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Genesis 1:24-25 - The Sixth Day (Part 1): Creation of Land Animals

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Now, we come to the sixth day of creation, to the most important day of all—by far the most important day.  Why?  Because God now creates both land animals and man.  Man is to be the summit of God’s creation.  Once man is created, God will create no more.  But man is not created until the last half of the day.  Before man, the earth must be filled and populated with land animals.  This is the subject we will be talking about tonight: “The Sixth Day (Part 1): Creation of Land Animals.”

When day six began, God put a finishing touch on the habitat He had created for man. On day five, He had filled the sea and the skies with life, and now He did the same thing on dry land:

A.                 God’s Word created land animals (v.24).

1.                  “Then God said…”  (v.24); “And God made…”  (v.25).

a)                  The means of creation is the same as before, God’s Word.

(1)                 “Then God said…”  (v. 24); “And God made…”  (v. 25).  Those two expressions constitute a Hebrew parallelism.
(a)                 In other words, they are equivalent expressions, explaining one another and therefore sealing the distinctive clarity of the biblical record.  God’s creative work was instantaneous, accomplished by nothing more or less than His creative decree.
(b)                He simply gave the command for things to appear—“and it was so” (v. 24).  What He commanded was instantly made complete, fixed, and in place essentially as it has been ever since.
(2)                 As day six dawns, we have the introduction of all kinds of land animals: “cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind” (v. 24).  That includes every kind of land–based creature from insects and worms to elephants and giraffes.

b)                  The creatures did not evolve.

(1)                 All of them were created instantaneously.  And to highlight this, Scripture names three categories that God created: “cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth.”  All were created simultaneously; one did not evolve from the other.

c)                  The creatures were formed out of the ground (Gen.2:19).

(1)                 In verse 24, God says, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind” (emphasis added).  This is an interesting expression:
(a)                 It doesn’t imply any creative forces in the earth itself, or any power in the soil to generate life.  It certainly isn’t suggesting that these life–forms evolved from in–animate matter.
(b)                But it reminds us that creatures God made are composed of the very same elements as the earth.  As mentioned (Gen.2:19) affirms this, saying that God formed the living creatures “out of the ground.”
(c)                 When they die, their bodies decompose and they go back to the earth.  As we shall see in chapter 8, this is true of human beings as well.  Adam was formed from the dust of the earth.  And when we die, our bodies return to dust (Genesis 3:19).
(2)                 Notice that verses 24 and 25 repeat the phrase “according to its kind” five times”. 
(a)                 The phrase appears a total of ten times in Genesis 1.  This rules out spontaneous generation, and it rules out macroevolution [evolution that results in relatively large and complex changes (as in species formation].  Here both Scripture and science agree against the evolutionary doctrine.

B.                God made land animals, each after its kind (v.25a).

1.                  “The living creatures according to its kind… cattle…”  (v.24). 

a)                  The digestive system.

(1)                 Cows have four stomachs.
(a)                 Actually, it is probably more accurate to say that their stomach is a complex organ divided into four chambers. 
(b)                When a cow eats grass or hay, the partially chewed fiber passes into the cow’s first stomach chamber, called the rumen.
(c)                 There it ferments for one to two days.  Helpful bacteria in the rumen causes the fermentation, beginning the process of breaking down cellulose and converting it into simple sugars.  This first chamber of the cow’s stomach is huge—holding the equivalent of nearly fifty gallons.
(2)                 When the cow drinks water (twenty five to fifty gallons per day), most of the fluid bypasses the rumen and goes directly to the second chamber called the reticulum. 
(a)                 There it is mixed with digestive enzymes and more fermentation bacteria.
(b)                Meanwhile, muscular movement of the stomach chamber rolls the food in chamber one into little balls and the partially fermented balls are then passed into the second chamber, where they are infused with the enzyme–saturated liquid.
(c)                 Later, when the cow has leisure to ruminate (chew the cud), it will regurgitate those soggy balls of fiber from the second stomach chamber and chew them more finely before swallowing again.
(d)                This is what Scripture speaks of when it designates the cow as one of those animals that chews the cud (Lev.11:3).  A typical cow spends about six hours per day eating and about eight hours per day chewing its cud.
(3)                 The cud, after more chewing, is swallowed again, and this time, in a near–liquid state, it passes directly into the second chamber.
(a)                 The construction of the second chamber enables the chewed cud to be filtered. Smaller particles are permitted to pass into a third chamber.  The larger particles that remain in the second chamber are regurgitated again for more chewing.
(b)                The third chamber is called the omasum.  There, excess liquid is reabsorbed into the cow’s system and the thoroughly chewed cud is compacted while its chemical composition is broken down even more by the digestive process.
(c)                 The thoroughly refined food then passes from the third chamber into a fourth, called the abomasum. This chamber works much like the stomachs of other mammals. It secretes strong acid and digestive enzymes, completing the digestive process. From there, nutrients pass into the cow’s blood system, sustaining the cow and providing vital nutrients for milk production.
(d)                This remarkable design enables the cow to enjoy a nutritious meal from a simple manger of hay, something that is impossible for mammals not equipped with multichambered stomachs capable of digesting cellulose.

