The Skeptics Annotated Bible is a website devoted to attempting to find contradictions in the Bible. And they have a lot of them – 536.
Since the SAB is one of the most popular sources for supposed Bible contradictions, it’s probably helpful to go through some of them and explain them. Many a Christian has been led astray by unfounded claims of ‘loads of contradictions’ in the Bible.
The first of SAB’s many contradictions is found here. It states that Genesis bears two contradictory accounts of how creation occurred, pitting 1:1-2:4 against 2:5-25.
The SAB gives two supposed contradictions from these sections:
Contradiction 1: Man and the Animals
In the first creation story, humans are created after the other animals.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:25-27
In the second story, humans were created before the other animals.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Genesis 2:18-19
The key to this contradiction is understanding that Genesis 1:1-2:4 and 2:5-25 are written in very different styles. The first establishes a basic, indisputable chronology (which has, sadly, been disputed too many times to count) while the second focuses on the sixth day and the creation of the animals, man, and woman.
Genesis 2:18-19 has a more sweeping, general view of creation, which focuses on the creation and subsequent actions of Adam. To make the story more clear for its audience, the creation of the animals is not mentioned until it becomes important to the story. A better translation might provide the word ‘had’ in the first part of verse 19, to show that it was a past event. In fact, the ‘had’ does appear in multiple translations, including the NIV and the ESV, below:
Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. (Emphasis added)
The use of the KJV in the original page feels deliberate, even more so since the NIV and ESV go unmentioned, despite solving the contradiction easily.
Contradiction 2: Man and Woman
This supposed contradiction is, if possible, even easier to refute. Here’s the post’s claim:
In the first creation story, the first man and woman were created simultaneously.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:25-27
In the second account, the man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man’s rib.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them…. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Genesis 2:18-22
Genesis 1:25-27 doesn’t state or imply that Adam and Eve’s creation was simultaneous. Likewise, you can imagine someone saying ‘I got the mail and closed the mailbox’ without believing these actions to be simultaneous – the idea is patently ridiculous. Genesis 2:18-22 simply provides a bit of clarification as to the order, though the first passage notably already places them in the correct chronological order.
In conclusion, the idea that there are two separate and contradictory accounts in Genesis 1-2 is somewhat ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the way it is believed to have occurred since these accounts were both written by Moses – and likely at very close times, since they appear right next to each other in the Bible.
Next week, we look at the real creator of heaven and earth – God, Jesus, or both?