Creation Contradiction        

                                     © Copyright 2003

                           Joseph Francis Alward  

The writer of the first creation story tells us that animals were created before man, but the second writer tells us just the opposite.  According to the second author, man was created first, but because man was lonely, God made animals to keep him company.

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The First Creation Story

In the first part of Genesis, the writer tells us that the animals were created before man:

25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let us make man (Genesis 1:25-26)

Readers will note below that the author of this second story first tells us that God made man, then he tells us that God said, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make animals for man."  Obviously, man had already been created, was lonely, so God then made animals.

The Second Creation Story

7 The LORD God formed the man…The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the…But for Adam no suitable helper was found (Genesis 2:7-22)

Note:  some apologists try to argue that the words "God had formed…the beasts" means that the author is stating what had been done prior to making man.  This argument fails, however, because the writer makes it perfectly clear that God tried to relieve man's loneliness by making beasts as helpers.  Thus, the animals HAD to have been made after man had been created, otherwise God wouldn't have said, "It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him," and then made the animals.

90% of all Bible versions translate the Hebrew in Genesis 2:19 as "formed," not "had formed," as in a prior act. This doesn't prove that the correct translation is "formed," because such a translation is necessarily subjective. But, one has to wonder why so many learned translators chose "formed" over "had formed."

Most apologist argue this point as if it had been Lord God himself who had said, "I had formed the animals." If he had said this, then of course the apologist would be correct in assuming that God was referring to a prior act, a creation that had occurred before man was created. However, the person speaking is the writer, not God. Thus, it is perfectly appropriate for the writer looking back perhaps hundreds of years to the time of creation to tell us what God HAD done, hundreds of years ago. First it was God who was quoted, saying, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper for him." Then, the narration returns to the writer, who refers to what God HAD done next, which was create the animals. Apologists want the "had formed" to be on the lips of God, so it would clearly have been an act prior to the creation of man, but that is not what happened. It was the writer who was looking back in time, referring to an act prior to the writer's time, not God.

Why Do the Two Stories Contradict Each Other?

The reason the stories contradict each other is that the first and second creation stories were written by two different people, each having different ideas about creation order and the proper name for the almighty creator.  At the very place where the first creation story ends and the second one begins, the name of the deity suddenly changes from "God" to "Lord God."  This cannot be a coincidence.  The evidence regarding the deity's name is presented below.


 First Author Calls the Deity "God"

The first author referred to the deity as "God" thirty-one  times in a row from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3.  It is remarkable that not once did he refer to him by any other name.  Here is a summary of the use of the deity's name in the first creation story:

                                                   God Is Used 31 Times

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..the Spirit of God…And God said..God saw …God called…And God said…God made…God called…And God said…God called…God saw…God said…God saw…God said…God made…God set…God saw…God said…God created…God saw…God said…God made…God saw…God…God created…God he created…God blessed…God said…God saw…God had…God…rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
(Genesis 1:1-2:3)

  Second Author Calls the Deity "Lord God"

At the end of the first creation story, a different writer steps in to tell his version of creation.  This author calls the deity "Lord God," and does so eleven times in a row, without ever referring to him by the name the first author used.  Here is a summary of the use of "Lord God" in this second story:

                                           Lord God Is Used Eleven Times

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made…LORD God had…LORD God formed the man…LORD God had planted…LORD God…LORD God took…LORD God…LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."… LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the…LORD God…LORD God made a woman.  (Genesis 2:4-22)

The conclusion one must reach is that two different authors, each calling the deity by a different name, told two contradictory creation stories.  The first author thought that "God" created the animals first, then man second, while the second author thought that "Lord God" created man first, and the animals second.  They can't each be correct, so there is a contradiction in the Bible.

Paul: Man Is First Because He Came First

I have argued that different writers had different understandings about the order of creation. The writer of the first creation story thought that the animals came first, and then the man and woman were created at the same time:


So God created man (or, humans, people, mankind) in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

However, the writer of Genesis 2 thought that man came first, then the animals were created to relieve his aloneness, then woman. The second creation story evidently is the one which Paul accepts, for he makes it clear in his letter to Timothy that he believes that man was first formed--created before woman, not at the same time:

I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. (Timothy 2:11-12)

Furthermore, if Paul thought that animals were created before man, his statement that woman should not have authority over man because she came second would be illogical, for then he would have to conclude that man should not have authority over the animals, because he came second, too, and that would be rather odd. Obviously, then, Paul must have believed that man came before the animals, according to the second creation story.


Some apologists assert that this argument about Paul is illogical and false because Paul was talking about men and women, not animals, and Genesis 1:26-30 states that man had been given authority over all animals.  However, the apologists miss the point:  Of course, Paul is talking about men and women, but Paul uses as justification for women not having authority over men the fact that God made them second, so that must mean that God thought more highly of man than women. Being made second means you're less important.

One can read a lot more about women not being the "glory of God" in the article, "Women Not the Glory of God"

Now, the point is this: if being made second is the criterion for dominance that Paul is using, he obviously couldn't have believed that man was made second, after animals, because that would mean to Paul that God thought man was less important than the animals. Thus, we know for sure that Paul's interpretation of the two creation stories was that man was made first, which is consistent with the second creation story.

Apologists mention Genesis 1:26-30 as showing that man had dominance over men.  But, Paul surely would have noticed this, and it seems quite likely that this passage is one which Paul would have coupled with the statement in Genesis 2 that showed that man was made first: Man was made first, and man has dominance over the animals, just as he has dominance over woman, because woman was made after him, too.

Thus, Paul would clearly have rejected the notion from Genesis 1 that God would have wanted to create the beasts of the field before he created humans. It probably just didn't seem right to Paul. Does it seem right, theologically, that the almighty chose to make the lowly animals before he made man?

Thus, putting the plain and simple meaning of the second creation story along with the naming issue and Paul's belief about the proper order of creation, we have clear evidence of a biblical contradiction. The first creation story has animals being created first, while the second creation story has them being created second.