Genesis 1:20

“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.”

On the fifth day of the Creation Week, God created swarms of sea creatures. He also created flying creatures. In Genesis 1:20, God says: “Let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” The birds were not, in fact, in the firmament. When the KJV translates the phrase as “in the open firmament”, the word open reminds us that the birds are simply seen against the background of the firmament, and are not in it. We heard in the previous Creation Moment that God created whole swarms of sea creatures. It could also be assumed that He created a very large variety of flying creatures.

This brings us to the fact that many translations tell us that God made birds. The KJV refers to fowl. The use of a word other than bird in the KJV is significant. The Hebrew word is ôph (עוֹף). There is another Hebrew word that means birds. It is tsippor (צִפּוֹר). In fact, the word ôph is much wider in meaning than birds and includes all flying creatures. For instance, in Leviticus 11:13-19, the bat is included at the end of a list of birds. But the collective word used in Leviticus 11:13 is ôph, not tsippor. So ôph does not really mean birds – it means flying creatures. Hence, the creation of flying creatures in Genesis 1:20 includes not only birds, but also bats, and, by implication, flying insects also – and pterosaurs – the flying dinosaurs.

Once again, we notice the efficiency and economy of the words used in Genesis 1, which gives far more information than at first we think. p.f.t. 

Prayer: Your wonderful book, the Bible, astonishes us again and again as it explains to us how and why You created this world. Thank You for the wide variety of creatures that You put in the world. Amen.

Ref: Sarfati, J. (2015), The Genesis Account, (Powder Springs, GA: CMI), pp. 223-225. Image: Adobe Stock Images, licensed to author.