The book of Genesis begins with two creation stories. The first creation story is in Genesis chapter one.

The second creation story is in Genesis chapter two.


The first creation story is in Genesis chapter one the second creation story is in Genesis chapter two

The first creation account

This story is like a song or poem. It’s written, “Let there be…” and God saw that it was good … to

separate”, and there was evening and morning on …”

Each creation is taken as a day. The creation took place in the following order.

It is orderly

On the first day God created light and separated it from darkness, calling it day and night.

On the second day He created the sky also called firmament.

Day 3 God created dry land called Earth and the gathering waters called seas. He also created all types of plants (vegetation).

On the fourth day he created the solar system also called Heavenly bodies i.e. Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets.

On the fifth day he created birds of the air, fish and other sea creatures.

Day six he created both domestic and wild animal and finalized with human beings.

The seventh day was a Sabbath and therefore God rested.

The Second creation account

God created man from dust and breathed into his nostrils before anything else is mentioned. God then put man in the Garden of Eden, which He had made for him so that man could till and keep it. The garden was planted eastward in Eden. Out of the ground, God made every tree to grow. In the middle of the garden, there was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man was given the responsibility of tilling and conserving the garden. Man was commanded to eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed from the garden and then it separated into four tributaries.

God saw that man should not be alone hence he made him a helper/mate; a woman from one of the man’s ribs. Man was also given the responsibility of naming all the animals in the garden. There is mention of God resting after work

Differences between the two creation stories

  1. There is a chronological order of events in the first account of creation as opposed to the second
  2. Male and female are created at the same time whereas in the second account man is created first then woman is out of his ribs
  • In the first account creation is out of the command “ let there be” yet in the second man is made out of dust
  1. In the first account man names what he creates as opposed in the second where man is given the opportunity to name the animals
  2. A Sabbath day allocated for rest appears on the first while in the second account it wasn‟t mentioned
  3. The garden of Eden mentioned on the second account wasn‟t on the first
  • In the second creation account four rivers Tigris, Euphrates, Gihon and Pishon they were not mentioned in the first
  • Man is given a responsibility to till the land in the second but not in the first
  1. In the second forbidden tree appears but this misses in the first account
  2. In the first account God created human beings for procreation while in the second account they were created for companionship
  3. The second account of creation is human centred while the first does not shore this it is man centred
  • In the first account God created in union with the spirit (Holy Trinity) while in the second account God is alone
  • In the first account human beings were created last while in the second they came first
  • The first account takes six days to be complete unlike the second where days were not mentioned
  1. In the first account God appreciates everything he creates. We are not told this is the second.

Similarities between the two accounts of creation

In both creation accounts

  1. Men and women are created by God and are given special references. Man and woman are special to God.
  2. God rested after creation.
  • God provided the source of food.
  1. God is portrayed as the sole creator of the universe and everything in it.
  2. Man is given the responsibility of controlling animals, birds and plants that God created


The creation stories tell us that God is:

  1. The sole creator and the only source of life
  2. Immortal and Eternal
  • He is self existent
  1. God of order
  2. Source of goodness and true happiness
  3. Holy, merciful and just
  • Provider and sustainer of the universe and all that is in it
  • All knowing (Omniscient)
  1. All powerful (Omnipotent)
  2. Everywhere (Omnipresent)
  3. A personal God.
  • He has a mind and a will
  • Moral God. He is interested in the behaviour of man and woman. He commands her/him to do the right things.

Teachings on the relationship between human beings and the environment from the Genesis stories of creation.

  1. Both human beings and the environment have a common origin.
  2. All other creatures are inferior before human beings and vise versa.
  • Human beings are to cater for and preserve the environment.
  1. Human beings and the rest of God’s creation have a similar destiny.
  2. Human beings should treat the rest of creation with reverent respect.
  3. Human beings and the rest of creation are interdependent



Traditional African view of creation is brought out through traditional stories of creation (Myths). The

Agikuyu, Akamba, Gusii and other Kenyan communities have stories explaining their origin. These stories give each community a sense of belonging, and identity. The stories explain the mysteries of life. These stories have common characteristics or teachings.

Thus all African communities believe that God: –

  1. Is the chief architect of the world
  2. Existed from the very beginning of time.
  3. Created everything out of nothing.
  4. Provides for the needs of human beings.
  5. Was disobeyed by human beings who had lived in eternal bliss. This bliss came to an end when human beings disobeyed God.
  6. The African communities had different names to describe God. God was not known as God but as the Creator of everything that existed on earth and skies. He was Mumbi and “Mungai” to Gikuyu. He was master of the universe. The Kamba called Him …Ngai wa Matu. They believed that God continues to create through human beings.

