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CREATION OF THE INSECTS
(Using Strong’s Concordance and Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

By Karl C. Priest November 6, 2008 (revised 12-30-13)

My ministry theme verse is Genesis 1:25. I had thought that God created insects on the sixth day. With further study I have accepted the possibility that God may have created the flying insects on the fifth day. Almost all mature insects have wings (although some seldom fly and many only fly for brief spurts), so most insects would have been created on day five. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that God completed (if He did not completely create) insect creation on day six. See the addendum.

The reasoning behind the above thoughts is taken from a look at the meaning of the words used for “fowl” and “creeping things” taken from Strong’s Concordance and the points made by Matthew Henry in his commentary.

Likewise, aquatic insects could be included in the water creatures of day five.

Below is enough information to generate some thinking.

The fact is that God, when He did create the insects, said they were “good”.*

Genesis Verses 20-23

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature (8318) that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature (This use of “creature” is derived from the Hebrew word meaning having the breath of life—naphash. Karl) that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl (5775) after his kind: and God saw that it was good*. 22 And God blessed (praised—Karl) them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

STRONG’S CONCORDANCE (Note: The number in parenthesis is the key to the Hebrew word.)

creature (8318) sherets sheh'-rets
from 'sharats' (8317); a swarm, i.e. active mass of minute animals:--creep(-ing thing), move(-ing creature).

(8317) sharats shaw-rats'
a primitive root; to wriggle, i.e. (by implication) swarm or abound:--breed (bring forth, increase) abundantly (in abundance), creep, move.

fowl (5775 )
from '`uwph' (5774); a bird (as covered with feathers, or rather as covering with wings), often collectively:--bird, that flieth, flying, fowl.

(5774) `uwph oof
a primitive root; to cover (with wings or obscurity); hence (as denominative from '`owph'

(5775)) to fly; also (by implication of dimness) to faint (from the darkness of swooning):--brandish, be (wax) faint, flee away, fly (away), X set, shine forth, weary.

MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

Each day, hitherto, has produced very noble and excellent beings, which we can never sufficiently admire; but we do not read of the creation of any living creature till the fifth day, of which these verses give us an account. The work of creation not only proceeded gradually from one thing to another, but rose and advanced gradually from that which was less excellent to that which was more so, teaching us to press towards perfection and endeavour that our last works may be our best works. It was on the fifth day that the fish and fowl were created, and both out of the waters. Though there is one kind of flesh of fishes, and another of birds, yet they were made together, and both out of the waters; for the power of the first Cause can produce very different effects from the same second causes. Observe, 1. The making of the fish and fowl, at first, v. 20, 21. God commanded them to be produced. He said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly; not as if the waters had any productive power of their own, but, "Let them be brought into being, the fish in the waters and the fowl out of them.'' This command he himself executed: God created great whales, etc. Insects, which perhaps are as various and as numerous as any species of animals, and their structure as curious, were part of this day's work, some of them being allied to the fish and others to the fowl. Mr. Boyle (I remember) says he admires the Creator's wisdom and power as much in an ant as in an elephant. Notice is here taken of the various sorts of fish and fowl, each after their kind, and of the great numbers of both that were produced, for the waters brought forth abundantly; and particular mention if made of great whales, the largest of fishes, whose bulk and strength, exceeding that of any other animal, are remarkable proofs of the power and greatness of the Creator. The express notice here taken of the whale, above all the rest, seems sufficient to determine what animal is meant by the Leviathan, Job 41:1. The curious formation of the bodies of animals, their different sizes, shapes, and natures, with the admirable powers of the sensitive life with which they are endued, when duly considered, serve, not only to silence and shame the objections of atheists and infidels, but to raise high thoughts and high praises of God in pious and devout souls, Ps. 104:25, etc. 2. The blessing of them, in order to their continuance. Life is a wasting thing. Its strength is not the strength of stones. It is a candle that will burn out, if it be not first blown out; and therefore the wise Creator not only made the individuals, but provided for the propagation of the several kinds; God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, v. 22. God will bless his own works, and not forsake them; and what he does shall be for a perpetuity, Eccl. 3:14. The power of God's providence preserves all things, as at first his creating power produced them. Fruitfulness is the effect of God's blessing and must be ascribed to it; the multiplying of the fish and fowl, from year to year, is still the fruit of this blessing. Well, let us give to God the glory of the continuance of these creatures to this day for the benefit of man. See Job 12:7, 9. It is a pity that fishing and fowling, recreations innocent in themselves, should ever be abused to divert any from God and their duty, while they are capable of being improved to lead us to the contemplation of the wisdom, power, and goodness, of him that made all these things, and to engage us to stand in awe of him, as the fish and fowl do of us.

