Second Creation Account?
The story of the Garden of Eden is familiar to many people. It provides an account of how and where God created humanity, as well as how sin entered into the world. Some scholars state that it is a second creation account, that it has discrepancies with the first account in Genesis 1. This, however, is not so.
Toledoths of Genesis
Generations of the Heavens and the Earth
Generations of Adam
Generations of Noah
Generations of the sons of Noah
Generations of Shem
Generations of Terah
Generations of Ishmael
Generations of Isaac
Generations of Esau
Generations of Jacob
The portion begins in verse 4 of chapter 2, with the words: These are the generations. The word “generations” is the translation of the Hebrew word “toledoth”. Some of the newer translations use the word “account” rather than generations. This is a connecting word, it marks the beginning of a new account more focused than the previous one, but also looking at something that was in the previous account. In Genesis 2, that something is the sixth day of creation, and primarily the creation of humanity.
The word “toledoth” is used eleven times in Genesis, the first in Genesis 2:4. We meet it again in 5:1: This is the book of the generations of Adam. At this point in Genesis, we have already encountered Adam, and in chapter 4, not only has Seth been born, but also his Son, thus the first six verses of chapter 5 are a repetition of the last verses of chapter 4. We find the same thing in chapter 6:9: These are the generations of Noah. Noah was introduced in chapter 5:28, and his sons in chapter 5:32, with the first eight verses of chapter 6 telling us of the wickedness of man. This is repeated in three verses following the toledoth. The next toledoth in 10:1 looks primarily forward, although we know that Ham already had a son named Canaan from 9:25-27. This is followed by a toledoth in 11:10. Again there is a repetition of knowledge gained from the earlier toledoth, the descendants of Shem being mentioned in 10:22-25, but then proceeding further.
In 11:27 we come to the generations of Terah. Now there are scholars who believe that toledoths mark the end of a passage rather a beginning, and they are somewhat perplexed that at this juncture it is the toledoth of Terah rather than the toledoth of Abram. This is because the narrative is looking forward to telling us of both Abram and Lot (chapter 19), Lot being the grandson of Terah and nephew of Abram. The next toledoth is in 25:12: Now these are the generations of Ishmael, a strange statement if this is a concluding sentence, but one that makes perfect sense in focusing our attention on to the lineage of Ishmael. This is followed in 25:19 with: And these are the generations of Isaac, again, something which makes no sense as a concluding remark, but makes perfect sense as an introductory remark. The final toledoth of Genesis is found in 37:2: These are the generations of Jacob. If toledoths were a concluding remark, we would expect to find a final one at the end of Genesis, rather we find it here with thirteen chapters left to go in the book.
Toledoths then, are a connective word, linking what has gone before with a specific focus on actions moving into the future. In Genesis 2:4 the linkage is with the sixth day of creation, and it will take us forward to the Fall of Man and the murder of Abel.
About the structure of Genesis and how Toledoths are introductory phrases.
The word day is used in verse 4: in the day that the Lord God made the earth. This use of the word day has led many to suggest that this indicates that word day in Genesis 1 is not a 24-hr. day. The same Hebrew word (yom) is used in both passages, but it does not mean the same thing, to suggest that it does is to commit a lexical fallacy, which is, making a word mean everything it could mean every time it is used. There are specific meanings to the word day, when the word is used with a number, or used in conjunction with a definitive phrase, like evening and morning, then it is a 24-hr. day. When the word is used by itself, as it is 2:4, then it can mean a period of time, in this case, the creation week.
- The days of Creation: A semantic approach
Explanation of the word day.
The Documentary Hypothesis
This passage also introduces a new name for God, Yahweh or Jehovah. For some critics, the different names of God mean that there were different original texts, thus, this passage constitutes a different creation account. These critics believe that there are four different accounts melded together in Genesis; 1) the Yahwist, using the name Jehovah and designated J; 2) the Elohist, using the name Elohim, and designated E; 3) the Deuteronomic, dating from the time of Josiah and the contrived discovery of a text of the law in the temple, designated D; 4) the Priestly, from the post-exilic period and designated P. The Documentary Hypothesis ignores the Toledoth structure of Genesis, which has overlapping sections of the alleged JEDP texts.
