Answers for Skeptics: Are There Two Creation Stories in Genesis?

There is a very common misconception (even among Bible believers) that the Genesis account contains two creation stories. Many percieve the first and second chapters of Genesis to be different tales. They could not be farther from the truth. The two supposed Creation accounts are part of the same consistent story! Chapter 1 of Genesis merely outlines the order in which God created everything. Genesis 2 is not another creation story, nor a contradiction. It is the same account! However, it gives us more insight into the sixth day of creation. To further clarify, Genesis 1 is a Timelapse Summary which progresses by explaining the account in the following manner:

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

On day 1, He created light for the discernment of objects.

There are other ways God could have allowed us to perceive our world and navigate it. For instance, echolocation and haptic awareness (via antennae, membranes and other contact based sensors) are a few ways in which some organisms navigate and interact within this realm. Surely God could have created us to perceive with non-ocular organs. That is to say, He could have created us without eyes given we even take light for granted. From our point of view, light already exists and it only makes sense that it should exist. Therefore, we cannot imagine our lives without it and sadly, we don’t often see it as the amazing creation it really was!

On day 2, God divided waters from waters so that we could have an atmosphere ideal for us.

On day 3, God caused dry land to appear and separated it from the sea. He also created vegetation (which would grow after He created humans).

On day 4, he made independent light sources, sun, moon, and stars. Light had already been created, but just as speakers and sound bars can generate sound (they are sound sources), light emitting objects (light sources) such as the sun would thenceforth generate light to aid our vision. From there, the sun and moon were synchronized with the cycles of time which God had designated to be day and night. They would help us experience the passage of time.

On day 5, God created animals.

On day 6, God created mankind and the garden eastward in Eden.

Chapter one of Genesis ends here and Chapter two begins by explaining what God did on the seventh day. This should immediately make it clear that Chapter two isn’t a new story, but a continuation of the account.

On day 7, God rested.

Now Chapter 2 is paraphrased and summarized below as it progresses to this effect:

This is the origin of the heaven and the earth when it was created. The earth was only five days old and not one plant had taken root or even begun to grow and populate it. Back then, the LORD God had not yet allowed rain to fall upon the earth. Instead, he watered the ground like a sprinkler system waters one’s yard (Genesis 2 actually says that a mist watered the whole surface of the ground). And God created man and planted a garden for him eastward in an area called Eden. God then placed the man there and gave him specific instructions regarding what to eat and what not to. Seeing that the man was alone and surely would feel lonely, God first had the man name each land animal He had created. Male and female animals passed by Adam as he called them everything but his “lifelong companion” or anything that suggested any of them were suitable for him. Then, God put Adam to sleep and created a woman from his rib. When Adam awoke, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” which I like to paraphrase as “finally, my type”. Therefore, man and woman were made for companionship with each other to ensure that humanity would multiply. There is only one creation story, but when we don’t read the first and second chapters of Genesis carefully we can mistake it for two.

According to skeptics, in Genesis 1, what they refer to as “the first creation story”, humans are created after the other animals.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:25-27

When they read Genesis 2, they believe it suggests humans were created before the other animals.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 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. Genesis 2:18-19

Genesis 2 was showing us that God had created animals out of the earth as he made us from the dust of the earth. Yet if we read on, we see that Adam does not find a suitable lifelong companion in any of them. Out of the ground had they been created male and female each with partners who were of the same kind. The naming challenge was to teach Adam the pattern that God had established. When God made Eve, it was only then that Adam demonstrated his recognition of compatibility in calling Eve “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh”. She would be his mate.

According to skeptics, in the first creation story, the first man and woman were created simultaneously. This, of course, is not so. Recall that Genesis is a timelapse summary, a fast forwarded explanation of creation. Since, the Bible is long enough, we don’t need to know what time of day God created everything, if He had coffee before it started. If coffee was the first type of bean He created…etc. Therefore, being the very brief account it is, Chapter 1 verses 25-27 simply say:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It is not until Chapter 2 that we find some additional details. Why on earth would someone write it like that? Simple. Authors have the right and creative freedom to organize and express their ideas as they see fit. It doesn’t change the fact that Adam was created first, then Eve from his rib.

I wrote a book called “The Serpent’s Lie” which provides scientific support for this entire account. A rib bone is the only bone known to fully regenerate if it is properly removed during a surgical operation. God put Adam to sleep and performed an operation on him millenia before we even knew it could be done!

