Creation of Land Animals and Man. Part 2 of 5 (Series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
25 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.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind,
Everything in the animal world and vegetable world was designed by God to belong to a distinct species, and each was given the trait of producing its own kind through endless generations. In this way, the many varieties of animals and plants have been kept distinct from the foundation of the world to the present day. This is a sufficient proof that all future generations of plants and animals have been included in the substance of those which God formed in the beginning. “And God made” confirms that the earth did not generate the animals by itself, as a result of some kind of inherent creative power; their formation is attributed here to the awesome power of God. The Holy Spirit would have us understand that the Creator, who is the absolute Master of nature, gave both to the earth and to animals all their fruitfulness and vigor: all life exists because of the effectiveness of God's omnipotence.
He also made them all after their kind, not only in a variety of shapes, but with a variety of natures, behaviors, appetites, and appearance. Some were made to be tame and live in or nearby the house, others to be wild and live in the fields—some living upon grass and herbs, others upon flesh—some harmless, and others dangerous—some bold, and others fearful—some for man's service, and not his food, such as the horse—others for his food, and not his service, such as the sheep—others for both, such as the ox--and some for neither, such as the wild beasts; lions, tigers, etc. All of this came through the manifold wisdom of the Creator.
When we look at the infinite variety of the animal kingdom (both living and extinct), we must be impressed with God’s creative power, as well as His sense of humor. Any Being who makes the giraffe, the platypus, and the peacock is a God of joy and humor. To a peahen, the most attractive peacocks are the ones with the biggest fans, but the big fan on the tail makes it difficult to escape a predator. Therefore, the peahen rewards the peacock with the least chance of survival. This is a great problem for the idea of “survival of the fittest.”
“According to its kind” is an important phrase; therefore, it is repeated to emphasize that God allows tremendous variation within a kind, but one “kind” will NEVER become another “kind.”
and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind:
“Cattle” is a term that represents all tame creatures, and “everything that creepeth” takes in all the reptiles of the earth: this clearly shows and proves that these creatures were not produced by the mere force of nature, or that the earth possessed these powers; but, instead, the declaration of Scripture is that they were created by the omnipotent hand of God.
and God saw that it was good.
“God saw” that every creature he had made would in some way or other be for his glory, and for the benefit of man. Here we have the same seal of Divine approval, as we had after the third day's work—“And God saw that it was good.” The creation of the higher animals has been completed and the earth has been prepared for the arrival of man; to which, no doubt, the Creator's commendation of his finished work had a special meaning. Everything was in readiness for the work of art which was to bring to a close his creative labor and crown his completed universe.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
And God said,
Here we have the second part of the sixth day's work, the creation of man, and I think we need to pay special attention to what God has done, since it presents us with the opportunity to know more about ourselves. Man was the last of all the creatures that God made, and the reason may have been so that no one would suggest that he had, in any way, helped God create the world: That idea was put to bed forever when God asked Job this question—“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4; NKJV). That question must have been both humbling and embarrassing for him. But, in spite of that, it has become clear that it was both an honour and a favor for him to be made last: an honour, because that which was made, advanced from the less complex to that which was complicated, and like its maker. And it was a favor for
him, because it was not fitting for him to live in the palace designed for him until it was completely finished and ready for him to move in. As soon as man was made he had all creation for his kingdom. Man was made the same day that the beasts were; his body was made of the same earth as theirs and, while he is in the body, he inhabits the earth with them; but he is over them and better than them, because he was made in the image and likeness of his Creator.
The importance assigned in the Biblical record to the creation of man is indicated by the manner in which it is introduced—“And God said, Let us make man.” Here the word used for God is the term Elohim, which suggests the fullness of the Divine personality, and foreshadows the doctrine of the Trinity (first introduced in Genesis 1:1). The term “us” has led to other interpretations by some notable Bible scholars. One opinion is that God counsels with the angels (Philo, Aben Ezra, Delitzsch); another says his council is with the earth (Maimonides, M. Gerumlius), although I cannot see how anyone could hold that opinion; and then there is the idea that He consulted with himself (Kalisch). But all of these opinions must be set aside in favor of that which is supported by the testimony of scripture; that man was created by a sublime consortium, which were the persons of the Godhead (Calvin, Macdonald, Murphy). The thing which this consortium contemplated was the construction of a new creature to be named Adam.
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
Here we evidently enter upon a higher scale of being. This is indicated by the council or common resolve to create, which is now for the first time introduced into the narrative. When the Creator says, “Let us make man,” He calls attention to the work by making it of paramount importance and something undertaken with deliberate purpose. Moreover, in the former commands of creation his words were related to the thing itself that was summoned into being; such as, “Let there be light;” or to some preexistent thing that was physically connected with the new creation; such as, “Let the land bring forth grass.” But now the language of the ultimatum of creation rises to the Creator himself: “Let us make man.” This implies that the new being with its higher nature is related not so much with any part of creation as it is with the Eternal Uncreated Himself.
The plural form of the sentence raises the question, “Who did He take counsel with on this occasion?” Was it with Him, and does He simply use the plural to express majesty? That was not the usual style of monarchs in the ancient East. Pharaoh says, “I have dreamed a dream” (Genesis 41:15). Nebuchadnezzar, “I have dreamed” (Daniel 2:3). Darius the Mede, “I make a decree” (Daniel 6:26). Cyrus, “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth” (Ezra 1:2.) Darius, “I make a decree” (Ezra 5:8). We have no ground, therefore, for assigning it to the style of the heavenly King. Was it with certain other intelligent beings in existence before man that he took counsel? This supposition cannot be accepted; because the expression “let us make” is an invitation to create, which is an exclusive attribute of the Eternal God, and because the phrases, “our image,” and “our likeness” when transferred into the third person, become “his image” and “the image of God,” and thus limit the pronouns to God himself. Does the plurality, then, point to a plurality of attributes in the divine nature? This cannot be, because a plurality of qualities exists in everything, without leading to the application of the plural number to the individual, and because such a plurality does not warrant the expression, “let us make.” Only a plurality of persons can justify the phrase. Hence, we are forced to conclude that the plural pronoun indicates a plurality of persons in the Divine Being.
“Man” is a new species, essentially different from all other kinds on earth, since he is made “In our image, after our likeness.” He is to be related to heaven as no other creature on earth is. He is related to the Eternal Being himself. This relationship, however, is not in substance, but in design; not in essence, but in resemblance. This rules out all agnostic notions of the origin of man. “Image” is a word taken from rational things, and indicates likeness in outward form, while the material may be different. “Likeness” is a more general term, indicating resemblance in any quality, external or internal. Here it is descriptive of image, and seems to show that this term is to be taken in a figurative sense, to indicate not a material but a spiritual conformity to God. The Eternal Being is essentially self-manifesting. The appearance he presents to an eye suited to contemplate him is his image. The amalgamation of attributes which constitute His spiritual nature is his character or likeness.