Genesis 2:4—Why does this chapter use the term “Lord God” rather than “God” as in chapter one?
Problem: Many critics insist that Genesis 2 must have been written by someone different from the one who wrote Genesis 1, since Genesis 2 uses a different name for God. However, conservative scholars have always insisted that Moses composed Genesis, as indeed both Jewish and Christian scholars have down through the centuries. Indeed, the first five books of the OT are called “the Books of Moses” (2 Chron. 25:4) or “Law of Moses” (Luke 24:44) by both OT and NT writers.
Solution: Moses did write the first five books of the OT (see comments on Ex. 24:4). The use of a different term for God in the second chapter of Genesis does not prove there was a different author; it simply shows that the same author had a different purpose (see comments on Gen. 2:19). In chapter 1, God is the Creator, whereas in chapter 2 He is the Communicator. First, man is seen in his relation to the Creator (hence, the use of “God” or elohim, the mighty one). Next, God is seen as the Covenant-maker, thus, the use of “Lord God,” the One who makes covenants with man. Different names are used of God since they designate a different aspect of His dealings with man (see Gen. 15:1; Ex. 6:3).
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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.