There are two different Creation stories

From: Anonymous

Sometimes we speak in generalities, and sometimes we speak specifically. We can tell a story in a way that summarizes the whole, and we can expand on a portion. I think this is an explanation for the apparent "two creation stories." In Genesis 1, we see God making the world in six days. In chapter two, the story of creation is expanded upon. The purpose of chapter two is not to retell the whole story, but to expand specifically on the formation of man and woman, which happened on the sixth day.

You have indicated that Genesis 2:19 says that God made the animals as companions for Adam. If you read verse 18, you will find that the animals were not made as companions for Adam, but God is planning on making "A" companion for Adam. The first part of verse 19, is a re-statement of chapter 1:24 & 25. It does not mean that God made them after man. It is merely a matter-of-fact statement that God created them. He brought them to Adam to name. The statement in the next verse, "but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him," indicates the purpose of God having Adam name the animals. This was a biology lesson for Adam. Here Adam observes all the animals, and will obviously notice that for each species there is a male, and a female. Adam will then notice that there was no female of his own species. It is only then that God causes Adam to sleep, and then forms the woman, and brings her to Adam. Adam by now will realize that the woman is the female counterpart of the male of his species.

Curt Responds:

The above argument hinges on Genesis 2:18, in particular the fact that the text uses the singular form to refer to Adam's helper. I feel that this may be stretching the text a little far. From my reading, the text simply states that Adam needed a companion, and that God then created all the animals in order to find such a companion for Adam.

In addition, this argument fails to take into account the fact that the two Creation purposes are very different in structure, aim and vocabulary. The second story (which is thought to be the older story by Old Testament scholars) generally uses God's personal name, YHVH, to refer to the deity, while the first story uses only the Hebrew word 'Elohim'. The first story has a cosmic focus - God creates the Universe (as understood by the ancients, this consisted of a flat earth surrounded by a tangible dome of the sky), along with the Sun, Moon and Stars. The second story is far more concerned with the origin of Man and the animals - the origin of the universe is not explained.

How many animals did Noah take onto the ark?

From: Anonymous

Sometimes we speak in generalities, and sometimes we speak specifically. According to the Genesis story of the flood, Noah did take the animals in by two's. However, this is a general statement. Most animals went in by two's but specifically, we find that a few kinds of animals went in by seven's. Specifically, only the clean animals entered by seven's. Whatever is meant by "clean animals" is not indicated. Moses had not yet given the laws concerning clean and unclean animals, but perhaps the same criteria would have been used – or perhaps some other criteria. At any rate, the seventh (un-paired) of the clean animals was used as a sacrifice when Noah left the ark (see chapter 8:20).


I see no contradiction in this at all so how can Gen ch 6:19 be together with Gen 7:2 lets see here in Gen ch 6:19 God command to Noah was " You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you" okay in Genesis 7:2-3 records God's additional instruction: "Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal,, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. the evidence here is that the seven clean animals were for sacrificial worship after the Flood had receded as you will see in Gen ch 8:20 " Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, Taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. So surely if there had no been more than two of these clean species, they would have been extinct by their being sacrificed on the altar.

Curt Responds:

The fact that the text refers to 'clean' animals long nefore the Law had been given is actually a clue to the origin of this part of the story. Scholars have long noted that there appear to be two separate Flood stories combined into one by a later editor. The stories differ by the number and type of animals taken onto the Ark, the duration of the Flood, and the type of bird that Noah sent out from the Ark. If we separate the two strands, we get two complete stories that are both internally consistent. (See Richard Friedman's very excellent book 'Who wrote the Bible' for an in-depth treatment of this issue).

The inclusion of the 'clean' animals indicates that one of these stories is the work of the Priestly writer (the 'P' of the 'JEDP' theory).

How many languages were there after the flood?

From: Anonymous

Chapter 10 of Genesis is merely a listing of the genealogy of Noah. There is no indication of timing mentioned in it. All we are told is that when the people divided off into distinct geographical locations, they went according to their various languages. We are told in chapter 11 how this division took place, but nowhere are we given any indication that chapter 11 happened chronologically after chapter 10.

Curt Responds:

This is a plausible point. There is no reason to assume that Genesis 11 chronologically follows Chapter 10. Scholars think that Chapter 10 is a part of the 'Generations' book, which the redactor cut up into several pieces and scattered throughout the text as prefaces to the stories that were to follow.

The only thing to note is that Chapter 10 divides the nations according to their lineage from Noah, i.e. according to the families of Shem, Ham and Japeth. Genesis 11 never mentions this division, and Genesis 10 seems to indicate that the laguage split followed family lines, and was not the result of miraculous intervention.

How many sons did Abraham have?

From: Anonymous

We are actually told of several sons of Abraham -- See Genesis 25:1&2

Isaac was therefore not literally the only son of Abraham, but was, rather the special son. In this sense, he was considered the only son. Ishmael, having been born of the hand-maid was not the son of promise (although there was also a promise given for Ishmael and his decsendents – Gen 17:20).

Curt Responds:

I thnk the language of Genesis 22 seems to argue against this point of view. Three times in Genesis 22, God refers to Isaac as '...thy son, thine only son'. If he had simply meant 'special son', why did he not simply say so and avoid all the confusion? In addition, the author of the New Testament book of Hebrews seemed to read this passage as 'only son', because he refers to Isaac the '...[Abraham's] only begotten son.' (Hebrews 11:17)

Who killed Goliath?

From: Anonymous

I think it is obvious that 2 Sam 21:19 is the result of a scribe's error. The parallel in 1 Chron. 20:5

...and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver's beam.

The scribe who copied down 2 Sam 21:19 missed "Lahmi the brother of." The scribes were diligent, and from my understanding destroyed any copies found to have errors in them. However, here is an example of a copy error that was never corrected -- possibly, it was smudged in the original, and the scribe couldn't read it, or possibly, he was just tired, his eyes skipped to the next line, and then it was never noticed.

This poses a bit of a problem though. We know of this particular scribal error only because there is a parallel passage that gives the correct reading. How many other errors are there that have no parallels? Is there any way to look at a reading and to know of a surety what possible errors a scribe has made?

Curt responds:

It is true that one of these passages is probably the result of a scribal error or expansion. However, in my opinion it is not possible to tell which is correct, and which is in error. Since the books of Chronicles were written some time after the books of the Kings, it is possible that the Chronciles reading is an interpolation, designed to correct the contradiction found in Kings. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that an interpolater would insert an actual name into the text, so we are left with a situation which probably cannot be resolved.

In the light of this, the point about other possible scribal errors is well made. In addition, this raises some serious questions about God's ability to preserve his Word. It seems a little strange to me that, having gone to all the trouble to produce an inspired text, God would then leave it up to fallible men to preserve.

to Old Testament Problems

Book Reviews
More Reviews
Some More
history of science
popular science
science fiction
discussion list
what's new
link here