On October 16th, 1846, T.G. Morton became the first person to demonstrate that anasthesia could be used to aid in surgery. The writer of Genesis would not have known it was possible. He would not have known that little fact about the rib. He also would not have known that women have XX chromosomes and men have XY chromosomes which make the gender binary possible. He would not have known that it was so much easier and efficient for God to take X chromosomes from a man to create a woman. If God had made a man from a woman, He would have had to find or create a Y chromosome…because women don’t have them. That’s not my opinion. It’s fact! At any rate, there’s only one creation account explained in two different, but accordant ways.

Answers for Skeptics: Who Created Heaven and Earth?

The Bible makes it clear that God is the creator of the heaven and the earth in Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 44:24. But the skeptics do speak well when they argue that the Bible also gives credit to Jesus; for He is (indeed) the Creator. The Bible contains mysteries and riddles whose answers will be revealed to those who truly seek them. The following passages will reveal our Creator to be none other than Jesus:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light (*Jesus*), that all men through him (*Jesus*) might believe. He (*John*) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light (*Jesus*). That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He (*Jesus*) was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. John 1:6-10

By him (*Jesus*) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Colossians 1:16

Jesus indeed made the Heavens and the earth because…(wait for it)…He is God! John Chapter 1 verses 1-3 and verse 14 all do a great job of revealing our Creator. They reads as follows:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Bible also says that this very same “Word” that became Jesus would be called “Wonderful, Councellor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father” (in Isaiah 9:6)…because He is God! The name Jesus translates to “God saves”. He was also given the name Immanuel meaning “God with us”. Additionally, the Bible refers to Him as the image of the invisible God in Colossians 1:15. So yes. Jesus made the world before He entered the fleshly body and became known by that name. But while Jesus is God, He is also the mediator who reconciled humanity to Himself.

Answers for Skeptics: When was heaven created?

The Bible answers this definitively, once and for all in Genesis 1:1. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. It is impossible for the human mind to fully fathom an infinite timespan or a time before our concept of time. God makes it simple for us. At the very start of His creative project, He made the heaven and the earth. That point begins our existential timeline. The skeptics allege that the creation of the heaven in the beginning contradicts another passage of scripture from Genesis Chapter 1…and that is the passage between verses 6 and 8. Those verse read as follows:

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 

This is not a contradiction because In the beginning does not mean on day 1. It means at the start. Genesis IS the book of the Bible that deals with all things “beginning”…all things related to the origin of this reality. Therefore, verses 6-8 do not contradict verse 1.

Now, that is not where the perceived contradiction ends. They transition to the book of Matthew to show a contradiction that does not exist. Matthew 25:34 reads as follows:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

This verse clearly agrees with Genesis 1:1 and 6-8. To paraphrase, it says that the blessed ones will be called together to inherit the kingdom that was created from the beginning.

Finally, the skeptics argue that the Bible suggests that Heaven was made after the ascension of Jesus.

John 14:2 reads:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

The skeptics seem to think this indicates that Heaven is being prepared/created for us. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a contradiction! Jesus has gone to prepare a space for us. He has not gone to create Heaven for us. The Heaven was already made in the beginning! What Jesus said can be analogized to the owner of several mansions who tells his family that he will get one of those mansions prepared for their habitation. It does not mean he’s building a new mansion for them. There is an obvious difference between God creating the Heavens and Jesus preparing a place for us.

Does the Bible Contradict Itself?

Any firm believer in the Bible should understand that NO contradictions exist in the perfect word of God. Below, I outlined several points that have helped me begin to understand the Bible as it was intended to be understood. Perhaps the list might help others as well.

Things to Understand Before You Will Ever Understand the Bible:

#1) God’s use of language is perfect.

#2) God does not lie

#3) The Bible is full of mysteries and riddles that are ours to solve.

#4) Our understanding is limited

#5) We can ask God for wisdom if we lack it.

#6) Though He wants us to have strong critical thinking skills, and be willing to study and discover on our own, we can always ask Him for revelation when we need it.

#7) We must come to the LORD humbly and curious as children. Children don’t know everything, and they certainly don’t pretend to know all. Therefore, when we ask questions, we shouldn’t assume the answer is wrong just because it opposes some things we’ve learned. Haven’t we been lied to by other human beings? …Exactly…Therefore, we should approach God with an empty cup.

#8) We must read carefully; for if you blink or miss even a word, you can miss something big.

#9) Life was different in Biblical times. Often without realizing it, we tend to impose what we know today upon our Biblical ancestors. They had no cellphones, landlines, internet, supermarkets, factories, daycares, hospitals…etc. Please leave your modern thought process behind. It will not help.

