Why did Adam have to name all the animals?
It was probably in the morning of the sixth day – that is, Friday of Earth’s first week – when God created Adam. God had spent the early part of that day overseeing the creation of the cattle, the beasts and the creeping things from the earth [Genesis 1:24-25]. God then formed man from the dust of the ground and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it [Genesis 2:7,8,15]. After remarking that “it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him,” the Lord God then brought “every beast of the field and bird of the air to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name… But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18-20). From the way these Scriptures read, some have suggested that God was offering Adam a “helper” from among the animal kingdom, but this is not at all the case. God was, in fact, teaching Adam a human language. Some commentaries argue that it was Hebrew. The noun – the name of a person, place or thing – is the basic element of any language, and we all learned to speak beginning with the nouns (e.g., mama, dog, spoon, etc.).
It takes the average young person immersed in a second language at least a year to be proficient in that language. However, Adam was created in perfection and this would include a perfect mind with total memory retention. So how long would it have taken Adam to learn a complete language of, say, 5,000 words? Recalling that “every beast of the field and bird of the air” would include all those now extinct and involve perhaps several thousand “kinds,” keep in mind that Adam had the best of all possible teachers. Knowing this, we might reply: “Adam could have done it in one day.” William Sidis [1898-1944], an American born of Russian immigrants, could learn a language of 5,000 words and the grammar in a single day while, as an adult, he could speak over forty languages. Like the man born blind, from time to time there are such exceptional people, and, as Jesus explained, this is so that “the works of God can be revealed in him” (John 9:3).
So Friday looks like a very busy day for Adam; yet, the day also had to accommodate the making of Eve. Interestingly, the Scripture speaks of the “creation of Adam” [Genesis 1:27; 2:19] but the “making of the Woman” [Genesis 2:22, 23]. She was named Eve by Adam after the Fall [Genesis 3:20]. Likely this is a reflection of the fact that the man was created from inanimate material and, therefore, required God’s spirit of life while “the Woman” was made from Adam’s living bone and tissue. Faced with the apparent difficulty of cramming all these activities into that busy first Friday, some of the early commentaries – such as The Book of Jubilees – have argued that Eve was made on the Friday of the following week. This, however, is believed to be an unnecessary expedient. We are told that everything God made was within the first six days [Genesis 1:31] and reminded of this in the fourth commandment: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them…” [Exodus 20:11].
Reference. Charles, Robert Henry [translator]. 2005. The Book of Jubilees or the Little Genesis. Original publishers: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, UK. Published 2005 by: Ibis Press, Berwick, Maine.
© 2021 Creation Moments. All rights reserved.