Monthly Archives: December 2015

Land Animals

Studies in Genesis

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25 ESV)

Again, God speaks. He announces what He determines to create, bringing into existence all He intends. He creates the land animals. He has already covered the land with vegetation. He has already filled the waters with sea creatures and the air with flying creatures. Now, He brings into existence the land animals.

He commands the earth “bring forth” living creatures. He has spoken the same idea in Genesis 1:11, “let the earth sprout vegetation” and uses the same term in 1:12, “the earth brought forth vegetation.” Out of the existing materials of the ground, the dirt and dust of the earth, God fashioned living creatures. He does not need preexisting material to create anything but has chosen to do so.

It is interesting to note the order in which He declares the creation of animal life. He gives an order in verse 24 then changes the order in verse 25. I can only assume He does so to help us define the value and places of these creatures. All animal life carries the same value to God. It is “good.” That, and as we shall see, Man will have dominion over all animal life. We will discuss dominion in the future. For now it is important we recognize God has created these creature and, at least before the fall, given Man responsibility over them.

Out of the ground God created the “beasts of the earth,” “livestock,” and “everything the creeps.” “Beasts” are the flesh of raw animal life that wanders freely across the earth, avoiding Man. He creates “creeping” things which means those animals which move fast or glide across the ground, such as reptiles, insects and worms, mostly unaware of Man. They do not range over wide areas of land such as the beasts. Finally, he creates “livestock” which is the domesticated animals who stay close to Man.

Each of these species He creates “after its kind.” He uses this phrase five times in these two verses, and ten times in the first chapter of Genesis. This phrase is important to God and is, therefore, important to all His creation, but especially Man. We place ourselves in danger when we ignore what He is saying to us.

God declares His creation of the animal life “good.” He is pleased.

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The Fifth Day

Studies in Genesis

And God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23 ESV)

By the end of the fifth day God accomplished everything He determined to do up to that time. An environment is in place made to sustain the living plants and creatures He created and to provide all of the food needed for life. He always perfectly finishes what He begins.

Over what appears as a long period of time God creates life that breaths, moves and flies. Previously, on the third day, He created plant life, flora, fruits and vegetables, grass and trees. Then, on day four, He created the Sun and Moon, the greater light to govern the day and the lesser to govern the night. On fifth day He created some animal life, fauna, the sea creatures and the birds of the air.

Every living thing He created, and will create, filled the Earth, blessed with the natural ability to reproduce after its own kind. Each species of grass reproduces the same grass. So, too, each different species of vegetables and fruit tree are blessed, making more of the same. Plant life, as part of a life cycle, produces seeds which grows more of the same. So too, the sea creatures and the birds of the air reproduce after their own kind. A fish does not reproduce a bird, or that which is rooted reproduce that which moves, swims or flies.

All He has done is according to His eternal logic and design, in His power and strength. He established the laws of nature and of the universe according to His eternal determination. Our comprehension of His laws suggests a different order of events. For example, the solar system needed to be in place before life on earth could self-create. Plants need light and without a sun there is insufficient light. Yet, on day one God tells us He created light. Combined with the atmosphere He created on day two, this light and environment was sufficient to sustain plant life He created on day three.

Another example is the fossil record, which shows a great many land animals coming into existence somewhere between the first sea creature and the first flying bird. Most, if not all, of these land creatures are now extinct. Yet, sea creatures and creatures of the air, birds, are plentiful.

God does not give us a blow by blow with encyclopedia entries for any of His creation. He does tell us what He has done on each day in a broad, all encompassing way. We want to know exactly what happened so we can control Him. He told us what happened because He is in control, and we are not.

Blessing

Studies in Genesis

And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23 ESV)

I do not think we have a good understanding of what God means when He “blesses” someone or something. God uses a word which in its most primitive form means to kneel before as when one bestows an honor upon another. Instead of towering over one blessed the one blessing comes down to a lower level. Blessings are gifts given from a heart attitude of pleasure with the one receiving the gift. Imagine a father kneeling to give a gift to his young child.

Here, God bestows upon creation, specifically the sea and air creatures, His desire for His creatures to be fruitful and multiply, each after their own kind. These animals are to fill the earth. God is completely involved in His creation on Earth. Did He lower Himself, showing Himself less than who He is, to give a blessing? No. Did He raise up any creatures, making them more than they are, to receive the blessing? No. He, the eternal God and the eternal Great, brought Himself into His creation giving His creation intrinsic value.

Everything He has done to this point has prepared the universe, solar system, the Earth, ready and more than able to sustain and propagate life. He, Himself, does more than sustain life. He increases life according to the laws of nature binding creation and His good pleasure.

However, Jesus did lower Himself without decreasing any of His divinity. Jesus, God, the Son, set aside His eternal position and lowered Himself into His creation, to bless those made in His image.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

As we will see, He created Man, all people, for an intimate relationship with Himself. We are uniquely created for intimacy with God. So, loving all intimately, He knelt down and blessed a rebellious people, humbling Himself to the place of a servant and giving a gift of eternal life.

Beginning and Ending

Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. (Genesis 1:21-23 ESV)

If we accept the archeological evidence on its face, without adding any theory as to how animal life came into existence, then we can draw several inferences. First, a massive number of species of marine animals came into existence over a relatively short period of time almost 500 million years ago. Somewhere between 150 and 200 million years ago birds came on the scene. These times are assumed because no one was there and there is no physical evidence of shorter timeframe. Everything looks old.

Whatever the dating used the circumstantial evidence suggests a long period of time between the first marine animals and birds. How much difference for us is there between hundreds of millions of years and simply millions of years, or even shorter thousands of years?

Next, these animals reproduced, lived and died. Their lifespan was not long but short. While some trees live for thousands of years most plants live only a single or a few seasons. So, too, the animal life which filled the Earth lived for a relatively short time, during which time they reproduced and then died.

Next, the circumstantial evidence suggests some of the animals ate other animals. God did say He gave the plants and fruits for food. This does not preclude some animals eating plants and other animals. Whales open their mouths and scoop anything in the way.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:29-30 ESV)

Finally, the evidence tells us not all species of animals which originally appeared so long ago are still in existences.  Many species have become extinct.

Most people hold a theology which demands death not happen until after the sinful disobedience and fall of Adam. Yet, there is Scriptural evidence and physical evidence death was known by God and accounted for in creation. From the beginning there was “darkness” before God instituted “day” and “night.” Both “darkness” and “night” suggest physical death and dying and the possibility of spiritual “death” and “dying.” It would appear physical “death,” a beginning and end, is a natural part of creation. God exists outside of space time creation, began creation at His discretion and will end creation by His authority.