It is written that Genesis chapter 1 is seven days. Six days of which God finished all his work and on the seventh day He rested. If God indeed finished all (kole) He began in chapter 1, the creation of humans and animals inclusive, why then do we see some of the supposedly already finished works unfinished in chapter 2? Plants, animals, human beings?
Why is chapter 2 seen as yet another day of work, like another week? Did God not finish indeed? If chapter 2 is another week—the one in which God created man and woman—who then were the male and female that God blessed in Gen. 1:29?
How about the animals God made, saw and blessed in chapter 1? Their creation precedes that of man and woman in chapter 1, but ‘male’ creation precedes animals in chapter 2 and the female is made after animals. How is all this possible?
Why do Genesis 1 and Genesis 5:1-2—and even Matt. 19:4—state that the creation of man and woman was finished on the same day [the sixth day] of the first week, yet we largely work with the understanding that chapter 2 is another time different from chapter 1, and that even within that time frame there are different days in which the man and the woman were created?
Could it be that Gen. 1:25-28; Gen. 2 & Gen.5 all speak of one and the same day in the same first week, each account emphasizing different details of a singular event (like how the gospels written by different authors show different perspectives of the earthly life of Jesus)? Could it be that we are supposed to see all details in both chapters as dots to be connected—by the help of the Holy Spirit—so as to form one big picture?
Five Hebrew words stand out in the creation accounts of the two chapters;
Bara, Amar, Asah, Yatsar, and Banah.
- Bara means to choose, to decide, to plan, or to organise. It is the word that is translated as ‘create’ in the English Bible. In the creation account it is usually written in the Hebrew as way-yiḇ-rā, meaning ‘and He created’.
- Amar means to say, to declare, to command. It is usually written as way-yō-mer, that is, way yi amar. Translation; ‘and He said’.
- Asah means to accomplish, to make happen, or to make something to be(come) physically real. It is translated in English Bibles as ‘to make’. It is usually written as na-̒ ă-śeh (we make), or way-ya-̒ ăś (and He made).
- Yatsar means to mould into form. It is written as way-yî-ṣer meaning, ‘and He formed’
- Banah means to build like an edifice. It is written in the account as way-yi-ḇen; translated as ‘and He built’.
A major observation; Bara, amar, asah occur only in Chapter 1, while yatsar and banah occur only in Chapter 2.
In Chapter 1 God created/planned (bara) everything. And He created by speaking (amar). Everything God said was accomplished (asah). They were made. That is, all of it happened. It is because they happened indeed that God saw them and rated them satisfactory. And it is also because they all happened that when it was said that God finished, He finished indeed.
What we see in chapter 2 are things formed (yatsar) and built (banah). There is no creating by speaking (bara and amar). That is, chapter 2 is not another Beginning of creation. Also, there is no accomplishing (asah) of anything in chapter 2, because everything is already accomplished as stated in chapter 1.
What does this mean?
Chapter 2 tells more about a concluded occurrence. Genesis 2 is not a continuation of the Beginning, but in fact an elaboration of it. Genesis chapter 2 gives more details on how the things created on the sixth day were executed.
GENESIS CHAPTER ONE
In the beginning there is water everywhere.
DAY ONE; Light
Vs. 3 God creates light by commanding (amar) it to be, and it is accomplished.
Vs. 4-5 Then He separates the light from the darkness to establish the first full day.
DAY TWO; The Skies
Vs. 6 God speaks out His intention/choice (bara) creating something that would be a demarcation between the waters.
Vs. 7-8 He accomplishes what He says; He makes (asah) the demarcation in between the waters. Some fall above and the others below. He names the demarcation, ‘skies’.
DAY THREE; Land, Seas and Vegetation
Vs. 9 He turns to the waters under the skies, and speaks to divide waters from dry surface. It is accomplished.
Vs. 10 He names the dry surface, ‘Earth’ and the waters he named, ‘Seas.
