Creation Of Land Animals Genesis 1:24

Genesis 1:24

The waters now are peopled; the air is peopled; and terrestrial animals alone are wanting. Accordingly, when the morning of the sixth day dawned, God is described in the sacred record as resuming his creative work, in the words - “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind.”

There is evidently, from the variety of the terms employed, something intended as a classification of the various inhabitants of the earth. Yet it is remarkable that perhaps not one English reader in ten thousand has any distinct idea of the division denoted by these various terms, evidently meant to be distinctive. Few have spent a thought on the subject, or have taken the trouble to inquire - the great body of readers resting content in the knowledge that the several terms taken collectively must designate the various creatures by which the earth is peopled.

The term “living creature,” seems to be merely a collective designation of the animals which are there indicated according to their kind.

Under the term of “cattle,” are included the ruminant herbivore, generally gregarious and capable of domestication. To call them “tame” or “domestic,” at the time of their creation, as some do, would be absurd, seeing that their domestication was future; but this is the class of animals in which are included most of the species which, in the prescient providence of the Creator, were designed for the more immediate use and service of the future man, and which were therefore endued with habits suited to their intended connection with him. But although this class comprehends all the animals essentially of a gentle nature and susceptible of domestication, it does not include all animals which are now regarded as tame or domestic - for there are some, such as the cat and the dog, whose domestication is of very  ancient date, which were not originally natives of the more pacific genera, but are specimens of the wild tamed into the gentle.

Next, not in the order of enumeration, but in the order of nature and character, we come to the “beasts of the earth,” which are the carnivore or beasts of prey in their various kinds. The name by which they are designated comes from a word signifying “life” or “living,” and is well suited to the vivacious, active, and vigorous character which they display in comparison with the animals which crop the herb of the field. But were these animals indeed fierce and wild at their creation, and were their appetites even then such as to demand the immediate destruction, for their use, of the life which God had just given to other creatures? This is a hard question. The organization of these animals, their teeth, their feet, their intestines, are all adapted to the carnivorous and predatory existence; and it may at the first view seem that the life of other animals must from the beginning have been necessary to their subsistence. Yet the mind revolts from the idea of the new creation being at ones disfigured by scenes of slaughter and death, before the sin of Adam had brought woe into the world. We know that many of these animals, perhaps all, can be brought to subsist on vegetable products, as man himself can subsist wholly on flesh, or wholly on vegetables, as he chooses; and the intimations in Genesis, so far as they go, are in accordance with the more pleasing and amiable opinion, that although these animals were in their organization adapted to what was to become their more durable condition, yet their fierceness was held in check; and, although more active in their movements, they were not more aggressive than other animals. This is the opinion of the poets; and it is pleasant to be of their opinion whenever we can. The prophetic intimations favor this interpretation; for that the beasts of prey shall be divested of their fierceness, is a prominent feature in their descriptions of the final restoration of the earth to its originally paradisiacal condition This hint our poets have not been slow to take. 

“The lion, and the libbard and the bear
Graze with the fearless flocks; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, or drink one common stream
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now: The mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infant’s playful hand
Stretch’d forth to dally with the crested worm,
To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
All creatures worship man; and all mankind
One Lord, one Father.” - Cowper.

Old Du Bartas answers, under the same voice, this difficult question -

“Lord, if so be Thou for mankind didst rear
This rich round mansion (glorious everywhere)
Alas! why didst Thou on thus day create
These harmful beasts, which but exasperate
Our thorny life?
“Pardon, good God, pardon me; ‘twas our pride,
Not Thou, that troubled our first happy tide.
Before that Adam did revolt from Thee,
And (curious) tasted of the sacred tree,
He lived king in Eden, and his brow,
Was never blankt with pallid fear as now;
The fiercest beasts would at his word or beck
Bend to his yoke their self-obedient neck.”

Under the remaining class, rendered by “creeping thing” (in Hebrew, remes), we have not only the minor quadrupeds that seem to creep rather than walk, and such as creep on many feet, but all that glide along the surface of the soil - the serpents, annelids, etc. The idea throughout this classification is that of creeping. In the Arabic language, the same word as the Hebrew is applied to long luxuriant grass, that seems to creep over the ground; and in this sense it is still used in some parts of Scotland, in its original form, Ramsh.