Five days have passed. The Earth has been set in motion, primed with the perfect, life-giving conditions. The seas and skies are teeming with large and small creatures, so God focuses on land.
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.
Three words cover every land animal. Cattle describes livestock and wild animals both. It is used for large animals and is translated in other passages as ‘beast.’ Creeping thing is a different word than the word for moving thing from the fifth day. It can mean sea creatures in other passages, but, here, it is modified by the description “of the earth.” It expresses the idea of animals low to the ground, such as reptiles, rodents, and land insects. Beast is the last category, which means “living thing.” This word is used twice in this verse because it is the same word translated “living creature” at the beginning. It can refer to all animals and is modified by “of the earth.” So, God includes every large and small land animal.
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.
God makes the land animals and establishes the laws of procreation, just like He established for the water and sky animals: they can only reproduce their kind. The first animals in their pristine form must have had a great amount of genetic diversity that gave them the ability to reproduce so many varieties within their species. Research shows many have died out. I’m glad to know dogs won’t start giving birth to pigs. It would get really tiresome trying to find owners for a litter of pigs when I expected to have pugs.
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.
God is showing me His premeditation, His planning. He is going to create a creature—man—that will be unlike the creatures previously made. The emphasis is on man’s similarity to the Creator. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Man is like God in a way that the sea creatures, winged fowl, and animals of the land are not.
God gives mankind the rule over every other creature He has made, and He gets specific about this by citing the habitats of these creatures—they live in the sea, in the sky, and on the earth. So, man is established as the dominant creation by the Creator’s command, not by his own decision.
This short verse also reveals more information about God. God refers to Himself in the plural. “Let us make…in our image,” He says. He doesn’t explain who “us” is in this verse. Looking back in the previous verses, I can only note that He spoke of Himself in the beginning verses as “the Spirit of God.” So, the Spirit of God is present during creation, and this is the only clue I gather from the chapter about my Creator’s use of “us.” For me, an avid reader, this is the sort of thing I would make a note of. It stands out as a clue that I will want to keep in mind as I continue reading.
God made all the land creatures and established their procreation laws.
He called them good.
God, plural, plans the creation of man and man’s authority over creatures of the planet.
The sixth day isn’t over yet. I’ll read about the creation of man next. Right now, I’m wondering about the dinosaurs. When the animals of the sea and land were made, wouldn’t the largest beasts—those terrible lizards—have been created as well?
Here are two dino-sized descriptions I found from the Bible:
Behemoth – This beast seems to have been a land animal. He could use his tail like the trunk of a cedar tree, he ate grass, and the strength of his frame was compared to bronze and iron.
The sea serpent, Leviathan, is mentioned in 4 places: Job 41, Psalm 74, Psalm 104, and Isaiah 27. God uses sarcasm to discuss the strength of Leviathan. He says (and I’m paraphrasing), “Can you reel in Leviathan with a fishhook? Will he beg you to let him go? Will you take him for a pet?” This sarcasm is made clear when God says later, “Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle; you will not do it again!”
What do you think these animals were?
The feature image is mine. Notice he was smiling for the picture.