Discrepancies between the two accounts of creation


At daily mass today, the priest went through the Scriptures dealing with creation from Genesis. He indicated that the two accounts of creation, one from chapter one and the other from chapter two have discrepancies between them. To me the word, discrepancies , implies error. I don’t believe error exist in Scripture but at the same time do not know how to explain the differences between these two accounts. Can anyone help with an explanation?


There are some differences. Chapter one says the animals were created and then man, chapter 2 says Adam was created and then the animals, and then Eve.

This doesn’t mean it’s an error though, because neither story is attempting to recount strict history. They both have different purposes. Chapter one is telling us about the origins of the world in general, whereas chapter 2 is focused more on man and woman specifically. So it makes sense that they would have different details.

Does that make sense at all?


The order of creation in the second story tells us who serves whom and who gets their identity from whom.

God creates man and names man. This shows that Man serves God who created him cares for him. Man gets his identity from God who named him.

God allows man to give names to the beasts. This shows that the beasts serve man and get their identity from man. Man is to be a steward and caretaker of the beasts.

It’s about the order of creation and where we fit. God is at the top. We are below God but above the rest of creation. Those higher up are the caretakers of those below.

The first creation story is similar. God moves from the generic to the specific. He goes from day and night all the way to man on the last day. God found all good but man he found very good, and then he takes his rest within man himself.



Two separate stories orally transmitted through many generations, eventually combined in a single book.


Discrepancy can simply mean “difference,” yes? It needn’t mean error.

I think Robyn p nails it with “This doesn’t mean it’s an error though, because neither story is attempting to recount strict history. They both have different purposes.”

And perhaps one has to recognize the discrepancy to start thinking about the different purposes (which I would argue include writing in response to creation stories from nearby cultures).


First, the entire Bible is inspired by God. As far as the Creation accounts, here is the explanation:

“Chapter 2 is a second creation account only in the sense that it gives a more detailed accounting, not a contradictory one. While chapter 1 provides a general description, chapter 2 is specific. Twofold accounts were common in ancient theories of creation (e.g., the Babylonian story of Atrahasis). The differences in the order of the creation events are due to the narratives’ respective purposes. The first gives a loosely chronological account, gathering creation events into a discernible pattern to show the symmetry of creation’s purpose. The second is topical, focusing on the sixth day by expanding on the creation and the relationship of the man and the woman. Genesis 2 presupposes chapter 1 and does not duplicate all the creation events.”

Hope this helps,


Taking your reasoning to its logical conclusion we get women serving men.


That is not true at all. Men and women are complementary.



What’s being quoted here, Ed?


Agreed of course, but I am just pointing out Timothy’s flaw in his post #3 argument, since Eve was created after Adam (and after the beasts).


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