|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:20-25 God commanded the fish and fowl to be produced. This command he himself executed. Insects, which are more numerous than the birds and beasts, and as curious, seem to have been part of this day's work. The Creator's wisdom and power are to be admired as much in an ant as in an elephant. The power of God's providence preserves all things, and fruitfulness is the effect of his blessing.
Verse 23. - And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. If of the previous creative days geological science has only doubtful traces, of this it bears irrefragable witness. When the first animal life was Introduced upon our globe may be said to be as yet sub judice. Principal Dawson inclines to claim for the gigantic foraminifer, eozoon canadense, of the Laurentian rocks, the honor of being one of the first aquatic creatures that swarmed in terrestrial waters, though Professor Huxley believes that the earliest life is not represented by the oldest known fossils ('Critiques and Addresses,' 9:1873); but, whether then or at some point of time anterior introduced, geology can trace it upwards through the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras with the result that is here so exactly defined. Throughout the long ages that fill the interval between the Azoic period of our earth's history and that which witnessed the appearance of the higher animals she is able to detect an unbroken succession of aquatic life, rising gradually from lower to higher forms - from the trilobites and mollusks of the Cambrian and Silurian systems, up through the ganoid fishes of the Devonian and the amphibians of the Carboniferous to the saurian reptiles of the Permian periods. At this point certain ornithic tracks in the superincumbent Triassic strata reveal the introduction upon the scene of winged creatures, and with this accession to its strength and Volume the stream of life flows on till the higher animals appear. Thus geology confirms the Scripture record y attesting
(1) the priority of marine animals and birds to land animals;
(2) the existence of a period when the great sea monsters, with the smaller aquatic tribes and winged fowls of the air, were the sole living creatures on the globe; and
(3) that, precisely as Elohim designed life has continued in unbroken succession since the time of its first introduction. It may also be noted that the Palaeontological history of the earth s crust suggests a number of considerations that enable us to form a conception of the fifth day's work, which, though not contravened by the Mosaic narrative, is yet by it not explicitly disclosed. For example, whereas it might seem to be the teaching of the inspired writer that the tanninim, the tomes, and the birds were created simultaneously, and so were synchronous in their appearance, the testimony of the rocks rather points to a series of creative acts in which successive species of living creatures were summoned into being, as the necessary conditions of existence were prepared for their reception, and indeed with emphasis asserts that the order of creation was not, as in ver. 21, first the great sea monsters, and then the creepers, and then the birds; but first the smaller aquatic tribes, and then the monsters of the deep, and finally the winged creatures of the air. This, however, is not to contradict, but to elucidate, the word of God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. The sun now in the firmament, where it was fixed the day before, having gone round the earth, or the earth about that, in the space of twenty four hours; and according to Capellus this was the twenty second of April; or, as others, the fifth of September; and according to Bishop Usher the twenty seventh of October.
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