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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Were Humans Created before the Animals?

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Don Stewart
The Bible seems to give a different order of events between the first and second chapter of Genesis. In chapter one, humankind is the last of God's creation - made after the animals. However, Genesis 2:19 seems to teach that the animals were made after humankind was created.

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name (Genesis 2:19).

This seems to contradict the account in chapter one. The issue therefore is, Who was created first: humans or the animals?

Chapter One, Chronology, Chapter Two, Content

The answer to this supposed contradiction lies in understanding the purpose of the author. Chapter one gives the order of the events of creation while chapter two fills in the details. Chapter one has already informed us that the animals were created before humanity. Chapter two builds upon this by providing the details of creation not previously mentioned. If we understand that chapter two is not providing us with a chronology, then we have no problem.

Different Emphasis

Therefore chapter one is concerned with the creation of the animals while two is interested in the naming of the animals. The first chapter is chronological, while the second is topical. Chapter one gives the outline, chapter two fills in the details. Thus we have no contradiction between the two accounts.

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