How Fixed Are The Species?
Author: Steven T. Cook
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.
In the early to mid-1800’s, the views of creationists included the idea that species were permanent and non-changing. This is now known as “The Fixity of the Species.”
Charles Darwin believed this was a biblically based teaching, which would be wrong if there were migration and change in a specie. Or again, if one specie developed into several others, the fixity of the species would be wrong, and therefore creationism would also be wrong.
In reading Gen. 8:15-19, what can we tell about the migration of animals? Where were Noah, the Ark and animals (Gen. 8:4)? In what country would this be today? Who else survived the cataclysm besides those in the Ark (cf. Gen. 6:7; 7:8)?
Some animals have a limited placement, as to their geographic range. For example, many animals found in Australia are found nowhere else in the world. How and when did they get there?
When we consider the animals of the world, we normally draw many conclusions about those we believe are similar. In the same way, scientists have tried to put together a system (taxonomy), which shows how animals are related. The general theory of taxonomy begins with those things which are very similar, able to interbreed – the specie – and then progress through genus, family, Order, Class, Phylum to Kingdom, becoming ever more unrelated. This means that in a perfect world what Charles Darwin argued against (fixity of species) with his 13 species of finches would be unanswerable. But this is not a perfect world. Why not? What Scriptural references can you supply to support your view?
What is the classification of animals Noah took into the ark (Gen. 6:20; 7:14)? From the fact that there were to be male and female of each kind of animal, what do we know about the group “kind?” Even among taxonomists (people who study and classify plants and animals) there is not always agreement as to where a particular animal fits in the scheme. Part of this comes from the fact that even scientists cannot see things perfectly. They, too, have been affected by sin (cf. Rom. 3:23) and will fail to do things perfectly.
To better understand God’s kinds, turn to Lev. 11:14-22. As God gives the Israelites directions as to animals they may and may not eat, He again refers to created kinds. Looking particularly at verses 17-19, are these separate kinds, or are they different animals that are all one kind? Consider vs.29-30. Do they shed some light on which way we ought to understand the concept of kind? What is your view of “kind” now, as far as the animals named in Lev. 11?
Is there an actual level in the taxonomy scheme that is the same as God’s created kind? The domestic dog will cross with the wolf, and the horse with the ass – here created kind is genus level. Domestic goat and domestic sheep will interbreed, as will the cow and buffalo – here the family is the created kind. Also, the domestic hen can breed with the turkey, a crossing of two families – the kind then is equal to Order in this case. Will we ever be able to get this straightened out, so the kind is the same as some level in the taxonomy schedule?
Charles Darwin’s argument against the fixity of the species was a battle waged against a straw man. As we have seen, species and kinds are not the same categories. If man were perfect -which we haven’t been since Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden – we might be able to categorize all creatures into God’s kinds.
When dealing with the created kinds, we know that they are fixed (Gen. 1-11, 21, 24); but man’s divisions may never reach such perfection.
We need to carefully consider the positions we take, both as Christians and creationists, to make sure we are dealing with the same things, and not comparing apples with berries (species – kinds).
You may want to close by reading Psalm 148 and a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s wondrous creations, and His care for us in it.
1986 Bible Science Newsletter.
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