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What Are the Biblical Kinds?


Created kinds
are organisms that are defined by creation biology as sharing a common ancestry. The phrase refers to the Genesis account of the creation week during which God created many kinds of plants and animals. They are also referred to as "original kinds," "Genesis kinds," and more formally by creation scientists as baramin. The term barmin was coined in 1941 by Frank Marsh from the Hebrew words bara (create) and min (kind). The study of baramin (known as Baraminology) is a rapidly growing field of creation science involved with the identification of the created kinds.[1]

Contents

History of the Concept

The concept of the "created kind" originates from the biblical book of Genesis where it is first mentioned in chapter 1.

"The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day... 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.' God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.' There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so."Genesis 1:12-24

In contrast to the evolutionary principle of common ancestry, creation biologists argue that organisms were created in a finite number of discrete forms as described in the Bible, which subsequently diversified through speciation and microevolution. There is much uncertainty about what exactly the Bible means when it talks of "kinds". The original Hebrew word min is used to describe a variety of organisms. Nevertheless, creationists are in agreement that the phrase refers to a distinct barrier between different types or organisms and a limitation on variation.

In The Genesis Record, (1976) when Henry Morris states:

It is significant that the phrase “after his kind” occurs ten times in the first chapter of Genesis. Whatever precisely is meant by the term “kind” (Hebrew min), it does indicate the limitations of variation. Each organism was to reproduce after its own kind, not after some other kind.[2]

Early creationists used the word "species" (Latin for "kind") for the concept of "created kind" referred to in the Bible. The concept of "fixity of species" persisted in the minds of scientists and laymen for some time, despite the narrower definition of species later adopted, as illustrated when Henry Morris continues:

It will probably be found eventually that the min [Hebrew word for kind] often is identical to the "species," sometimes the "genus," and possibly once in a while with the "family".[2]

Theologian Russell Mixter comments on this early view:

One should not insist that "kind" means species. The word "kind" as used in the Bible may apply to any animal which may be distinguished in any way from another, or it may be applied to a large group of species distinguishable from another group ... there is plenty of room for differences of opinion on what are the kinds of Genesis.[3]

Due to an improved understanding of speciation, it is now widely recognized by creationists that the process has been a regular part of the development of the created kinds. In contrast to the earlier views, today most creation scientists see the reverse comparison to Morris; equating the "family" level as most often identical to the kinds of the Bible, sometimes the "genus," and only possibly once in a while with the "species".

In 1941, creation biologist Frank L. Marsh proposed that the Biblical created kind could be defined in terms of reproduction. He argued that two creatures which can successfully mate must have descended from the same kind. This idea has been adopted to support the practice of baraminology, the attempt to identify the created kinds.[1] The few creationists who work in baraminology have attempted to derive a consistent set of rules for establishing when this criteria is met. Microbiologist and creationist Siegfried Scherer refined the criteria to state that if two creatures can hybridize with the same third creature, they are all members of the same "basic type". Thus all members of a ring species would be members of the same kind. Scherer also updated Marsh's explanation of true fertilization:

Two individuals belong to the same basic type if embryogenesis of a hybrid continues beyond the maternal phase, including subsequent co-ordinated expression of both maternal and paternal morphogenetic genes.

Assigning the kinds to a particular level of the modern taxonomic hierarchy has proved problematic, as evolutionary assumptions have influenced the classification system. As a result, the kinds do not coincide on a consistent basis with any particular taxonomy level. Nevertheless, today most creation scientists identify the family level of classification (such as Felidae) as most frequently synonymous with the baramin, whereas for others like humans it coincides with the genus level (homo).

Diversification of Kinds

A diagram from Answers in Genesis.
The phylogenetic tree of evolutionary biology.

The created kind is based upon an idea that organisms were created with the innate ability to vary a great deal, and evolutionary processes are merely the means by which that genetic information is expressed.

Each of the original kinds was created with a vast amount of information. God made sure that the original creatures had enough variety in their genetic information so that their descendants could adapt to a wide variety of environments.[4]

The creationary phylogenetic tree is similar in form and function to the evolutionary tree, but bears two important differences.

