How has the diversity of life come to be on earth? (continued)
In describing the creation of plants and animals, the Bible uses the expression that each was created “according to its kind.”
And God said,
“ ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day…” (Genesis 1:11-13).
And God said,
“ ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.’ So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day…” (Genesis 1:20-23).
And God said,
“ ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:24,25).
Genesis 1 records the creation of the first human pair, the first male and female, and then Genesis 2 further elaborates. Human beings differ from all other forms of life because we alone are made “in the image of God” and the male and female were specifically made for one another’s companionship as well as for a relationship with God.
Then God said,
“ ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
The fact that classifying plants and animals is possible according to a taxonomic system, in which there are discrete identities, is itself an argument in favour of the Bible’s explanation for life. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is the founder of the current system of taxonomy in which organisms have a dual name: a Latin genus name followed by a species name, such as Canis lupus (gray wolf).
While no one can possibly know precisely what the original created “kinds” were, we can observe that many variations have developed from one original stock. The vast diversity of breeds of dogs is an example: all are members of the same species, and all are derived from the same original wild dog. Unlike Linnaeus, many taxonomists now believe that the dog and the wolf are the same species because they are inter-fertile. The vast diversity among wolves, dogs and coyotes shows the remarkable degree of variation possible within one kind.