May I first begin with apologies for the tardiness of this posting. I had family in town this week and they left a few hours ago allowing me the time needed to finish this lesson. I am so excited about what is ahead of us and yet must restrain my jubilation in order to limit the size of these posts, for I want you to take in all that the Word of God has to offer. I pray this week’s lesson blesses and benefits you, and as always, I welcome your comments and questions both here on the sight, and via email if that is your preference. Shall we begin?
“And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: Livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and 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” (Genesis 1:24-25 NIV)
Now here we are on the sixth day of creation and we are in eager anticipation of what is to come, but first we must review that which God creates first on day six. Every animal that walks upon the ground is brought forth on this day; not the fish of the sea or the birds of the air, those were created on the fifth day. Here on day six, only those things which walk upon the ground are created.
We should note a few things. First: God makes the living creatures out of the land itself. “Let the land produce living creatures”; while we know full well that God could have used any means He deemed reasonable to produce the creatures of the land; He chose to use the land itself to create the creatures which would walk upon it.
Why? You may ask. I don’t have an answer to that accept to say that it is of little consequence. We might make the argument that it is because they come from the earth that animals, like man, erode and disintegrate back into the earth as they decompose after death. Perhaps this was part of the cycle that God had in mind. Regardless of His reasons for creating animals from the earth itself, we can be sure, as in all things, that it was part of a perfected plan which God put into motion.
We can note second that the land produced living creatures “according to their kinds:” We explored this concept a little when we discussed the creation of vegetation and when we covered birds and fish. In its simplest form, a goat does not produce a squirrel, nor can the union of two cows result in a basset hound.
But what about this?
This is no altered image. That is indeed a zebra and horse cross breed. “That’s not reproducing after their kind” you say. Well, actually, a Zebra, a Donkey, and a Horse are all similar creatures and cross breeding among them is not that un-common. While we might consider them to be different species, they are actually derived from the same family of species. This is not a result of evolution but rather a direct integration in God’s design. Consider the cross between a Male Donkey and a Female Horse; you get a mule. Feel free to research for yourself, but you will find that Mules perform better than Donkeys when carrying heavy loads and when put into startling situations. What’s the point? Simple. God understood the needs of mankind from start to finish before He created anything. Allowing the mixing of animals within the same family maintains His command that they are produced after their own kind while providing mankind the ability to make use of the quality characteristics of two animals in one offspring…I.E. The Mule. The image above is the result of a Male Zebra, which is similar to a Donkey, and a Female Horse, but they are still producing after their own kind. Wasn’t that fun? J
Note third: All of the creatures which roam the earth are created on the sixth day; including mankind, though we have not discussed us yet. This means those annoying bugs that you hate so much; yes they too were created here on day six. I rather like the King James Version in this translation; “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind” (Genesis 1:25 KJV). That’s right folks, all those things that “creepeth” are made here on this sixth day. You can take a moment to give thanks for those cockroaches now 😉
Now there is some debate about things like Black Widow Spiders, or, dear me, Mosquitos. Why would God create such dangers; such nuisances? Prepare yourself because this might surprise you. Everything God made had perfect purpose from the moment He made it. That means the mosquito, the Brown Recluse, all those things that “creepeth” were put here for a reason and that reason was good! So why the pain or annoyance then? Simple. The fall. But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here so we will save that discussion for a later study. Suffice to say for now that there is nothing wrong with anything that creeps and crawls that is not the direct result of mankind.
So it is then that God has commanded that all creatures be brought forth upon the Earth. Matthew Henry (1700’s; who’s commentary I enjoy extensively) notes a critical point here. It is not that God gave over to the Earth the power to produce animals of its own accord as it were, but rather that God specifically commanded that those animals be brought forth from the Earth. We should be wary of any teaching or ideology that suggests the Earth capable of producing on its own. The Earth does not produce plants; they are produced after their own kind from the seeds which they bear. This is God’s work; His hand still active in creation; His command; it is not the Earth’s prerogative to do as it will. Indeed the Earth has no will of its own for it is not a living being of any sort. There is but one thing in creation that has been granted free will by the Father and that is mankind. The animals are brought forth out of the Earth not by the Earth. It is a distinguishing difference and one we would do well to pay attention to.
