My family’s copy of Joseph Rhymer’s Atlas of the Biblical World echoes what many Bible scholars have taught about Genesis: “There are two creation accounts.”1 One account spans Genesis 1:1–2:4, and a second begins with 2:5. Rhymer asserts that around 500 B.C. unknown Hebrew writers crafted a fake creation history that borrowed bits of Mesopotamian myths so that the Hebrew exiles would feel better about leaving Babylon to rebuild Israel.2 Let’s call this the “late fake theory.”
Why does this matter? The Bible’s opening verses present a simple yet informative overview of our world’s first seven days. Genesis 2:4 clearly says this is “history.” Prophets and apostles elsewhere in the Bible refer to Genesis 1–11 not as fake history but as real events. Jesus backed His argument about marriage by quoting Genesis 1 and 2.3 If authors faked Genesis accounts, then the prophets, apostles, and Jesus were all wrong.4 Two observations help refute the late fake theory.
First, editors today regularly add multiple eyewitness accounts together to build a final report. Finding evidence that more than one author contributed to a book does not mean those authors must have written it eons after the events that are described. They could have written their experiences and then passed them down to trustworthy descendants for future generations.
It looks like that happened in Genesis, with each author noting his contribution with the phrase “this is the genealogy [history] of…” Genesis 5:1 says, “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam.” “Book” in this context means “writing” or “document.” Since no humans existed until Day Six, God must have contributed the first account Himself, ending it in 2:4a with “this is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created.”
Did the ancients associated with this phrase write the other Genesis histories? If so, Adam’s account might have used the words “in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” to dovetail with the last words of the prior account. ICR founder Henry Morris wrote, “The section from 2:4b through 5:1 was probably written originally by Adam himself.”5 Similarly, “this is the genealogy of Noah” would indicate the end of Noah’s part.6 Noah’s three sons then coauthored the subsequent contribution, and so on.7 Moses could have compiled and edited copies of all 11 accounts into what finally became Genesis a millennium before the supposed forgers.8
Can you find any detail in Genesis 2–4 that Adam could not have known for him-self? Do those chapters contradict Genesis 1? On the contrary, the accounts complement one another. The first chapter seems to come from an all-knowing perspective, while the second chapter fits Adam’s perspective, and a careful study shows no contradictions.9 No evidence from science, archaeology, or the Bible demands or even suggests that unknown authors faked Genesis thousands of years after creation and the Flood.
These two observations expose the late fake theory as nonsense. First, it is possible and permissible for an editor to merge previously written accounts into a final document. Finally, signatures throughout Genesis show that God integrated eyewitness records to compose the trustworthy and true book of beginnings. “For prophecy never came by the will of man [including late fakers], but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”10
- Rhymer, J. 1982. Atlas of the Biblical World. New York: Greenwich House, 38.
- See also Cooper, W. R. 2011. The Authenticity of Genesis. Portsmouth, UK: Creation Science Movement, 22-27.
- Mark 10:6-9.
- See also John 5:46-47.
- Morris, H. 1976. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 83.
- Genesis 6:9.
- Genesis10:1a. For details, see the free online copy of Wiseman, P. J. 1946. New Discoveries in Babylonia about Genesis, 4th ed. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Ltd.
- For dating Moses, see Wood, B. G. 2005. The Rise and Fall of the 13th-Century Exodus-Conquest Theory. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 48 (3): 475-489.
- Lisle, J. 2015. Two Creation Accounts? Acts & Facts. 44 (9): 13.
- 2 Peter 1:21.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.