Creationists: Adam Named 3,500 Animal Kinds in 3 Hours and 45 Minutes


Don’t forget all that unresearched ocean and those animals we know nothing about but God and Adam certainly do.



Well, that’s 1 every 5 seconds. It’s certainly do-able… maybe not sensible, but do-able.


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The story reminds me of ID-Creationist David Berlinski claiming he sat one night and listed over 50,000 separate morphological changes required for a cow to evolve into a whale. Never mind whales didn’t evolve from cows, Berlinski’s claim would require him to write down one change every 10 seconds for over 5 3/4 days straight with no stopping. :slightly_smiling_face:


Names were much shorter back then.

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“”“The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, “””

How many would that be if say the animals were created at Order rank?
Maybe only two kinds of cattle.
28 kinds of bird.
Three hundred kinds of beast?

“Man gave names to all the animals, in the beginning, long time ago” - Bob Dylan

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The Genesis text doesn’t tell us that HAADAM named ocean animals—nor other taxonomic categories of animals not specifically mentioned in the text. Thus, obviously, the “Don’t forget” admonition will remain as fun and light-heartedly facetious as Djordie intended. :wink:

Furthermore, the semantic domains of the Hebrew words are not identical to our modern English words used to translate them. Translation doesn’t simulate mathematical equivalence. Consider:

So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. — Genesis 2:20 (NIV)

For example, the NIV’s choice of “the birds in the sky” is a very reasonable translation of the Hebrew but not an exact one. (If a Bible translation were to include all of what a Hebrew word might entail in a passage, the Bible would be about ten times larger in size and quite unwieldy and clumsy to read.) The Hebrew word 'OWPH basically means “winged creature” or “owner of a wing.” So that would include bats and dragonflies, among other diverse creatures, as well as feathered birds. (Thus, when Richard Dawkins and other Bible-mockers complain that “The Bible says that bats are birds!”, they are simply displaying their ignorance of basic linguistics and are anachronistically trying to impose modern taxonomies on an ancient people. A culture can attach labels to categories of their own construction any way they wish.)

As to the @Patrick OP linking to the article “Creationists: Adam Named 3500 Animal Kinds in 3 Hours and 45 Minutes” by the Patheos blogger known as “Libby Anne”, it is certainly easy to have some fun with the Answers in Genesis article which she critiques. (Yes, I do it too sometimes.) However, it is important to step back and put Sunday School traditions and hard-core YECism aside for long enough to consider what the Hebrew Genesis text does and doesn’t necessarily say.

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. — Genesis 2:18 (NIV)

I suppose a child could easily be forgiven for taking this verse at face value and assuming that Adam “naming” the animals meant something like this: “I’m calling this one Fluffy and her mate will be Felix. And this one is Spot and his mate is Fifi. And this one with the weird udder is Elsie and her mate is Elmer.” For that reason, I’ve sometimes wondered if English Bible translations should translate Genesis 2:18b something like this: “He brought them to the man to see what he would label them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its label.” (In English, “labeling” sounds less overly-specific than “naming”. Translators must weight a lot of nuances and subtleties.)

With all that in mind, it is easy to see that labeling creatures doesn’t necessarily require a distinct name/label for every species (or each individual kind or individual taxonomic division or whatever) as we might think necessary today. HAADAM/Adam could have done exactly what the Hebrew text describes by labeling any sort of category he wished. For example, “I’ll call this animal category [which is a “kind”] four-legged-grass-eaters. And the nice-sounding animals overhead I will call singing-flyers. Those over there I’ll call ‘annoying noise-makers which wake me in the morning when I’d rather sleep.’ And all of those beasts over there I will call fast-runners. And every animal which digs I will call diggers.” (There’s also no reason Adam couldn’t apply names to overlapping categories. Thus, several of the above “kinds” could also be labelled “producers of shelled ovoids propelled out of their backsides.” I’m not trying to be facetious. Again, what the Hebrew text describes is not a systematic taxonomy but Adam exerting his dominion over animals by categorizing/labeling them.)

I doubt if Answers in Genesis has given all of this much thought—because their goal is primarily to justify their “baraminology”, rather than to explore what the Hebrew text of Genesis might allow in terms of ranges of meanings.

Moreover, the point of the pericope is not really to explain how every animal on earth got its label. (After all, we all know that those labels would vary from language to language, and we don’t even know that Hebrew would have been Adam’s language…) We are explicitly told in the passage that the purpose was to demonstrate that (1) Adam couldn’t find a suitable companion/mate among the many animals he saw , and that (2) by naming/labeling the animals, he was demonstrating the truth of what God said about him having dominion over animals. Imposing any other purpose on this text is another kind of anachronistic agenda.

