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Feedback archive → Feedback 2016

Differences between Genesis 1 and 2? 
Is it OK to eat rare steak?

Published: 29 October 2016 (GMT+10)
iStockphoto earth

This week’s feedback responds to two questioners, one about alleged differences between Genesis 1 and 2, and the second is clearing up misunderstanding about what causes meat colour. Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds to both.

Jackie J. of New Zealand writes:

Hebrew words show there are two creations of man. One in Gen 1 which says man (both female & male) were created on day 6.

Gen 2 says man is formed, breathed into and placed by Abba Yahweh and women drawn forth. This happened after Abba Yahweh rested on Day 8.

Is there truth in this? There seems to be quite a few difference between Gen 1 & 2.

[Video link deleted as per feedback rules.]

Thank you for writing to CMI.

We have a general policy against answering YouTube videos. Anyone can make them, so there is no guarantee of soundness and scholarship (except for CMI videos where we do our humanly possible best to ensure these ;).

The bottom line is that Jesus made it clear that both chapters were referring to the creation of Adam and Eve, as recorded in Matthew 19:3–6 and Mark 10:5–9; both cite Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. See for example Jesus on the age of the earth: Jesus believed in a young world, but leading theistic evolutionists say He is wrong. Also, the classic article Genesis contradictions? In Genesis chapter 2 the order of creation seems to be different to that in chapter 1 with the animals being created (2:19) after Adam (2:7). Doesn’t the Bible contradict itself here? explains the main alleged differences. What’s in a name? concentrates on the different names for God.

Real scholars understand that Genesis 1 (which really ends at 2:3) is the summary outline of creation, while Genesis 2 focuses on the creation of man and explains it in more detail. This recapitulation was typical for narratives of the Ancient Near East. As explained by Gleason Archer (1916–2004), Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois:

[The] technique of recapitulation was widely practiced in ancient Semitic literature. The author would first introduce his account with a short statement summarizing the whole transaction, and then he would follow it up with a more detailed and circumstantial account when dealing with matters of special importance. [Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 118, 1964.]

Leading Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen points out:

It is often claimed that Genesis 1 and 2 contain two different creation-narratives. In point of fact, however, the strictly complementary nature of the ‘two’ accounts is plain enough: Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the centre of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting. There is no incompatible duplication here at all. Failure to recognize the complementary nature of the subject-distinction between a skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand, and the concentration in detail on man and his immediate environment on the other, borders on obscurantism. [Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, pp. 116–117, 1966.]

Some translations introduce an apparent contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2 in Genesis 2:19, by rendering the phrase “God formed every beast …”. That is, Genesis 1 states that God made the birds and beasts before man, while Genesis 2:19, if translated this way, seems to state that God made birds and beasts after man.

But the correct translation of wayyitser in this verse is the pluperfect “had formed”, which eliminates the alleged contradiction. It should be a matter of course that translators should assume that authors don’t intend to contradict themselves. Therefore if there are several possible translations, then pick the non-contradictory one. The ESV and the NIV–1984 are correct in this passage.

As Lutheran Hebrew scholar H.C. Leupold points out:

Without any emphasis on the sequence of acts the account here records the making of the various creatures and the bringing of them to man. That in reality they had been made prior to the creation of man is so entirely apparent from chapter one as not to require explanation. But the reminder that God had ‘molded’ them makes obvious His power to bring them to man and so is quite appropriately mentioned here. It would not, in our estimation, be wrong to translate yatsar as a pluperfect in this instance: ‘He had molded.’ The insistence of the critics upon a plain past is partly the result of the attempt to make chapters one and two clash at as many points as possible. [Leupold, H.C., Exposition of Genesis 1:130, 1942]

See more in this article Genesis contradictions? I explain much more in my commentary on Genesis 1–11, The Genesis Account.


FreeImages.com/Clint Rankin steak

Is it OK to eat rare steak?

Narindra R. of France:

I hope my question won’t seem to dumb, but it’s bothering me.

Jonathan Sarfati’s The Genesis Account makes a convincing case that all humanity is still under the Noahic Covenant, and that Christ’s atoning work at the Cross didn’t abrogate it. Especially, both Jews and Gentiles are still forbidden to eat flesh with its life, with its blood.

This of course would imply that we are forbidden to eat nephesh animals alive. But does it mean too that we are forbidden to eat rare-cooked meat? The article All foods clean doesn’t address specifically this issue.

Thank you for your question. There is no dumb question except that one that is not asked. And you did the right thing by consulting our website and materials before writing, as we like.

The problem is a misunderstanding of the chemistry of rare-cooked meat. This doesn’t have any more blood, it is just less cooked. Also, the red colour in meat is mainly due to the muscle oxygen-carrying protein called myoglobin, not to lots of blood in it. Myoglobin is simpler than hemoglobin but likewise has the heme group that binds reversibly to iron, so has a dark red colour. Muscles that need lots of endurance are often rich in this molecule, e.g. kangaroo and whale meat are very dark.

When it comes to beef, the interior fresh meat is often dark red. Meat at the surface is exposed to oxygen, and takes on a brighter red colour (retailers can cheat and expose the meat to carbon monoxide to give it a more permanent red colour so it looks fresher than it really is).

When it is cooked for a long time, or overexposed to oxygen, it turns brown because the iron is oxidized. Thus colour is not a reliable indicator of whether meat is cooked; internal temperature is. Rare cooking doesn’t heat the myoglobin so much, so the dark red interior is hardly oxidized, so its colour doesn’t change much.

So rare steak or even raw steak is not forbidden by the Noahic Covenant. This is a wisdom issue only: some meat should be well-done to eliminate pathogens or parasites, such as chicken or pork.

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A reader’s comment
Ilia T., Canada, 30 October 2016

Thank you for this article. While I already knew about Genesis 1 & 2 (its a fairly common question), the part about steak was new information to me. There really are no dumb questions, and the simplest questions can have the most useful answers. Good work, CMI.

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