And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Day 6 is divided into two events: the creation of terrestrial animals and the creation of man. In this post, I will deal with the creation of terrestrial animals and will discuss the creation of man in my next post.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
The first clause, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind,” seems broad enough to include all types of land animals. The next passage, though, roughly divides terrestrial animals into three groups: cattle, creeping things, and beasts of the earth. This may not be meant as an exhaustive list of the types of animals but it seems sufficiently broad enough to include most types of animals.
Cattle: most scholars agree that “cattle” is a term meant to include all domesticated animals. This may mean that God created certain animals with the expressed purpose of them being of service to man or simply it is simply a description of those animals which are easily domesticated. In other passages, cattle are sometimes referred to as “beasts of the field.”
We know with certainty that all living creatures were initially herbivorous (Genesis 1:29-30) so we did not need these animals to be food. However, I'm not sure if the ban on eating meat would have forbade things like drinking milk so maybe we could have still milked cows. Had man not fallen, we could have become farmers so perhaps the ox might be used to help us plow. We also might have begun building things so we could have used animals to carry heavy loads or maybe carry us (as in horses). Of course, we also keep animals for companionship.
The initial, temperate environment of the earth and the lack of things like thorns meant there was no need for clothing. Neither would we have eaten animals so many of the reasons we now have for domesticating animals would not have been necessary then – no need for wool, eggs, leather, hunting, etc. Perhaps God, in His omniscience and foreknowledge of the Fall, created these animals knowing we will someday need them.
Beasts of the earth: This is nearly unanimously understood to be wild animals. However, this begs the question: if pre-Fall animals were neither predators nor prey, then what substantial difference could there have been between “domestic” and “wild” animals?
I'm a dog lover, personally, because dogs are loyal companions with an uncanny ability to respond to non-verbal cues from their masters. Dogs seem able to understand what we're thinking or how we feel. Cats are only barely domesticated. My daughter seems to think she has trained her cat to sit but I know the cat thinks it has trained my daughter to feed it just by sitting down. We may keep small cats as pets but they still scratch and bite us. We don't keep large cats because they are dangerous and could kill us. I say all that just to say that Adam could have kept a large dog as a pet but he could also have kept a large cat. There would have been no difference between a wild or domestic cat.
The Bible says that after the Flood, God put an instinctive fear of man into the beasts of the earth (Genesis 9:2). This could be a reference to only those specific “wild” animals on the Ark who had become accustomed to Noah during their year-long sequestering together. Or it could mean that even after the Fall, animals still had a natural trust of man which God intended to end after the Flood. Therefore, the designation of “wild” did not begin until after the Fall and eventually became fully realized after the Flood. The initial distinction between wild and domestic in Genesis is a prophetic description of their post-Fall condition.
Creeping things: Stong's Exhaustive Concordance (word # 7431 remes) defines this as “a reptile or any other rapidly moving animal -- that creepeth, creeping (moving) thing.” A characteristic of reptiles is their sprawling gate which distinguishes them from mammals and dinosaurs whose gate is erect. “Creeping” seems an especially accurate description of reptiles.
Other disagree. Some have suggested “cattle” and “beasts” are both references to only larger animals while creeping things include smaller animals like rodents. People in this camp would include larger reptiles with “beasts of the earth” while maintaining that smaller reptiles like snakes and lizards would be included in “creeping things.” Still others argue that all reptiles are “beasts of the earth” while “creeping things” means insects and other, small invertebrates.
The strict classification of creatures is interesting in a scholarly way but is not of critical importance to understanding salvation. One important note is that verse 30 identifies beasts of the earth, fowls (winged creatures), and creeping things as “having life.” These creatures (whatever they may include) were created with nephesh life. There was neither hunter nor hunted prior to the Fall since all living creatures ate plants. Death came only after Adam's sin.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind:
As was the case with plants, marine animals, and flying creatures, God created the terrestrial animals in groups of “kinds.” The beasts had kinds, the cattle had kinds, and the creeping things had kinds. This contradicts evolutionary theory which holds that all quadruped-animals are descended from a single, common ancestor.
and God saw that it was good.
Finally, we see that creation of the terrestrial animals, like every other creature, was good. It was not the end product of millions of years of death, struggle, and survival of the fittest that brought marine animals onto shore and gave them legs.