The early chapters of Genesis are some of the most controversial in the whole of Scripture. It’s not just the strange anti-science of creationists that bring this text into disrepute. Although it is worth pausing briefly to point out that a Creationist reading of the early chapters of Genesis is not just unscientific – it is barely literate. The story of creation is told twice in Genesis first from Genesis 1.1-2.3 and then again 2.4-3.24. You will recognise both stories, but you may not have recognised that they are different. In the first are the six days each ending with “and it was good.” the second has Adam and Eve.
In the first story God created humans (male and female together) after all the other animals; in the second, God made one man (“Adam”) and then created all of the animals in order to find a companion for Adam. God brought all of the animals to Adam, but none were good enough, so God made a woman from one of Adam’s ribs to serve his companion.
Any serious reading of the early chapters of Genesis show that the ancient people who created the text did not take the stories literally – they saw these two contradictory stories, and decided that both were worth preserving. They saw that these were parables of deep and profound and life-changing wisdom, not science or history.