Why is the creation of man described twice in the book of Genesis and why is this so important in explaining the suffering that is in the world

Genesis 1:26-28 (THE FIRST ACCOUNT)
26) Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28) God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

Genesis 2:4-8 (THE SECOND ACCOUNT)
4) This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5) And no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground.
6) But streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.
7) The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8) Now the Lord God had planted a garden. In the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

Then in chapter 3, man's first sin is described.

Genesis Chapter 3
2) The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees
3) In the garden, but God told us, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.
4) The serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die.
5) For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
6) When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Same story told twice
In Genesis Chapter 1, the emphasis is on the specific acts and details of the Creation itself and the order in which the heavens and the earth were completed. The events of chapter one gives us the main theme, the basic essential facts, the outline and the general information of the creation of a perfect world. The first chapter of Genesis showed that at the conclusion of creation, everything was perfect and without defect, error, sin or death. That is why God was able to rest on the 7th day-- because nothing needed to be changed, corrected, revised or redone. Everything was perfect! Chapter 1 tells us what happened, when it happened, how it was done, the sequential order of how the events occurred, and by whom all of it was done.

In Genesis Chapters 2 & 3, (starting with Genesis 2:4), the emphasis is on the crowning apex of God's creation -- man-- and the events relating to man and how man's actions marred and brought about changes to the original perfect and pristine creation of God. This second account explains to us how sin entered into the world, and why death, sickness, evil, pain, and all the other trials and tribulations that man encounters, came into existence. This second account of the creation gives us the details of how this Perfect world was made imperfect.

In Genesis Chapter 1, the first account of Creation, we are given the orderly, planned, sequential steps of creation as they were designed and directed and executed by the Creator. The emphasis in Chapter 1 is on the specific acts and details of the creation itself.

In Genesis Chapter 2:4 to 3:24, Creation is described again but this time it is explained from the perspective of what actually happened to God's creation. The emphasis in this second creation account is different, because here the emphasis is placed on how and why man was kicked out of the Garden of Eden after he was created, and how he has brought upon himself pain, suffering, and both physical and spiritual death. The purpose of this second version of the story in chapter two is to show how God's perfect creation was marred by man's rebellion and sin.

Why do we need this second account of the creation?
We need it to explain what man's rebellion did to God's creation, to mankind in general, and to us, you and me, in particular. This second account is essential and basic in understanding man's very first sin and the repercussions that first sin brought upon man. It is foundational. It truly explains the why of what is wrong with the world today! It explains why bad things happen. It explains why we have death, cancer, earthquakes, disasters, terrorists, pain, and all the rest of the evils and horrors in the world today.

And it helps to explain the enormous consequences that we still suffer from that very first sin. For that first sin is why we hurt, are sad, become dejected, lose hope, have rampant hunger, get sick, and die. The evil and pain in this world, whether it is the unborn baby being torn apart at the abortion clinic, to the person out on the street that is suffering a massive heart attack, to the person being shot to death in a robbery, can all find its origin at Genesis 3:4. "The serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die." This lie, and much more importantly, Man's response to this lie, is why you are suffering this very day. Because suddenly man had become hostile to God. Man had foolishly committed two incredibly horrible acts. First he had chosen to believe and follow the only other entity in all of eternity that had ever disobeyed God. And secondly, man had chosen to directly disobey God and accept sin. It was at this moment in time when sin made its grand entrance into this world, and on the coattails of sin came disease, pain, and death, and every other evil and horror that mankind would ever be able to think up.

You must remember that God created a perfect man and then placed this perfect man into a perfect world. Unfortunately, when man through his own free will decided to commit that first sin, it brought with it all the repercussions and all the consequences of sin. The curse of sin was not only on man, but also upon all of nature. In fact the entire world and everything in it would have to shoulder the burden of man's first sin. It was only after that first sin that such things as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanos could hurt mankind. Only after that first sin did things like famine, disease, hardship, and poverty even come into existence.

That first sin also allowed man to create ingenious ways to embezzle and steal from others, commit assaults, and to harm and hurt others in all kinds of unbelievable ways. All the evils and hardships of this world are all a result of man's first sin, and unfortunately for mankind, that first sin has allowed man to perfect sin to staggering heights. So God didn't create sin, evil, and all those many horrible events that are happening in the world today. Man did. All those things are a direct result of that first sin.

God had given mankind the tremendous gift of free will, and with this free will, man was given the ability and the power to chose between good and evil. But at the same time that you were receiving this wonderful gift of free will, all those wishing you harm were also receiving this same free gift. And many of them were going to use their gift of free will, to your detriment.

So God now had a big problem. Since sin and evil were allowed to come into this world when man accepted and embraced that very first sin, then the only way that God could destroy sin and evil, was by destroying all of mankind. In other words, the only way for God to completely stamp out and eradicate sin, was to completely exterminate mankind from the face of the earth.

So this second account of creation in chapter 2, and the description of man's first sin in chapter 3, explains how evil got here and what evil does to man. The rest of the Bible tells us of a remedy for this evil, and gives man a way to get back to the original and perfect state of this world.

Even though God allowed His creation to become marred by sin, he still provided a way for everything to one day be returned to its original purpose and beauty. Through the Bible, God has provided a way whereby sin and death, pain and sorrow, and all of the other evils that entered the world because of man's disobedience, will one day be removed and His creation restored to its original state. That day has not yet come, as you can tell by looking at your life and the lives of those around you. But, it is coming, and God has provided a way so we can be a part of it.


More Topics: Additional Christian topics
surrender: what does surrendering really mean
Creation: 15 billion years equals 6 days
How to pray: The right way to pray
Does God know who is going to hell: Why does God allow the unsaved to be born
God's great love: All about God's love
Baptism: Is it really necessary
Hell: Will they really burn for ever
Forgiveness: The story of a great sinner
The Rapture: The real truth behind the rapture
The Cross: Why Jesus had to die

Bob Wells