(4)                 Synonyms for ruminate or chewing the cud are:
(a)                 Ponder, think over, reflect, chew over and meditate.  The Hebrew dictionary says this about the word meditate…

(i)                   “ponder; give serious thought and consideration to selected information, with a possible implication of speaking in low tones reviewing the material”.

(ii)                 “weigh, i.e., make a judgment about something after a thought process”.

!!!!!! (b)                Let’s look at some O.T. passages that talk about meditating or chewing on the Word of God.

(i)                   Joshua 1:8 – meditate on it day and night.

(ii)                 Psalm 1:2 – meditate day and night.

(iii)                Psalm 63:6 – meditate on you.

(iv)               Psalm 77:12 – meditate on His works.

(v)                 Proverbs 15:28 – think before we speak.

(c)                 Lets look at some N.T. passages

(i)                   John 5:39; Acts 17:11 – searching and examining the Scriptures daily.

(ii)                 Romans 15:4 – the things written in Scripture encourages us and brings us hope.

(iii)                Colossians 3:16 – letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly.

(iv)               1 Tim.4:14-16; Heb.2:1 – paying close attention to the Word of God.

(v)                 1 Peter 2:2 – desire the word of God.

b)                  Cows are useful as they are durable.

(1)                 Almost every part of the cow can be used for food, including the cow’s bones and hoofs, which can be boiled to extract collagen for making gelatin.  The hide makes durable leather.
(2)                 The cow seems to have been especially designed to serve the needs of humanity.  
(a)                 Fully domesticated and easily bred, they can live almost anywhere people can live.
(b)                They can graze on a wide variety of wild plant life and therefore are relatively inexpensive to feed and maintain.  They are God’s gracious gift to humanity.

2.                  “The living creatures according to its kind… sheep…”  (v.24). 

a)                  Sheep are also useful to man.

(1)                 Sheep are also animals that chew the cud like cattle and have similar four–chambered stomachs.  But they can graze on plants other animals won’t touch.
(2)                 Their wool makes energy–efficient clothing for both hot and cold weather.  It is breathable, fire–resistant, and warm even when wet—superior in many ways to all other fabrics.
(3)                 Sheep are also raised for their meat and milk.  They have been an important part of civilization from the beginning of recorded history.  In modern times they have played a crucial role in medical research.  Surely one of the Creator’s main purposes in creating these gentle animals was for the benefit of the human race.

3.                  “The living creatures according to its kind… camel…”  (v.24). 

a)                  Camels may be in the group classified as cattle.  

(1)                 Although they were unclean for food under the Mosaic economy (Leviticus 11:4), they are valuable working–beasts, bred and kept in captivity because of their usefulness to humanity.
(a)                 Camels are impressive workers, able to carry large loads of a thousand pounds or more in the desert where water is scarce.
(b)                The camel has only 3 stomach chambers.  The second chamber enables the camel to drink nearly 30 gallons of water in 10 minutes.  The camel can then go on for day without water.                         
(c)                 The camel’s hump is a large mass of fat that acts as a food reserve, enabling the camel to live for days in the most extreme desert conditions.  The hump also insulates the camel from the heat and other effects of solar radiation.
(2)                 Where did the camel acquire such amazing abilities?  The answer is clear from Scripture.  God made these wonderful animals, as He made other kinds of cattle and creatures capable of being domesticated.  And their chief purpose seems to be to render service to humanity.

!!! 4.                  “The living creatures according to its kind…”  (v.24) everything that creeps…”  (v.25). 

Living under the curse of sin, we tend to think of many of these creatures as repulsive pests, but they were all created with good purposes, and they reveal the creative diversity, wisdom, and glory of God just as clearly as we see His majesty in the stars.  The realm of creeping things is a world of wonders, like every other aspect of God’s creation.

a)                  The ant (Proverbs 6:6-8).

(1)                 Ants are some of the hardest workers in the animal kingdom.  By most accounts, they are able to lift as much as fifty times their own weight.
(2)                 Ants also have proportionally larger brains than almost any other animal.  They work cooperatively without any kind of supervisor.  
(3)                 Their short lifetime (as brief as forty–five days in some species) is virtually nonstop work—building their nests, foraging for food, blazing trails, removing obstacles and otherwise maintaining those trails, and carrying food for the queen back to the nest.
(4)                 They can survive under water, in some cases for days.  They can survive being frozen, and they can withstand high temperatures.  They adapt quickly to changes in the environment or climate.

b)                  The ants’ survival.