Genesis Verses 24-25

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature (This use of “creature” is derived from the Hebrew word meaning having the breath of life—naphash. Karl) after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing (7431), and beast (2416) of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth (7431) upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good*.

STRONG’S CONCORDANCE

thing (7431)
from 'ramas' (7430); a reptile or any other rapidly moving animal:--that creepeth, creeping (moving) thing.

(7430) ramas raw-mas'
a primitive root; properly, to glide swiftly, i.e. to crawl or move with short steps; by analogy to swarm:--creep, move.

beast (2416) chay khah'-ee
from 'chayah' (2421); alive; hence, raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively:--+ age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life(-time), live(-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop.

(2421) chayah khaw-yaw'
a primitive root (compare 'chavah' (2331), 'chayah'; to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:--keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.

(2331) chavah khaw-vah'
a primitive root; (compare 'chava'' (2324), 'chayah' (2421)); properly, to live; by implication (intensively) to declare or show:--show.

(2324) chava' khav-aw'
Aramaic) corresponding to 'chavah' (2331); to show:--shew.

MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY


We have here the first part of the sixth day's work. The sea was, the day before, replenished with its fish, and the air with its fowl; and this day were made the beasts of the earth, the cattle, and the creeping things that pertain to the earth. Here, as before, 1. The Lord gave the word; he said, Let the earth bring forth, not as if the earth had any such prolific virtue as to produce these animals, or as if God resigned his creating power to it; but, "Let these creatures now come into being upon the earth, and out of it, in their respective kinds, conformable to the ideas of them in the divine counsels concerning their creation.'' 2. He also did the work; he made them all after their kind, not only of divers shapes, but of divers natures, manners, food, and fashions—some to be tame about the house, others to be wild in the fields—some living upon grass and herbs, others upon flesh—some harmless, and others ravenous—some bold, and others timorous—some for man's service, and not his sustenance, as the horse—others for his sustenance, and not his service, as the sheep—others for both, as the ox—and some for neither, as the wild beasts. In all this appears the manifold wisdom of the Creator.

Genesis Verse 26

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing (7431) that creepeth (7430) upon the earth.

STRONG’S CONCORDANCE

(7430) and (7431) See above.

MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

We have here the second part of the sixth day's work, the creation of man, which we are, in a special manner, concerned to take notice of, that we may know ourselves. Observe,

I. That man was made last of all the creatures, that it might not be suspected that he had been, any way, a helper to God in the creation of the world: that question must be for ever humbling and mortifying to him, Where wast thou, or any of thy kind, when I laid the foundations of the earth? Job xxxviii. 4. Yet it was both an honour and a favour to him that he was made last: an honour, for the method of the creation was to advance from that which was less perfect to that which was more so; and a favour, for it was not fit he should be lodged in the palace designed for him till it was completely fitted up and furnished for his reception. Man, as soon as he was made, had the whole visible creation before him, both to contemplate and to take the comfort of. Man was made the same day that the beasts were, because his body was made of the same earth with theirs; and, while he is in the body, he inhabits the same earth with them. God forbid that by indulging the body and the desires of it we should make ourselves like the beasts that perish!

II. That man's creation was a more signal and immediate act of divine wisdom and power than that of the other creatures. The narrative of it is introduced with something of solemnity, and a manifest distinction from the rest. Hitherto, it had been said, "Let there be light," and "Let there be a firmament," and "Let the earth, or waters, bring forth" such a thing; but now the word of command is turned into a word of consultation, "Let us make man, for whose sake the rest of the creatures were made: this is a work we must take into our own hands." In the former he speaks as one having authority, in this as one having affection; for his delights were with the sons of men, Prov. viii. 31. It should seem as if this were the work which he longed to be at; as if he had said, "Having at last settled the preliminaries, let us now apply ourselves to the business, Let us make man." Man was to be a creature different from all that had been hitherto made. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, must be put together in him, and he must be allied to both worlds. And therefore God himself not only undertakes to make him, but is pleased so to express himself as if he called a council to consider of the making of him: Let us make man. The three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, consult about it and concur in it, because man, when he was made, was to be dedicated and devoted to Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Into that great name we are, with good reason, baptized, for to that great name we owe our being. Let him rule man who said, Let us make man.

