How is the apparent contradiction of these two passages resolved? In 1 it seems man and woman were created at once, implying God having both male and female character as opposed to the sequential and subordinate creation account in 2.
In the first verse, it describes what God did on the sixth day: created man and woman, and gave them dominion over the earth.
The second chapter just talks about it in more detail. Looks to me like Chap 2 all falls within the confines of the sixth day.
Chapter 3 might start a lot later.
Please, two questions.
What is the Divine teaching or message in Genesis 1: 27?
What is the Divine teaching or message in Genesis 2:18?
The first creation story is creation from a “30,000 foot” view; the second from “ground level”.
Actually the two traditions, both very ancient, were put down into writing at different times.
The original beginning of Genesis seems to be what is now Genesis 2.4. This is the Mosaic account and is concerned with discussing man’s responsibilities toward God and how our original parents rebelled. It immediately introduces the economy of salvation after this and thus sets the stage for not only the rest of Genesis but the history of salvation that permeates the Bible writings that follow.
The Mosaic Law was forgotten for some time due to Israel’s disobedience. When the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the First Temple, the Jews saw this as God’s punishment for Israel’s disobedience to the Mosaic Law, symbolized by the keeping of the Sabbath (which the Jews often failed to do).–2 Chronicles 36.21; compare Leviticus 26.33-35.
Upon being restored to their land after the deportation to Babylon ended, Ezra promulgated the Law as recorded in Nehemiah 8. Jewish and Catholic scholars agree that this was likely not the Torah, but a priestly interpretation of it that allowed it to be read or covered over the period of a half-day reading to the returned exiles. (Nehemiah 8.3) It was during this period that the original story of the creation got reinterpreted as a mnemonic device that employed the seven-day week to remind Jews that they were created to obey God, symbolized by the importance of keeping the Sabbath since human beings are made in the image of God. This eventually became an introduction to the Torah, a foreword that saw the older tradition in a new light.–Genesis 1.27; 2.1-3.
Genesis chapter 1 is written following a pattern that is not literal. It’s a religious lesson based on the second chapter, an interpretation of it in the light of a failure to keep the Law and the Sabbath. It was the last part of Genesis to be composed, based on the Mosaic tradition that follows it.
The information that begins in Genesis 2.4 is the original story. While most scholars see this as written in a narrative that is also not specifically literal, the Catholic Church does not forbid Catholics from interpreting these events in a historical sense (which even the other scholars recognize still has historical connections).
So if you accept the reading as literal history, the events in chapter 2 are the more historical. If you believe like some scholars that chapter 2 is history as interpreted through the eyes of faith, you still recognize that the first creation story is a lesson about Sabbath-keeping based on the second Creation story.