Examples of African creation stories

  1. The Kamba believed that God created man and woman then tossed them to the earth.
  2. The Bukusu say that God the creator (Were Khakaba) created the world alone.
  3. First God created heaven then created two assistants, Mukhaba and Murumwa. Were the God made the sun, moon, stars, a big red cock which crows whenever it thunders, the rains, the rainbow,mountains, rivers, lakes, streams and all the other things on earth.
  4. Created a woman for the man.
  5. Created plants, animals, birds and other creatures.
  6. Creation work took six days. On the seventh day were rested.



The importance of God’s creation

  1. God is responsible for all creation. He is the sole creator. God’s creation was good. Everything He created God said it was good. It was without flaws and mistakes. God is the provider. God created everything that man needs. He also created food for all animals and other creatures. God is orderly.
  2. Man has a special place in God’s creation. Man was made as the keeper of God creation. Man is a co creator and keeper of God’s creation since he was made in the image and likeness of God. Man was commanded to work.
  3. A woman was made from the man’s flesh. She joins man in marriage and they become one flesh. God ordains marriage. Human beings were created to socialize.
  4. Sin is a result of man and woman disobedience of God.

Responsibilities given to human beings by God in the Genesis stories of creation

After creating man and then woman, God asked man to:

  1. Reproduce and multiply.
  2. Rule over the rest of His creations.
  3. Be in charge of the fish, birds, and all the animals.
  4. Cultivate the garden and guard it.
  5. Eat from the fruits of the garden except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  6. Name the animals.
  7. Subdue the earth
  8. Transform the creation that God has provided human beings with
  9. Use creation – forests, rivers, mountains with responsibility and respect.
  10. Be a steward of God’s creation
  11. Engineer God’s creation by creating things from the creation
  12. Dominate the earth

Why is man seen as a special creature before God?

  1. He is created in the image and likeness of God.
  2. He was given dominion over the rest of creation.
  3. He was given opportunity to name the creation.
  4. Man has the ability to think and reason, unlike other animals.
  5. He was given the opportunity to serve and fellowship with God.
  6. He is given a will to choose between good and evil.
  7. He possesses the blessings of God.
  8. Only man was created by the holy trinity.

How does man further creation?

  1. Through afforestation and reafforestation.
  2. Through procreation and reproduction.
  3. Caring for the needy.
  4. Evading/eradicating environmental pollution.
  5. Conserving life of fellow men and other animals.
  6. Preaching and promoting peace and harmony in the community.
  7. Use of proper farming methods e.g. contours farming.
  8. Conserving water towers.
  9. Using their creativity in invention.
  10. Through scientific and technological discoveries.
  11. Through provision of education geared towards teaching people how to cope with the environment.

Write down the teachings about marriage from the biblical stories of creation.

  1. It is instituted by God.
  2. Marriage is for reproduction.
  • It is for companionship.
  1. It should be between male and female.
  2. It should be monogamous.
  3. Man and woman should help each other.
  • Marriage is for love.
  • It is a continuation of God’s work of creation




Man and woman fell from the Garden of Eden. This experience is explained in genesis chapter 3 verse 4; chapter 6 verse 9 and chapter 11. In these verses, the Bible is teaching about sin, which made Adam and

Eve fall

  1. Origin of Sin

Sin is defined as iniquity, and guilt. It is to miss a mark, to transgress. Sin is a rebellion or an offence against God. Sin originated with the disobedience of Adam and Eve. They had been commanded not to eat of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. But Adam and Eve ate the fruit after being deceived by the serpent.

Man had the power to resist temptation but instead he yielded. Genesis Chapter 3 verse 6 states that man wanted to be wise and thought how wonderful it would be to become wise…” hence sin arises from the lack of knowledge of God, from the denial of trust of God.

The penalty meted to each of the following transgressors:

  1. Serpent;
  2. Woman;
  3. . Adam.

The serpent (snake) was:

  1. Cursed above all creatures.
  2. To crawl on its belly.
  3. To eat dust.
  4. Enmity was declared between it and the woman‟s generation.

The woman:

  1. Would give birth through pain.
  2. Would still desire her husband;
  • Her offsprings shall be enemies with the serpent‟s offsprings.


  1. Ground was cursed because of him;
  2. Would have to toil for survival;
  3. Would eat on thorns, thistles and herbs;
  4. Will (together with his descendants) die.

