I mentioned our friend’s lodge recently. It’s actually a lodge and a game farm. In the bush, the animals are at home and because it is a private facility they are largely protected. I would love to watch the animals grazing in the veld or walking past the cottage or going on a game drive and seeing the animals in their habitat. To Jenny and myself, the most pleasurable one to watch is the Giraffe. They are so huge, yet their movements so graceful. I know they can be extremely vicious when they fight each other, but when a male serenades the female and their necks wrap around each other and form a heart, it is the most beautiful sight. But then, from the smallest new born to the oldest of any animal, in the wild they are such pleasant sights. One can watch them for hours.
We are at that point where God created light in verses 3-5, separating light from darkness (Day One); separated the waters of verse 2, creating sky with some water above and the rest below on the earth in verses 6-8 (Day Two); then His focus turned exclusively to the planet called earth causing the waters to be in their allocated places and on the dry lands He created vegetation (plants and trees) (Day Three); then He created lights in the sky, calling them sun, moon and stars for the purpose of day and night as well as to be signs, creating seasons, days and years. (Day Four).
At this point the planet is ready to be adorned with another type of life that would be able to feed off the vegetation and water God had already provided. Please read …
Ge 1:20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
By this stage we have the most beautiful environment. The foliage, plants and trees with their fruits, colors and variety of sizes were pleasing to God’s eye … see verses 12 and 18.
1) Water creatures. Whilst we do not know the exact types of species of water creatures, we can safely say that God made small sea creatures like krill, sardines, medium fish like salmon, larger fish like marlin and swordfish and still much larger ones like whales and plesiosaurs (large reptiles of various kinds). To this we are able to add jellyfish, eels, corals, crabs, octopuses, porpoises and many others. Most fish do not eat each other. They live off plant material such as seaweed, algae and drifting plants called plankton. God prepared the sea, rivers, lakes and dams for them with sufficient food on the fourth day.
2) Sky creatures. Like with the sea creatures, we do not know that exact types of sky creatures existed in the beginning, Though we may safely say that birds like parrots, pigeons and poultry as well as flying insects like butterflies, bees and bugs including bats and various flying reptiles known today by the name pterosaurs. What an interesting sight and sound as these sky creatures made as they took to flight, calling or singing to each other. Some with feathered wings, other with membrane wings or scaled wings and still others with skinned wings.
3) Without jumping too far ahead, dinosaurs as we call them were part of the animal kingdom and it’s likely that there were some flying and swimming dinosaurs. Take the sea and air creatures … some of them resemble either flying or swimming dinosaurs according to rock craft paintings unearthed.
4) Not only did God speak the sea and air creatures into existence, He commanded them to “be fruitful and increase in number and fill” the sea and the sky. He said the same to the vegetation in verse 11 … and like there they were to multiply after their kind. It seems that “according to their kinds” (sea creatures v21 and air creatures v22) implies that “be fruitful and increase in number and fill” means one kind of fish or bird would mate with the same type of fish or bird to multiply their numbers, increase and maintain their species.
Whilst some species of air creatures and sea creatures no longer exist, God’s command to these creatures has been kept as they continue to fill their “space”. As one who worked in the fishing industry, I was always amazed how trawlers would come into the harbor with holds filled with fish. It did not matter whether the trawlers were casting the net around a shoal of fish (pelagic fish), living closer to the top of the sea, or dragging their nets to catch fish (demersal fish) living closer to the bottom of the sea. There was always fish in abundance. Certainly, there were seasons, open season for fishing and closed season for breeding. The same is true with bird life. A huge spectrum of birds would be for their beauty, yet some such as foul, duck, ostrich and turkey are bread for human consumption. Surely all these factors were in the Creator’s mind when He spoke these creatures into existence.
Some might be vegetarian … and this is their right and choice, yet at the same time, after the flood God gave man the right to eat meat and much of the meat we eat comes from the sea and sky creatures. (I am aware that foul, duck, ostrich and turkey are land-based animals, but they do fall under the bird species). Not only has God provided a huge “white meat industry” from which many millions of people find employment (all around the world the fishing and poultry industry are huge), there are aquariums, fish farms, shark tanks, crocodile farms, bird aviaries, sanctuaries, bee farms, butterfly farms and other educational institutions promoting sea and air life. There are ocean trips for whale sighting and bush safaris for bird sighting. There are salmon fishing farms, books on air and sea creatures. Apart from the beauty of these sea and air creatures, people make a living out of them through education and entertainment.
5) Once again, God surveyed His creation and found it to be good … and blessed both the sea and bird creatures. Some people are attracted to the sea, other to the mountains. Some people enjoy trees whilst other enjoy flowers. Some people like birding and other enjoy looking at fish in an aquarium. Whatever your fancy, you have to admit that God’s creation is beautiful. Look at how the fish moves through the waters with such ease and grace. Look at how the birds soar through the skies. Look at the majestic beauty of the peacock … you have to admit that God’s creative design is glorious.
Father, thank You for giving us eyes to behold the beauty of the bird gliding through the skies and the fish finding its pathway with such speed and then slowness, with such sudden turns and curves. Help us to appreciate more and more the beauty and majesty of Your creation and praise You our God for eyes to see it. Amen.