The Living Creatures, Surprise and Danger
God said: Let the water swarm with a swarm of living beings, and let fowl fly above the earth across the dome of the heavens!
—Genesis 1:20, Schocken
God said: Let the earth bring forth living beings after their kind, herd-animals, crawling things of the soil after their kind!
—Genesis 1:24, Schocken
If day four was too boring for you, day five will make up for it. We are about to experience new life in a very active and, at times, terrifying form. Just as day four showed some parallels to day one, so also day five parallels day two. In day two, the waters were separated above from below, with space between. In day five, two kinds of life are given: one for the water below (swimmers, or fish), and one for the space above (flyers, or birds).
A new life of swarming sea creatures and flocking air creatures fills the seas and the skies, showing clearly day five’s rhyme with day two.
But these creatures are not to be taken for granted or simply admired. Unlike the plant life of day three, these creatures have very unique capabilities. They are “living beings,” or in the Hebrew, nephesh chay.1 This implies that along with having physical bodies designed for travel in their element—water or sky—these creatures also have mouths and teeth. They can bite, communicate with each other, and their brains enable them to exercise self-determination. They go where they wish, often at very high speeds. The plant life of day three is the base of their food chain, but they also feed on each other (and you, if they get a chance).
To survive and prosper in day five, one needs good timing. These new creatures are vastly unlike the vegetation of day three, which was immobile and could be harvested in a predictable pattern. The birds and fish of day five are a considerable challenge. Capturing them is very difficult, not to mention the fact that they eat the vegetation of day three and will bite you whenever they get a chance.
Interestingly, the new ecology is self-sustaining. In addition to the food chain, the plants produce the oxygen the birds and fish consume. In turn, the creatures produce carbon dioxide, which the plants consume. The element of time marked by the celestial bodies of day four will now become crucial for success, as any gathering of new life will require being at the right place at the right time with means and a plan.
Opportunity on day five is huge, almost unimaginable. It requires good timing and a capacity to handle some very difficult creatures, creatures who have the breath of life, minds of self-determination, and bodies of flesh that can fly or swim with strength and skill.
In keeping with the action theme, the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is hei (pronounced “hey”) and has a root meaning of action, spirit, and revelation. The four-letter name of God uses this letter twice. In addition, hei is the letter that was added to Abram and Sarai’s names to indicate their spiritual revelation and new relationship with God. In its earliest Paleo form, the fifth letter was the sketch of a man with his hands raised as if to exclaim, “Hey…Look at that!”
Indeed, as day five develops, the sights are amazing. However, these sights often last only a split second as one or a group of the new beings of the air or water puts on a display. The less-than-productive, almost boring phase of day four is over. A new, dynamic phase is now in place. The sum or our preparation, work, and vision of our efforts in days one, two, three, and four now has a chance to yield some great progress. The advantage seems to go to the strong, those with the means to harvest these wily creatures. Meanwhile, the weak seem vulnerable to the flocks above and the schools below.
There is one factor of hope for the less strong or those of moderate means, and that is timing. If one can be ready at the right place at the right moment, great things can be accomplished, even with only modest means. Many a small team of warriors has ambushed a larger body of troops by this method. So also have small companies taken away market share from larger companies by bringing products or concepts to the market at agreeable moments. My point is that day five has the potential to change the status quo very quickly, and new players—those no one expected—will arrive and take their place on the stage, often at the expense of existing players.
If day four was a disappointment, day five will be a challenge. It can be very rewarding or it can be devastating. Consider our naturalist’s situation as day four comes to a close. As darkness falls and day five begins, suddenly sounds of splashing in the water and shadows of movement in the sky will give the natural observer a sense that this indeed will be an interesting day. Excitement builds as once again there is new life.
It’s not long before our naturalist discovers that this new life is very different from the vegetation of day three. These new creatures have mouths and teeth, the ability to communicate, and self-determination.
The vegetation of day three was easy to manage. Once you knew where a specific plant was, it did not move. The new life of day five, on the other hand, has some very different and disturbing characteristics. It will take some adjustment to be able to manage this new life form. Anyone who has fished or hunted wild game knows timing and location are the keys to success. Great amounts of time can be consumed fishing or hunting in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also true that great catches can be made very quickly if you happen to be at the right place at the right time.
Some naturalists will be lucky and achieve great success without knowledge simply by being at the right place at the right time. The majority, however, will come up empty, and many will be bitten and even consumed.
The revealed use of the guiding lights of day four gives direction for when to rest and when to deploy our nets, when to be under cover and when to come out and play in this new world now dominated by the mobile biters.
