Are Genesis One and Two Sequential, Telescoping, or Something Else?

Guy, I upvoted your post because of its overall accurate description of the situation but I do have one point of order: Chapter one does not precede chapter two IMHO so much as it envelopes it. The Christ-Centered Model that I adhere to has Genesis 1 (and the first verses of chapter two) as being something which goes back into the ancient past and then continues beyond the time of Moses - predicting God’s finished work on the cross on the 7th day. Gen. 1:26-1:27 is an overview of humanity which includes the Logos taking incorruptible human form in heaven, the creation of Adam on earth (chapter 2), and the creation of men and women generally.

The goal is Christ and the Church, and it always has been. That’s “the Man” in God’s image, the two being one flesh. What He starts with are men and women generally. They have the capacity to be “in the image” but since that capacity is only fulfilled in unbroken relationship they were not in that image to start. The plan to get them from where they were to where He intended them to be begins with Adam and Eve and the line of Messiah.

Thus chapter two is “telescoping” the middle of the three segments of 1:27. Chapter two comes along well after most of chapter one, but really chapter one starts well before it and the 7th day goes on after it. Chapter two is “zooming in” and giving details about an important part of the story in 1:27, which sums up events which could have been separated by 100s of thousands of years- not much time at all when you are fitting the history of the earth into one chapter.

Understood; but your particular wrinkle does not predict a worldwide advanced (from beasts) “imago Dei” humanity in existence preceding the events in the garden; we have solid forensic evidence which indicates that’s actually the case, both in the biblical text and in the paleoanthropological record.

It predicts humanity outside the garden prior to Adam, though the “advanced from beasts” part is not anticipated and unnecessary. As for the Image part, I think its more of a disagreement over what “the image of God” is. Christ is the Image of God. We cannot attain to that Image except in unbroken relationship with Him.

Christ is THE image of God, but we are made in His likeness. We are the “designated representatives” of God to creation. The Geneaological Adam model explains
how we can’t avoid inheriting a sinful predisposition, despite having been created in God’s image. We cannot “attain” to being children of God; it is freely given by grace, through Christ’s atonement.

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The ‘adam’ (pl.) from Genesis 1:26 that God makes “in Our Image” are those pre-human hominid species that God transforms in verse 27 and ff.

I tend to see Genesis 1:26-27 as a summary statement of what God did to bring pre-human species to full human status, occurring over a long period of time, rather than in a single, saltational event. Nevertheless, there’s room for the arising of a rapidly-changing, dramatic new reality for humans, once a near-universal language is established.

The Hebrew in Genesis 1:27 actually says “So God created THE Man in His own image…”. “Man” there is only a collective in the sense that the body of Christ is a collective. It is not making all of humanity into His image at that moment, but rather doing what is necessary in order for that to be accomplished by starting with a template.

Yep, and we are in the process of becoming on earth what we are in heaven and when it happens creation will be set free…
Romans 8

"18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies."

It is common to co-flate salvation with sanctification. The one happens at once in Christ. The other is a process, also in Christ.

Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

It is a plural in 1:26 but in 1:27 it is two singulars on the first two parts of the three part statement. 1. God makes THE Man in His own image. 2 Then an echo, “in the image of God made He him”. The last part, 3. “Male and female created He them” does not mention the image of God. It doesn’t mention any hominid species either of course. That in itself doesn’t prove it didn’t happen, but its not in the text.

I tend to see 27 as God initiating His plan to do what He determined to do in 1:26 - make humanity in His own image. So He makes humanity, then He makes a template in heaven of The Man in His image. Then He makes an echo or copy of that in the form of Adam on earth, which is the account told in chapter two. This is the story of Christ and the Church. That was always His goal, and always His intent, from the beginning. Adam was just the means by which God would initiate the process to “make man in His own image”- getting humanity to Christ and the Church.

I have suspected this as your theory, and am not opposed to it, but also find it perhaps stretching beyond the textual warrant. Why would God announce a “new” intention for the plural 'adam, in Genesis 1:26, if that had been His plan all along? For me, it chronicles the change in state from pre-human to full human. Agree to disagree?



You do understand, yes?, that your interpretation stands in the way of how the @swamidass scenarios unfold. His timeline is more in line with an observation we find recorded in the Wiki article on the Genesis Narrative (below); his narrative is assisted by the presence of two separate episodes!:

“The creation narrative is made up of two stories, roughly equivalent to the two first chapters of the Book of Genesis.[12] (There are no chapter divisions in the original Hebrew text, see Chapters and verses of the Bible.) The first account (1:1 through 2:3) employs a repetitious structure of divine fiat and fulfillment, then the statement “And there was evening and there was morning, the [xth] day,” for each of the six days of creation.”

"Consistency was evidently not seen as essential to storytelling in Ancient literature.[14] The overlapping stories of Genesis 1 and 2 are contradictory but also complementary, with the first (the Priestly story) concerned with the creation of the entire cosmos while the second (the Yahwist story) focuses on man as moral agent and cultivator of his environment.[12] … Even the order and method of creation differs.[15] “Together, this combination of parallel character and contrasting profile point to the different origin of materials in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, however elegantly they have now been combined.”[16]


[12] Alter, Robert (1981). The Art of Biblical narrative. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465004270. 1981, p. 141.

[13] Ruiten, Jacques T. A. G. M. (2000). Primaeval History Interpreted. Brill. ISBN 9004116583. 2000,
pp. 9–10.

