So far, we have all of creation except two of the most dominant aspects of creation, animals and humans. As we start to look at the sixth day of creation in more detail, we see some striking details as to why and how these two creations, especially us, are so different from the rest of creation. Let’s dive right in to the last day of creation.
“And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day.”
The sixth day is the longest day in terms of the amount of text it takes up and I don’t believe it is a coincidence either. The most dominant creations are made on this day and the most detail is added to them. In this article, we are going to discuss the creation of the animals in verses 24 and 25.
Wild Animals, Livestock, Creatures on the Ground
The first thing we should notice is that there are three distinct variations in the animals God creates and he specifies them by name. First the livestock, then creatures that move along the ground, and then the wild animals. What is the difference between these three? Is there any difference? Let’s look at the original Hebrew for a better understanding of these words and phrases.
The first animal we see being referenced to is the livestock. Today we think of these animals as cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, etc. However, the Hebrew translation gives it a little more meaning than our own limitation on the word today. The word “livestock” used here is translated behemah and can mean “beast” or “cattle” or any large animal. This is a little bit different than how we use livestock today. The next phrase we see is “creatures that move along the ground” or “creeping things”. The phrase in Hebrew is remes and can refer to creeping or moving things along the ground or even a “reptile” as Strong suggests. This probably includes insects, reptiles, amphibians of all kinds. The third and final phrase we see is “wild animals” or “beats” in some translations. It is the Hebrew word chay and it can mean a variety of things. It can refer to animals or to anything that is living or alive. It is pretty broad in its definition because it has a lot of uses.
Although these definitions don’t give a crystal clear idea of which animals were being created when, we can get a general idea. God and the biblical authors used the word “livestock” probably to refer to what most humans would consider livestock throughout history. Cattle, sheep, pigs, animals used in farming are probably most described here. The “creeping things” or “creatures that move along the ground” are most likely smaller animals, the reptiles and insects and such. The “wild animals” or “beasts” probably refers to all other animals. These would be your lions, giraffes, and elephants, the larger more wild animals. Although we cannot say with absolute certainty which ones does God mean, we can know that God made all animals according to their kinds.
One of the most debatable words in creation and evolutionary debates is this word “kind” and it’s meaning. God said that He made every “living creatures according to their ‘kinds’”. So what does this mean exactly? What does God mean by their “kind”. A little word study and open-mindedness can lead us to the answer.
Last time, we discussed the word “kind” and the Hebrew word min and it’s meaning. There is a lot of debate over whether God created every single species that has ever existed on this day or if God allowed for His creation to take its own course. The definition of this Hebrew word min means “to portion” or “sort”. This doesn’t sound like a lot of help but it actually can be when we look at the context and take into account genetics.
The most reasonable explanation is that not every single species that has ever been was created on this day. This is most likely basic family types of animals created on this day. Where did the other species come from? They come from a phenomenon called microevolution.
Evolution in Creation?
Microevolution is not the same as macroevolution. Macroevolution, in a basic sense, is the idea that all species came from one common ancestor. Microevolution can be described as variances in genetics within a kind. This is why we have many species of cows, for example. It may sounds a bit odd, even wrong to say that there is evolution in a God created world. However, God allows for microevolution to take place through genetics (which He created). We are not talking about reptiles coming from birds or humans from monkeys type of evolution. Rather we are discussing small genetic changes in the genomes within a kind. This also describes how we have so many different species today after the great flood Noah. Noah took two of every “kind” with him on the ark. There is no possible way that he could have fit two of every single species of every single kind of animal with him on the ark. There was two of every kind, so after the flood, they could reproduce and mutations and genetic changes over time led to new species within the kind.
Darwin’s theory of one common ancestor or evolutionary theories involving kinds coming from other kinds are simply not biblical. However, small changes in the kind’s genomes over time can easily and biblically explain all the species we have and enjoy today.
The Land or God?
There is a small detail in the text that can raise some legitimacy questions of the creation account. In verse 24 of Genesis 1 it says that God says, “Let the land produce living creatures” then in the next verse it says, “God made…”. So which is it? Did God make the animals or did the land? This discrepancy can be explained by looking at another account of creation.
The only other time we see the land doing something was back on day 3 when the land produced vegetation. Did God not create plants then? Of course He did, but God allowed His current creation to produce other creation through His divine power. In this case, however, we have the specific detail that God made these living creatures. So why mention the land? When the detailed account of human creation is discussed in chapter 2 of Genesis, we learn that God used the dust or land to create the flesh of man. For the animals, it is most likely the same thing. Most likely God used the ground, or land, to create the living creatures but God’s hand is of course directly involved. He just used His already created creation to create new living creatures and in this case, the animals.
In conclusion, we have the animals created according to their kinds and it is good. The only crucial part of creation missing are the humans which we will discuss next time.