Moving right along…

With that established, allow me to explain the reason for this blog. I recently stumbled upon a skeptics annotated Bible and it erked me. In a sense, I was glad to see many common misperceptions and concerns organized as well as they were. Hopefully those with better biblical comprehension might share their understanding following a similar structure. Even so, it erked me to know that such publications exist which can wittingly and unwittingly mislead others. Although the Bible may seem to contradict itself in a number of places, there really are NO contradictions.

Take it from someone who’s been there. I have questioned many things in the collection of books we call the Bible. It took quite some time for me to even begin to understand the depth of the Holy biblical scriptures, but one day, I discovered for myself that the puzzle wasn’t flawed. Instead, what was flawed had been my own perspective all along! So I did some soul searching and came to understand that my inability to see from the proper viewpoint was due to the following hindrances:

#1) An unwillingness to see the truth. Accepting truth often requires a willingness to release a lie or lies we’ve held on to. Sometimes we think we’re ready to learn the truth, but we’re unwilling to let go of a familiar lie.

#2) it takes time, effort, and critical thinking…and I was honestly too lazy to sift through haystacks of lies.

#3) ignorance was bliss. Knowing the truth meant that my life would have to change. It meant that I would have to admit many things I took pleasure in were wrong…and I was a horrible sinner.

#4) I could not humble myself enough to forsake my own “wisdom” at that time. But when I swallowed my pride and started asking, God began revealing…and my former “wisdom” became folly. Nowadays, among other things, I live to help others better understand the Bible.

Accolades don’t determine who can fellowship with God. God is everyone’s Creator and Heavenly Father whether they know it or not and He does not call the qualified, but He qualifies the called. Those who are willing to lend themselves and their services for His glory and honor don’t need fancy titles, just the willingness to follow His lead.

There are a plethora of theologians who have earned the right to sign their names with the titles “Ph.D” or “Dr.”. Even so, there are many among those seemingly qualified people who do not believe the Bible is literal truth. What an absolute shame! I have read commentaries by accredited “authorities” on the subject who suggest that the very first book of the Bible is allegorical. In other words, they believe it is false from the start! Yet there are many believers without fancy titles who have a fuller understanding of the Bible. Accolades mean nothing to God. Don’t get me wrong, to us, they are generally good indications that a person invested time and energy to acquire knowledge in a particular area. Nevertheless if the Holy Spirit of God does not reveal truth, we often will not see it.

At any rate, let’s start mounting a response to the skeptic(s) who put together that “annotated bible” I came across. The response is not intended to shame them, but to share with them. I’ve had my own phases of skepticism and being a Bible Skeptic at least suggests that one is exposing themselves to the light of truth even if they’re always wearing spiritual sunglasses, or even blindfolds, to behold it.

Unfortunately, it would take an entire book to answer even a tenth of the common questions skeptics might have. If the LORD gives me the wisdom to do this, it may become one of my next projects. For now, however, blogs will suffice. This one, just so happens to be the introduction for my next series of blogs which will be called “Answers for Skeptics”. In them, I endeavor to demonstrate the absence of contradictions by explaining twenty misconceptions following the order of their presentation in the Skeptics Annotated Bible.

Taste and See the Lord’s Goodness

Almost everyone at some point or another tries to find their “religious flavor”. Many want a God other than the one in the Bible because He doesn’t seem as “laissez-faire” as other gods. They want this god, or that one because he, she, or it is okay with something that the LORD God of the Bible is not okay with. They want that religious flavor because they like its teachings, or because they perceive it to be more tolerant, inviting, uplifting, etcetera; and so they treat their spirituality like a candy shop where the objective becomes to taste as many flavors as they can.

The truth is our spirituality is not something to be taken lightly. There is no true “spirituality” without the recognition that we are spirits dwelling within a bio-machine—spirits that God “breathed” into the earthen vessels we call our bodies. There is no spirituality without the God who put our spirits in us.

Sometimes, we hold fast to certain religions because they are the ones we grew up with. Therefore, we see it as the “safe bet”. However, there is no safety in any religion.

I’m sure you might now expect me to try persuading you that Christianity is the way, but it is not! Christ, however, is (the way) and there’s a difference. Following Christianity like it’s a club or sect is not the way to salvation; for God will one day judge each person, not based on their church membership or attendance, but on whether or not they truly accepted and loved Him.

Those who love Him will not simply accept His free gift of salvation. They try to follow after Him in all their ways even though they (as human beings) are not perfect. Those who love Him know that living in His grace does not make it acceptable to sin knowingly.

