In a few articles over the last couple months, I’ve been examining the days of creation. Each day is equally special and unique, but days five and six perhaps are the most familiar as God made the animals on those days. This article will discuss day five of creation and, as always, discuss any controversies associated with it. Let’s dive in.
The last sentence of the preceding paragraph is actually a bad pun which will be clear momentarily. First, let us examine what the Scripture says about day number five. Genesis 1:20-23 describes what happened that day.
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his 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 fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
This seems like a very brief description and it is, but a lot is said in those four verses. First God makes sea creatures. This includes all water life, from microscopic rotifers to the massive blue whale. That means that every acquatic biome, from the freshwater rivers and lakes, to the beautiful coral reefs, all came into existence on day five. Millions of species came into existence with just the spoken word of God. The Hebrew phrasing is very interesting. The word used for the phrase “bring forth abundantly” is the the Hebrew word sharats which literally means to breed abundantly, while the word used for “creatures” in verse twenty is sherets which translates as a mass of minute creatures. This implies that the life filled the oceans to the brim, with the ability to rapidly create more. Since many oceanic creatures are not living by the Bible’s definition, this rapid reproduction ability would have been crucial to the survival of many planktivores. Also likely created on day five were nearly completely water bound creatures such as seals, walruses, otters and sea snakes.
The one kind of creature God singles out in these verses are is the great whales. However, the Hebrew word tannyin which is translated as whale literally means sea monster. So this covers not just whales but also massive creatures like Plesiosaurs and Ichthyosaurs. However, by including whales specifically, I believe God was sending a message to evolutionists which, He knew, would challenge creation thousands of years after Genesis was written. Evolution teaches that whales went back into the water after evolving on land. God clearly states that whales existed before land animals did. The conflict could not be more clear.
On day five God also made the fowl of the air. Reading through the passage it is almost as if the birds are an afterthought. They are certainly given less attention than the sea creatures. One thing to note here is that it is possible that flightless birds, such as the ostrich, kiwi and extinct dodo were not created until the following day. The passage in Genesis five makes specific reference to the birds being created having the ability to fly. “fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” Is what verse twenty says. Since the ostrich, kiwi and dodo do not fly, this would appear to eliminate them. Further, the language of the verses regarding the sixth day would appear to permit the creation of birds. That, however, is beyond the scope of this article. Penguins, however, would likely still have been created on day five. While they cannot fly, they spend the majority of their time in the water and thus could fit the definition of water creatures.
At the tail end of day five, we find God’s first command to reproduce. “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” Verse twenty-two says. God obviously wanted these creatures to reproduce quickly, though, as stated above, the oceans were teeming with life. In blessing the increase in population, God foresaw the coming fall of man and the future carnivorous ways of some of the ocean and air’s great predators such as great white sharks and bald eagles. By creating birds, God created a colorful, exotic touch to His in progress world, one which Adam undoubtedly enjoyed naming the following day.