A semi-final note. God has created here in the beginning of the sixth day all those magnificent creatures that roam the Earth. Those which are for mankind’s use, and those which are for his sustenance. Even those which no longer exist because of various factors, whether it be the result of mankind’s over indulgence in hunting an animal for a prized pelt, or the effects of changes in climate. We can be sure that God knew well in advance which creatures would not survive until the final days, and yet He created them all the same and all with purpose. Which leads to one of those oft asked questions. “What about these?”
Dinosaurs! We all know full well they must have existed. After all, there are no shortages of full sized fossils of dinosaurs are there? So how do we reconcile a creature that has clearly died out long ago with the concept of a literal six day creation account? Science says that dinosaurs roamed the Earth between 230 and 65 million years ago. If this is true, then the six days of creation doesn’t add up, as that would make the Earth somewhere around 6-8 thousand years old. It seems a difficult conundrum to face for those of us who take Scripture at its face value but it is in fact not as difficult as it seems.
There is a passage in Scripture which comes in a later study but one which benefits our discussion at the moment as well. “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28 NIV). We can be sure first that God did indeed create dinosaurs, and He created them right here at the beginning of day six. Later, when we reach the passage above, we will be in deep discussion on the creation of mankind. It was our destiny to rule over every creature which graced the Earth; one we will see carried out just after the creation of mankind. However, there is a much more sorrowful tale to tell. Mankind was, and is still, disobedient to God. As a result, much of the blessing first bestowed upon mankind was lost. While we will discuss this in great depth when we reach that crucial point in Scripture, for now it serves only to highlight a single purpose in our discussion but one that is critical to our understanding of the earth’s timeline and how it relates to these creatures here.
As we will see very soon, mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. It was intended that way from the beginning, and it was our destiny, our very command, to rule over everything in creation. However, the relationship between mankind and the earth (which includes all that is in it; animals, plants, etc.) was broken the moment mankind broke his relationship with God. Mankind gave up his dominion over all the earth to Satan in that fateful moment which has brought so much pain to us all. Yet something as powerful and destructive as a Tyrannosaurus Rex could surely have subdued mankind in the time of Adam and Eve. Though mankind had separated himself from God, God did not abandon mankind. It seems most reasonable to suggest that God simply destroyed those creatures, namely dinosaurs, which were now an immediate threat to the existence of his greatest creation. This would certainly explain both the existence of dinosaurs and their ‘disappearance’ in such a short time frame in relation to the age of earth.
Now there is no Scriptural evidence which supports or refutes this idea, nor is there a legitimate reference to dinosaurs, though an obscure few exist. “Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox” (Job 40:15 NIV). Of course the present tense use of the term ‘look at’ suggests something present which Job could see. What of “May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan” (Job 3:8 NIV), or “There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there” (Psalm 104:26 NIV). Here again, the present tense use of the term ‘frolic’ suggests something visible to the writer of the Psalm. So though there are plausible references to dinosaurs, there are no solid passages to indicate them. Yet we know they were here for their bones are not the hoax of Nebraska Man, http://cavern.uark.edu/~cdm/creation/shame3.htm ;they are found globally and often in full form.
So it is with little doubt that we accept the existence of dinosaurs and with confidence that we can suggest God’s decision to remove them from the earth upon the fall of mankind. For we have strong arguments in favor of six days of creation and therefore, reason to believe that 230 to 65 million years ago the world did not exist. And it is to that time frame that I finalize this lesson. Note the disparity in the timeframe that is suggested for dinosaurs to have roamed the earth. There is a difference of 165 million years! That is no mere disagreement among scientists, but a clear inability to provide legitimate evidence. We do not need science, though it is a great benefit in so many things, it does not provide all answers, and we must be careful to weigh those answers it does provide against the rod of Scripture. Science, like all things, is the creation of God; for it was God who created the mind for science and the laws by which it is bound. It is Scripture we must turn to first if we seek answers. This does not discount science, for as you know by now, I have nothing against science accept where it seeks to remove God from His rightful place.
I leave you with a teaser for next week:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26 ESV).
I ask you, and you may feel free to leave an answer in the comments section, who is “us” and “our” in this passage?
May you have a blessed week filled with the love of Jesus Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit under the guidance of God the Father.
In His name.