We want to consider the points raised in this COD article and compare it against the record of Genesis 2:19-20.

A brief quibble over terminology

We begin by noting that the IEAC Statement dated 4 November 2015 states under the heading “Background” that “We accept the creation record as literal in its details”. Christadelphian Origins Discussion (COD) misquotes this as “literal in all its details.” We might perhaps infer that the intent of the IEAC Statement is to refer to all the details, but that is not what the IEAC Statement says.

Moreover, we could take issue with the COD terminology: “Adam names every animal and bird.” Does he? That’s not what Genesis 2:19-20 says. If we read Genesis 2:19 by itself: “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof ”, we might infer that every animal and bird across the globe was brought to Adam. But we need to read the next verse because this tells us what Adam did: “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (v20). The naming was limited to three groups—cattle, fowl and beast of the field.

The sixth day

The creative work of God on day six is outlined in Genesis 1:24-31. The record tells us that God created “the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind… And… the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind”. We note in passing, that God’s creation of “fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” was a work of the fifth day (Gen 1:20-23).

Then came the creation of man: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…” (Gen 1:26). It is clear that the creation of the woman was also a work of the sixth day as verse 27 indicates: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them”. Chapter two (mostly) expands upon the work of the sixth day, especially as it relates to Adam and Eve and their circumstances in Eden. Since the bringing of the animals before Adam for naming leads into the episode of Eve’s formation, it is clear that that incident was part of the circumstances of the sixth day.

The record of Genesis 2:19 tells us what God had done, and what Adam is now to do. The verse reads: “Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field…” (ESV, NIV, Jewish Bible, Rotherham, Keil & Delitzsch). So the order of Genesis 1 in relation to the sixth day is not contradicted (as if Divine inspiration would ever at all be in contradiction), and the scene is now set for the creation of woman.

The formation of the woman

The Jewish Bible translates Genesis 2:18 as: “Hashem God said, It is not good that man be alone; I will make him a helper corresponding to him”. This had clearly been God’s plan from the beginning. The bringing of certain animals and birds before Adam to be named by him was an integral part of the same plan. As he observed these creatures, each with its mate, passing before him, he gave them a name suited to its characteristics. “But as for man, he did not find a helper corresponding to him.” The exercise emphasised his aloneness, it did not assuage it. So when God, towards the end of that sixth day induced a deep sleep for Adam and then formed the woman (2:26) “he brought her to the man” in the same manner, and for the same purpose that he had “brought (the animals) unto Adam” earlier.

The observation and naming of the animals according to their characteristics by Adam was part of his exercise of dominion. God brought the animals to Adam; he noted their character; he named them; he noted, wryly, that they did not really meet his needs, and they went on their way. Now the process is the same, but the outcome! What a difference. God brought the woman to the man; he noted her form and her ways, here was a person totally suited to him; he named her “Woman”(“Isha”) because she was taken out of “Man” (“Ish”); and she stayed! Now there was “male and female” (Gen 1:27) constituting “the man and his wife” (Gen2:25). Now “God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over… every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28 Jewish Bible).

The COD commentary ignores the grandeur of this plan and focuses on the counting of the animals because Theistic evolution seeks to divert attention away from the creation of woman in that this theory portrays an entirely different origin for the woman. Their view portrays a parallel race of males and females in which the female is not “out of the man.” Why would God oversee continual failures and corrections through millions of years to produce females that are derived from the same protein base as the male, and then create woman in an entirely different way on the sixth day? If the principles relating to relationships between man and woman were established by this special method of creation, why would God contradict that principle by allowing women to evolve independently of man? Theistic evolution portrays God as inconsistent and subverts the glorious principles relating to the creation of woman.

Kinds, species and seconds

The commentary by COD calculates that Adam had “43,200 seconds, less the time elapsed since God made the animals then him… Plus part of this time was also lost through the creation of Eve”. They go on to say, “Adam named:

  • Reptiles 10,038 species
  • Amphibians 7,302 species
  • Birds 10,425 species
  • Mammals 5,513 species”

This information, the COD footnote tells us, comes from https://www.currentresults.com/Environment-Facts/Plants-Animals/number-species. php. On reviewing that site we find an article written by Liz Osborn which states that these “numbers most accurately represent all living species of mammal, birds and coniferous plants”.

