So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Over the past few days, I have been thinking about the creation. And I am noticing, today, some of the beauty of the contrast between Genesis 1 and 2 in their accounts of creation. This is not to say that the accounts contradict, because I do not believe that there is any contradiction there at all, but it is interesting to see how God has this event described differently. It is as if we are allowed to see a diamond from another angle, and the facets shine in a different and equally brilliant way.
In Genesis 1, we see the creation in terms of power. God speaks, an, as my daughter is saying with me, “Poof!”, things happen. The account demonstrates God’s powerfully moving the universe first from non-existence to existence and then from chaos to order. We marvel as we imagine God moving the waters around creating sky, land, and sea (Can you even begin to picture the power needed to move an entire sea?. We watch the creation of the heavenly bodies, the plants, and the animals of all kinds. And then, as a crowning achievement, God creates mankind in his image, to demonstrate his glory, and to rule over creation.
When we think about this creation in Genesis 1, the power is amazing. The awe that we should have over God’s ability to simply speak things into existence is wonderful. And we see mankind is very high in the creation order, the final, crowning creation.
Then comes Genesis2. Though we saw the creation of mankind from a distance in Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2 demonstrates for us a more close-up, frame by frame, view of how God created humanity. And notice, the big explosions of power are not how you picture this taking place. Instead, you see God forming, fashioning, or crafting mankind. He shapes or sculpts the clay into exactly what he wants. There is more room here to picture God intricately molding every part of the body, the bones, the lungs, the systems. If in Genesis 1, we were awed by the power of God’s creation, in the creation account of man in Genesis 2, we are equally stunned by the gentleness, the artistry, the utter skill of God in the creation.
Also, if in Genesis 1 we see man as the glorious crowning achievement of creation, Genesis 2 helps us to remember that we are still only clay. We are fashioned by God, and that is what gives us value. We carry in our lungs the breath of God, and that is what gives us worth. We are not made of any fine stuff, only well-shaped dirt. But we are made by God’s hands, and that makes us special. Yes, mankind in Genesis 2 is clearly shown as superior to the animals, but there is a humility that must also be present as we realize that we are created by God, from dust, and under God’s total authority.
Then, toward the end of Genesis 2, we see the creation of woman, from man, with a purpose. She is equal in worth, but she has a distinct role to play as the helper of the man. She is taken from man, and their joining serves as a picture of two halves being united to form a more perfect whole. She, like the man, is a work of art, an evidence of God’s glorious craftsmanship. She is fashioned, not simply told to “be.” And like man, she carries in herself all the dignity and all the glory and all the majesty of God’s touch as his masterpiece.
Which picture gives you more awe? Is it the booming voice of God declaring, “Let there be. . .!”? Or is it the intricate craftsmanship and artistry of the hand of God fashioning mankind? Either way, the Genesis accounts of creation are marvelous to behold.