Introduction: Years ago, I regularly represented employees
in religious freedom cases in Indiana. My litigation
opponents, represented by the same lawyers, always agreed to
settle and accommodate my client’s religious beliefs.
However, before they would settle, they would insist that
the lawyers ask my clients, in an informal deposition,
questions about their religious beliefs. One of the opposing
lawyers knew something about the Bible. I remember on more
than one occasion, this lawyer asking a client about “which
creation” account he believed.
This week we examine a criticism of the six-day Creation
account based on the “two creation” claim. Before we jump
in, let me apologize in advance. Because the criticism and
some suggested answers are somewhat technical, this lesson
is more complex than normal!
- TWO CREATIONS?
- When was man created? (The sixth day of creation
according to Genesis 1:27-31.)
- Think back two weeks ago. Were plants created
before or after man? (Before. Genesis 1:11-13
tells us they were created on the third day.)
- Now I am going to create some trouble for you.
Read Genesis 2:1-5. How can verse 5 say that no
shrub or plant had appeared when this is after the
- Is this a conflicting account of the Creation?
- Is this a different version of the Creation?
- Does this indicate that creation continued
after the first week?
- It gets worse. Read Genesis 2:7. Is this a
different version of the creation of man? A
- Now move down in this chapter and read Genesis
2:18-23. Is this a third version of the creation
of man (woman)?
- (Did you notice in this third version, that
Eve missed the meeting about the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil? ( Genesis 2:16-17)
If this is a third version of creation,
instead of blaming the serpent for her sin in
eating the fruit, Genesis 3:13, Eve should
simply have said, “I missed that meeting!)
- Do we have two creation stories for the plants and
three creation stories for man?
- When you were studying your lesson this week, were
you happy with the explanation of this contained
in the lesson?
- Did you understand the lesson’s explanation?
- Tell me what you understand the lesson to
say about these multiple creation
- If you did not study the lesson this week, it
suggests a complex answer to the question
about the two creation accounts of the plants.
It says (Wednesday & Friday) that the Hebrew
words for shrub and plant ( Genesis 2:5) refer
to spiny and thorny plants that are not part
of the original “good creation.” Instead,
they are part of the “thorns and thistles”
( Genesis 3:18) that came as a result of sin.
Therefore this “second” plant creation is
merely a reference to what happened to the
plants after sin.
- Now that you have heard the explanation, what
do you think of it?
- What would you say about this explanation
if I told you the Hebrew word translated
“plant” in Genesis 2:5 (“eeseb”)is the
same word translated “plant” in Genesis
1:11? (The lesson says they are different
words. While I am no expert, three
standard reference tools (Interlinear
Bible, Stong’s Concordance and
Englishmen’s Concordance) indicate these
are the same words.)
- When in doubt, look at the context, right?
Let’s look at the context by reading Genesis
2:5-8. By reading this additional context,
does this make the lesson’s explanation seem
more or less reasonable? Are we talking about
a time after the fall of man?
- How can Genesis 2:5 refer to a period
after the fall of man when the text and
context indicate man had not yet been
created? (Our lesson says (Thursday) that
the man referred to in Genesis 2:5 was
sinful man, because the text says that
man would “work the ground” and man did
not have to work the ground until after
- Did man work the ground only after
- Is gardening a post-sin event?
- Read Genesis 2:15. What does that
reveal man was doing in the garden
of Eden before the fall? (Working
- What if I told you that the Hebrew
word used in Genesis 2:5 for working
the ground is the same Hebrew word
used in Genesis 2:15? Would that
suggest that we are talking about
the hard work that came after sin?
(Once again, the standard reference
works I mentioned above indicate the
lesson’s approach is flawed. The
reference in Genesis 2:5 to working
the ground is not simply a reference
to post-sin work. The Hebrew word
used to describe working the ground
(“abad” — Stong’s number 5647)in
Genesis 2:5 is the same Hebrew word
used in Genesis 2:15. It is true
that this same Hebrew term is later
used for post-sin work. (For example
in Genesis 3:15.) But it is not
necessarily a reference to post-sin
- TELL ME AGAIN, MORE SLOWLY
- If our lesson is giving us some doubtful answers
to the two or three creation question, what is the
right answer? How do you explain two accounts
about creating the plants and three accounts about
- When you tell a story, do you tell all the details
- What do you do with the details? When do you
- Have you ever had someone tell you the general
outlines of a story and then later fill in
some of the details?
- Is that what God is doing here in describing
- What problems do you see, if any, with
the idea that the Genesis 2:4-8 account
of the creation of plants merely provides
more details about the Genesis 1:11-12
- Is there anything in Genesis 2:4-8 that
contradicts the account in Genesis
- What additional details do you find in
Genesis 2:5-6 about the plants? (Genesis
1:11-12 simply indicates the creation of
plants and trees. Genesis 2:5-6 tells us
how God prepared the ground by setting up
a watering system for the plants.)
- Assume someone told you that they just
planted a tree in their front yard last
weekend. A few minutes later they tell
you how they dug the hole, how they
amended the soil and put in a drip
irrigation system for the tree. Would you
assume they planted two different trees?
- Does the Genesis 2:7 account of the creation of
man contain more detail than the Genesis 1:27
- Does the Genesis 2:21-23 account contain more
detail than the Genesis 2:7 account?
- Does any one of these accounts contradict
any of the others?
- In Genesis 1 do we find God speaking
His creation into existence?
- Doesn’t this create a conflict with
God using dirt and a rib in the
Genesis 2 accounts? If God spoke man
into existence in Genesis 1, how is
this consistent with the
“construction approach” of Genesis
2? (Be careful! Although we read
that God spoke the creation into
existence, we are not told that He
spoke man into existence. Genesis
1:27 says God “created man.” This is
consistent with the “construction
approach of Genesis 2.)
- When we get to heaven, do you think God will give
us an even more detailed account about how He
created the earth? Will there be charts and
- Are you someone who would love to know “How He
(Friends, I do not think we need to depend on a complex and
questionable answer. The Bible seems clear that the
subsequent references to the creation of plants and man are
simply providing us with more detail about the original
creation. They are not an account of multiple creations. If
you do not like my explanation and you don’t like the
explanation in the lesson, consider another explanation.
The Chumash (Stone Ed.), a Jewish commentary, has a very
simple and quaint approach to the origin of plants and
Genesis 2:5-6. It says that when God created the plants in
Genesis 1 they were waiting under the surface of the earth.
They were waiting for man. When Adam came and prayed for
food, and was ready to work the ground, God sent water and
the plants sprung up.)
- NEXT WEEK: PARADISE LOST: THE FALL’S IMPACT ON