Q. According to Genesis, were humans created before the animals?
The passages in question proceed as follows:
“God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” (NASB)
– Genesis 1:25-27
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.’
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” (NASB)
– Genesis 2:18-20
It requires a great stretch in basic reading comprehension to visualize a contradiction between these passages. The first chapter of Genesis gives a chronological record of the creation of the universe. The second chapter sums up the record within the first few verses, and then repeats the story in more detail (beginning at Genesis 2:4).
The 18th verse illuminates the reason and significance behind the creation of the woman. In the rhythm of a narrative, the fact about animals being created is recalled in order to emphasize the distinction between humans and animals.