So far we have looked at the first four days of creation:
- Time, space, matter
- Water, atmosphere, water canopy
- Water and land separated, vegetation
- Sun, moon, stars
20Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." 21God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
- Genesis 1:20-23
There is a distinction here about the different levels of creation. Until now all things created have no consciousness. Matter and vegetation are changeable, usable, etc. but have no consciousness. On day 5 God creates creatures that have life (soul) and in this context, a certain consciousness. They are higher life forms than already exist. On day 5 God creates the creatures that will inhabit the water and the air.
Some things to note about the creation of these creatures:
- Evolution says that a fragile blob of protoplasm happens to come together in response to an electrical force millions of years ago. Genesis says that the waters suddenly swarmed with living creatures and the sky was filled with birds.
- It is the first time the term life (soul) appears and refers to the quality of consciousness possessed by animals and man that plants and rocks do not have. This is significant in the sense that this is the second major act of creation.
- First there is the bringing into being the reality of time, space and energized matter. This is shaped and organized.
- Now there is brought into being the reality of "consciousness" which is, at first, put into water and air creatures.
- Specific animals are mentioned. The Hebrew word "TANNIN" has also been translated as sea monster or dragon. The references to dragons or sea monsters in the Bible come from this word. This would include the term whale with which we are familiar with today.
- They are created ready to reproduce. Again, it is mentioned that they had the power to reproduce and according to modern DNA research this would mean that there could be a wide variety within the species but whales did not become dogs, unless originally created to be such. We do see an evolutionary transition in certain creatures who were, in fact, created to function in this particular way (ie. tadpoles to frogs or caterpillars to butterflies).
- God blesses His creation. God pronounces that what He sees is good and also pronounces a blessing on these creatures (what He did not do previously). Their role is to be fruitful, multiply, fill their habitats. (The same command was also given after the flood). In other places in the Bible we see that God continually cares for and provides for this part of His creation. In Matthew 6:26, "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them." The best argument for environmental protection is not that we will become extinct if we are not careful (God has this power, not man). The best argument is that we are partners with God in maintaining and managing His creation and it is part of our responsibility and an act of faith to do so.
- Genesis contradicts normal evolutionary order:
Also, Genesis says that the largest marine creatures were made first, evolution says that the system goes from smallest to largest.
24Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. 25God 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.
- Genesis 1:24-25
God follows the pattern He has established earlier. First He creates the intrinsic or essential thing and then builds upon it. For example, the light and then bodies that give off light. In this case He creates sentient life, or conscious life (marine and bird) now He makes other forms of this life, the animals. This is why the passage says that He makes and not creates animal life. He has already created conscious life forms, now He makes another variety to live on the land.
The land animals are not categorized in the same way as modern scientific systems (amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects). They are given only three natural categories:
- Cattle – Domestic animals (not just cows). The Hebrew word referred to any four-legged animal.
- Wild beast – referred to those animals of a large size that were not normally used for domestic purposes. Wild animals. Probably includes dinosaurs.
- Creeping things – insects, smaller reptiles, amphibians, small animals like moles, rats, etc.
Some things to note regarding the creation of animals:
1. The Genesis account contradicts the evolutionary account:
As a matter of fact, evolution places insects and the others before the birds and Genesis places birds first and these afterwards.
2. Some say that dinosaurs and man cannot have existed at the same time but Genesis puts their creation on the sixth day along with man and there have been several instances where dinosaur prints and human prints have been found in the same place, side by side.
3. There is no "survival of the fittest" going on here. God sees that what He has made is good, there is no competition for existence.
4. All of these have "souls" or consciousness and are made of the elements that already exist and to which they will return when they die.
The earth is now ready for God's final act of creation. This will be His creation of man.