Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said,…? Genesis 3:1

Ever since the beginning, evil people have been doing the same thing as the serpent. They try to get themselves and others to believe that we can’t trust God’s Words, so we can’t trust Him. And, if we can’t trust Him, then we get to decide what is true and what we can throw out.

Here’s what people like this say about Genesis Chapters 1 and 2:Adam Naming the Animals Medieval Painting

‘Genesis 1 says God made all the animals first and then Adam after, but Genesis 2 says God made Adam and then the animals. This is a contradiction, so we know none of this is real history. We can throw the whole story out.’

I was reading these Chapters in an easy version with my son recently, and it sure looked like they were right! What are we to do? God can’t have both made all the animals before man, and then again after man. But, I have chosen to trust God at His Word because of His love for me. What am I supposed to do with this?

Some people say God made most of the animals on Days 5 and 6 before Adam, but then He made the animals He wanted Adam to name afterwards. Meh, I don’t buy it. It sounds like covering for God’s careless reporting to me.

Remember that crazy thick book I just told you about? It helped me understand the key to this puzzle.

The order the Bible records things doesn’t have to match the order it happened in

In Genesis Chapter 2 the main topic is how God created man and the things He did for him. Everything is told as it connects to Adam. So, we first learn how God took the dust of the ground, formed man, and breathed life into him. Next we hear about God planting the Garden of Eden. If we had to believe everything happened in the order we read about it, we would picture Adam standing on the bare dirt while God said, “Just a minute, I’ve got to grow some fruit trees and things for you to eat.”

I don’t know, maybe He did it that way so Adam would appreciate his new home more. But it is just as likely God had already planted the garden on Day 3 so Adam could move right in.

Next comes the important part:

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. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; Genesis2:19-20

You can see why people think the Bible is saying Adam came first and then the animals! But, as we study the Old Testament we see it is full of “flashbacks”, things told after they happen to explain what is coming next.

If you want to see some for yourself, check these passages out:

Jonah 3:5-7

Genesis 25:34

I Samuel 18:11

Joshua 2:22

So, why is Genesis 2 the flashback and Chapter 1 the real time?

For the same reason we know the Creation Week was one ordinary week: it gives us the time frame. Genesis 1 tells us clearly, ‘first this was made, then after one night, that was made.’ Since the grammar wasn’t enough to give us the time frame, He added details to tell us the order. Genesis 2 doesn’t have these markers.

Isn’t it interesting how God set things up so we need to study and learn in order to understand Him and His message to us? Next time it’s hard to focus on your grammar studies you can remember this!


Categories: Bible

Cheri Fields

I'm a homeschooling blogger and book writer. The gift God has given me for His kingdom is to understand complex stuff (mostly) and share it with others using everyday words. It is a joy to share God's wonders with all kinds of people and especially the next generation!


Lee Dusing · at

Thoughful article. I have always taken Chapter 1 as the correct order and Chapter 2 as a recap. Like when I re-tell a vacation. It is never in sequence.
Keep up the the good work.

    Cheri Fields · at

    LOL! That’s a great comparison. I hadn’t thought about it, but we never do tell things in chronological sequence but rather in order of prominence.

Janice D Green · at

I agree with the author of your thick book in that Chapter 2 is not intended to be taken chronologically. Chapter 1 deals with the earth and the universe and galaxies. Chapter 2 brings into focus a particular location – a special garden that God created on the earth. I also see the word planted used instead of created, and I see that God brought the animals to the garden that he had created. This doesn’t really sound like creation, only rearranging some things.

Consider as well that God only rested one day. God had finished the work he had been doing, but he didn’t stop working altogether. He may well have finished the basics, but he continues working until this day. We was and is and always will be a creative God. I don’t think the Bible requires that he had his creative hands tied at the end of the 6th day.

    Cheri Fields · at

    Well, almost, Janice. The way you describe it, God could still be creating new creatures out of nothing today. But this goes against what we know of God’s work. That’s why understanding the Bible’s use of flashbacks is so important.
    Thanks for chiming in; it wouldn’t have been good to leave this idea vague.

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