We note that God does not give us a count. Nor does he trouble us with how many seconds per animal Adam had available to him. Christ tells us that “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Luke 2:7). Since that number—for all the 7.5 billion people on the planet—changes throughout the course of every day, we know that God has—what is to us—a staggering total awareness of every tiniest feature of his entire creation at any moment. Yet He does not think it of the slightest importance to tell us about the number of animals or the number of seconds with which Adam had to contend, all in the daylight hours of the sixth day. The only thing we can be sure of with absolute confidence, is that it was quite enough. And therefore the number of animals the first man, Adam, had to review and name was somewhat less than what COD suggest.

How many? It is difficult to determine exactly, but there are two important biblical reasons why it was not an impossible task for Adam to name all the animals that God brought before him in one day:

Firstly, the creation record in Genesis 1 tells us that God created plants, animals and birds to reproduce “after their kinds”, where “kind” is the translation of the Hebrew word mîn, a word that occurs 10 times (Gen 1:11,12,21,24,25). Importantly, the biblical term “kind” is well defined as a plant or animal that can reproduce “after its kind”, but this does not always correspond to any given level in the man-made classification system of: Species < Genus < Family < Order < Class < Phylum < Kingdom < Domain. Modern animals have many identified species, but these come from one or a few “kinds”. For example the modern dog, with over 300 described species, seem to have all originated with the wolf. As we know that different species of dogs, cats, horses, ducks, etc can be mated together and produce fertile offspring, the biblical “kind” would more often than not correspond more to the larger grouping of “Genus” or even “Family”.

Secondly, as mentioned earlier, the larger groupings of animals which Adam named are specifically described in Genesis 2:20. They were the “cattle” or “livestock” (Heb behemah), “the birds of the air” (Heb oph hassamayim) and “every beast of the field” (Heb chayyah hassadeh). These three groups do not correspond to today’s man-made taxonomy (amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects), but rather are designated more on the basis of how these animals interacted with man.

Importantly, if we compare the three groups of animals that were brought before Adam in Genesis 2 with what God created in Genesis 1:20-25 — birds and sea creatures (day 5), beasts of the earth, cattle, creeping things (day 6)— there are some significant differences. Adam was not required to name any of the sea creatures, or any of the creeping things. And as the beasts of the field in Genesis 2:20 are not specifically identified in Genesis 1, we can regard them as being a subset of the beasts of the earth mentioned in Genesis 1:24-25. Psalm 8:6-7 speaks of creation, alluding to Genesis 1:26- 28 and Genesis 2:19. The Jewish Bible translates Psalm 8:7 “sheep and cattle, all of them, even the beasts of the field”. This suggests that the beasts of the field are primarily domesticated creatures, or those that could be domesticated. The term “field” is very often used for pastureland under human control, rather than wilderness.

Therefore, when we bring together these two limiting aspects, the biblical “kind” being much broader than today’s “species” and only three groupings of animals brought before Adam, it is likely that Adam had a much smaller task than suggested by COD. Various suggestions have been made as to the number of “kinds” brought before Adam ranging from about 1,000 up to 3,000. Still quite a task, but achievable by one with the energy and intellect of the newly created Adam.

Other attacks

The COD comments, in taking issue with the IEAC Statement that the “supporting ecclesias took the Genesis creation record as “literal in (all) its details”, and choose to attack comments on Genesis 2:19-20 made by a number of brothers. But none of the brothers whose words are called into question had any connection with the IEAC Statement. In fact some of those quoted were long dead when the IEAC Statement was produced.

Brother HA Whittaker in his book, Genesis 1-2-3-4, says on this section as quoted by COD: “Is it necessary to assume the angels led (LXX) to Adam all the enormous variety of creatures already made? A wide and diverse selection, those living in the garden, would surely suffice”. This is where the COD quote ends, but Brother Harry continues: “to demonstrate to Adam’s high intelligence (no Neanderthal low-brow) that amidst them all he was really alone”. Brother Harry’s comment directs us to what is more important, the purpose of this divinely directed exercise. Brother Harry apparently assumes that the language of completeness “all” and “every” (“every beast of the field”) really means a sufficient sample of every creature, focussing particularly on the animals and birds “living in the garden”. This may be a correct interpretation, and it certainly accords with the comments of the brother next quoted by COD.