  • First, while the evolutionary tree traces life back to a single cell, the creation biology tree traces life back to a number of unrelated populations that roughly resembled the forms of life today. The evolutionary model is single monophyletic tree, whereas the creation model contains many polypheletic trees. Those who tend to support a polyphetlic origin of life are often called pattern pluralists.[5]
  • Second, while the evolutionary tree credits evolutionary change to an increase in genetic diversity from simpler to more complex organisms, the creation biology tree credits small mutational change to the rearrangement and expression of genetic variation that was "built in" to the original kinds;

Many creationists believe that change within a population is accomplished only through the rearrangment of preexisting information or the degradation of the created genome.[6] Others assert that organisms were designed with a molecular machinery capable of editing genes, adding new alleles to the population, which generates diversity.[7] It is generally agreed upon that natural selection, reproductive isolation (speciation), and genetic drift are effective in leading to the formation of populations that are highly adapted to their environment. Speciation and genetic drift is believed to have occurred at high frequencies during the dispersion immediately after the global flood.

The biblical creation/Fall/Flood/migration model would also predict rapid formation of new varieties and even species. This is because all the modern varieties of land vertebrates must have descended from comparatively few animals that disembarked from the ark only around 4,500 years ago. In contrast, Darwin thought that this process would normally take eons. It turns out that the very evidence claimed by evolutionists to support their theory supports the biblical model.[8]

Selection is used to explain the diversification of distinct species by both creationists and evolutionists. Imagine a small gene pool in which there are genes for both blue and brown eyes evenly spread throughout the population. In such a situation, some people will be born with brown eyes, and other people will be born with blue eyes. However, if part of the population separates from the main group, and the smaller population has only the gene for brown eyes, then the descendants of that smaller population will have only brown eyes. The characteristic for brown eyes has become "set" in the isolated population.

Many creationists believe that the formation of the races was also a result of this process. The population on board the ark is believed to have been a hybrid population containing the genetic characteristics of all the races. When the population spread over the Earth after the flood, gene pools became isolated and began to adapt differentially to the regions into which they settled.[9] For example, skin color became lightened by natural selection, so that northern populations developed lighter skin in order to produce vitamin D in more sun-deprived areas, while equatorial populations developed darker skin to protect them from the harmful effects of the sun. As a result of the population isolation, the racial characteristics became "set" in the respective populations, resulting in the characteristic races observable today.

Boundaries Between Kinds

Most of the controversy regarding created kinds revolves around the asserted boundaries between the kinds -- the position that the kinds are unrelated. Those challenging creation biology often ask what basis creation biologists have for asserting that such boundaries exist, or for determining what those boundaries are.

The project of determining the precise boundaries between the kinds is not easy, because it is in essence a historical project, in which the evidence is strictly limited by the evidence available today. This problem is analogous to the problems in constructing phylogenetic trees, where evolutionary biologists struggle to determine which criteria should be used in determining how life is related.

Creationists generally assert that conclusions about common ancestry should only be drawn if there is substantial evidence to support the conclusion. That is, one should not presume that forms of life are related, but should hold that position only if there is solid reason to do so.

In the absence of the ability to directly observe life in its original form, classification of kinds generally revolves around reproductive compatibility -- that is, created kinds are generally seen as having common descent if they are reproductively compatible. Thus, humans and frogs are considered to be different kinds because they are not reproductively compatible at all, while the African and European races are considered to be clearly of the same kind, because they are totally reproductively compatible.

The classification is more difficult when reproductive compatibility is partial, as in the case of the mule, a hybrid of the horse and the donkey which, although viable, is not fertile. While it is possible that the two species descend from a common ancestor due to their reproductive compatibility, it is also possible that they do not, but were created separately with reproductive systems similar enough to create viable offspring, but not similar enough to create fertile offspring.