The consequences of sin

After sinning, we the human race and sinners:

  • Replaced friendship with God with fear of God.
  • Lost innocence. What had been innocent and good became shameful. Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness, something they had never felt before they sinned against God.
  • Lost good relationship with God. The good relationship between God and man was betrayed. Human beings – were alienated from God. “The Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden…”
  • Damaged the perfect relationship between man and woman. The Lord said to the woman “You will have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him”.
  • Pain became part of human experience. “I will greatly multiply your pain in child bearing”.
  • Man began toiling and struggling to meet his needs… “You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything”
  • The home of man, and the earth itself was placed under a curse. “Cursed is the ground because of you.”
  • Enmity between man and wild animals emerged.
  • Man began to die. Death sentence is passed upon all men. “You will return to the ground… you are dust”
  • Man began to hate. Man developed murderous feelings in his heart, for example Cain killed Abel, his younger brother.
  • Man changed and became prone to sin.
  • Life span of man was reduced (see Gen. 6:3)” I will not allow people to live forever, they will live no longer than 120 years”
  • Man’s language was confused by God after the flood (read Gen.11: 7)
  • Sin led to embarrassment, mistrust, suffering, pain, pride, arrogance and death.


Disobedience of God by Adam and Eve brought serious sin consequences to human beings. Sin brings sadness and suffering to man even today.



What is evil?

In the traditional African society, evil was an offence against God, spirits and ancestors. It was also viewed as an offence against another person or community. Evil was also a misfortune that can befall an individual or a community.

What are the causes of evil?

Many of the traditional African societies do not associate God with evil. God is not the creator of evil.

Some communities believe that evil is an external power that exists on its own. Thus in the traditional

African society, evil was understood or explained as something mysterious that was caused by several people and things. These were

  1. Evil spirits
  2. Ancestral spirits – due to disobedience to them
  3. Some animals like the chameleon are sources of evil. The Akamba believed that chameleons brought evil. Other communities believed that if an owl cries near one’s homestead, it is a sign of evil.
  4. People with mystical powers for example magic, sorcery, and witchcraft are evil
  5. If a member of a community breaks taboos by disobedience, this action may bring evil spirits.
  6. The spirits of the dead; cause evil; if they are not remembered or respected. Evil spirits cause harm and violence.
  7. Breaking of oaths results in malicious experience, which is evil


How was sin punished in African Traditional Societies

  1. Capital punishment
  2. Banishment
  3. Payment of fines
  4. Public humiliation
  5. Indecent burial ceremonies
  6. Failure to be named after
  7. Children denied food for sometime.
  8. Denied leadership roles.

Consequences of evil in traditional African society

These were many and ranged from

  1. Barrenness
  2. Drought
  • Epidemics
  1. Madness
  2. Sickness
  3. Death
  • Drowning
  • Burning in a house
  1. War
  2. Physically and mentally handicapped children
  3. Rebellious children


After the fall of man, God took steps to heal the damaged situation and relationship between Him and Adam and Eve.


  1. Provided clothing of skin to Adam and Eve.
  2. Looked for Adam and Eve since they were hiding from His presence.
  3. Provided Adam and Eve with the knowledge to find different foods.
  4. Declared enmity between man and the snake.
  5. Hinted at the ultimate victory of man when He said that the seed of the woman would crush the snake or serpent’s head. The serpent would attack the heel of man and woman.
  6. All through the Old Testament, and the New Testament, we see God’s plan of salvation being manifested. For instance, GOD chose and separated Abraham from other communities.
  7. The children of Israel led by Moses (were delivered) from Egypt,
  8. God sent prophets to teach and warn the Israelites of the dangers of sin.
  9. Finally God sent his only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save human kind.





Both the Biblical and traditional African view or agree that

  1. God is supreme. God is neither the creator nor author of evil
  2. Sin comes from the disobedience of God by human beings
  • Evil and misfortune are God’s curse to man (Biblical) while the traditional African society sees evil as curses by ancestors, and elders. Both curses lead to misfortunes.
  1. The result of sin and evil is human sufferings
  2. Sin and evil lead to man being separated from God
  3. God is the guardian of law and order
  • Human beings have the ability to overcome evil


  1. Biblical account emphasizes personal nature of sin while in the African concept; sin is more social and communal
  2. Biblical account attributes evil to disobedience while African concept attributes evil not only to disobediences but other external forces.
  • Biblical accounts offer a message of hope to overcome evil while African concept doesn’t offer a solution to sin and evil.
  1. Traditional African concept all forms of suffering as a result of sin while in the Bible suffering is not always a result of sin.

Review questions

  • Explain the differences between the two creation stories
  • State the traditional African view of creation
  • Explain how human beings continue with the work of creation
  • What is the origin of sin and evil according to traditional African society?
  • Give three consequences of sin as stated in Genesis
  • State the consequences of evil according to African traditional societies
  • Trace God’s plan of salvation of human kind
  • Compare biblical and traditional African understanding of evil and sin.
  • What does the command “Subdue the earth” in Genesis 1 verse 28 mean?



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