Read: Genesis 1-2
Many Bible scholars believe that Genesis has two creation accounts, chapter 1 and chapter 2. Some Bible scholars regard the two accounts as complimentary, not separate, the way you’d find differences between a newspaper reporter’s account and a poet’s version of the same event. One of the reasons for the idea that there were two stories “merged” together by the author of Genesis is that in Ch. 1 the author refers to God as “Elohim” the Hebrew word for God, but in Ch. 2 the author refers to God as “YHWH” translated into English as “LORD”, so it’s “YHWH God” or in English “LORD God”. Sometimes we forget that the Bible was written by inspired human authors and not dictated word for word by God.
Most of the time we can take things on face value, but not always. Sometimes the message of scripture is actually hindered by taking the words of scripture literally; That can do harm our spiritual health. For example, Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off”? (Matthew 5:29-30). Yeah, don’t do that. That’s not literally what Jesus intended. That’s an important principle when trying to understand the Bible, especially difficult passages.
There can be a difference between spiritual truth and historical fact. For example, Jesus’ parables were stories He told to make a point. The lessons He taught are important and timeless spiritual truths. However, there didn’t have to be an actual, historical prodigal son who disrespected his father, for Jesus’ parable to teach great spiritual truth. And there didn’t have to be a man beaten and left for dead, avoided by two observant Jews, and rescued by “a good Samaritan” for the story to teach truth. The spiritual truth is what’s important, that’s the point of Jesus’ parables, not whether it was a historical event.
In chapter 1 God creates “man”, both male and female, in God’s image and likeness. The word is “man” but is there inclusive of both male and female, and is not a proper name. That’s important because the word “man” in Hebrew is “adam”. It is later, in chapter 2, that God creates Adam, the individual, and then a woman (of-man) named Eve. Genesis is full of spiritual wisdom and truth, as we will see; don’t miss it by getting bogged down, wondering if Adam had a belly-button.
Pastor Rob Nystrom