Creation of the Land Animals
In Genesis 1:24-31, terrestrial animals and humans were created on the sixth day. As with the correlation between the second and fifth days, a correlation is also seen between the division of the land and sea on the third day and the filling of the land on the sixth day. One is reminded again of the orderly and purposeful sequence of Creation events, as is consistent with a God of order (compare 1 Cor. 14:33).
As with the creatures created on the fifth day, the wording of the text indicates that a plurality of types was created on the sixth day of Creation. A diversity of beasts, cattle, and creeping things were created, as well.
There is no single ancestor of all land animals; God, instead, created many distinct and separate lineages.
Note the expression “according to their kind,” or similar phrases in Genesis 1:11, 21, 24, 25. Some have attempted to use this phrase to support the idea of fixed “kinds,” an idea taken from Greek philosophy. The ancient Greeks thought that each individual was an imperfect expression of an unchanging ideal, known as a type. Yet, the fixity of species is not consistent with the biblical teaching that all of nature suffers from the curse of sin ( Rom. 8:19-22). We know that species have changed, as expressed in the curses of Genesis 3 (Ellen G. White wrote about the “threefold curse” on the earth—the curse after the Fall, after Cain’s sin, and after the Flood), and as seen in the parasites and predators that cause so much suffering and violence. The meaning of the phrase “according to their kind” is best understood by examining the context in which it is used.
Read Genesis 6:20, 7:14, and Leviticus 11:14-22. How is the expression “after its kind” or an equivalent phrase applied? How do these examples help us to understand the phrase in Genesis 1?
The phrase “after his kind,” or equivalent, should not be interpreted as some rule of reproduction. Rather, it refers to the fact that there were diverse kinds of creatures involved in the respective stories. Some Bible translations use the phrase “of various kinds,” which seems more true to the context. Instead of referring to fixity of species, the phrase refers to the diversity of creatures created on the sixth day. From the time of the Creation, there have been many kinds of plants and animals.