On the 5th day, after God divided light from darkness, separated the firmament, revealed dry land, brought forth grasses, seeds and fruit-bearing trees, made seasons, and illuminated day and night, he created whales, every living creatures in the waters and winged fowl of many kinds. Upon gazing at fishes and birds, God “saw that it was good”. God blessed these living creatures saying, “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters and the seas, and let the fowl multiply on the earth.”.
Animals receive God’s blessings:
The root of the word ‘to bless’ in Hebrew is ‘barak’. It is defined as ‘to praise, congratulate, or salute’. In Genesis 1:22, the word ‘bless’ is used for the very first time in Scriptures. God blesses the beings he created and commands them to be fruitful and multiply. It is the very same root word for ‘blessing’ that is used again in verse 1:28 when God speaks to the man and woman He formed. Except that in the case of humans, God had a more elaborate blessing:
“Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the flow of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
Humans as rulers:
What does ‘dominion’ mean? The Hebrew word ‘radah’ carries the idea of ruling, subduing, and subjugation. These words can have a very negative connotation for several reasons. First, because there are many examples of poor leaders (Hitler, Kim Jong Un, Mussolini, etc…) and very few examples of great ones. Second, our post-fall, sin nature places our own selves in the center of our world. That sinful nature clouds our understanding of what biblical rulership is. Think of a poor ruler (e.g. boss) you have had to obey and the misery you have had to suffer as a result. Being subjected to poor leadership can equate to enslavement through fear.
In contrast, God is a just and infinitely compassionate ruler. To submit to him is a pleasure and a genuine delight because he is unfathomably loving and wise. Prior to the fall, when Adam and Eve were created in His image, God handed over to them the dominion mandate. God entrusted the 1st humans with rulership that was expected to be handled with competence and benevolence towards ‘lesser’ beings.
And God said:
“…I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to it shall be for meat”.
Herbs and seeds made up the diet of the 1st humans. Similarly, every beast of the earth and fowl of the air, and everything that creeps upon the earth had a diet based solely on herbs and greens.
The death of living creatures was not required to provide food for humans or animals, prior to the fall. Additionally, there was little to no work required to harvest herbs and seeds. According to the Scriptures, in the 1st week of creation, “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground”. After man was formed, “a river went out of Eden to water the garden…”. It appears that God created a self-sustaining earth, where light, darkness, seasons, soil, water in the sea and above were all synchronized to provide a pleasant climate and a fruitful habitat for the inhabitants of earth. There was no necessity to domesticate animals and use them for agriculture or to kill them for meat.
According to a Diana Herbert who wrote an article on ‘God’s Original Diet’ in Stepstolife.org, she expands on what foods were available prior to the fall:
- Herb bearing seeds: plants without a strong woody stem or trunk that bear seed are generally understood to mean grains such as wheat, oats, corn, rice, rye, barley, millet, etc.
- Seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame, flax, etc.
- Legumes: soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, split peas, peanuts, etc.
- Foods containing seeds: today’s vegetables, such as eggplants, bell peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, squashes, melons, etc.
- Fruits of tree yielding seed: plants with a strong woody stem are considered shrubs, bushes or trees. The fruits could have been oranges, lemons, cranberries, apples, pears, mangos, strawberries, dates, cherries, blueberries, bananas, coconuts, avocados, olives, etc. Nuts eaten during that time could have been almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts, brazil, etc.
On the next post, I would like to examine whether plants are living beings… or not. Even though I research and write primarily for my own learning and growth, if you get something out of what you read, I hope that you will message me or comment on this website! Thank you.