The Animal Kingdom According To Genesis

The Animal Kingdom According To Genesis: 

The Serpent- Snake or Satan? Animal or Angel?

In the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis, the animal kingdom can be divided into several categories- In fact, it has been! This article is going to take an in-depth look at how the Word of God has divided up the animal kingdom based on the creation account in Genesis, chapter 1.

Because God’s Word is eternal and relevant even to this day, sometimes it’s easy to forget the book of Genesis was written over 6000 years ago. Sometimes we assume something is literal, and take it at face value, when the words that were used, may not mean what we think they mean. Then there are the issues of transliteration, poor translation, and misinterpretation.
The King James version of the Bible is the most widely accepted of all English translations, by scholars, and believers alike, so we will use this version to take a closer look at the animal kingdom as it is relayed in the first chapter of Genesis.
Using a Strong’s Concordance, we will look at the Hebrew root words that were used in the original text, to delve further into the original meaning of the creation account.
Let’s begin at day 5, and see what God is doing:
Gen 1:20  And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Gen 1:21  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.


And God created great whales.. Pretty simple, right? 
Not so fast!
The ORIGINAL WORD, used here was, “And God created the great tannı̂yn / tannı̂ym” [S# H8577]
Let’s have a look at what these tannı̂yn / tannı̂ym were:


תַּנִּים    תַּנִּין

tannı̂yn    tannı̂ym

tan-neen’, tan-neem’

(The second form used in Eze 29:3); intensive from the same as H8565; a marine or land monster, that is, sea serpent or jackal: – dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale.





From an unused root probably meaning to elongate; a monster (as preternaturally formed), that is, a sea serpent (or other huge marine animal); also a jackal (or other hideous land animal): – dragon, whale. Compare H8577.

So, while the whale that we know would be included with the Tânîym, we can see here, that this is, obviously MORE than just “Free Willy” we’re talking about in Genesis 1:21.

Not A Dinosaur

So the verse continues “and every living nephesh that râmás.” [S#7430]

We assume these to be whatever remains of the aquatic life– quite a broad spectrum, but nevertheless, correct.





A primitive root; properly to glide swiftly, that is, to crawl or move with short steps; by analogy to swarm: – creep, move.

Genesis 1:21 concludes with the creation of “every winged fowl” or “every kânâph ‘ôph” [S#s H3671 & H5775]





From H3670; an edge or extremity; specifically (of a bird or army) wing, (of a garment or bed clothing) a flap, (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle: –  + bird, border, corner, end, feather [-ed], X flying, + (one an-) other, overspreading, X quarters, skirt, X sort, uttermost part, wing ([-ed]).





From H5774; a bird (as covered with feathers, or rather as covering with wings), often collective: – bird, that flieth, flying, fowl.





A primitive root; to cover (with wings or obscurity); hence (as denominative from H5775) to fly; also (by implication of dimness) to faint (from the darkness of swooning): – brandish, be (wax) faint, flee away, fly (away – ), X set, shine forth, weary.

So birds, right?Not so fast!

So here we have the creation of the great whales, the creeping things in the water, fish, birds, and the insects– NATURAL ORDER; the food chain is not broken!

And the evening & the morning were the fifth day.

Now on day six… Let’s see..

Gen 1:24  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Here, we are introduced to 3 new classifications of animal: 


2.Creeping Things (of the earth)

3. Beasts

Everyone knows what cattle is, right?

Simple enough? Let’s have a look:

The word transliterated to cattle, was originally, behêmêh [S# H929]





From an unused root (probably meaning to be mute); properly dumb beast; especially any large quadrupedor animal (often collectively): – beast, cattle.

Keep in mind, the Biblical definition of “dumb” is not a reference to intelligence: A primitive root; to tie fast; hence (of the mouth) to be tongue tied: – bind, be dumb, put to silence.

So what of the creeping things of the earth? Or the Remés [S# H7431]





From H7430; a reptile or any other rapidly moving animal: that creepeth, creeping (moving) thing.

It’s from H4730.. That looks familiar, so we will look again-





A primitive root; properly to glideswiftly, that is, to crawl or move with short steps; by analogy to swarm: – creep, move.

What have we here? Amphibious Creepy-Crawlies?

And now, we have the beasts– or the Chay [S# H2416]

I am of the opinion, that these are animals that move swiftly in herds– ie. antelope, gazelles, and the animals that hunt said animals in packs– ie, Lions, wolves..I am not a scientist, and am not aware which breeds are a result of hybridization, but I am under the impression that the original, swift-moving, herd animals, and the pack animals that hunt them, were the Chay. 

Here’s why:





From H2421alive; hence raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively: –    + age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life (-time), live (-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, + merry, multitude, + (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop.

God concludes the creation, by capping off the food chain, and creating man– male & female, to have dominion or râdâh over all living creatures on the earth.





A primitive root; to tread down, that is, subjugate; specifically to crumbleoff: – (come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule, (-r, over), take.

Now, we have broken down God’s classification of the animal kingdom, & examined the original words in their context.

To Recap, here are the 6 classifications of God’s Animal Kingdom:


Oddly enough, this is completely in line with science:

If you were to consider the 5 main classifications of animals with vertebrates, and all of Invertebrates as “creeping things” that move,  you would also have 6 categories.

Chapter 2 of Genesis picks up after the seventh day, (when Ëlôah rested from all of His work; all that He had made) with the creation of Eden, and of Adam, who proceeded to name each animal as God brought it before him- and eventually, Eve, who was made from out of Adam- flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones.

Moving on to chapter three, when all seems to be going well in the Garden of Paradise, we are introduced to the character of the “serpent.”

It has been speculative buy some, that the serpent is allegorical, and was not an animal at all. In fact, in later portions of the text, the Bible refers to the serpent as a “dragon,” and Satan, himself. 

Despite the many miracles mentioned in Scripture, there are very few times in the Bible, in fact only two, when an animal has the ability to speak; one being the serpent in Eden, and the other, