I understand that Judaism teaches "Torah Inerrancy", so I assume that Judaism does take the creation account as narrated in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 pretty seriously.

But as we all know, Genesis 1 and 2 describe the creation of heaven and earth and everything quite differently. So how does Judaism reconcile the discrepancy and give us a reconciled view of what really happened in the beginning?

  • 2
    Short answer is that Judaism views the two versions as two different perspectives of the same story. They don't contradict each other, they complement each other.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 5:47
  • As mentioned in the question you linked to, Torah Inerrancy isn't unanimous. In addition, many opinions allegorize (at least parts of) the Creation story. || (If you're a hyper-literalist, and\or believe the world was created precisely as described in Genesis, you're gonna run into trouble.)
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 5:51
  • Judaism doesn't teach Torah Inerrancy. Certain streams of Judaism might, but not all do. Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 11:55

2 Answers 2


To point you to Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's Lonely Man of Faith as summarized by Wikipedia:

In The Lonely Man of Faith Soloveitchik reads the first two chapters of Genesis as a contrast in the nature of the human being and identifies two human types: Adam I, or "majestic man", who employs his creative faculties in order to master his environment; and Adam II, or "covenantal man", who surrenders himself in submission to his Master. Soloveitchik describes how the man of faith integrates both of these aspects.

In the first chapter, Adam I is created together with Eve and they are given the mandate to subdue nature, master the cosmos, and transform the world "into a domain for their power and sovereignty." Adam I is majestic man who approaches the world and relationships—even with the divine—in functional, pragmatic terms. Adam I, created in the image of God, fulfills this apparently "secular" mandate by conquering the universe, imposing his knowledge, technology, and cultural institutions upon the world. The human community depicted in Genesis 1 is a utilitarian one, where man and woman join together, like the male and female of other animals, to further the ends of their species.

In chapter two of Genesis, Adam II, on the other hand represents the lonely man of faith – bringing a "redemptive interpretation to the meaning of existence". Adam II does not subdue the garden, but rather tills it and preserves it. This type of human being is introduced by the words, "It is not good for man to be alone" – and through his sacrifice (of a metaphoric rib) he gains companionship and the relief of his existential loneliness – this covenantal community requires the participation of the Divine.

Whatever specific explanation is given for the duality (this is only one among many) the point is that the two accounts give two different perspectives, whether general vs. specific (Rashi) or otherwise, on the whole idea of creation and the Human place and role within it.


Actually, they do not report it "differently" in the sense of there being two different stories that contradict each other. As explained by Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, or Rabbi Aryeh Levin and others, Genesis one is the description of the creation from the beginning to the end. Genesis 2 starts (paraphrase), When G0d created the universe (as described before), everything was set up. Here are the details of the creation of Adam and what happened immediately after.

It is the same story, but the concentration is on a different set of details. It is like saying "During the sixth day, Adam was created in this specific manner. The following events involving Adam then occurred.".

Note that the start of the "second story" is Bereishis 2:4. The Xian division into "chapters" is mistaken. As Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch points out, "Aileh" means "These" which points back to what is already said and means expanding on what was said, here are the "products" of what was created (as we described earlier). Now once the world had been created, the important part of the Universe and the part that we need to concentrate on is Adam ...

Later we see that the Torah shows what happened to the world until we get to Noah and the flood. We then follow the descendants of Noah until we get to Avraham. We do not give details of the rest of the world, because that is not what the Torah wants to tell us. A book of American history will not say what is going on in China except as it pertains to the particular part of the history that a specific chapter is dealing with. We do not say that the chapter is pretending that China does not exist.


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