Adam and the Animals
“Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”
During his oh-too-brief “born again period”, Bob Dylan sang “Man Gave Names to All the Animals”. His song was basically a catchy nursery rhyme and, understandably, did not attempt to understand why God had brought these animals to Adam to name.
God had just said that it was not good for Adam to be alone – by which He meant that Adam was not complete, not that there was anything evil in his singleness. God said, “I will make a helper fit for him”. God had, therefore, already determined to make woman. So when He brought the animals to Adam for Adam to see if there was a helper there, God knew that there was not. This exercise was, therefore, a lesson for Adam.
In Old Testament times, names meant something. In order to name something, one had to know something about it. Therefore, Adam was exercising his deductive powers as he gave these animals names. He was learning about the attributes of a variety of animals. At the end of the exercise, Adam determines that there is no helper among the animals.
The lesson that God was teaching Adam, therefore, by getting him to name animals, and by God’s subsequent creation of woman, was that Adam was to understand that he was not like the animals. He did not evolve from the animals. It was not possible even for Adam to take a female ape as his helper, which could have been the case if Adam were simply a newly evolved simian. Author: Paul F. Taylor
Prayer: Again, Lord, we thank You that You made us according to Your good pleasure, not by means of blind evolutionary chance, but by Your sovereign purpose by Your sovereign decree. Amen.
Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2007), The Six Days of Genesis (Green Forest, AR: Master Books), p. 94. Image: Wellcome Trust Gallery, CC BY-SA 4.0 International.