We’re all flawed. Nothing changes that, but Jesus is more than just our mediator…He is our guide. When He walked on earth, He showed humanity what walking a straight and narrow path looks like. If we are seeking after Him, we ought to do our best to walk that straight and narrow. That means keeping our eyes set on Him and our minds on the things that please Him.

If we can not strive to subdue the lusts and desires of the flesh, we can not hope to draw any closer to God. It’s a daily challenge and it’s difficult, but the way of all flesh is destruction. After all, flesh eventually disintegrates into the dust from which it was originally formed, but the spirit was made to live forever.

Now it is surprising how many people try to avoid the very topic of God. They may act as though they have no aversion to Him, but their demeanor clearly reflects their discomfort. God wants mankind to thrive and grow, but somehow, we often paint Him as an enemy. God is not only our creator, deliverer, and mediator, He is also our perfectly Holy and righteous judge.

He does not deserve contempt for holding anyone accountable to a perfect standard. Consider even the best leaders. They hold people accountable when they fall short of standards and minimum expectations. Even so, sometimes they make exceptions as a result of halo effects and biases.

As a perfect judge, however, God will one day hold each and every one accountable to His standards without bias or favoritism. He will not enjoy the process, but He will execute His judgement to perfection because that is His nature. He’s a perfect leader whether we like it or not…and it is scary to consider. But if we taste and see that the LORD is good, we can take heart that He already saves the believer who lives by every word He has ever spoken.

There is no safety in the “Christian club”. There is, however, safety in God’s grace. Yhis grace manifested itself in the form of Jesus Christ. No other religion has a single savior even remotely close to Christ. Moreover, every other religion teaches us to aim for standards set by human beings. “All you have to do is be a good person.”

Being a “good person” overall can redeem one in the eyes of another. However, in the eyes of a perfect God, who wants us to be better, being good by itself means nothing if we have rejected the very one who created us. Your cellphone might be a good device compared to another cellphone, but if it treats you as an unauthorized user and does not work well for you, you’ll soon look for opportunities to dispose of it. The metric used by followers of the LORD God is simple, straight forward, unchanging and impossible to meet. In fact, it’s quite humbling that we cannot meet God’s perfect standards! Therefore, no one has a right to act “Holier than thou”, but those who are saved by His grace have every right to testify of it! Oh taste and see that the LORD is good!

Have you ever broken a commandment of the LORD? If so, you’re as much a sinner as Adam and Eve. For all have sinned and fallen short, but there is no mediator besides Jesus the Christ. Not one human or angelic being can intercede for a person.

In Ancient Egypt, many Egyptian Pharaohs, or “god-kings” accomplished great things, but they too died. There was no savior for them. They were believed to enter “Duat” the underworld. There, they were subject to the judgement of a god called Anubis who weighed their heart against a feather. They could not persuade Anubis to follow the results of any other scale. If their hearts were heavier than a feather, they were doomed to a miserable eternity. There was no savior to rescue them or anyone else…but their hope was that their deeds were good enough.

Buddha was a monk, philosopher, and religious leader among other things. Historically, he is said to have really existed. By no means was he a god, and by no means was he a savior. He died like everyone else. If the perfect God of the Bible does not exist, then hopefully Buddha was good enough to enjoy a great afterlife.

But a perfect omnipotent God has to exist. It makes every ounce of logical and scientific sense. By “scientific”, I literally mean based on what we know, not what we theorize. So if God is real (which He is) and the existence of Jesus, Emmanuel, “God with us”, is also verified by history, then He deserves our attention. His miracles were documented. He was crucified. He rose again according to several eye witnesses, almost all of whom died for their testimony. While they were being killed, not one of them changed their testimony! Jesus had risen. God had made His grace visible to mankind through Jesus

So through the Christ, mankind has a savior! Moreover, mankind has a God who out of His own love, came to give mankind hope. We could not meet God’s perfect standards, but the one who came did meet all of them and now mediates for us. Oh taste and see that the LORD is good!

Your Move

Has anyone noticed that God waits on us? Yes…almost like a waiter in a restaurant. He has an assortment of blessings in store for us, but we must place the order and even before that, we must be in the right spiritual state to place the order. David recognized this when he said in Psalns 23…”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” and everything leading up to and including “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”, “You annoint my head with oil”, and “My cup runs over”. God wants us to discover and experience Him. He will gladly show us favor with blessings even in the midst of our haters. However, it’s high time we discovered that the first move is ours to make.

You see, God has already made moves ahead of us, so we can never truly make the original first move. Even so, He has given us the ability to initiate our encounters with Him. The LORD is not insecure. He knows some people will love Him and others will despise Him. Those are two of many possibilities that free will allows. Therefore, God is not downcast by rejection because He knows that He is awesome!

