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Monday, December 30, 2013

Are there groups of organisms not mentioned in the Genesis 1 account of creation?

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

9 God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering together of the waters he called “seas”. God saw that it was good. 11 God said, “Let the earth yield grass, herbs yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with their seeds in it, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 The earth yielded grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with their seeds in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

20 God said, “Let the waters abound with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.” 21 God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.

26 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 birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. 30 To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;” and it was so.

31 God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.
(World English Bible, public domain. All scriptures quoted are from that version. I omitted days 1, 2, 4 and 7, as there is no indication of the creation of any living things on those days.)


I am assuming, for the purposes of this discussion, that creation took place in six literal, consecutive days. I am well aware that there are problems with that view, and am not convinced of it.

Are there large groups of organisms not mentioned here? Maybe. It depends on how inclusive the creation events described really were, and there is no way of being sure of that, so I'll just muse about these matters.

There is no direct mention of microorganisms, and it would have been amazing if there had been. They weren't discovered until less than 300 years ago. Mentioning them in Genesis 1 would mostly likely have seemed nonsensical to the ancient Israelites, and, presumably, to Moses.

There is no direct mention of underwater plants. Perhaps the Israelites weren't familiar with them.

There is no direct mention of flying insects. It is hard to imagine God's creation being completely good without butterflies, and, especially, bees. There are other kinds of flying insects, too. It is true that all of the flying insects have non-flying larvae, however. Most likely, in some cases, the Israelites and their contemporaries wouldn't have been aware of the connection between grubs, maggots or caterpillars and the adults.

Were mosquitoes and the flies that carry disease part of the original creation, or did they appear only after the Fall?

There are some non-flying birds, such as ostriches, which are mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament, so the Israelites must have known about them. But they do have wings, although they don't fly much, or any.

There is no direct mention of several mostly non-moving, or at least non-swimming, water animals, including oysters and other shelled molluscs, sea anemones, sponges, and corals. Most likely, the Israelites weren't too familiar with these, anyway, and, besides, they probably wouldn't have been recognized as animals. They probably knew about oysters, or some of them did, since Jesus told a parable about a pearl in Matthew 13.

The scripture quoted at the beginning of this post was, perhaps, not meant to have been inclusive.

Genesis 1 doesn't tell us when, why, or how God created. It doesn't even tell us all of what God created. What it does, and what its main purpose is, is to tell us that there was a Who of creation. (There still is!)

Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

atlibertytosay said...

That is exactly how the Creation Museum frames their presentation …

The Bible frames the story with a "Who" not a "what" or a "when" or really even a "where" as you cannot have a relationship with any of those other terms of questions. You can only have a relationship WITH someONE.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, atlibertytosay.

I didn't know that about the Creation Museum.