Vs.11He speaks to the dry surface/land and commands it to bring forth vegetation, and everything is accomplished.
Vs. 12 The vegetation; grasses (deshe), herbs (eseb), and trees (ets) come out of the dry ground. All in different species and He also put the seed of each in itself so that it can reproduce itself.
DAY FOUR; The Sky Lights
Vs. 14-15 God spoke (amar) His intention of sky lights and their purposes, and commanded them to be.
Vs. 16-18 He goes ahead to make (asah) these lights He had spoken forth and puts them where He said they would be, to fulfil the function He intended them to.
DAY FIVE: Sea Animals and Birds
Vs. 20 God turns to the gathered waters, and commands them to bring forth living souls.
Vs. 21-22 God goes ahead to create (bara) all the sea animals, each according to its own kind. There is no mention of the seed of each in itself, because unlike for plants where the seed is in each to reproduce itself, for living souls, the ‘kinds’ (min) are the ones that reproduce the species. That is, two different kinds of each type of animal exist so that they can increase. See Genesis 6:20.
Vs. 23 God blesses the sea animals and birds, commanding them to be fruitful.
Vs. 24 God turns to the dry ground and commands it to bring forth living souls.
Vs. 25 God accomplishes it (asah), what He says (amar). Like the sea animals, all land animals are created each after its own kind (min). Each animal was made in twos.
Vs. 26 God turns to Himself and speaks (amar) to Himself His intention to make (asah) the human species. This way, humans are the only living souls made in the image of God.
Which explains the purpose of the human creation; to reign over all things previously made; the earth, the animals, all of it.
Vs. 27 God creates (bara) the humans in His image, and He also creates them in two kinds, just like all other living souls He had been making. For the first time in the narrative we hear the name of the two sorts; male (zā-kār) and female (nequebah).
Please note that the Hebrew words used here are not îš and iš-šāh(which mean ‘man’ and ‘woman’ respectively). Zā-kār and Nequebah are generic terms for the male and female forms of any kind of animate creature. This gives the idea that this account means to show the common grounds amongst all the living souls that God made. They are all in twos.
Vs. 28 God blesses the human species, giving them work and responsibility.
Vs. 29 Next, He gives them food; herbs (eseb) and fruits.
Vs. 30 Then, as though they were standing by, God speaks to the animals as well as regards what they were to eat.
The work is finished.
GENESIS CHAPTER TWO; A wider view of the sixth day
God made humans and animals on the sixth day.
On day three, God had made grasses (eseb), herbs (dese) and trees (ets). But on day six there is no plant (siah) in the earth. The grasses (eseb), though already in the earth, are not growing like they should. The reasons for this barrenness are twofold; lack of water and a human. No human being is in existence yet.
So, God forms (yatsar) a human (’ā-dām) from mud made out of soil (adamah) and put him in a garden that He plants.
What we see God form first in chapter 2 vs. 8 is not specified to be either a zā-kār or a nequebah. It is just ’ā-dām . It is just a human with no specific gender mentioned.
Let’s look again at Gen. 1:27
So God created man (’ā-dām) in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male (zā-kār) and female (nequebah) created He them.
P.S. the pronoun ‘him’ in the phrase ‘created He him’ indicates an animate creature. It has nothing to do with gender.
God instructs this human on what to eat or not eat. Afterwards, He sees it unfit that the human should be working by himself, and proposes to make an ezer kenegedow.
God first forms (yatsar) animals out of the soil (adamah), but the human sees all of them in twos, each of their own kind. He does not see any of his own kind. After this, God makes humans into two, just like all other animate creatures are in twos. He builds (banah) another human from the living one.
After this making of two out of one is when we first hear of is and isah, that is zakar and nequebah. this is when a narrative in Gen. 2 replicates Gen. 1:27.
Vs. 23 And the human said, “This now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman (̉iš-šāh), because from man (îš) this was taken.
Thus, the male and the female human emerge on the same day.
This was a brief sketch. Next the details.