Genesis 2:19—How can we explain the difference in the order of creation events between Genesis 1 and 2?

Problem: Genesis 1 declares that animals were created before humans, but Genesis 2:19 seems to reverse this, saying, “the Lord God formed every beast of the field ... and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them,” implying Adam was created before they were.

Solution:Genesis 1 gives the order of events; Genesis 2 provides more content about them. Genesis 2 does not contradict chapter 1, since it does not affirm exactly when God created the animals. He simply says He brought the animals (which He had previously created) to Adam so that he might name them. The focus in chapter 2 is on the naming of the animals, not on creating them. Genesis 1 provides the outline of events, and chapter 2 gives details. Taken together, the two chapters provide a harmonious and more complete picture of the creation events. The differences, then, can be summarized as follows:

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.