It should be noted that the Documentary Hypothesis has no documents of its own; it is based on the use of the names of God within the Masoretic Text (the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament). This reading between the lines separates the text differently from the Toledoth structure, and from the plain reading of the narrative. Thus, there are believed to be two creation accounts and two flood accounts. Those of us who believe in a God-inspired Bible, see the names of God as revealing different aspects of God’s character. In Genesis 1 he is Elohim, the creator, in Genesis 2 he is Jehovah Elohim, the creator of relationships (Jehovah is God of Relationships or the Covenant God).
- The Documentary Hypothesis
A detailed explanation and refutation of the Documentary Hypothesis.
The Order of Creation
The order of creation in Genesis 2 appears to be different from Genesis 1, causing some people to believe that this is a second and different account of creation. Yet in Josephus (70 A.D.), and in the Companion Bible (1909-1922), Genesis 2 is recognized as being a more detailed account of the sixth day of the creation week. The focus in this account is on the creation of humanity, and it provides reasons for the relationships in creation.
It was the understanding of John Calvin, that 2:4-5 is showing how God created. The mention of plants in v.5 must be related back to the verb, made, in v.4. The plants and the herbs are made, not from things which spring up from the ground, they were not created as seeds nor as seedlings, they were not cuttings, they were fully formed plants before they grew or sprouted. This is further evinced in that it had not yet rained and there was no one to cultivate the plants. In like manner then, in v.7, God forms man from the dust of the ground, not as an unborn child, nor as an infant requiring care, but as a fully-grown adult.
- Apologetics Press - Are There Two Creation Accounts in Genesis?
An examination of the idea that there are two creation accounts in Genesis.
Genesis 2 is not entirely chronological, the narrative jumps back and forth in time to highlight certain things. To do this, the narrative makes use of what, in English, is called the pluperfect (Hebrew wayyqitol). This is a use of the verb that gives it a chronological sense, because in Hebrew there was no past, present, or future tense. The Hebrew has perfect, something completed, imperfect, something still going on, and pluperfect, something that had occurred before. In Genesis 2 we find the pluperfect. In v.8 it refers to God planting a garden, the pluperfect indicates that this was something God did before the narrative began, on the third day. Into this garden, God then places Adam. We seem to have a redundancy in the text in vv. 8 and 15, but v. 8 is talking about the garden, about what it was, while v.15 gives us the reason, the why, God placed Adam in the garden.
In the passage beginning at v.18 we again find a seeming difference in the order of creation. Verse 18 is providing us a reason for the creation of the woman, with the following verses supporting the reason. God had formed (v.19), the pluperfect again, the animals and the birds, and brought them to Adam. With no help meet being found for him among the animals, God made a person that was suitable.
- Two Creation Accounts?
A discussion of the pluperfect.
It is said that God did not make Eve from one of Adam’s skull bones, because she was not to be over him, nor from a foot bone, because he was not to walk all over her, but from a rib, because she was to be close to his heart. A sentimental saying perhaps, but one for which scriptural support can be found (Eph. 5:25-33). God could have simply created woman out of the dust of the earth, but that would simply have created a separate person, God wanted a person intimately linked with Adam, and this was only possible using a body part of Adam.
One of the statements in Genesis 2 that causes confusion is found in v.24; Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Most commentators think it would make more sense if it were the other way around, a woman should leave her father and mother; but here it would seem to indicate that each married couple is seen by God as a separate family. In essence, God is giving a commandment to prevent patriarchy.
Male and Female
In every section in this Toledoth (Gen. 2:4-25) we find man mentioned. In the first section (4-7) man is created, in the second section (8-17) man is placed in the Garden of Eden, in the third section (18-22) woman is created from man, and in the final section (23-25) the man and woman are one flesh. The entire passage is concerned with the creation of man, his place within creation, his purpose and his companionship. Genesis 2:4-25 is comprehended in the statement of Genesis 1:27c; male and female created he them.
- Commentary on Genesis - Volume 1 - Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Calvin's commentary on Genesis 2.
More by this Author
The Gospel of John is the favourite gospel for explaining salvation. Very early in the book the idea of belief for salvation is presented. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of...
A look at the evidence for the King David of the Bible.
What it took to build Noah's Ark