The various stories in Genesis were collected from various places at different times, and little attempt was made to reconcile their differences. The initial creation story, the Eden story, and the Cain and Abel story all began as separate legends (and don’t we know the source of the first one, at least?), and their inconsistencies were not a matter of much concern to the compilers, so we shouldn’t try to reconcile them.
In that vein, when considering the relationship of Genesis 1 and 2, one must deal not only with Adam but with the animals, which in Genesis 1 are created before humans and in Genesis 2 are created in between creation of the two humans.
This view has been around for a while and goes back to the JEPD Source Criticism model begun in the 1800’s. I, personally, let the clear contradictions get in my way.
Is there any evidence for this approach or is it all speculation based on the terms used for God, the nature of God in the narrative and the application to the northern or southern kingdom? I am truly asking because I have only seen speculative arguments.
However you are not. Sorry about this. You were responding to @John_Harshman:
@John_Harshman is repeating the “Documentary Hypothesis” which has been largely rejected, though some key parts have been taking forward. Right now, I’d point to Sailhammer’s book (and @jongarvey):
This book seems to put the documentary hypothesis to rest by taking a “compositional” approach to Genesis. Here the point of view is that there were preexisting stories, but the “compilers” intentionally put them together with careful attention to their overall purpose. This contrasts with @John_Harshman’s claim that they “did not care to resolve inconsistencies”. Instead, the tensions on the text are intentional and for a purpose. The cohesiveness of Genesis gives very high support to this view. Especially because the different names for God seem to follow a clear pattern too.
So I’d say there is no good reason to take the documentary hypothesis over the compositional approach. The compositional approach does a better job explaining the textual and historical evidence.
(S. Joshua Swamidass)
split this topic
No, I’m not. The documentary hypothesis proposes that there are multiple sources for each story. I’m claiming that the two stories are different, regardless of whether or not each of them arrived in the compilation through multiple paths.
I propose that the compilers didn’t care to resolve inconsistencies, my evidence being the manifold inconsistencies.
You mistake me. I claim that they are not retelling the same events. They are two different creation stories, and in fact among their considerable differences is what they attribute to creation. They overlap in a couple of places, i.e. the creation of humans and animals (presumably land animals only), and where they overlap they contradict. They also present strikingly different conceptions of God. (In the most natural readings, that is. In English.)
The most glaring inconsistency, to me, is not the creation of humans but the creation of the animals. In Genesis 1 the animals are created before the male and female humans. In Genesis 2 they are created after the male and before the female. The genealogical Adam doesn’t fix that one.
So the Genealogical Adam does fix this. That is a major reason that people like @Revealed_Cosmology, @Guy_Coe and @jongarvey are drawn to it. There are actually several ways to resolve this. Just remember that there is no claim in Genesis 1 that God stopped creating things. Nor does Genesis 1 say that this was the first creation of anything. It just said he created things, and then in Genesis 2 he created some more things. Rest can mean “entering into” creation, and in context it is very hard to interpret as “rested from creating.” From that starting point, I hope you can see several paths to resolving them.
That isn’t the most natural reading. It also makes little sense. If God had already created the beasts, why did he have to create more rather than just bringing over some that he had already created? And, let’s face it, the reason given for creating those beasts in Genesis 2 is just absurd. Would you not agree? It makes God out to be a buffoon.
The word translated “create” is “bara” in the Hebrew. It is virtually entirely absent from the second story, beginning at Genesis 2:5 ff.
Compare and contrast all you want; the two stories narrate completely different events, well-removed in time from each other.
There can be no inconsistencies between these two entirely different stories. It is a mistaken notion to try to conflate them.
How do you know all that? How do you know that there are not multiple ways to say “create”? What do you think caused the appearance of animals in Genesis 2? And why is God so confused about what sort of companion Adam needs?