4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

At this point we read of God creating man from the dust, which seems confusing given that we already heard about him creating man in the last chapter. Why are we hearing about the creation of man twice? One of the interpretations is that the first account only tells of a spiritual creation. God planned and prepared everything during Chapter 1, and then in Chapter 2 we read the actual execution of that plan. Verse 5 implies this when it speaks of “every plant and every herb” as though they already exist in some context, even before having been planted and grown.

Another interpretation is that these are two accounts of the same event. One could see Chapter 1 and the first three verses of Chapter 2 as a sort of prologue, using broad strokes to describe the events that are further detailed in what follows. In either case, by the end of Verse 7 of Chapter 2 man has become a living soul, the direct creation of God, and a central actor in the story of life.

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