November 1980

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Originally published in Creation 3, no 4 (November 1980): 26.

There seems to be a lot of unnecessary confusion over the meaning of the Biblical term “kind” as used in Genesis 1:24–25.

Dear Editors,

There seems to be a lot of unnecessary confusion over the meaning of the Biblical term “kind” as used in Genesis 1:24–25. Many have tried, unconvincingly, to interpret the term as a category vaguely intermediate between “genus,” “species,” and “variety” (an attempt to relate the original meaning to the scientific thought forms of the day). The problem would probably be resolved however, if we consider that the word “kind” in this context was probably intended in a completely general and nonspecific way, just as we might commonly speak of “kinds” of trees meaning “types of trees”—“gum” trees, “deciduous” trees, “fir” trees, etc.—in a non-rigorous and botanically very loose manner. I feel that the people have been trying to read more meaning into the word “kind” than was ever originally intended.

In commanding organisms to reproduce their “kind,” God constructed them so as to pass on their genetic characteristics to their offspring which hence were constructed along the guidelines of parents rather than in some arbitrary and novel manner.

A plant which is a hybrid of a cabbage and a radish would successfully reproduce the genetic information handed down to it by both parents. It’s phenotype (external form) cannot, of course, express all of the parent characteristics at once, but it’s genes do faithfully carry on the acquired information from both kinds of parents. Hence, in this example, both parents have faithfully reproduced “after their kind,” and we have no conflict in terminology.

Yours in Christ,

Stephen Bewlay, Springwood, N.S.W.

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