I know there is a reason for the different order of creation in the two Genesis accounts of creation but can’t find the reason. Can someone point me to the article or thread. I am a new user and the search function just gives me a lot of unrelated threads. Thanks in advance
I can’t point you to an article, but I can give you what I’ve heard on catholic Answers a number of times.
The first timeline deals with the physical order of creation, and places humanity as the head and steward of creation. The second timeline deals with the relationship between men and women, and points towards the nature God intended for our relationships.
There’s more to it, but this is the cliff notes version as I understand it.
But the first timeline is not a manual of how it happened. The Book of Genesis was written when almost everyone was polytheistic, even the Hebrews. People worshipped the sun, the rivers, the ocean, rocks, animals, etc. etc. etc. The author of Genesis is pointing out that the polytheistic beliefs are wrong. He is explaining that God created everything so the objects that everyone else are worshipping are not gods.
I didn’t mean order as in “timeline,” I meant is in terms of the hierarchy of creation. The rest of creation is “good,” in God’s eyes. Only humanity received the distinction of being “very good.”
Oh, this is just shows that two different creation stories were cut and pasted together. The editor of the works liked both stories and didn’t want to discard them.
I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. The two stories have distinctly different focuses. The first story deals with the natural world, it’s focus is on the creation of the Earth. In comparison, the second story glances over physical creation and focuses on the creation of man and, more importantly, man’s companion, woman. Each of these stories has a different purpose and informs different portions of our understanding about the greater whole of creation. This is not some simple, “I like both, so I’ll include both,” that does not give the Biblical authors nearly enough credit.
Eh, I’ve never found that to be the most satisfying explanation: “Yeah, the editors of Genesis couldn’t decide which one they liked better, so they just threw them both in there.” That makes it sound like it’s all just a random hodge-podge of stories with no deeper significance to be found.
The explanation that resonates most with me is viewing Genesis 1 as the macrocosm and Genesis 2 as the microcosm, sort of like the little inset on a map that zooms in on a place of particular importance. Using Temple imagery, Genesis 1 is the Temple as a whole while Genesis 2 is the Holy of Holies.
To me, that gives each account specific purpose. And if it didn’t have a specific purpose, I wouldn’t expect it to be in the Bible.
I like one of the explanations St. Augustine gave in his “Literal Meaning of Genesis.”
In Book 6 on the creation of man, he explains the idea that the six days represent not literal days, but a scheme or plan of creation. The actual creation during those “days” was instantaneous and of things in potency and causation, but not necessarily their final visible form which would be shaped later over time. He places the actual formation of man’s body after the seventh day–thus, the second creation account:
[quote=St. Augustine]There can be no doubt, then, that the work whereby man was formed from the slime of the earth and a wife fashioned for him from his side belongs not to that creation by which all thing were made together, after completing which, God rested, but to that work of God which takes place with the unfolding of the ages as He works even now.
I like this explanation because it also works nicely with concepts like an old universe, the big bang, and evolution–ie God created all things at once in potency (the big bang) and then formed them over time (old universe, evolution).
I’ve never heard of this. Very nice point of view.
Your quote and analysis wow. That’s why St. Augustine is my hero.