(1)                 Ants live in colonies and are incapable of survival on their own.  An ant colony is itself a kind of massive organism, with each individual ant contributing to the welfare of the whole colony.  There is an intricate and well–defined hierarchy in every ant colony.
(2)                 At the heart of the colony – a single queen in some species, multiple queens in others. The queen lays up to two or three thousand eggs per day.  Worker ants are infertile females, and they make up the largest number of ants in any colony.  Male ants exist primarily to mate with the queen, and they leave the nest and die shortly after mating.  If the queen dies, the entire colony will soon die.
(3)                 Some species of ants actually raid other colonies, take other ants’ pupae back to their own nests, and raise them as slaves.  Amazon ants, for example, cannot survive without slaves.  The shape of their mandibles does not permit them to dig their own nests or feed themselves.  So they use other ant species as slaves.

5.                  “The living creatures according to its kind…”  (v.24) the beasts of the earth…”  (v.25). 

The final category named in Genesis 1:24–25 embraces all other land creatures: “the beast[s] of the earth.”  This no doubt would include elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, bears, wolves, coyotes, and other large and long–legged animals that would not fit the categories of “cattle” or “creeping thing[s].”  “The beast of the earth” would also probably include many now–extinct species of dinosaurs.

a)                  What happened to the dinosaurs?

(1)                 Probably at the time of the flood, God allowed them to die out.  The earliest book in all Scripture (Job) indicates a description of a dinosaur (Job 40:15-19).
(2)                 The dinosaurs may have perished when earth’s climate changed severely after the Flood.
(a)                 We know that human life expectancy was severely decreased after the flood.  Before the Flood it was common for men to live nine hundred years or longer.
(b)                After that, the human life span decreased notably almost immediately. Severe environmental and atmospheric changes may explain this, and the same types of changes may also explain the extinction of all the dinosaur species.

!!!! b)                  The Elephants.

(1)                 Today, elephants are earth’s largest land species.  The elephant’s trunk is one of the wonders of the animal kingdom.  Strong enough to lift large logs yet sensitive enough to pick up a single peanut, the elephant’s trunk is the organ with which he drinks, breathes, and feeds himself.
(2)                 It is also his chief means of feeling objects in order to determine their size, texture, and temperature.
(3)                 The trunk of a typical elephant weighs three hundred pounds, holds up to four gallons of water, is about seven feet long, and comprises the elephant’s nose and upper lip. No other animal can grip things or pick up things with its nose.

c)                  The Bears.

(1)                 Bears are fantastic creatures, too—able to hibernate in some climates for up to seven months.  But bear hibernation is different from the kind of hibernation observed in other species.
(a)                 When smaller animals (such as squirrels and shrews) hibernate, their body temperature falls to near freezing and their heart rate slows to only one or two beats per minute.  They go into a cold, dormant state from which it takes a considerable amount of time for them to be awakened.
(b)                A bear’s hibernation is more like a long and deep nighttime sleep.  The bear’s body temperature drops no more than ten degrees Fahrenheit.  His heart rate slows but maintains a rhythm of at least twelve beats per minute.
(c)                 The bear, if disturbed, can awaken very quickly from this state.  Yet while he is asleep, he neither eats nor eliminates food.  
(d)                In most animals, enduring months without elimination would cause a fatal buildup of toxins in the blood.  (Other hibernating animals do eliminate during their hibernation.)  
(e)                 But the bear’s body is designed to accommodate those long months of sleep without any kind of elimination.  He burns stored fat for fuel, but it is as if there is no waste produced by the burning of that fat.  
(f)                  For reasons biologists cannot yet explain, the level of uric acid and other toxins in the bear’s blood remains essentially the same as when he is not hibernating.

d)                  Every beast of the earth shows evidence of special design (Romans 1:20).

(1)                 All of them are born with instinctive intelligence that enables them to survive and thrive in their environments.  All of them have remarkable capabilities that set them apart from other beasts.  No wonder.  
(2)                 All of them were created by an all–wise Creator who endowed them with these extraordinary features.  His vast creative wisdom may be clearly seen in all that He has made (Romans 1:20).

C.                God saw that His creation was “good”—fulfilled its function (v.25b).

1.                  “God saw that it was good…”  (v.25).

a)                  The animals fulfilled their function for which they were created.

(1)                 God created animals for man (Gen.2:18ff), therefore we should be pleased with the animal creation of God. 
(2)                 God cares for all animals, even the sparrow that falls to the ground, think of how much more he cares for us (Matt.6:26; Luke 12:6-7; 2Tim.4:18; Heb.13:6).
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