Are there two creation stories in Genesis?



By Spencer D Gear

It is a common view promoted by liberal theology and sceptics that there are two creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2. Here are a few examples:

  • In the Skeptics Annotated Bible, they outline, ‘The two contradictory creation accounts’;
  • Arthur Weiser: ‘It is evident that the Pentateuch cannot be the continuous work of a single author. This is shown by the existence of two differing accounts (doublets) of the same event: thus e.g. the story of the creation in Gen. 1 and 2:4ff’,,[1]
  • The Wikipedia article on the ‘Genesis creation narrative’ states that ‘The opening of [Genesis] verse 2:4 provides a “bridge” connecting the two accounts of the creation narrative’.

At the popular level, I encountered this view on a www forum, Christian Fellowship Forum. Jim Parker replied to me:

You seem to be rejecting out of hand, without consideration, the possibility that there could be more than one version of the creation and flood stories among these ancient people. That flies in the face of the existence of a variety of creation and flood stories among the ancient Mesopotamian people.[2]

I replied: Noah’s flood and the Gilgamesh epic have been answered over and over, but you trot it out again.[3]

Kermit: << There is only one creation story >>[4]
Jim: My Bible has two. One begins with: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)
The other one begins with:  This [is] the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and [there was] no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. (Gen 2:4 -6)
Kermit: <<There is …only 1 flood story.>>
Jim: There are two. I already posted the facts. If you don’t want to know then that is your choice.

Spencer:[5] Can’t you see what you did? You confused your view that there are two creation stories with two flood stories.
Genesis 2 does not present a different creation account to the one in Genesis 1. Genesis 2 presupposes God’s completed work of creation from Genesis 1. What we have in Gen. 2:1-3 is the logical conclusion of carrying on the information from Genesis 1, using the same vocabulary and style as was used in chapter 1.

What Genesis 2 does is lay out the completion of God’s primary work done in Genesis 1 with the sanctity of the 7th day conferred as a memorial of what God had created.

Then Genesis 2:4 sums up the sequence of what had been surveyed previously with the words, “These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made heaven and earth”.

Since Moses (yes, author Moses) had now finished the overall survey of the subject, what does the author do? He then develops in detail one important feature, the creation of human beings.

It is Kenneth Kitchen who writes in Ancient Orient (p. 117):

“Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the center of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting. Failure to recognize the complementary nature of the subject-distinction between a skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand and the immediate environment on the other, borders on obscurantism”.[6]

How do you like that description of what you have tried to do with trying to convince us of two creation accounts – obscurantism?

You have provided the argumentation of the historical-critical method and your presupposition comes gushing forth.


There is a reasonable contextual explanation for affirming that Genesis 1 and 2 form the fabric of one creation account and not two.

I recommend the article by Wayne Jackson, Apologetics Press, “Are there two creation accounts in Genesis?’ The straightforward biblical answer to the question, if one follows the Genesis text, is, NO! There is only ONE creation account in the Book of Genesis.


[1] In Wayne Jackson, ‘Are there two creation accounts in Genesis?’, Apologetics Press, available at: (Accessed 9 June 2012).

[2] Christian Fellowship Forum, Contentious Brethren, ‘Dawkins won’t debate creationists’, #41, 5 June 12, available at: (Accessed 6 June 2012).

[3] Ibid., ozspen, #49.

[4] Ibid., FatherJimParker, #45.

[5] Ibid., ozspen #51. The following information is from Gleason L. Archer 1982. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Regency Reference Library (Zondervan Publishing House), pp. 68-69.

[6] Ibid., p. 69.


Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 28 October 2015.