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What is Baraminology?

Part One

by Harry F. Sanders, III on April 22, 2019

Bariminology Series

In the book of Genesis, God made all the animals, plants, and other living things. However, he did not necessarily make all the species. Instead, he made all the kinds. Genesis 1:24 says “And God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.' And it was so.” These kinds are not directly defined in the Bible, so creation scientists have to research into the concept in order to understand what God meant by kind.

The first person to really study the biblical kind was a botanist and zoologist named Dr. Frank Marsh. Marsh recognized that the classification system that the evolutionists were using was not based in the Bible, and he wanted to be able to defend the Bible from the beginning. He wrote several books on creation, including one exclusively on what he called baramin. Dr. Marsh created the word baramin from two Hebrew words: bara meaning “created” and min meaning “kind.” So baramin literally means “created kind.”

Not much was done with Marsh’s ideas until the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the International Conference on Creationism, Harvard trained paleontologist Dr. Kurt Wise presented a paper on what he called baraminology, or the study of created kinds. Dr. Wise’s term has since been applied to many studies of created kinds since then.

While the name baraminology has stuck, creation scientists differ in opinion on exactly what that study involves. This is partly due to their misunderstanding of what the Bible says about created kinds. Based on reading Genesis, it is pretty obvious that God intended members of the same kind to reproduce with one another. The whole point of taking animals on the ark in Genesis 6, for example, was to keep them alive so they could reproduce and fill the post-flood world. Since they were taken after their kinds, the kinds had to be reproductive groups. After the flood, the variety that already existed in the genomes of the kinds became more visible as the kinds spread out to fill the earth. This process of variation would have formed the species we observe today, such as leopards, lions, and jaguars.

A kind is not always the same thing as the species. Scientists cannot agree on the concept of species. In fact, there are over thirty different ideas of how to define species. And kinds are broader groups, often containing many species. Creation scientists define created kind as creatures that could breed together in the beginning. Because of the fall and speciation after the flood, not every member of the same kind can still breed together today, so baraminologists use multiple tools to determine whether two creatures are the same kind or not, and it’s still sometimes hard to do.

Baraminology is still a growing field, with plenty of work to be done yet. It is an area where the next generation of creation scientists could really contribute and make great strides in our ability to accurately present and defend what the Bible teaches about origins. Do you like to sort things out? Maybe you could study about animals and help fill out our understanding of how animals have changed since the original kinds left the ark!

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