Big fat caveat up front; I don’t mean to make light of anyone’s faith, I’m just trying to understand.
Someone I know only online, who I suspect wouldn’t consider herself a particularly religious person, decided to read the Bible. She stopped after Genesis 2. She complained that there were two seemingly contradictory Creation stories. In Genesis 1, the creatures came, then the man and the woman. But in Genesis 2, you get the Adam’s rib version, where the man is seemingly created before the creatures, but definitely before the woman. I say “seemingly”, because the NIV version reads at v. 19 “Now the LORD God HAD formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man…”; the “had” suggests the possibility that the animal had already existed and that the man, hanging out in the garden, simply hadn’t seen them.
The problem, I contended, is that the person was reading the stories as history, as science, not allegory. If you read it as history, and Adam and Eve were in fact the first people, what does it mean in terms of their descendants? Who was Cain’s wife, and who were the people he feared might kill him in Genesis 4? That specific issue confounded me when I was a teenager, and was one of the items that indeed shook my faith at the time.
Once I realized it was not a literal history, it became much easier to understand. Continue reading A is for Adam and Eve