COD quote from Brother Stephen Snobelen’s book, The Genesis Creation: Literary, Conceptual and Theological Analyses as follows: “the description of the animals being brought to and named by the adam suggests domestic animals”. The section in which this extract is found has the heading: The Garden of Eden as a Microcosm of the Earth. The full section, from which the COD extract is drawn gives a better picture of Brother Snobelen’s thinking: “the descriptions of God planting the Garden (2:8) and the Adam dressing and keeping it (2:15; cf.2:5,8) confirm that Eden is not presented as wilderness but as cultivated or domesticated nature, just as the description of the animals being brought to and named by the Adam suggests domestic animals”.

These thoughtful comments by Brother Snobelen seem to be far from “an inconsistent pick and mix approach to Genesis 1-3”.

Brother Arthur Gibson, Testimony Magazine – Vol 53 No 631, July 1983

The COD group quote an extract from “Page 221” (actually page 220) of the above article: “The upshot of this is that Adam conferred names on all the animals by classes. They would all bear a name. But Adam did not have to give it to each individual animal”. Context might be useful here.

Brother Arthur in fact produced a Testimony Special Issue in July 1983 on the subject: Creation versus Evolution. The extract quoted by COD from page 220, is only part of a paragraph headed, Naming in Genesis and Biology. It is worth reproducing in full: “It is sometimes said that Genesis 2:19,20 cannot possibly be right about Adam’s naming all the animals on the sixth day: ‘whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field’. It does not mention that Adam named organisms in the seas, or insects; and this is not often noticed by such critics. The objection usually offered against this narrative is that there was not enough time in a day to fulfil the naming procedure.

But the text does not say that each animal was named. It is a confusion to suppose that ‘every’ means ‘each’. Hebrew has a regular word for ‘each’ (‘hd); and it is not used in the Creation account except for marital union in Genesis 2:24, which does not oppose this point. In fact the Hebrew for ‘every’ in the quoted passage is the same as that translated ‘all’ (kl). The upshot of this is that Adam conferred names on all the animals by classes. They would all bear a name. But Adam did not have to give it to each individual animal.

What is more, the Genesis record does not even commit itself to Adam’s individually naming each species. He may only have named each genus – which would contain classes of species.

This genus-name would still apply to each species within the family of animals to which it belongs.

The classification of animals is still a controversial matter in zoology. The Hebrew terminology in Genesis is general. So it would be fallacious to foist one modern model of animal classification onto Genesis as though that were the rule with which to fault Genesis’s general approach.”

These comments by Brother Arthur Gibson also do not strike me as “an inconsistent pick and mix approach to Genesis 1-3”, but rather a cogent explanation of what happened during that sixth day.

Conclusion

We have in the Genesis account the divinely inspired commentary on the proceedings of the sixth day. It would be wise to listen to the One who was the Creator, Observer and Recorder of those events. It does not seem wise for those who were not there to extrapolate backwards from modern counts of species, and having overlaid these numbers on the record, challenge others to make these assumptions work.

But most of all, all we need to do is to believe the plain, straight forward account recorded by Almighty God. How ineffably sad, when the record is directing us to the exalted principles involved in the creation of woman and the mighty parable of divine salvation, that we spend time chasing the wind.

The Formation of Woman

“But in the formation of a companion for the first man, the Lord Elohim created her upon a different principle. She was to be a dependent creature; and a sympathy was to be established between them, by which they should be attached inseparably. It would not have been fit, therefore, to have given her an independent origin from the dust of the ground. Had this been the case, there would have been about the same kind of attachment between men and women as subsists among the creatures below them. The woman’s companionship was designed to be intellectually and morally sympathetic with “the image and glory of God”, whom she was to revere as her superior. The sympathy of the mutually independent earthborns of the field is purely sensual; and in proportion as generations of mankind lose their intellectual and moral likeness to the Elohim, and fall under the dominion of sensuality; so the sympathy between men and women evaporates into mere animalism. But, I say, such a degenerate result as this was not the end of her formation. She was not simply to be “the mother of all living”; but to reflect the glory of man as he reflected the glory of God.

To give being to such a creature, it was necessary she should be formed out of man … Bone sympathizes with bone, and flesh with flesh, in all pleasurable, healthful, and painful feelings. Hence, to separate a portion of Adam’s living substance, and, from it to build a woman, would be to transfer to her the sympathies of Adam’s nature; and though by her organization able to maintain an independent existence, she would never lose from her nature a sympathy with his, in all its intellectual, moral, and physical manifestations.” (Elpis Israel page 48)