Genesis 1:21-23 Icthyology and Ornithology, God’s Version

Genesis 1:21-23 God 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. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Two classifications of animals are noted in the verse above, sea creatures and flying creatures. As an example, let’s look at how God divides and classifies a bird. The example is the mourning dove.

Class 1: Day 5
Class 2: Winged/Air
Class 3: Winged/Flying creatures, “owph” in the Hebrew
Class 4: Bird
Class 5: Living
Kind: Dove kind,  “yownah” in the Hebrew
Sub-kind 1: dove
Sub-kind 2: mourning dove
Others within the kind: passenger pigeon (now extinct), turtle dove, fantails, pouters, Jacobins, tumblers, homing pigeons, carrier pigeons.

Time for review, there is the phrase, “after their kind…” The word to consider is “kind”. It is the Hebrew word “miyn”. It means kind or species. In this case, it is applied to aquatic life and winged, flying life.

Classification courtesy of Bodie Hodge,

In comparing plants and animals, there is a key difference. Animals have “nephesh” and plants do not. Nephesh is the Hebrew word for “creature” in the above verse. Strong’s Concordance defines nephesh as: soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion, that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, the inner being of man.

The word “blessed” in the verse is a Piel stem verb in the original Hebrew. Piel stem verbs indicate intensive or intentional action. Translated, God is intensively and/or intentionally blessing these animals. God’s command is simple. Bear fruit, be fruitful and become many, become numerous, multiply. The idea is of fullness and abundance. Life was created to be abundant, prolific, and successful.

There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

How God divides species and man divides species are not the same. This is not patterned after Linnaeus. Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

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