[14] Levenson, Jon D. (2004). “Genesis: Introduction and Annotations”. In Berlin, Adele; Brettler, Marc Zvi. The Jewish study Bible. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195297515. 2004, p. 9.
“One aspect of narrative in Genesis that requires special attention is its high tolerance for different versions of the same event, a well-known feature of ancient Near Eastern literature, from earliest times through rabbinic midrash. … This could not have happened if the existence of variation were seen as a serious defect or if rigid consistency were deemed essential to effective storytelling.”

[15] Carr, David M. (1996). Reading the Fractures in Genesis. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-22071-1. 1996, pp. 62–64.

[16] Carr, David M. (1996). Reading the Fractures in Genesis. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-22071-1. 1996, p. 64.


You do understand, don’t you, @gbrooks9 , that the analysis you present simply states the conflict between the two accounts and uses that to discount historicity? Instead, both Mark and I, along with some others on this blog, subscribe to tablet theory in one form or another (pretty inadequately described here: ), and do not despair of historicity? While I tend to agree that a telescoping view doesn’t bear out as well in the forensic evidence, at root, it’s not in conflict with it. The sequential view removes those as conflicts. In fact, it would seem plain that the author was at pains to make sure the reader didn’t try to conflate the two accounts.
By contrast, any view which poses irreconcilable conflicts within the accounts is a problem for the very impetus to make historical sense of them. Alter is content with proposing literary and mythical dependence upon other ancient sources, and the narrative as mere polemic rather than history --but that is an adandonment of their function and a concession to paganism as primary, rather than the real situation --they are corruptions of the original revelation. And so I reject Alter’s view on this matter, while enjoying his translation. I have spoken with Waltke personally, and he does not share Alter’s view, either. Just weighing in on some important issues you raise, and must register my disagreement wirh them. Cheers.


BTW, in the analysis Mark makes, he correctly points out the “THE man (pl.)” aspect of the Hebrew, but fails to note that this construction does not allow you to construe this ‘adam’ as a proper name in Hebrew, further distancing the text from a telescoping reading, in my view.

I am pretty sure it doesn’t, and I think I understand this model better than you do. To the contrary, the Christ-centered model is the scriptural framework whereby GA is needed as a possible solution to one problem raised by the framework. To whit, how is original sin transmitted if there was a population of humans outside the garden and Adam was not the first human?

So when people say to Joshua “how do you square your hypothesis with the scriptures” the Christ-centered model gives an accounting of all of the relevant verses and shows how they are actually pointing to a cosmology where GA is a possible solution to an issue raised by that cosmology.

Guy ha-adam is what is used all through chapter two as well as in 1;27. The more modern translations like NIV, ESV, Authorized KJV etc all translate it like that in chapter two. They don’t use the proper name “Adam”. For some reason they have yet to put an article in front of “man” in 1:27, but its still there in the Hebrew as in chapter two.

So then going from the Hebrew and more modern translations, telescoping still makes sense. But “the man” in 1:27 is the man in heaven in my view, the echo (“in the image of God created he him”) is Adam in chapter two. But to see that one has to back up further and see how several of these days are speaking about things in high heaven and things in the natural universe at the same time.

Yes, I see that as possible in things like the construction of the Tabernacle, etc. where such claims are specifically made, and I can see that you’re applying that further, but, in my view, that’s an anachronistic reading not specifically warranted by the text. It may very well be true, but only discoverable anachronistically. This is not normally a tenet of literary interpretation --but then again, this is not “normal literature,” either. The best I can muster so far is “no harm, no foul” for this particular facet of your construal of ancient cosmology, while considering you a friend, an ally and a brother in seeking the truths of the Scriptures. It would seem an odd way, however, to establish that, “through Christ, all things were created” if His presence isn’t noted until “day six.” I see His localized Presence as merely implied as an Observer when the report is made that “darkness was over the face of the deep” way back in verse two. Aware, as I am, of the lack of human observers for anything in the Genesis 1:1-2:4 account, I see this section as a “Creation Song” or poem taught by the Malak YHWH to Adam and Eve themselves, to establish their worldview. Later, similar, pagan corruptions came along that became the mythical versions of other ANE societies.

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@Guy_Coe, I suppose there is no surprise or shock to read your thoughts, since you are an RTB person.

But @swamidass’ “two pontoon” scenario (archaeological evidence for the 10,000+ pre-Adam “adams” PLUS Biblical warrant for de novo Adam & Eve) fits perfectly the Two Creations interpretation of Genesis.

Naturally, as with the issue of Original Sin, the scenarios are open to the preferences of adhering Christians.

I’m not sure how many YEC’s or quasi-YECs will accept 10,000 non-Adamites outside of Eden without a Two Creations interpretation.

I know that @Revealed_Cosmology has a comprehensive way of arriving at the same conclusion for non-Adamite humans … using a telescoping interpretation. And so that is always one of the optional interpretations.

I am using the text to interpret the text. There is also support for the idea of some truth in scripture being hidden so that it can later be revealed. I mean isn’t the whole idea of seeing Christ in the text “anchronistic” in that same manner?

Let me be clear- the LOGOS of God was not created. He was with God and was God and present originally with God (John 1). Gen.1:27 refers to the human part, the fusion of uncreated God with created humanity in the heavens.

@Revealed_Cosmology But, Genesis 1:27 is all about something God did on earth. Where do you get the information that it also meant something happened in the heavens?
It’s usually not a good practice in literary interpretation to interpret a prior text based upon a later one, though it is a good means to search for continuity of thought. But, you already knew that. Your best hope for a warrant for this view is to find support for it in the book of Job, the only other written Biblical literature which may be regarded as nearly contemporary with the early chapters of Genesis, if in rudimentary form.