Genesis Chapters 1 and 2?

Dear Forumers,

I’ve been having an active discussion/debate with one of my best friends(He’s a well informed Catholic and is going into Seminary this fall) who tells me that Genesis Chapter 1 and 2 are two different stories of creation. Pardon my stupidity, but, I thought they were the SAME story!? The two chapters just focusing on different topics(creation, and Adam and Eve) .

His arguement focuses on the order of the creation of the animals and humans during the 6th day in Chapter 1. Then in Chapter 2 it apparently takes on a different order, making the two chapters out to be two, not-so-coherent stories.

My arguement is that since the translations we use differ slightly (NIV and KJV) God had already created the animals and were bringing them to Adam in 2:19 to be named, making the two chapters one cohesive story.

What would the Catholic reasoning be behind the continuity between these chapters? or lack there of?

                              Stubbornly seeking the truth,

                            Troy Niemeier

From what I have heard they are two different accounts of what happened, not two different stories. There can be two different views and not make the story untrue. Just look in the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, they arent the exact same, but that doesnt mean what happened was a lie, it was the same situation told in another way.

As for the theological understanding, Im not sure. I was talking to a Jew about this issue and he didnt even want to start because there is so much we dont know about the situation that a lot of it is personal opinion to a degree.


Genesis 2:19 does not force us to view the creation of animals to take place after the creation of man. It is possible that the author is just re-stating that animals were formed from the earth. It makes sense that man, being at the climax of God’s earthly creation, is created last.

The point of this section of Genesis 2 might revolve around the role of the Woman, not the order of events. In fact all mammals were formed “from the ground” - both Adam and the beasts. This highlights that there was only one creature not created from the earth - the Woman (maybe this is why little girls don’t like to get dirty?).

Eve was created when God put Adam into a deep sleep, took something out of his side and then created a beautiful bride. This is to point us to the fact that Christ fell into a deep sleep (death on the cross), had something come out of his side (blood and water symbolizing the Eucharist and Baptism) and these would be used to build Christ’s bride, the Church.

There may also be an illusion to the sinless nature of Mary (the bride of the Holy Spirit). Eve she was created free from the filth (dirt?) of sin, an immaculate virgin as was the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The creation narrative in Genesis was not meant to tell us “how” God created, but simply “that” He created and “why” He created. People try to use Genesis as a sort of recipe book for creation and then they try to make this line up with fossil evidence and science and they end up looking foolish when they get into debates with evolutionary biologists who are atheists.

The important message of the creation narrative is “In the beginning God created…” Beyond that, the “how” is speculation. From this perspective, the two accounts of creation are complimentary, not contradictory. However, if one insists on taking the text as a literal account of “how” God created, they get into trouble quickly.

Just the thoughts of a crusty geologist, who loves Jesus. :slight_smile:

Reading from my copy of the study version of the New American Bible, Genisis, chapter 2 from vs.4 thru 25 is actually a much older story than chap 1.

“2:4b-25 this section is chiefly concerned with the creation of man. It is much older than the narrative of Gen 1, 1 thru 2, 4a. Here, God is creating man before the rest of His creatures, which are made for man’s sake.”

The part I highlighted in red gives the difference between the two versions. So it seems that the age of this part of the text was ascertained through examination of empirical data, that is, primary sources.

What those primary sources are, I don’t know. But, if you read the chapters seperately, they become two different stories.

See what happens when you read your bible version this way and post your response. I’d be curious to read your answer.


Dear Forumers,

Thanks a lot guys for the explanations. It’s still difficult for me to stand firm on one belief! Not only on the point-of-views on Genesis 1&2, but on the 6 days of creation and all the way through chapter 11.

 It's hard for me to not break into a different discussion on evolution! :)   

I think my view on this is going to be that chapters 1 and 2 are the same story, told from two different views, that only appear to contradict. I think the author is trying to explain the exact same story, but in a different order(just elaborating on Adam and Eve the second time through).
Let me try to not sound crazy… :stuck_out_tongue:

example: the nursery rhym Jack and Jill. Jill came tumbling after Jack who broke his crown after trying to fetch a pail of water.
–It’s backwards, but doesn’t it say the exact same thing as the original?

 Please show me what's right and or wrong with my thinking!

          Stubbornly seeking the truth,


Is there anybody who has the Hebrew Version of Genesis who also understands hebrew?

The fault I see with it is that the english translations are just that—translations.

Is there a word in Genesis 2 that can show that the order is the same but told in a different order?

For instance, In Troy’s analagy:

Jill came tumbling after Jack who broke his crown after fetching a pail of water.

The word “after” tells us that the pail of water came first, then the falling.

In Him, through her,
Pio Magnus

By the way Troy:

Catholicism has no qualms about a “literal” interpretation of Genesis, nor, for that matter does it have a problem with a figurative interpretation of Genesis as long as the reader admits that

  1. God created the Earth and all things on it
  2. Man fell from God’s Grace through sin

[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church] 284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the univese arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe goverened by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called “God”?

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