of events, creation of man, creation of garden (which did not meet all 
his needs), the creation of animals (which did not meet all his needs), and finally the 
creation of woman (who met all his needs) seem to tell me that, from a literary stand 
point, the theme of the account is the creation of woman, using the creation of the 
garden as plot device.

This is opposed to the first chapter, which is the creation of man, using the creation 
of the universe as a plot device. Or the 1st chapter can be what it most plainly seems 
to be, the creation of the world, which mentions the creation of man as a plot 
element, and the 2nd chapter is thematically the creation of man and woman, given 
form through the creation of the garden.

Anyway, back to my opening sentence, I really fail to see that the 2nd chapter can be 
considered an account of the creation of the world, and am wondering what makes 
this illustious fraternity of PhD laden Hebrew scholars think that Gen 2 is an account 
of the creation of the world that has any place being compared to Gen 1 at all? If my 
presumptions are correct, the culprit is the religionsgeschichtliche worldview, which 
causes scholars to believe that Gen 2 is a much older account of creation of the 
world than Gen 1, as it cannot be as highly evolved, because it completely fails as an 
account of the creation of the world. But isn't the fact that Gen 2 seems to be a 
primitive failure of an account of the creation of the world also evidence that it is not 
an account of the creation of the world?

My next question is, even if the accounts are two separate accounts pieced together 
(as I believe), does that dictate that they both be considered contending and 
contradictory accounts of the creation of the entire world?

Fundamentally speaking, I would like to know what causes modern scholarship to 
reject the plainest and most logical conclusion that Genesis 2 is an account of the 
creation of Eden taking place sometime during or after the events of the last parts of 
chapter 1-2:4? Am I right about it being the suppositions about various stages of 
evolution of early Canaanite religion? If so, from where does this view get its staying 
power? It certainly has the strength to stifle any other analytical venues that modern 
scholarship could produce, and has indeed become a sacrosant monolith among 

For me, the logical thematic development of Genesis 2 did not even become apparent 
until I had discarded the notion that Gen 2 is a creation account. Only after doing this 
was I able to see the account as an account of the creation of woman, and/or 
mankind, and/or paradise was I able to view the story with any kind of respect, for 
these tasks it accomplishes with beautiful organization. As an account of the world is 
it indeed a primitive rambling of the creation of a few random subjects and oddly 
described phenomenon. Apparently the primitives that wrote it lived in an area of only 
beautiful and edible trees? With no fish or bugs? Nice place! Completely contradictory 
to every creation account the world has ever known, however, which state that we 
came from Chaos.

But I would really appreciate answers to some of these questions. Not one soul on 
here responded to my post about the possibility of supposedly older OT books written 
in Late Biblical Hebrew being late translations of older works. How this post is 
received will combine with the absolute lack of response to my last one to form my 
opinion of how modern scholarship deals with ideas that do not conform to 
established dogmas of biblical criticism.

Jonathan Bailey
MA Kandidat
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien

---------- Original Message ----------

>With the above posts, and another by Peter Kirk, I realise my post gave the 
>that the beginning of Genesis was just a random compilation of various source 
>That's not the impression I was trying to give. Of course Gen 2 should come after 
Gen 1
>because of the thematic developments in each. What I originally intended to highlight 
>that Gen 1 and Gen 2 were different accounts of creation and probably weren't even
>associated together originally. Rather, it was by the deliberate choice of a scribe that
>Gen 1 and Gen 2 were brought together. So, it was only by a compiler's design that 
Gen 1
>preceded Gen 2, not because both chapters were written by the same original 

>Best regards,
>George Athas
> Dept of Semitic Studies,
> University of Sydney
>Tel Dan Inscription Website
>< gathas@ >

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