September 12, 2009

The Two Accounts of Creation in Genesis

Matthew Coffin

The book of Genesis features two accounts of creation. Detractors of Christianity, and even some Christians, claim these stories contradict each other by telling different versions of the same event – namely, when God created the world. The two creation accounts also pose a challenge to fundamentalists who hold a literal interpretation of the Bible. Pope John Paul II showed how the two creation stories in Genesis are complimentary and not contradictory.

The first creation account (Genesis 1:1-2:9) is called the Elohist account since the term used for God is “Elohim.” It is chronologically newer than the second creation account starting at Genesis 2:10. The second creation account is called the Yawhist account since the name used for God in that story is “Yahweh.”

The Elohist account or first creation story is creation from God’s point of view. God separates the light from the darkness, divides the waters, creates the sun, moon, and stars, land, vegetation, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and so on. Before creating man God pauses as if pondering a momentous act. He makes man in his image, that is to say, in God’s own image. In this way, human beings – men and women – are different from everything else in creation.

Next time we will discuss the second creation account the so-called Yawhist account which is creation from Adam’s point of view.

1 comment :

Sherry Lobo said...

Thanks for this! I am currently undergoing a Catholic bible study Post Graduate course and needed clarification on this point- the 2 Creation stories in Genesis. I look forward to reading more on your site.

God Bless!

Sherry Lobo
(Mumbai, India)