How Does The Bible Speak About Kinds?
Author: Robin D. Fish
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
When the Bible speaks about creation, it talks of “kinds” into which God has divided plants and animals. These appear to be discrete kinds, capable of reproducing only themselves, not fluid, changing from one thing into another. Evolution, on the other hand, forwards the idea of a fluid state among species; the species may indeed change from one to another, and (in fact) species have changed from one thing to another if evolution is to be believed. This study will look at what the Bible itself has to say about those “kinds,” to see if they reflect the reality we observe or something else.
1. The word “Kind” (Hebrew: min) appears in the Bible approximately 30 times. The English translation of the word in the dictionary is “kind, species.” The word “species” is not the biological term here, but the general semantic use which means a particular sort or kind. Look at the following verses and make a list of the information about “kinds” that you can draw from these references: Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, and 25.
2. Just these few verses tell us a great deal. Plants and animals each have kinds. Kinds are a reproductive group; each creation reproduces only after its own kind. The nature or quality of “kind” is contained in seeds. Plant kinds are distinct from all others. There are fish kinds, bird kinds, “sea monster” kinds, beast kinds, cattle kinds, and creeping thing kinds. Compare this data (which may all seem quite obvious) to 1 Corinthians 15:38-39. Does this passage agree with Genesis? Does it heighten the differences?
3. Read Gen. 6:20 and 7:14. Do you get the sense that there was a bird kind, or many kinds of birds? Is kind a group, or is a kind a unit within the larger groupings (for example, is mammal a kind, or are there “kinds” of mammals, such as mice, horses, etc.)? What limit do you see for “kinds” here? Compare your conclusions to Leviticus 11: 14-16. This entire chapter of Leviticus speaks of kinds, as it describes the dietary regulations for Israel.
Can you find any sense of a progression from one to another, or do you sense that each kind is distinct and fixed? Notice the specific nature of the distinctions. Do we see these “kinds” in the world today? Does that suggest permanence to you?
4. James 3:7 speaks of kinds. The Greek word is phusis, meaning nature, species, or kind. Could this suggest that a kind possesses a unique nature? Another word used for the concept of kind in the New Testament is genos, from which we derive the English word “genus” and which means “race or lineage.” This word is used in Matthew 13:47 for kinds of fish, Matthew 27:21 and Mark 9:29 for kinds of evil spirits, and in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 14:10 for kinds of tongues. In what ways might these very different “kinds” be similar? Suggest ways that these passages might enlighten our understanding of Biblical “kinds.”
5. We have seen that kinds are related to reproduction. We have identified kinds as lasting, reproducing true to “kind.” We see that the inspired Word of God even chooses to use a word with the sense of “lineage” to speak about kinds. There are many kinds of each great class of living things. The Bible has even spoken of different kinds of very similar things; Leviticus speaking of several kinds of owls, vultures, reptiles, lizards, and so forth.
6. What we see in Scripture is a definition of living things which is totally inconsistent and incompatible with evolution. Evolution requires changeability from species to species. If one species cannot give rise to another, evolution cannot work. For the faithful Christian, the question of whom we believe ought to be easy. Unfortunately it is often not.
7. Modern theologians have frequently “sold out” to the scientific worldview, suggesting that religious truth is non-factual and science truth is hard reality. Sensible people understand that truth is truth all of the time, or it isn’t truth at all. Let us be scientific then. Look at the world around you. Which account of the nature of living reality best matches your observations of the world around you, the Biblical-creationist account or the evolutionist account?
8. Creationism is scientific. It flows, as does evolution, from a prior understanding of things we cannot directly observe – i.e., Creationism says God created, evolutionism says that everything happened by natural principles. Creationism matches observed reality, the tenets of evolutionism do not. We can close this Bible study with a hymn such as “We Sing the Almighty Power of God” and a prayer of thanksgiving for the marvelous witness to our God we can see in nature.
Copyright © 1985 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Robin D. Fish. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839, Foley, MN 56329