And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps on the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
and to every fowl of the air; that flies in it,
and to every creeping thing upon the earth; even the meanest and lowest insect:
wherein there is life; or "a living soul"; that has an animal life, which is to be supported by food:
I have given every green herb for meat; the leaves for some, and seed for others; and here is no mention made of flesh; and perhaps those creatures which are now carnivorous were not so at their first creation:
and it was so; every creature, both man and beast, had food suitable to their nature and appetite, and a sufficiency of it. (From Romans 5:12, it is certain that up until the fall no animal ate other animals, otherwise there would have been death before Adam's first sin, which is said to be the cause of death. Ed.)And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. to every beast of the earth] God ordains that the wild beasts, the birds, and all living creatures, shall have the leaves for their food. The words, “every green herb,” would be more literally “all the green, or verdure, of the herbs.” A distinction is, therefore, drawn between the food ordained for mankind and the food ordained for the animals. Man is to have the herb bearing seed and the fruit of the trees (Genesis 1:29): the animals are to feed on the grass and the leaves.
for meat] This expression, here and in the previous verse, is liable to be misunderstood by English readers. The Hebrew means “for food.” The word “meat” is an old English term for “food.” Cf. St Luke 24:41 A.V. “He said unto them, Have ye here any meat?” R.V. “Have ye here anything to eat?”
It may be asked whether we are to understand that, according to Genesis 1, the nature of animals was different at the first from what it became afterwards, and that they did not prey upon one another. The reply is that this was evidently the belief of the Israelite, as represented in this chapter. Like other features of the picture, it is childlike and idealized. Palaeontology has demonstrated, that, from the earliest geological period at which animal life can be shewn to have existed, the animals preyed upon one another. From the earliest days of animal life nature has been “red in tooth and claw.”Verse 30. - And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat. The first of the three classes of plants, grass, was assigned to the animals for food. From this Delitzsch infers that prior to the introduction of sin the animals were not predaceous. The geological evidence of the existence of death in prehistoric times is, however, too powerful to be resisted; and the Biblical record itself enumerates among the pre-adamic animals the chayyah of the field, which clearly belonged to the carnivora. Perhaps the most that can be safely concluded from the language is "that it indicates merely the general fact that the support of the whole animal kingdom is based on vegetation" (Dawson). Genesis 47:18; Exodus 13:12, etc.), but occasionally the larger land animals as a whole. רמשׂ (the creeping) embraces the smaller land animals, which move either without feet, or with feet that are scarcely perceptible, viz., reptiles, insects, and worms. In Genesis 1:25 they are distinguished from the race of water reptiles by the term האדמה ארץ חיתו (the old form of the construct state, for הארץ חיּת), the beast of the earth, i.e., the freely roving wild animals.
"After its kind:" this refers to all three classes of living creatures, each of which had its peculiar species; consequently in Genesis 1:25, where the word of God is fulfilled, it is repeated with every class. This act of creation, too, like all that precede it, is shown by the divine word "good" to be in accordance with the will of God. But the blessing pronounced is omitted, the author hastening to the account of the creation of man, in which the work of creation culminated. The creation of man does not take place through a word addressed by God to the earth, but as the result of the divine decree, "We will make man in Our image, after our likeness," which proclaims at the very outset the distinction and pre-eminence of man above all the other creatures of the earth. The plural "We" was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God to Himself, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council. The last is Philo's explanation: διαλέγεται ὁ τῶν ὁ͂λων πατὴρ ταῖς ἑαυτο͂υ δυνάεσιν (δυνάμεις equals angels). But although such passages as 1 Kings 22:19., Psalm 89:8, and Daniel 10, show that God, as King and Judge of the world, is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:22; Isaiah 40:13 seq., Genesis 44:24, that the spirits took part in the creation of man; or it reduces the plural to an empty phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to cooperate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, this view is irreconcilable with the words "in our image, after our likeness;" since man was created in the image of God alone (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:1), and not in the image of either the angels, or God and the angels. A likeness to the angels cannot be inferred from Hebrews 2:7, or from Luke 20:36. Just as little ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other passages (Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 41:22) as reflective, an appeal to self; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf. Genesis 2:18; Psalm 12:5; Isaiah 33:10). No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, - an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural number, not reverentiae causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz., that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being. On