The dishonest handling of the Biblical text never ceases to amaze me.
This literal reading implies that God specially created Adam and Eve from dust, and that all humans are descended from these original parents. They were created to have a perfect relationship with God, but their disobedience resulted in a curse for all humankind, including their descendants.
The literalist reading, despite its attractive simplicity, does not fit the evidence. First, there are two stories of creation, found in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-2:25. These accounts have different chronological orders, a fact that didn’t bother Christians who lived in the centuries before the discipline of history emerged. As odd as it may sound, people long ago talked about the past in radically different ways. Past events could be placed in an order reflecting their importance, for example, rather than their chronology. History is simply not done like this today, and we cannot imagine writing the history of the United States with the Civil War coming after World War II.
~ The BioLogos Foundation. (n.d.). Question 15: How does the Fall fit into evolutionary history? Were Adam and Eve historical figures? Retrieved 8 June 2009, from http://biologos.org/questions/evolution-and-the-fall.
It is utterly remarkable to me how people don’t even take 2 minutes to think the obvious through. The fallacy that there are 2 creation accounts has been perpetrated by liberal theologians and skeptics alike, and it shows that some will stoop to nothing to try to discredit the Bible.
Starting with the obvious first, where are we told that both accounts are given in “chronological order”? In essence, we are not. Only one account is in chronological order, and that is explicitly stated via “And the evening and the morning were the xth day.” It starts with “In the beginning” and works its way up to Ge 2:3 where God blessed the 7th day and rested on it (remember, chapters and verses did not exist when it was written, so that isn’t part of the inspired text).
Then, notice what we are told in Ge 2:4, which reads, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth….” We are given the “generations”, similar to a genealogy, where we are given the highlights of events. It can literally mean “account of men and their descendants” or “begetting or account of heaven”.
There is no pretense of chronology within this second summation. It goes back before the plants were created (v 4), then explains rain had not fallen nor had man been created, but then it says a mist went up from the earth. Obviously, there isn’t much effort at putting these things in order, and it would have been very much like the ancients to have written in a fashion where the past, present and future are interwoven in order to highlight specific things and events in specific ways. As a matter of fact, this is a literary device commonly used in fiction today (especially mysteries).
For example, v 19 tells us that God created the animals from the ground and brought them to Adam to name. The animals were created on days 5 and 6, but man was created last to be given dominion over the already created animals (Ge 1:25-26). So, the animals had already been formed, but Moses reinforced the fact that God created them out of the ground. The main purpose of Ge 1 – 2 is showing God as Creator, so that is part of what is emphasized. As Creator, He had a special purpose for the creation of man, so that part is also emphasized. One way to emphasize it is to state that the animals that God created are under the authority of man, shown by his naming of the animals.
There are parts of the Bible that are difficult. Many people have problems with the difficult parts, and I can appreciate that. However, I don’t have appreciation for dishonest handling of the text in order to pick on some small point that has no bearing in reality. This is one of those items.