Life Out of Nothing, Genesis 1:20-23

“Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures [souls], and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament [expanse] of the heavens.’ So God created [bara] great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:20-21.

Over the last 24 hours of the re-creation we have seen the sun, moon and the stars appear in the skies, and before that, on day three, God separated the land from the seas and brought forth vegetation upon the earth. And though it is not stated, it can be assumed that the vegetation under the seas was also brought forth at this time.

And now we enter a new phase of creation.

“Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth…” Genesis 1:20a.

This is the first time since Genesis 1:1 that something is created out of nothing, bara.

“In the beginning God created [bara] the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1.

The Hebrew word bara is used three times to mean “out of nothing” in Genesis 1, it is used in reference to creation as seen in Genesis 1:1 above, it is next used in Genesis 1:21 and phrased in such a manner as to include the animals created later on the sixth day.

Bara is used again in Genesis 1:27, referring to the creation of man and, repeated two more times concerning the creation of man and woman.

The word created should be enough to tell us that it was out of nothing, but sometimes one might say, “I created this table out of wood that was on hand.” For this reason, it is a good idea to elaborate on the meaning of the word as we are doing here.

The Wycliffe translation, which is extremely old (1395 A.D.) and hard to understand, seems to be the only one that was able make the word created clearly mean, “out of nothing”. The meanings of the words are shown in brackets below to clarify the old English.

“And God made of nought [nothing; out of nothing] great whales, and each living soul and movable [that moves], which the waters have brought forth in their kind; and God made of nought [nothing] each volatile [winged creature; better, winged fowl] by his kind. And God saw that it was good…” Genesis 1:21, Wycliffe translation.

“Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures [souls]…” Genesis 1:20a.

These living creatures are referred to as souls; animals have souls but they do not have an eternal spirit. It is because they have souls that we can at times connect with them, as often happens with a beloved dog, cat, or horse.

However good a companion an animal is, and sometimes you have to agree with Mark Twain when he said, “The more I know people, the more I love my dog.”

Animals are still no substitute for another human being, as God tells us in Genesis 2:18 and 20.

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18.

“So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:20.

Now God knew all along what He was going to do, but He goes through all this rigmarole for a reason. One of the reasons is so Adam could assert his authority over the earth by naming the animals within his domain.

There are at least two other reasons. One of course is to confirm that God made us to be over the animal kingdom to care for it, but it is not to be substituted for human companionship.

The most important reason is to show all men the position of the woman in creation.

It has been said, and rightfully so, that woman was not taken from the man’s head, so as to be over him, nor was she taken from his feet, to be under him, woman was taken from man’s side to be his equal, a companion.

Now this is a rule, not a suggestion as many seem to think it is.

Everyone needs to understand this: even though Muslims may never have read the Bible, even though Hindus and Buddhists have never read it, even though Satanists, atheists, and the average person on the street has never read the Bible, it does not mean that God will not hold them responsible for what He has given in it.

Another reason men and women are different than animals is that while an animal consists of a body and a soul, they are not eternal.

“Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth?” Ecclesiastes 3:21.

Mankind has an eternal soul because they are made up of body, soul and spirit. While the body will die, the soul and spirit are eternal, which is why Christ died for us, to cleanse us of sin making us fit to live with Him for eternity.

As for the death of the body; it will be replaced with an eternal glorified body for those in Christ and another kind shall be given to those who have rejected Him.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:21.

The King James Bible translates the term “great sea creatures” as whales. While whales are included in the words great sea creatures, there is a broader meaning to the term which actually means sea monsters, or a vast fish.

Sea monsters is no exaggeration there were a multitude of truly huge creatures in the oceans at that time many of which have gone extinct, and many like the giant squid which can measure up to 43 feet from the top of its body to the tip of its tentacles; 46 feet in the case of the Colossal squid. Some unconfirmed reports of these creatures give a length of 66 feet, and of course there are also accounts of sailing ships having been sunk by them.

Giant squid may live at a depth of 984 feet to as much as 3,280 feet, which is one reason the tales of these giants have been considered legends until fairly recently.

During World War I a German U-boat torpedoed an allied freighter, when they surfaced to witness the sinking and as the ship slid underwater there was a tremendous explosion, with the explosion a huge creature was ejected far into the air.

According to the witnesses the creature was about 50 feet in length and had a head similar to a crocodile and a body with flippers. The description resembles that of a Kronosaurus, thought to be extinct long ago with the dinosaurs.

“…and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded”; this phrase means everything that lives in water was included.

It also embraces the words in Genesis 1:24, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”, making it unnecessary to repeat the word created (bara) since it is implied.

Some expositors take the words, “…and every living thing that moves” to include the world of insects; but if it does mean anything of that sort, the meaning is quite likely referring to moving things in or near the water, since they need it to live.

Moving creatures could be crabs or starfish, clams, snails, and other such as live in tide pools where they might be in and out of water at times.

Creeping things such as insects are more likely to have been created on the sixth day and are mentioned in Genesis 1:24-25 and referred to as creeping things, and everything that creeps upon the earth.

For those who believe that God started the spark of life and then left His creation to itself while it evolved into man (theistic evolution); God Himself refutes this thinking.

If life did evolve as these scientists theorize, it would have gone as follows.

The spark of life and the first single cell began in the sea. At some point during this process, the single cells multiplied and either split into two different kinds of life; plant and animal; or at some point plant life evolved from another organism.

Whatever the case, the animal came first because plant life with its process of photosynthesis is a higher evolved organism.

As plant life moved upon land, animal life followed, it is only as animals evolved upward that the birdlife was able to evolve.

The theistic evolutionist cannot align his theory up with the atheistic evolutionist because God gives the order wrong. God first gives us plant life, which is way out of evolutionary order, He then gives us the birds, while there is still no animal life on earth, and finally God creates animal life from the ground, not from the sea.

God has purposely given us this order to force the evolutionist to call God a liar, or to admit that their theory does not hold water.

“And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’” Genesis 1:22.

To fill the waters in the seas would also include the lakes and streams, and rivers.

The beauty of all this cool, clear water teeming with fish of every kind, surrounded by and running through land covered with lush green plants of every hue, fragrant multicolored flowers, and trees laden with the best of fruit, transcends anything the mind can conceive. And God blessed the birds of the air and the creatures in the seas, for our sake.

“So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” Genesis 1:23.

Life Out of Nothing, Genesis 1:20-23 taken from posted on 5-6-14, updated on 8-28-21.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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