the words "in our image, after our likeness" modern commentators have correctly observed, that there is no foundation for the distinction drawn by the Greek, and after them by many of the Latin Fathers, between εἰκών (imago) and ὁμοίωσις (similitudo), the former of which they supposed to represent the physical aspect of the likeness to God, the latter the ethical; but that, on the contrary, the older Lutheran theologians were correct in stating that the two words are synonymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: "an image which is like Us" (Luther); since it is no more possible to discover a sharp or well-defined distinction in the ordinary use of the words between צלם and דּמוּת, than between בּ and כּ. צלם, from צל, lit., a shadow, hence sketch, outline, differs no more from דּמוּת, likeness, portrait, copy, than the German words Umriss or Abriss (outline or sketch) from Bild or Abbild (likeness, copy). בּ and כּ are also equally interchangeable, as we may see from a comparison of this verse with Genesis 5:1 and Genesis 5:3. (Compare also Leviticus 6:4 with Leviticus 27:12, and for the use of בּ to denote a norm, or sample, Exodus 25:40; Exodus 30:32, Exodus 30:37, etc.) There is more difficulty in deciding in what the likeness to God consisted. Certainly not in the bodily form, the upright position, or commanding aspect of the man, since God has no bodily form, and the man's body was formed from the dust of the ground; nor in the dominion of man over nature, for this is unquestionably ascribed to man simply as the consequence or effluence of his likeness to God. Man is the image of God by virtue of his spiritual nature. of the breath of God by which the being, formed from the dust of the earth, became a living soul.
(Note: "The breath of God became the soul of man; the soul of man therefore is nothing but the breath of God. The rest of the world exists through the word of God; man through His own peculiar breath. This breath is the seal and pledge of our relation to God, of our godlike dignity; whereas the breath breathed into the animals is nothing but the common breath, the life-wind of nature, which is moving everywhere, and only appears in the animal fixed and bound into a certain independence and individuality, so that the animal soul is nothing but a nature-soul individualized into certain, though still material spirituality." - Ziegler.)
The image of God consists, therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the fact that man was created a consciously free Ego; for personality is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the divine likeness was shattered by sin; and it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression of His essence (Hebrews 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24).
"And they (אדם, a generic term for men) shall have dominion over the fish," etc. There is something striking in the introduction of the expression "and over all the earth," after the different races of animals have been mentioned, especially as the list of races appears to be proceeded with afterwards. If this appearance were actually the fact, it would be impossible to escape the conclusion that the text is faulty, and that חיּת has fallen out; so that the reading should be, "and over all the wild beasts of the earth," as the Syriac has it. But as the identity of "every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (הארץ) with "every thing that creepeth upon the ground" (האדמה) in Genesis 1:25 is not absolutely certain; on the contrary, the change in expression indicates a difference of meaning; and as the Masoretic text is supported by the oldest critical authorities (lxx, Sam., Onk.), the Syriac rendering must be dismissed as nothing more than a conjecture, and the Masoretic text be understood in the following manner. The author passes on from the cattle to the entire earth, and embraces all the animal creation in the expression, "every moving thing (כל־הרמשׂ) that moveth upon the earth," just as in Genesis 1:28, "every living thing הרמשׂת upon the earth." According to this, God determined to give to the man about to be created in His likeness the supremacy, not only over the animal world, but over the earth itself; and this agrees with the blessing in Genesis 1:28, where the newly created man is exhorted to replenish the earth and subdue it; whereas, according to the conjecture of the Syriac, the subjugation of the earth by man would be omitted from the divine decree. - Genesis 1:27. In the account of the accomplishment of the divine purpose the words swell into a jubilant song, so that we meet here for the first time with a parallelismus membrorum, the creation of man being celebrated in three parallel clauses. The distinction drawn between אתו (in the image of God created He him) and אתם (as man and woman created He them) must not be overlooked. The word אתם, which indicates that God created the man and woman as two human beings, completely overthrows the idea that man was at first androgynous (cf. Genesis 2:18.). By the blessing in Genesis 1:28, God not only confers upon man the power to multiply and fill the earth, as upon the beasts in Genesis 1:22, but also gives him dominion over the earth and every beast. In conclusion, the food of both man and beast is pointed out in Genesis 1:29, Genesis 1:30, exclusively from the vegetable kingdom. Man is to eat of "every seed-bearing herb on the face of all the earth, and every tree on which there are fruits containing seed," consequently of the productions of both field and tree, in other words, of corn and fruit; the animals are to eat of "every green herb," i.e., of vegetables or green plants, and grass.
