It is claimed that the order of events in Genesis 1 and 2 are different. Here is day-by-day the creation order in Genesis 1:
Genesis 2, however, might seem to place humans before plants or before animals. Here's Genesis 2:5-7:
This seems to say that man was created before plants, but strictly speaking it only says that plants were not yet "in the land" or had not "sprung up". An anonymous reader of this page suggests that this could mean they existed but in some sort of dormant state, having not yet been "planted"; though this is a very unnatural natural reading.
Another suggestion is that plants "of the field" refers specifically to cultivated plants. This argument has some weight, since the passage notes that there was nobody "to work the ground" - i.e. there were no farmers yet. This part of the problem is Minor at worst.
Another problem is Genesis 2:18-19:
This appears to place the creation of man before animals. However, "the LORD God formed every animal" could conceivably mean "God created new specimens of creatures already in existence", though this is not the natural reading. Alternatively, the ESV and some other Bibles solve the problem by describing this creation in the past tense:
This way, God had already created these creatures. I'm not an expert in ancient Hebrew and can't say whether this translation is legitimate or not. But it feels suspect to me: we are told that God plans to "make him a helper", which surely implies that the creatures did not yet exist.
The NET Bible (which has extensive notes on translation) says this:
This is a bit too technical for me, but this part of the problem borders on being Serious.
The standard explanation among non-evangelical Bible scholars is that Genesis 1 and 2 had different authors. While I think this is probably correct, I feel that this view is not really proven beyond doubt. (But if you go ahead and read them, you'll see it's certainly an odd way for a single author to write.)
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