Other criteria for common ancestry are rejected. The mere fact that organisms are alive is not seen as evidence of common ancestry, because there is no evidence available to refute the possibility that life originated in several unrelated forms. Genetic and physiological similarities are not seen as evidence of common ancestry, because there is no evidence available to refute the possibility that the genetic similarities are a result of a similar design being used on different "kinds."

Since 2001, creation biologists at the Baraminology Study Group have been developing a new method for demarcating created kinds. The new method involves the application of morphological character data to create a "biological character space," which can then be used to determine continuity and discontinuity between species, and ultimately to determine "biological trajectories.". Creation scientists generally recognize that kinds are a form of clade since created kinds refer to common ancestry. Baraminology, or the effort to classify life according to the created kinds, is thus the creationist equivalent of cladistics.

"'Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.'" - Leviticus 19:19

Identification

To understand the true evolutionary history of life on Earth, it is important that we identify what organisms were created in the beginning, it is generally assumed that a kind is similar to the genus or family depending on the given example. A canonical list of kinds has not been constructed and such examples are extremely provisional (with the exception of humans, on which there is a strong creationist consensus). Baraminologists draw upon several sources of information to identify the created kinds, which include scriptural accounts, hybridization data, and the fossil record.

It is very important not to confuse the "created kind" with the modern use of the word species. Although animals like the fox and coyote might be considered different taxonomic species, they are still parts of the same "kind" of animal. The created kind is thought to be more often synonymous with the "Family" level of classification in the taxonomic hierarchy; at least in mammals; and occasionally it can extend as high as the order level. Here are some examples:

Thus the created kind corresponds roughly to the family level of taxonomic classification, and possibly even the order with the notable exception of humanity wherein the genus is representative.[10]

Hybridization Data

Creationists view sexual compatibility to be one of the best physical indicators that organism belong to the same baramin (created kind).[11] This is largely based on the observations that compatibility diminishes over time in related species due to genetic drift. The Bible also states that God created organisms with seed in it, according to their various kinds. Therefore, the ability of genetically dissimilar species to mate successfully would seem to indicate that they are related. A hybrid is the progeny that results from such a mating.

Hybridization especially refers to human breeding of plants or animals of different breeds or species, although wild varieties are recognized. Hybrid plants are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant. This type of crossbreeding is also used support that the created kind is broader than the species designation, and often synonymous with the family level of taxonomic classification.

To aid in the identification of baramin, a database of known cases of interspecies reproduction was needed. To meet this need, Ashley Robinson and Todd Wood started an internet database of published references to such interspecific hybrids. This important creation science research tool is called the HybriDatabase.[12] The database is hosted and maintained by the Center for Origins Research (CORE) at Bryan College, which currently contains nearly 5000 hybrid records.

Examples of hybrids:

Bertram the Liger is a hybrid (a cross between a male lion and a tiger).
  • The Mule—a cross between a horse and a donkey.
  • The Liger—a cross between a lion and a tiger.
  • Kekaimalu the Wholphin is a fertile hybrid of two different genera, the False killer whale and Bottlenose dolphin. Kekaimalu herself gave birth to a calf, showing she was a fertile hybrid. Thus these creatures classified as different genera are really a single polytypic (many-type) species.
  • Bos (true cattle) and Bison (American buffalo) can produce a fertile hybrid called a Cattalo. Bos and Bison are thus likewise the same polytypic species although they classified as different genera.
  • Brassica and Raphanus are different plant genera which hybridize to what has been given a new generic name Raphanobrassica.
  • The creationist Don Batten helped create a hybrid of the fruit species lychee (Litchi chinensis) and longan (Dimocarpus longana), again classified as different genera.

Fossil Record

To identify whether a particular variety was created of evolved, baraminologists compare living organisms with those visible in the fossil record (which creationists interpret as having mostly been laid down during the flood). Creationists recognize that organisms change dramatically over time, and many new species have developed since the creation. However, it is also viewed as improbable that any specific variety would have evolved independently before and also after the great deluge. Therefore, it is believed to be assumable that any organism alive today, which has obvious ancestors in the fossil record, is a created kind.