From this it follows, that, according to the creative will of God, men were not to slaughter animals for food, nor were animals to prey upon one another; consequently, that the fact which now prevails universally in nature and the order of the world, the violent and often painful destruction of life, is not a primary law of nature, nor a divine institution founded in the creation itself, but entered the world along with death at the fall of man, and became a necessity of nature through the curse of sin. It was not till after the flood, that men received authority from God to employ the flesh of animals as well as the green herb as food (Genesis 9:3); and the fact that, according to the biblical view, no carnivorous animals existed at the first, may be inferred from the prophetic announcements in Isaiah 11:6-8; Isaiah 65:25, where the cessation of sin and the complete transformation of the world into the kingdom of God are described as being accompanied by the cessation of slaughter and the eating of flesh, even in the case of the animal kingdom. With this the legends of the heathen world respecting the golden age of the past, and its return at the end of time, also correspond (cf. Gesenius on Isaiah 11:6-8). It is true that objections have been raised by natural historians to this testimony of Scripture, but without scientific ground. For although at the present time man is fitted by his teeth and alimentary canal for the combination of vegetable and animal food; and although the law of mutual destruction so thoroughly pervades the whole animal kingdom, that not only is the life of one sustained by the death of another, but "as the graminivorous animals check the overgrowth of the vegetable kingdom, so the excessive increase of the former is restricted by the beasts of prey, and of these again by the destructive implements of man;" and although, again, not only beasts of prey, but evident symptoms of disease are met with among the fossil remains of the aboriginal animals: all these facts furnish no proof that the human and animal races were originally constituted for death and destruction, or that disease and slaughter are older than the fall. For, to reply to the last objection first, geology has offered no conclusive evidence of its doctrine, that the fossil remains of beasts of prey and bones with marks of disease belong to a pre-Adamite period, but has merely inferred it from the hypothesis already mentioned of successive periods of creation. Again, as even in the present order of nature the excessive increase of the vegetable kingdom is restrained, not merely by the graminivorous animals, but also by the death of the plants themselves through the exhaustion of their vital powers; so the wisdom of the Creator could easily have set bounds to the excessive increase of the animal world, without requiring the help of huntsmen and beasts of prey, since many animals even now lose their lives by natural means, without being slain by men or eaten by beasts of prey. The teaching of Scripture, that death entered the world through sin, merely proves that the human race was created for eternal life, but by no means necessitates the assumption that the animals were also created for endless existence. As the earth produced them at the creative word of God, the different individuals and generations would also have passed away and returned to the bosom of the earth, without violent destruction by the claws of animals or the hand of man, as soon as they had fulfilled the purpose of their existence. The decay of animals is a law of nature established in the creation itself, and not a consequence of sin, or an effect of the death brought into the world by the sin of man. At the same time, it was so far involved in the effects of the fall, that the natural decay of the different animals was changed into a painful death or violent end. Although in the animal kingdom, as it at present exists, many varieties are so organized that they live exclusively upon the flesh of other animals, which they kill and devour; this by no means necessitates the conclusion, that the carnivorous beasts of prey were created after the fall, or the assumption that they were originally intended to feed upon flesh, and organized accordingly. If, in consequence of the curse pronounced upon the earth after the sin of man, who was appointed head and lord of nature, the whole creation was subjected to vanity and the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:20.); this subjection might have been accompanied by a change in the organization of the animals, though natural science, which is based upon the observation and combination of things empirically discovered, could neither demonstrate the fact nor explain the process. And if natural science cannot boast that in any one of its many branches it has discovered all the phenomena connected with the animal and human organism of the existing world, how could it pretend to determine or limit the changes through which this organism may have passed in the course of thousands of years?
The creation of man and his installation as ruler on the earth brought the creation of all earthly beings to a close (Genesis 1:31). God saw His work, and behold it was all very good; i.e., everything perfect in its kind, so that every creature might reach the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose of its existence. By the application of the term "good" to everything that God made, and the repetition of the word with the emphasis "very" at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days' work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it. The sixth day, as being the last, is distinguished above all the rest by the article - השּׁשּׁי יום "a day, the sixth" (Gesenius, 111, 2a).
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