Creation by the Numbers

Today many in our church and all over the world began their yearly Bible reading plan.  I did.  And one of the features found in Genesis 1 is the fact that God made plants (v. 12) and animals (v. 21), “according to their own kinds.”  While scientists, Bible scholars, and Christians apologists have argued for the origin of the species, the Bible is clear that God is the originator of all life.  He spoke the world into existence (Gen 1; Psalm 33:6), and no matter how long that process took, it is clear that he is the Creative Genius behind it all.  (Personally, I hold to a Young Earth position due to the disbelief that death existed before sin, which is clearly dated in Genesis 3, about 6,000 years ago).

Yet, in this brief post, my point is not to argue the age of the earth or the meaning of yom (‘day’) in Genesis 1, but rather to marvel at the endless fecundity of God’s creation.  Today I came across Wikipedia’s entry on “Species.”  In it is a list of all the plants and animals in the world.  In a word, it is astonishing!  Consider the sheer numbers of life-forms on the earth, all created by God.

The total number of species (estimated): 7–100 millions (identified and unidentified), including:

Of the identified eukaryote species we have:[14]

It has taken thousands of people over hundreds of years to amass this list, a list of all the creatures God created and their offspring.

In truth, Elihu declare in Job 34:14-15, “If he [that is God] should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust.”   Thus, according to the Bible all the species owe their existence to God, and it is worth meditating on the estimated numbers above.  While these numbers are not exact due to the difficulties of subdividing species, they do represent this singular facet of God: He is unfathomably creative and prolific in the production of his creation.  If it is true that no sparrow falls to the ground a part from his knowledge (Matt 10:29), then it coheres that no life is born apart from God’s germinating spirit and no life ends apart from his sovereign decree.

He is the Supreme Creator, the God of the Nations, and the one who has made man in his image to rule over creation.  Moreover, when man failed to rule over the earth uprightly (cf. Ecc 7:29), God sent his Son to become a man, to perfectly rule over all the species that God created.  I am doubtful that each of these ‘species’ was created in the Genesis account, it seems more likely that the ‘kinds’ in Genesis 1 were higher up in the taxonomic hierarchy (maybe genus or family), but it is certain that God created in the beginning an expanding myriad of plants and animals, represented in the list above.  These life-forms had the capacity for incredible replication and speciation.  While many fight over Genesis 1 for good reason, we shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees: God is the glorious creator of all the earth, who has fashioned a world that is filled with life, fecundity, beauty, symmetry, wisdom, and so much more.  And even though this in a world overrun with sin, disease, and death, his incredible creation is evident.  How much better will the New Creation be when sin will be eradicated and mankind will finally rule over a perfect creation with Christ on the throne.

As we begin the year, may we worship the Triune Creator and look at creation as a hymn book of praise for our infinitely wise Creator.  As Revelation 4:11 sings, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by you will they existed and were created.”  Upwards of 100 million of them!

Soli Deo Gloria, dss