At the pinnacle of God’s creation is mankind. Humans are exclusive among all other creatures in that they are created in the image and likeness of God.
Genesis 1:26-28 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. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
There has been much debate over what the “image” and “likeness” of God are. Image has to do with resemblance and likeness has to do with similar traits. Neither should be understood as relating to physical characteristics because God in His essence is spirit. (John 4:24) Rather, mental and spiritual attributes are likely the meaning. Continue reading
God begins the sixth day by creating land animals.
Genesis 1:24-25 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. 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.
The Hebrew word translated “creature” is nephesh. It was first used in verse 20 in reference to animals living in the water. Its basic meaning is “soul” or “life”. It should be understood as a “living being”. It is used of Adam in Genesis 2:7 after God breathed into him and brought him to life. Continue reading
On the fifth day, God creates all those things which live in the water and all birds.
Genesis 1:20-23 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Notice that God does not say “fish” or “crustaceans” or anything specific. He simply commands that the waters “bring forth abundantly the moving creature”. The Hebrew verb translated “bring forth abundantly” is a cognate of the Hebrew word translated “moving creature”. They both have to do with teeming or swarming. Continue reading