Question 44: Genesis 1:20 says that God created the fowl out of the water, but in Genesis 2:19 it says He formed them from the ground. I have a suspicion the answer lies in a proper understanding of the Hebrew language. Can you address this?

Genesis 1:20 says:

20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” (NASB)

Genesis 2:19 says:

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. (NASB)

Answer: If you look at Genesis 1:20, it does not say that the birds of the heavens came out of the water: And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. The verse should be understood as two separate statements. Concerning the waters, God instructed them to swarm with living creatures. Thus, what was created in that statement were all creatures that live in water (not only the sea world creatures).

The second statement pertains to the avian world. God simply said, “…let birds fly above the earth.” He created the birds with the ability to fly over the waters, but they were not created from the waters.

Genesis 2:19 explains where the birds came from: they were created from the ground, the same as the animals and Adam as well.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.