Considered independently, this account of the Creation would leave room for doubt as to whether the word adam , "man", here employed was understood by the writer as designating an individual or the species.
Certain indications would seem to favour the latter, e.g.
There is not a little divergence of opinion among Semitic scholars when they attempt to explain the etymological signification of the Hebrew adam (which in all probability was originally used as a common rather than a proper name), and so far no theory appears to be fully satisfactory.
Something analogous to this explanation is revealed in the Assyrian expression çalmât qaqqadi , i.e. A third theory, which seems to be the prevailing one at present (cf.
"the black-headed", which is often used to denote men in general. Pinches, The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, 1903, pp.
And God created man to his own image: to the image of God hecreated him: male andfemale he created them.
Then follows the blessing accompanied by the command to increase and fill the earth, and finally the vegetable kingdom is assigned to them for food.
The writer indeed, without seeming to presuppose anything previously recorded, goes back to the time when there was yet no rain, no plant or beast of the field; and, while the earth is still a barren, lifeless waste, man is formed from the dust by Yahweh, who animates him by breathing into his nostrils the breath of life.
How far these terms are to be interpreted literally or figuratively, and whether the Creation of the first man was direct or indirect, see GENESIS, CREATION, MAN.
Thus the creation of man, instead of occupying the last place, as it does in the ascending scale of the first account, is placed before the creation of the plants and animals, and these are represented as having been produced subsequently in order to satisfy man's needs.
Man is not commissioned to dominate the whole earth, as in the first narrative, but is set to take care of the Garden of Eden with permission to eat of its fruit, except that of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the formation of woman as a helpmeet for man is represented as an afterthought on the part of Yahweh in recognition of man's inability to find suitable companionship in the brute creation.
It has been the custom of writers who were loath to recognize the presence of independent sources or documents in the Pentateuch to explain the fact of this twofold narrative by saying that the sacred writer, having set forth systematically in the first chapter the successive phases of the Creation, returns to the same topic in the second chapter in order to add some further special details with regard to the origin of man.