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Answering The Atheist
July 1, 2001 / Volume 1, Issue 17

Are fowl from the waters or the ground? Genesis 1:20-21 reads, "And God said, 'Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.' And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good." However, Genesis 2:19 reads, "And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."

Is there a contradiction?

The fowl are from the ground. If the questioner had read on in Genesis 1, he would have found his answer in the very next verse. We read, "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." Whatever is meant in verse 20, it does not mean that the fowl were created for or came out of the water, for verse 22 indicates that the fowl would multiply (pro-create) upon the earth. Perhaps the wording of the KJV is not as clear as could be, but it is not contradictory.

A literal translation of Genesis 1:20 would be, "...Let the waters teem with the teeming living creature, and fowl let fly on the earth on the face of the expanse of the heavens..." (YLT) This is not a statement of where these creatures were created (water or ground), but where they would dwell. The waters would have creatures in it (fish & other sea creatures) and the sky above the earth would have fowl in it.

Genesis 2:19 answers the question of where the fowl are from (were created). "...Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air..."

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible