Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

     Thank you for listening to these Words of Life Radio broadcasts as we focus on the Word of God.  The title for the lesson is “Living Creatures”, that is of the sea and the sky.  And our primary text is Genesis chapter 1 verses 20 through 23 which will come out in the body of our lesson. 

By the 5th day of creation, the earth’s environment and expanse of the heaven were complete therefore, from this point on God’s creative work it was essentially in the filling of the earth with living creatures of all sorts.

John MacArthur writes: “Scripture makes a clear distinction between plant and animal life.  Trees and plants are nowhere in scripture referred to as ‘living creatures’ or ‘living souls.’  Those designations are reserved for animals, insects, birds, fish, and humans.  In short, things that move and have central nervous systems.  Plants, of course, are biological organisms, living things in that sense.  They have genetic structures, biological systems, and the ability to reproduce after their own kind.  But they do not have conscious life, and that is why plants and trees are never referred to as ‘living creatures’ or ‘living souls’ in the sense scripture uses these expressions.

     Genesis chapter 1 verses 20 through 21 “And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So, God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”

     Here God populates the seas and the skies.  Now the hydrosphere (water) and the atmosphere (sky) are populated with an abundance of living creatures.  Scripture says that he spoke the full array of creatures into existence immediately out of nothing.  The seas began to swarm with living creatures everywhere; this included even fresh bodies of water, which also would have begun to teem with life at the Lord’s command.”  Whether sea or sky our Creator began filling the earth with living creatures.  The emphasis in this revelation was movement.  Note the words: “water teem with living creatures, birds fly across the expanse of the sky (verse 20) and every moving thing (verse 21).”  So, we have the animation of living creatures that move and migrate at will in stark contrast to plant life that is essentially stationary.  So, active movement replaces the emptiness of  the seas and skies.

     Each creature of sea and sky is noted to be ‘according to their kind’s (or species) (verse 21).  This declaration refutes the theory that the Bible allows for macro-evolution that includes all fish or birds coming from one original form or source.  Yet this does not teach against mutations or the development of various breeds within a species.

     Consider Psalm 104 verses 24 through 26 “How many are your works, Oh Lord!  In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.  “Let the water teem with living creatures” included the extraordinarily mammoth ones such as whales, all sorts and sizes of fish and sea mammals even extinct ones today.

     And you can consider the book of Job in the Old Testament chapter 41 verses 1 through 34 which incorporates poetic license in this description of these creatures.

There has been much debate as to the identity of this water-borne creature ‘leviathan’.

John MacArthur writes: “This term ‘Leviathan’ appears in (4) other Old Testament texts (Job chapter 3 verse 8; Psalm 74 verse 14; Psalm 104 verse 26 and Isaiah chapter 27 verse 1).  In each case Leviathan refers to some mighty creature who can overwhelm man but who is no match for God.  Since this creature lives in the sea among ships Psalm 104 verse 26, some form of sea monster, possibly an ancient dinosaur, is in view.  Some feel it was a crocodile, which had hide with ‘rows of shields’ in Job chapter 41 verse 15, fearsome teeth (verse 14) and speed in the water (verse 32).  But crocodiles are not sea creatures, and clearly this one was in (verse 31).           

     Some have thought it was a killer whale or a great white shark, because he is the ultimate killer beast over all other proud beasts as in (verse 34).  Which would have been the case after sin entered the world and all creation became fallen and cursed by God.  Yet it could have been some sea-going dinosaur.”

Genesis chapter 1 verses 22 through 23 “God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the fifth day.”

     Warren Wiersbe, another fine expositor of scripture writes: “A new element is added to God’s work on this fifth day: He not only called his work ‘good’, but he blessed the creatures he had made.  This is the first time the word ‘bless’ is used in the Bible.  God’s blessing enabled the sea creatures and the fowl to reproduce abundantly and enjoy all that he had made for them.  God would also bless the first man and woman (Genesis chapter 1 and verse 28).  He would bless the Sabbath Day (Genesis chapter 2 verse 3). And Noah and his family (Genesis chapter 9 verse 2).  Who would need to replenish the earth with humankind?  After creation, perhaps the most important occasion for God’s blessing was when he gave his gracious covenant to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis chapter 12 versus 1 through 3.)    That blessing has reached down to God’s people today.”

