New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:20 open firmament. Both the “lights” (Genesis 1:15) and the “fowl” are said to be in the “firmament of heaven.” However, the fowl were to be in the “open” (Hebrew pene) firmament of heaven, or better, “the face of the firmament of heaven.” Thus, birds fly only in the lower reaches of the vast spaces of the heavens. Or, it may be that there are two different “firmaments of heaven.”
1:21 great whales. Fish and other marine organisms were created simultaneously with birds and other flying creatures, in obvious contradiction to the sequence imagined by evolutionists. The “moving creature” (Hebrew sherets) of Genesis 1:20 is elsewhere always translated “creeping thing,” and here evidently refers to marine invertebrates and marine reptiles, as well as the fishes. The word translated “great whales” (Hebrew tannin) is elsewhere the regular word for “dragons,” and most probably refers to the great marine reptiles often called dinosaurs.
1:21 living creature. It is significant that the word “create” (Hebrew bara) is applied to the introduction of animal life, but not to plant life. Plants are highly complex replicating chemical systems, as are animals, with reproductive programs based in the remarkable DNA molecule in both cases. However, animals possess another entity–that of consciousness–which plants do not possess, and this required a second act of true creation (the first was in Genesis 1:1, the creation of the basic space/mass/time universe). Such “consciousness” is the essential meaning of the Hebrew word nephesh, commonly translated “soul,” but in Genesis 1:20 (its first occurrence) translated “life,” and then in Genesis 1:21 “living creature.” In Genesis 2:7, referring to man, it is rendered “living soul.” Thus, both men and animals possess the specially-created nephesh.
1:24 earth bring forth. The land animals were brought forth (no need for a further act of creation, since the nephesh principle had already been created) in the early part of the sixth day. There was a natural three-fold categorization (no correlation with the arbitrary classification system used by modern biologists) consisting of cattle (domesticable animals), beasts of the earth (large non-domesticable animals) and creepers (small animals that crawl or creep close to the ground). The reversal of the sequence in Genesis 1:24-25 indicates that all were formed simultaneously. The bodies of these animals, like that of man (Genesis 2:7) were all formed from the basic elements of the earth.
1:24 it was so. Note the logical order of God’s formation of things. On the first day, He made the earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere, on the second day its lithosphere and biosphere. On the central day of the week, the heavenly astrosphere was formed. Then, on the fifth day living creatures were formed for earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere, and on the sixth day for its lithosphere and biosphere. On the first day God had created and energized His elemental universe; on the last day, God blessed and sanctified His completed universe.
1:25 after his kind. The phrase “after his kind” occurs repeatedly, stressing the reproductive integrity of each land animal kind, of the same sort as that of each plant kind (Genesis 1:11-12) and each air animal and water animal (Genesis 1:21). All of these reproductive systems are programmed in terms of the biochemical genetic code, utilizing the basic elements of the earth. Both plants and animals are formed from the created eretz (“earth”), only animals from the created nephesh (“soul” or consciousness).