Scriptural Accounts

Creation

Unfortunately, the descriptions of the kinds of plants and animals formed during the creation week are very general, and provide no specific definitions that would help.

"Then God said, 'Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them'; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day." - Genesis 1:9-13
"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.' God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.' There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day." - Genesis 1:20-23
"Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' Then God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food'; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." - Genesis 1:24-31

Summary of the original kinds detailed in the creation account found within Genesis 1 .

  • Many kinds of plants bearing fruit;
  • Many kinds of trees bearing fruit;
  • Many kinds of great sea creatures;
  • Many kinds of sessile and mobile aquatic organisms;
  • Many kinds of birds;
  • Many kinds of livestock;
  • Many kinds of insects, and;
  • Many kinds of wild animals.

The Flood

Additional references to kinds are present during the description of the global flood, but again these statements are so general as to provide no specific definitions. We can only be sure that a great many species from each of the types of animals mentioned were present on board the ark. For example we know that there were many birds due to the statement "every bird of every sort". However, we can not be sure if God created just one species of birds like the "bird of prey", or several different species. Likewise were there many water fowl created or just one? Animals can change so dramatically through time that making such determination is exceedingly difficult. If only Noah had provided modern baraminologists with a complete manifest!

"On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him." - Genesis 7:13-16

The only specific mentions at the time of the flood are to the dove and raven, which Noah used to test whether the earth had dried sufficiently. From this reference we can sufficiently conclude that there were indeed a great many birds on board the ark.

"Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself." - Genesis 8:6-9

Other Biblical References

There are other mentions of animals later in the Old and New Testaments, but caution should be given to accepting these as baramin. Given the rapidity with which speciation and diversification can occur, it is possible that many of the animals listed elsewhere in the Bible have developed since the global flood. For example the list of clean and unclean animals in Deuteronomy 14 contains references to the red and black kite, which should probably be viewed as belonging to the same baramin. It also lists several species of owls including the desert owl, which has arguably adapted to conditions that did not exist before the flood.

"You shall not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. Any animal that divides the hoof and has the hoof split in two and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat. Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these among those which chew the cud, or among those that divide the hoof in two: the camel and the rabbit and the shaphan, for though they chew the cud, they do not divide the hoof; they are unclean for you. The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses. These you may eat of all that are in water: anything that has fins and scales you may eat, but anything that does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you. You may eat any clean bird. But these are the ones which you shall not eat: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the red kite, the falcon, and the kite in their kinds, and every raven in its kind, and the ostrich, the owl, the sea gull, and the hawk in their kinds, the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, the pelican, the carrion vulture, the cormorant, the stork, and the heron in their kinds, and the hoopoe and the bat. And all the teeming life with wings are unclean to you; they shall not be eaten. You may eat any clean bird." - Deuteronomy 14:3-20

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Baraminology—Classification of Created Organisms By Wayne Frair. Creation Research Society Quarterly 37(2), pp.82-91. Sept. 2000.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Morris, H., The Genesis Record, Grand Rapids MI: Baker Books, 1976. p63.
  3. The Concept of "Kinds" In Scyipture* [sic] by J. Barton Payne. Journal of American Scientific Affiliation 10:17-20. December 1958.
  4. Sarfati, Jonathan. Refuting Evolution 2 Chapter 4 - Argument: Natural selection leads to speciation. Greenforest AR: Master Books, 2002. (p77)
  5. Doolittle WF and Bapteste E. "Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis." Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 104(7):2043-2049, January 29, 2007. doi:10.1073/pnas.0610699104 Accessed October 16, 2008.
  6. Sarfati, p56
  7. Genetic Variability by Design by Chris Ashcraft. Journal of Creation 18(2) 2004.
  8. Sarfati, p79.
  9. Sarfati, p81
  10. Mammoth—riddle of the Ice Age by Jonathan Sarfati. Creation 22(2):10–15, March 2000.
  11. Sarfati, p77-78
  12. HybriDatabase Center for Origins Research, Bryan College.

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