[I’ll tag @Michael_Callen on this post because he enjoys these types of Bible commentary remarks.]


Thanks so much Allen! You have a fresh perspective on every topic to which you respond!

There’s an amusing internet post somewhere along these lines:

God: Now here’s one I’m very proud of; notice the complex sculpting on the elytra and the iridescent underside.

Adam: Beetle.

God: OK, next I have this animal with huge horns used in sexual combat.

Adam: Beetle.

God: Yes, it’s somewhat similar to the last one, but the subtle differences surely demand a somewhat different name.

Adam: Beetle.

God: Oh, all right. But now here’s one I’m inordinantly fond of because of its —

Adam: Beetle.



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There are only around 30 insect Orders.
That’s not too many to name…If indeed Adam were to have named them.
There are also only around 30 mammal Orders. Adam would not only have had time to name them but he also would’ve had time to check if any of them were “suitable.”
Around 30 Bird Orders too.
44 of fish.
If God made them he probably would have made around the Order rank.

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Of course he would. All the familes, genera, and species all evolved since Adam named them. Like Adam named a generic artiodactyl that later turned into giraffes, cows, and whales, so we don’t need separate names for them.


Nevertheless, the Hebrew text doesn’t say anything about Adam naming insects or beetles. (At most, the Hebrew word 'OWPH could, very technically, be argued to include flying-insects or winged-insects—but I don’t consider that to fit the context well. “Birds of the air” is a reasonable translation.)

So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. — Genesis 2:20 (NIV)

Notice that livestock, the birds in the sky, and all of the wild animals were warm-blooded, NEPHESH creatures. Insects would have been a jarring inclusion for the story, as they are NOT regarded as NEPHESH creatures. (We see similar factors at work with the NEPHESH animals taken aboard Noah’s ark. There was no need to include insects, earthworms, fish, etc.)

Moreover, it is anachronistic to apply modern taxonomic classifications like order to the Hebrew word MIN (“kinds”.)

Thankyou that’s good stufff. Yeah I’m just giving a general idea that I thought of.

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Yes. Ken Ham is among the most enthusiastic of all hyper-speed evolutionists. (He claims that all species of the “cat kind”, for example, “developed” [He avoids using the word “evolved”.] in the first century or so after the flood. How he determined that all of that evolution occurred in such a short time is never explained on the AIG website.)



Wouldn’t you say the whole notion that these animals even needed labeling is an artifact of a stranger ancient time, when such questions might have pre-occupied the thinkers of the ancient world?

Do we know of any other ancient story where this bizarre notion has traction?

In a way, it would be good to find one in the vicinity of ANE.

In other ways, it would be interesting if we conclude that ONLY the Hebrew origin story includes such a feature.

@AllenWitmerMiller, is there a particular reason it couldn’t be the “face value” reading? Here’s the information I get out of this passage:

  • this is within the Garden, we don’t know how many kinds/orders/species of animals were present, it could have been a Noahic “two by two” of every kind or simply a sampling from the local population
  • it seems unlikely that Adam is being some sort of proto-taxonomist, trying to differentiate one animal from another for categorical purposes. We aren’t even given what the names were.
  • the purpose was to find a helper (which provides motivation for the creation of Eve). Let’s not forget the second half of verse 20 “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” This sounds relational, not taxonomical.

Given the above points, it seems at least just as likely that Adam was naming individual animals (Fluffy and Elmer, etc. although probably more functional given the Old Testament pattern for names) as it is “labeling” the species/order/kind.


Something that I find exasperating is how both religious fundamentalists and skeptics take the same translation of the same Bible verse(s) and give it the same literalistic reading. Little thought is given that the text is translated from an ancient document from a language very unlike English. Although the fundamentalist might take a translation of a particular Hebrew word and try to prove a point with that (an argument about a specific word), little thought is given about how the original audience would have understood the text as a whole.

My own Biblical language qualifications are rather meager. I have had two years of Koine Greek, zero years of Hebrew. I am amazed when someone like Allen who knows Hebrew takes a familiar Bible passage and tells you the things that translations leave out.

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Why should we take this story seriously? God creates a bunch of animals in an attempt to find a partner for Adam, but he can’t figure out beforehand that a female human would be the most appropriate? Especially in the context of GA, this makes no sense whatsoever. He’s already made humans male and female, not to mention all those other species that came earlier. And why should he create new animals in the garden when all those species are already around? If you really read the story, it dissolves into absurdity.

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