Under the heading of Biblical Manuscripts and Textual Questions, the following query was posted at your site: "I learned that the Pentatauch is attributed to Moses was, in fact, a compilation of 4 very different sources, which reflect the interests and biases of the author. This is a highly accepted theory and can be found everywhere in the Pentatauch if you know where to look. Like the story of the ark, for example. Many differences there. And the story of Babel, it was like the neard telling a story about a popular kid, of course it was not going to be flattering."
In your answer you stated that "the idea that the Bible has contrdictory ideas or theology is simply not true.  The entire Bible is inspired by God." The Book of Genesis contains two entirely different versions of creation : one where the order is earth, vegetation (by Commandment), lower animals, then man and woman; the second version is earth, vegetation (by a mist), man, lower animals, then woman.
The idea of creation is not called into question here, but don’t the two versions, by themselves, constitute contradictory ideas?


The Bible does NOT contain two contradictory creation stories, despite confident claims of many to the contrary.  Although the two creation stories are not contradictory, it is fairly likely that the two stories had two different authors.  The style and word usage is sufficiently different that those who say the two creation accounts have different authors are more likely than not correct.  The Jews who combined various writings into the final form of Genesis may have combined the two creation accounts.  We do not know who wrote Genesis.  The Bible never says who composed it.  My study of the book tells me that there was almost certainly more than one person, but we should be cautious about such conclusions.  Claims that there are four different authors, with radically different theological presuppositions is highly speculative and not at all justified by the text.  I believe that the theology of Genesis is remarkably consistent, in agreement with the picture of God throughout the Bible.

But you are asking about Genesis 1 and 2.  Genesis 1 is the story of the creation of the earth and life on the earth.  It covers billions of years of natural history, albeit with very little detail, using language which was familiar to Hebrews who did not have anything approaching modern scientific vocabulary.  On the other hand, Genesis 2:4-24 is the story, not of the creation of the world, but of the creation of human beings.  The events of Genesis chapter two are relatively recent compared to those of Genesis 1.   We could say that the subject of Genesis 2:4-24 is the same as Genesis 1:26.  Obviously it has a lot more details.   We can argue about how metaphorical this account is, but one thing we can say for sure is that it does not cover the same range of materials as Genesis chapter one.  Evidence for this is found in the wording of Genesis 2.  It says that shrub of the field or plant of the field had yet appeared.  This is clearly a reference to farming.  It is not saying that no plants existed yet.  We know from Genesis 1 that plants were around for a long time before the creation of human beings.  So Genesis 2 is the story of the creation of human beings and of "plants of the field" and a variety of fruit for people to eat.  All of this happened in the second half of the sixth "day" of creation in the Genesis 1 account.  So much for the supposed contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2. 

John Oakes

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