III. That man was made in God's image and after his likeness, two words to express the same thing and making each other the more expressive; image and likeness denote the likest image, the nearest resemblance of any of the visible creatures. Man was not made in the likeness of any creature that went before him, but in the likeness of his Creator; yet still between God and man there is an infinite distance. Christ only is the express image of God's person, as the Son of his Father, having the same nature. It is only some of God's honour that is put upon man, who is God's image only as the shadow in the glass, or the king's impress upon the coin. God's image upon man consists in these three things:-- 1. In his nature and constitution, not those of his body (for God has not a body), but those of his soul. This honour indeed God has put upon the body of man, that the Word was made flesh, the Son of God was clothed with a body like ours and will shortly clothe ours with a glory like that of his. And this we may safely say, That he by whom God made the worlds, not only the great world, but man the little world, formed the human body, at the first, according to the platform he designed for himself in the fulness of time. But it is the soul, the great soul, of man, that does especially bear God's image. The soul is a spirit, an intelligent immortal spirit, an influencing active spirit, herein resembling God, the Father of Spirits, and the soul of the world. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. The soul of man, considered in its three noble faculties, understanding, will, and active power, is perhaps the brightest clearest looking-glass in nature, wherein to see God. 2. In his place and authority: Let us make man in our image, and let him have dominion. As he has the government of the inferior creatures, he is, as it were, God's representative, or viceroy, upon earth; they are not capable of fearing and serving God, therefore God has appointed them to fear and serve man. Yet his government of himself by the freedom of his will has in it more of God's image than his government of the creatures. 3. In his purity and rectitude. God's image upon man consists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24; Col. iii. 10. He was upright, Eccl. vii. 29. He had an habitual conformity of all his natural powers to the whole will of God. His understanding saw divine things clearly and truly, and there were no errors nor mistakes in his knowledge. His will complied readily and universally with the will of God, without reluctancy or resistance. His affections were all regular, and he had no inordinate appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects, and there was no vanity nor ungovernableness in them. All the inferior powers were subject to the dictates and directions of the superior, without any mutiny or rebellion. Thus holy, thus happy, were our first parents, in having the image of God upon them. And this honour, put upon man at first, is a good reason why we should not speak ill one of another (Jam. iii. 9), nor do ill one to another (Gen. ix. 6), and a good reason why we should not debase ourselves to the service of sin, and why we should devote ourselves to God's service. But how art thou fallen, O son of the morning! How is this image of God upon man defaced! How small are the remains of it, and how great the ruins of it! The Lord renew it upon our souls by his sanctifying grace!

IV. This section is regarding the relationship of man and woman and I have omitted including it in this article because it is off topic. (Karl)

V. That God gave to man, when he had made him, a dominion over the inferior creatures, over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air. Though man provides for neither, he has power over both, much more over every living thing that moveth upon the earth, which are more under his care and within his reach. God designed hereby to put an honour upon man, that he might find himself the more strongly obliged to bring honour to his Maker. This dominion is very much diminished and lost by the fall; yet God's providence continues so much of it to the children of men as is necessary to the safety and support of their lives, and God's grace has given to the saints a new and better title to the creature than that which was forfeited by sin; for all is ours if we are Christ's, 1 Cor. iii. 22.

*GOOD: See my article “Does God Think Insects Are Good?”

The Strong’s and Henry’s material was obtained from the following URLs:
http://www.apostolic-churches.net/bible/mhc/genesis/1.html
http://www.sacrednamebible.com/kjvstrongs/

ADDENDUM

(1) Modern creationists are developing a taxonomic system based upon the Bible. In this system (which is tentative) insects are categorized as follows.

CLASS 1 Day 5 Day 5 Day 6
CLASS 2 Sea Creatures Air Creatures Land Creatures
CLASS 3 Moving Flying Creeping Things
CLASS 4 Sea insects Flying Insects Land Insects

(2) 'Owph (" Flying Creatures"--) - This Hebrew word is often translated "fowl" by the KJV but simply refers to flying creatures, both birds and insects, and appears the best defined of the Biblical families. They are the second creation mentioned in Genesis 1 and were made the 5th day. (Genesis 1:20-30)

'Owph Sherets (" Flying Creeping Things"), i.e. insects, were apparently a subgroup within 'Owph. Specific families named included 'arbeh (KJV locusts), col'am (KJV bald locusts), chargol (KJV beetles), and chagab (KJV grasshoppers). Insects were divided into two groups, one okay for eating (Clean), and one not okay (Unclean), with the difference those which had 4 legs as opposed to a different number. (Leviticus 11:21-25)

Remes (" Reptiles") - Remes is usually translated "creeping thing" by the KJV, and the word appears to mean Reptile or Lizard. It doesn't appear to involve insects, which are mentioned instead as Owph in Leviticus 11:20-23. This is the 7th creation of Genesis 1 and was created the 6th day. (Genesis 1:24-26)

http://creationwiki.org/Created_kind

Also see:

Does God Think Insects are Good?
Insects in the Bible
Insects were on the Ark
Why Insects Exist