Whenever He has revealed Himself in the past, knees have bowed; for it is difficult to refute that the LORD is God in His glorious presence. When He returns again, it will be like times before. Every…single…knee…will bow. Every individual will understand that whether or not they served Him, He was still their God, their maker, and their superior. Until then, alhough He is our God, He was the first example that leaders can also serve. When He came in the form of Christ, He washed feet. He made breakfast. He multiplied loaves of bread and fish to feed a multitude. That same God waits for us to pray so that He can say “Yes” and “Amen” when we are in covenant with Him.

That’s powerful! What other deity is mindful of human beings and ever ready to say “So shall it be because I love you and you have kept covenant with me”? None. Still, we must remember the first move is ours to make. It’s up to us to believe, ask, seek, and knock. He knows that if He appears to the world every knee will indeed bow. One does not have to like Him to know that He is God.

Still, the LORD will not appear to us simply because we want Him to especially if it is outside of His perfect plan. He is an observer in that sense; the greatest scientist, having been fully aware of the Hawthorne effect (whereby individuals modify aspects of their behavior when they know they are being observed) even before we knew what to call it. He can not and will not be baited into revealing the fullness of His glory until the appointed time…because while He’s “away” or so it seems, we will be our truest selves.

Would we really choose God whole heartedly if He appeared majestically to us? Do all the young women who fawn over famous rock stars really love them? God wants us to seek Him in spirit and truth…not based on externally visible qualities but based on the qualities that make us better even if we don’t always agree with them. For instance, when God holds us accountable, He wants to bring us to a higher standard. It’s our move to get there. Will we commit and seek His strength to get there or will we be complacent with thoughts like “I’m good enough” or even “I’m not good enough and never will be so I’ll just stay where I am”.

When we draw nearer to God (the first move), He draws nearer to us (the second move). He wants us to take initiative. Therefore, it’s up to us.

Seventy Times Seven

How many times should we forgive? Does our forgiveness benefit those who have done us wrong? Can we ever truly forgive and forget? These are questions one might ask when they are learning how to practice forgiveness.

To forgive another is to show them both grace and mercy. None of those are earned after a trespass. If someone steals something only to return it later, or tells a lie only to confess later, it does not undo the wrong. Unlike math, a positive of the same magnitude as a negative does not cancel out the negative.

Forgiveness does not undo a wrong, neither does it undo the hurt. It merely covers like a bandaid or an ointment. This does not mean a wound heals or disappears competely when it is covered with forgiveness. However, forgiveness can heal a victim, a trespasser, or both. It is a gift first given by God which can be regifted to one flawed human being from another.

Many of us have learned that to hurt (and hold a grudge) is human and to forgive is divine. As a result, we tend to embrace our human side and use it as our crutch to not forgive others. When we do this, however, we hurt ourselves by choosing to cling on to a spiritual porcupine that our transgressor gave us. Obviously we will keep getting pricked by the same event which we continuously replay in our minds.

Forgiving heals the victim. Often, letting go may feel like letting a perpetrator walk free without penalty. This is not the case. For every misdeed, there is judgement. This is part of God’s law. The first judge is the conscience which God created in order to hold us accountable to ourselves. Anyone who sins against another deals with the voice of righteousness inside them that reminds them of how wrong they were. They’ll have nightmares, they’ll be reminded, they’ll want to hide or run from their skeletons. Their trespasses will someday be discovered whether by a person or two, a small group, or the world. Then they will be judged by others and have to deal with how others perceive them. Ultimately, they will be judged by the chief arbiter, El Elyon, God Most High. So rest assured, forgiving them is always better for you…not them.

Forgiveness can heal the transgressor. When some realize the magnitude of their transgression, they may feel like scum, worse than refuse, and legitimately remorseful of their misdeed. But when they experience the mercy of being permitted to move on knowing the party they’ve wronged harbors no resentment toward them; and when they experience grace to have even obtained forgiveness, they find the healing they needed. Their sin may have been the result of a lack of love growing up, abuse, neglect…etc. Finding forgiveness may give them hope they never had.

Forgiveness can heal both. Resentment causes rifts. On an individual level, unforgiveness can end friendships, breed fear, hate, and tension among strangers. On a group or even societal level, the issue is magnified and the fear, hate, and tension can result in war and bloodshed.

So when you have held a grudge for too long, remember that forgiveness frees you from your misery. God knows that from time to time we will hurt and be hurt by others. Forgiveness is the grace that allows us to be more like Him and experience the ups and downs of life in the fullest way possible.