It is better to be at the right place at the right time with little capability than to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, or caught in an ambush, with large capability. For many, during day five, luck appears to rule the day. Some seem just lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Others, seemingly well prepared, find themselves simply positioned badly, ending up empty handed, injured, or even consumed by some biter that no one saw coming.
On the other hand, the combination of a well-placed morsel of produce from day three and timing from day four offers the enlightened hunter or fisherman an opportunity for a successful ambush. Day five is quite a ride, and if you can find some success in day five, day six may be very good indeed.
One who knows the appointed times set by the lights of day four has an advantage. He knows when to rest and when to work. He also knows the food sources created on day three that the fish and birds must live on, so he has a sense of location as well.
It may not seem like a lot to work with, but these tools give you a chance for success. Without them you end up desolate, bitten, and exhausted! On top of that, the critters of day six have no intent of giving you a break. They are similar to those of day five, only these move about on dry land. Those doing well on day five will likely also do well on day six; however, those who struggled on day five may simply find that they have fewer places to hide.
Day five can only be mastered by properly using God’s appointed times. To consistently prosper in this environment, learning to use the tools of day four is of great value. Leviticus 23 is a great starting point, and others will become clear as you meditate on God’s appointed times.
The character of the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is vav. In Paleo Hebrew the symbol is a tent peg, which has a meaning of “to secure or add to.” Day six is the height of creation. Just as day four paralleled day one, and day five paralleled day two, so also day six parallels the new life of day three.
On day three, we had two distinct creation activities: the first appearance of dry land, and the appearance of new life in the form of vegetation. On day six, we also have two distinct creations: land animals, and the ultimate creation, humanity.
The first creation of day six only adds to the problems of day five—more mouths with teeth, more groups of creatures that can bite and overwhelm an unprepared individual. However, also in day six, the human makes his entrance into the story and is given dominion.
God said: Let us make humankind, in our image according to our likeness! Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, fowl of the heavens, animals, all earth, and all crawling things that crawl about upon the earth!
—Genesis 1:26, Schocken
Day six of the Creation story is simply full of complex new life. First there are animals in all varieties, suitable for various purposes, terrain, intake, and life cycles. Then, of course, humanity itself is created to take charge and rule over all that has been created.
Here is an interesting thought: Is it not unusual to have an ecosystem be created so complexly, and then bring in a ruler or overseer? Much has been made of the human being made in the image of God—but think of his lack of knowledge and understanding. He was, after all, created last, after all the other creations are put in place. Human had no part in the six days of Creation; now, with complete ignorance, he is put in charge.
Can this mean anything other than the idea that God wanted an ongoing, moment-by-moment, day-by-day relationship with His final created being? I think not!
For us who are finishing up a sixth of our own creation—be it a day, month, year, or a set of seven years—the lesson seems to be that all the pieces are in place. One can begin to understand fully what the divine light was trying to communicate. We see now the full connection to the echad unity of day one. In some ways, our work of these six days has yielded beyond our expectations, yet along the way we have suffered loss. Some of our dreams have developed beyond our wildest hopes, while others were lost amid the waves of days one and two, died for lack of new life in day four, or were bitten in day five or even day six.
The advent of day six and its transition from day five may be the most fluid transition of the whole set. The flying and swimming nephesh chay are now joined by the land walkers and runners. The hard and dangerous work of figuring out how to handle day five’s creatures easily transfers to the management of the first created beings of day six.
It should be expected, however, that systems and relationships will become more complex. The creation of human in day six signals that a “God-like” being has entered the arena, and from now on his role will affect the rest of creation for good or evil.
The concurring sets of seven days, months, years, and sets of seven years, all running simultaneously, causes these reckonings to appear random. To the untrained eye, it seems that our world is not understandable or ordered. But a trained eye can see the clear purpose of each segment of time. In many respects, Creation is as much about the division of one element from another as it is about adding new elements. Early on, elements are moved from where they were before to new, defined, purposeful locations. For example, light is separated from darkness in day one. Water becomes restricted to its place above and below in day two; it is further restricted to the seas, lakes, and rivers, creating bare ground as the place for plants in day three.
Each new day brings new physical structures or beings into the world, but these new creations are set in their place apart from those that came before.
Fish are given the water, birds the air, and animals and human the land. All of these are separated into male and female form. Therefore, not only are these beings created, but they are properly set in their habitation, each with its unique role.
All of creation now awaits human’s decision. Will he rest and worship the Creator? Or will he plunge ahead, trying to improve his enterprise, thereby worshipping the works of his hands?