Let’s look at the differences between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.
Genesis 1 starts with the earth “untamed and shapeless, then the “dome” was established. Let there be light! On the 2nd day, dry land appeared. Next came vegetation, including fruit trees and other plants and on the third day lights, the sun, the moon and stars, were created, followed on the fourth day by living creatures in the sea and birds. On the 5th day all other creatures and creeping things and man, in God’s image. (“Male and female he created them”). On the 6th day God completed the creation and rested on the 7th day.
Now let us look at the 2nd story starting at Genesis 2 to 4. This version doesn’t mention the number of days but gives an order of creation which is decidedly different from Genesis 1. In the beginning God, made the earth and heaven. There were no shrubs or grass, no rain and no man to till the soil. A stream welled up to water the ground. Next, God formed a man from clay and blew in his nose to give him life (here is where “spirare,” translated as breath, the concept of the spirit originated (see my blog on “the origin of the spirit”).
Next, God planted the garden of Eden and placed Adam (single) in it. Trees were created and were “good for food.” The tree of life and the tree of knowledge were created. Four rivers are described which water the garden where Adam was placed to cultivate and take care of it. God then explained that Adam should not eat from the forbidden tree. God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone so he created cattle and wild animals, and invited Adam to name them. (Thus men and women were not created at the same time). God then put Adam in a deep sleep, took one of his ribs and created Eve. As you can read it for yourself, it is a completely different story with elements taken from other myths.
Now I ask you, can you take the Bible literally? Many biblical stories in the bible reflect older myths retold, such as Noah’s flood, a retelling of other older myths like the Mesopotamian Epic of Atrahasis and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
In conclusion, we can state that the bible is a very interesting book, written by many different authors, but it is not the unerring word of God. Humans passed on old myths which were distorted when retold.