Then God said… Gen. 1:24

“Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind’; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:24, NASB)

These creatures are brought forth out of the earth. God forms them from the earth (2:19). This stands in contrast to the intimate formation of man later. Here God’s word creates out of the earth, “and it was so.”

There are three general categories of creation for land animals. In the NASB above, they are cattle, creeping things and beasts. The NET, ESV, NIV, HCSB and Amplified Bible all determine that the word for cattle is more general than that: livestock. That is the section or category of domesticated animals. When God sought to communicate the creation of the land animals here, He focuses on three separate groups. This communicates to us the extent of His creation – everything. It also shows His knowledge and care by providing humankind with work/play animals. But there are also other animals, creeping things and beasts, with whom we are less involved (1:28).

This begins an interesting relationship between God and the land animals, as with all animals. In Psalm 50:10 God asserts His ownership of animals. Even more interesting is His relationship with them. When God is questioning Job to help him contrast his understanding of God with the actual work of God, He says “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, When they crouch in their dens And lie in wait in their lair?” (Job 38:39-40). In beautiful poetry God implies His extensive work, sovereignty and care in sustaining the animals of His creation.

Once again, just as God’s word is spoken “it was so”.