Sunday, September 22, 2013

What is meant by the term "kind" in Genesis?

Alice C. Linsley

Strong's H4327 gives the meaning of the Hebrew word min [מִין] as kind or species, yet these words do not have the same meaning. In Genesis "kind" pertains to the ancient idea of form or essence, not to the biological category known as species. The Biblical term "kind" refers to the original pattern of a created entity. It pertains more to essence than to form.

Screenshot of the Blue Letter Bible entry on the word “kind”

The term "kind" in Genesis 1 refers to biological organisms that reproduce themselves. God created this mechanism so that fruit bearing trees reproduce trees that bear fruit of the same kind. Ferns and other rhizome plants bring forth plants of their kind through the spread of subterranean root systems. Apes bring forth apes, not humans. While there may be modification of condition or form, the essence of an entity remains unchanged. This is called "Essentialism" in philosophy, and this is what is meant by the Biblical term "kind."

Essentialism is a very ancient metaphysical concept. It is the basis of Plato's Forms, an idea he borrowed from the ancient Egyptians. Plato studied for 13 years with an Egyptian priest and borrowed many ideas from the Egyptians. Many of these ideas are evident among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors. They are the people from whom we receive the creation stories in Genesis 1, 2 and 3, although Genesis 2-3 is the older story.

As poorly defined as the term "species" is in biology, biologists recognize that a "species" boundary is that point at which there is no reproductive generation. This boundary was once called "horotely" which is a reference to a boundary or the horizon believed by the ancients to be established by Horus, the Son of the Creator God. Horos (oros in Greek) refers to the boundaries of an area, or a landmark, or a term. From horos come the English words hour, horizon and horoscope. The association of Horus with the horizon is seen in the word Har-ma-khet, meaning Horus of the Horizon.

Even today Christians believe that all things were made through Christ and that all things are sustained in Christ. In this sense Christ is the fixer of boundaries and the ground upon which all biological life is unified. This is why Christians are justified in questioning the common ancestry hypothesis.

It is true that essentialism is not as evident among organisms that lack binary features such as symmetry, bilateralism, or bicamaralism. These organisms are found in the Precambrian and Cambrian layers, long before the appearance of humans. The binary feature appears to signal greater complexity. The earliest fossils are neither vegetation nor animal. They are without symmetry and binary features. In the Precambrian organisms we find neither bilateralism nor any bivalves. Once binary features emerge we begin to see greater diversity and complexity (the so-called Cambrian "explosion" which lasted 90 million years).

It is interesting to note that the term min [מִין] is never used in the Bible in reference to humans. Humans are unique. They are made after another kind, in the image and likeness of the Creator. This is true of both archaic and modern humans.

When we speak of archaic humans and modern humans, the distinction is one of anatomical difference explained by local adaptation. The essence remains unchanged. The evidence concerning archaic humans does not support the hypothesis of common ancestry proposed by Darwinians. The oldest humans fossils date to about 4 million years and all the evidence indicates that these were essentially human, despite the small brain size. Brain size is not a measure of sophistication of thought.

Mary Leakey was convinced that her Australopithecus afarensis finds at Laetoli were homo, but Donald C. Johanson had already announced to the world that the A. afarensis was an ape. Mary expressed regret that “the Laetoli fellow is now doomed to be called Australopithecus afarensis.”

A. afarensis used polished bone tools to cut, chop and scrap, shared food, and used fire. Some of the earliest evidence of controlled fire by humans was found at Swartkrans in South Africa. Other sites that indicate fire use include Chesowanja near Lake Baringo, Koobi Fora and Olorgesailie in Kenya.

A. afarensis also had human dentition. In humans, the back teeth are larger than the front teeth (not so with apes), and the canines are not pointed. Humans also lack the characteristic diastema or tooth gap found in apes.

The so-called "Apes of the South" were fully human, though anatomically archaic, and they appeared suddenly and unheralded on the surface of the Earth about 4 million years ago. Humans appear to be a de novo creation. From the beginning humans have had a binary thought pattern, a binary structure, and a fixed essence.


In doing linguistic research related to biblical terms I have found that there are errors due to preconceptions about what the text means. Strong's and other such study tools do not reflect the latest linguistic research. Today Hebrew is recognized as an Afro-Arabian language and the meanings of many of the oldest Hebrew roots are found in African cognates. For example, ha-rison-iym (ancestors) in Psalm 79.8 is related to the Ijebu word lisa (first in rank), to the Igbo word olise (God as in Olisemeka), to the Arabic ras, the Aramiac resh, the Akkadian rishu, and the Yoruba orisha.

Min among the ancient Nilotic peoples was a symbol of the life giving seed that comes from the Creator and gives life to growing things on earth. The Creator's symbol was the sun which was perceived to inseminate the earth. However, the term min is never used in the Bible in reference to humans. Humans are unique. They are made, not as plants from seeds, but molded in the image and likeness of the Creator. This is why onanism was considered such a great offense against the Creator. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 A.D. 191).

Related reading: The Binary Aspect of the Biblical Worldview; Does the Binary Feature Signal Greater Complexity?; Questioning the Common Ancestry Hypothesis

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