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!


    1. When was man created? (The sixth day of creation
      according to Genesis 1:27-31.)

      1. 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.)

    2. 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
      Creation week?

      1. Is this a conflicting account of the Creation?

      2. Is this a different version of the Creation?

      3. Does this indicate that creation continued
        after the first week?

    3. It gets worse. Read Genesis 2:7. Is this a
      different version of the creation of man? A
      conflicting account?

    1. Now move down in this chapter and read Genesis
      2:18-23. Is this a third version of the creation
      of man (woman)?

      1. (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!)

    2. Do we have two creation stories for the plants and
      three creation stories for man?

    3. When you were studying your lesson this week, were
      you happy with the explanation of this contained
      in the lesson?

      1. Did you understand the lesson’s explanation?

        1. Tell me what you understand the lesson to
          say about these multiple creation

      2. 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.

      3. Now that you have heard the explanation, what
        do you think of it?

        1. 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.)

      4. 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?

        1. 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

          1. Did man work the ground only after
            he sinned?

          2. Is gardening a post-sin event?

          3. Read Genesis 2:15. What does that
            reveal man was doing in the garden
            of Eden before the fall? (Working
            the ground!)

          4. 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


    1. 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
      creating man?

    2. When you tell a story, do you tell all the details
      at once?

      1. What do you do with the details? When do you
        give them?

      2. Have you ever had someone tell you the general
        outlines of a story and then later fill in
        some of the details?

      3. Is that what God is doing here in describing
        His creation?

        1. 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

        2. Is there anything in Genesis 2:4-8 that
          contradicts the account in Genesis
          chapter 1?

        3. 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.)

        4. 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?

    3. Does the Genesis 2:7 account of the creation of
      man contain more detail than the Genesis 1:27

      1. Does the Genesis 2:21-23 account contain more
        detail than the Genesis 2:7 account?

        1. Does any one of these accounts contradict
          any of the others?

          1. In Genesis 1 do we find God speaking
            His creation into existence?

          2. 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.)

    4. 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

      1. Are you someone who would love to know “How He
        did it?”

(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.)