     Consider Galatians chapter 3 verses 1 through 9 “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified? I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? At the beginning with the Spirit are you trying to obtain your goal by human effort?  Have your suffered so much for nothing? If it really was for nothing. Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you have observed the law?  Because you believed what you heard.  Consider Abraham he believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand then those who believe are children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, announced the gospel in advance to Abraham, all the nations be blessed through you.   So, those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”  So that blessing has reached down to all God’s people today.

     We are blessed by God even as sinners in a fallen world.  Because even with all living creatures cursed due to man’s sin, mankind can still marvel at the creation around us including insects that fly. Take the pesky housefly which is the most talented aerodynamicist on earth.  It is superior to any bird, bat, or bee.  According to a British scientist consider, “a housefly can make six turns a second: hover, fly straight up, fly straight down, fly backwards, do somersaults, land on the ceiling, and perform various other showoff maneuvers.  And yet the housefly has a brain smaller than a sesame seed.”  Flies are loaded with sensors.  In addition to their compound eyes, which permit panoramic imaging and are excellent at detecting motion, flies have wind-sensitive hairs and antennae.  They also have three light sensors called ‘ocelli.’ on the tops of their heads, which tell them which way is up.  Roughly 2/3rds of a fly’s entire nervous system is devoted to processing visual images.

     If God put so much wisdom into ordinary houseflies, imagine what it means to know that we human beings are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139 verse 14).  Moreover, now we know three things:

  • Why it is so very difficult to swat, or to kill houseflies; and why so many houseflies survive.
  • How wonderfully and intricate God’s creations is all the way down to houseflies, not by chance but instead by our Creator God.
  • God’s grace, our unmerited favor from God, that in spite of the houseflies’ tremendous God given abilities, they are eventually disposable by the common flyswatter!

     Lastly, consider a scientific experiment.  The experimental ‘Biosphere 2’ was an isolated living environment created to supply all the factors necessary for sustaining life.  It was a self-contained microcosm of life on earth, containing soil, air, water, plants, and animals.  It was an airtight enclosure covering 3.15 acres in Arizona.

Despite an investment of about 200 million dollars from 1984 to 1991, a multimillion-dollar operating budget, almost unlimited technological support, and heroic effort, the Biosphere proved impossible to sustain eight human beings with adequate food, water, and air for two years.

     Just 15 months after the unit was enclosed in 1991, oxygen had to be added from the outside.  Nineteen of the 25 vertebrate species placed in the unit became extinct.  All the species that could pollinate the plants became extent, as did most insects.  Water and air pollution became acute, temperature control was a big problem.

     Why?  Because it was not as revealed in Genesis chapter one: “And God saw that it was good.”  ‘Biosphere 2’ didn’t work; but the wonderfully integrated ecosystems of planet earth supposedly just happened without intelligent design.  Really?  Was its chaos to chance integration to a balanced ecosystem?

     Or is it more reasonable to expect and believe in a Creator who purposely and wisely created not just a perfect ecosystem on planet earth but also a marvelous cosmos that continues to astound scientists in every natural field of study?  Such as zoology.

     The tiny hummingbird, weighing only about a tenth of an ounce, can perform complicated twists and turns and can fly backwards and upside down.Yet, the ostrich, at 300 pounds, the largest of birds can’t even fly.  But its legs are so strong that it can sprint up to 40 miles an hour, taking strides of 12 to 15 feet.

the peregrine falcon, or duck hawk, is about the size of a crow, but it is the fastest creature on earth.  It can dive after prey at more than 175 miles per hour!  Astounding.

     These are not accidental macro-evolutions, it’s all because of our Almighty Creator God.  The intricate and complex creation itself such as these creatures of the sea and sky shout, shout out that a magnificent Creator created.  Which is a powerful witness to the skeptics and others.  


               David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.