Not at all! Genesis 1:1-2:3 is obviously a highly structured narrative of the days of creation, while Genesis 2:4-3:24 is clearly a much more detailed account of Eden. The author just decided to finish the overall creation week story before going back over some parts in more detail.

Everyone writes like this — in Scripture or elsewhere — when narrative threads overlap in time. For example, the books of Kings complete the story of each king before going back to pick up the story of their contemporaries (eg 1 Kings 15:24-25). Even cowboy movies do it: “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…”

Vegetation appeared on the third day of creation (Genesis 1:12) and Adam was created on the sixth (Genesis 1:27). The account of Eden in Genesis 2:5-9 shows that on the sixth day no new young plants had ‘yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground’. This agrees with Genesis 1:12, where the vegetation had been created mature, already yielding seed – no new growth had yet occurred. Note that Genesis 2:5 tacitly assumes that vegetation had already been created (otherwise that would obviously be given as the reason for the lack of new growth, rather than the lack of rain and manpower), implicitly confirming (not contradicting) the record in Genesis 1.

After Genesis 2:6-8, the rain and the man have been provided and for the first time new growth is seen: ‘out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree’ (Genesis 2:9). Genesis 2:10-15 repeat that the garden of Eden is now watered and has a man ‘to work it and keep it’.

There is an interesting lesson in the fact from Genesis 2 that no new growth was possible until God provided the rain and the man. After his resurrection, the lord Jesus Christ is called ‘the second Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45) and was initially mistaken for a gardener in the garden (John 19:41; 20:15). He now tends the ‘new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) – a ‘garden’ of believers.

I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. (Isaiah 44:3-4)

As the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up (Isaiah 61:11)

Tagged with →  
Share →