God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” It was so. The land produced vegetation – plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12
The word 'kinds' in Genesis 1 is not analogous to the modern biological categories Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, or Species. This would be a foreign concept to the Afro-Asiatics whose religious worldview frames Genesis. The Hebrew word is מִין, min which is often translated ‘type.’ The Hebrew min has other uses, as in the phrase "from a man" – מִן אָדָם (min āḏām).
The meaning of ‘kinds’ is tied to the ancient Afro-Asiatic observation of the binary character of the order of creation. In Genesis 1 the distinction is between Heaven as the dwelling place of the Creator and Earth as the dwelling place of creatures. In the order of creation, humans are the most like God, but their dwelling place is earth. In Genesis 3:8 we are told that God came to earth (to the garden) to commune with those who He created in His Image. In the New Testament we are told that Christ, the Son of God, has come again to earth to restore communion with God the Father.
The word ‘kinds’ simply points to the observable reality that there are many non-human creatures on earth and all as a group are distinct from the Creator in Heaven. In Genesis the term ‘kind’ is used in reference to only 3 categories: vegetation (verse 12); birds and sea creatures (verse 21) and creatures that inhabit the dry ground (verse 25). This is significant because the number 3 in Genesis always indicates unity or ontological oneness. So vegetation, birds, sea creatures and land creatures share in a unity to which humans are peripheral. We recognize that this is so because the word ‘kinds’ is not used in reference to humans in Genesis 1. Why?
Because our communion is with the Triune Creator, in whose Image we are made. The Psalmist recognized this when he asks “What is man (Enock/Nok) that thou art mindful of him and the son of man (ben adam) that you care for him? For a time you have made him less than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor and put all things under his feet.” (Psalm 8:4-8). The Church Fathers teach that this speaks of the Son of God who emptied Himself and became flesh and dwelt on earth as one of us. The Creator became Man so that after a time, He could restore man's original state, as the creature made after God's kind.
This is why before His death and resurrection, Jesus prayed that those who believe in Him as the Son of God would be 'in Him' as He is in the Father (John 17). Jesus was praying for a restoration of the original order.
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