Genesis 1:24-25 (NASB):
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
You may ask, “Where is evolution in this passage?”
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures…
God did not create them directly. He commanded the earth to bring them forth. It was a process.
That’s an important distinction. Everybody knows animals come from animals, not the earth. Note the word for earth is “erets” which can mean soil, or land, or the whole world.
OK, so what is a “kind”?
The Hebrew word “miyn” seems to be used much as we use the word “species” today.
So how do you get a new species? As in a significant change?
If you breed dogs, all you’ll ever get is dogs.
You can separate two populations of dogs. Because of genetic drift, you’ll eventually get dogs that can’t breed together wit the original dogs.
But you still won’t get anything significantly different from a dog.
There are two ways to get a brand new species:
2) Genome Duplication through Hybridization – where Species 1 crossed with Species 2 gives you Species 3.
Emmer wheats + goat grass = modern wheat.
This doubles the number of chromosomes. After this merger, “hybrid dysgenesis” kicks in. Extensive genome editing re-arranges and deletes parts of the new DNA.
Whatever “kind” means in Genesis, it surely must allow for Hybridization (at least if the Bible can be trusted to be true) because botanists produce new species through hybrids every day.
Hybrids are typically sterile… but not always. When you get a fertile hybrid you can get a brand new species that never existed before.
A liger, for example, is a hybrid of lion and tiger. It has twice the chromosomes of either of its parents.
This fascinating article details many new kinds of plants and animals that have been bred through hybridization:
Genome studies suggest that a hybridization event got us from invertebrates to vertebrates, when two tunicates merged to create a hagfish.
Then a second merger got us from vertebrates to jawed vertebrates.
This is called “Ohno’s 2R hypothesis,” where the “2R” stands for “2 Rounds of doubling” of chromosomes.
We are not able to go back and observe tunicate 1 + tunicate 2 = hagfish, of course. But the genetic data is greatly consistent with such a hypothesis.
We also know from plant and animal breeding that in a small minority of cases, a hybrid merger produces a very successful new species. (Like wheat.) The new species may have significantly different features than its ancestors.
So unless we assume that observable symbiotic and hybrid mergers somehow prove the Bible wrong – and I seriously doubt “kind” was ever meant to exclude such things – then there is no conflict between the Bible and an evolutionary view.
Does not scripture say God commanded the earth to produce animals? And plants?
Also… does not scripture say that the earth sprouted vegetation, plants yielded seed, and fruit trees bore fruit with seeds in them? And that all of this took place before the end of “day” 3?
Genesis 1:9-13 (New American Standard Bible):
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Scriptures say the earth sprouted vegetation, plants yielded seed, and fruit trees bore fruit… all on the third “day.”
We have two choices:
1) The earth brought forth vegetation and trees grew at thousands of times normal speed, or
2) Perhaps a day is not 24 hours.
The word “yom” clearly means something other than 24 hours in Genesis 2:4, where all the “days” are described as one “day.” Yom has even more meanings across the Old Testament.
So I cast my vote with option #2.
Seeing that the earth produced animals – scripture indicates God did not directly make them, but commanded the earth to make them – I see no conflict between Genesis 1 and an evolutionary progression.
Not only that – but to assert that God created animals and plants intact, fully grown, clearly contradicts scripture. Genesis 1 is not describing instantaneous miracles; it’s describing a process.
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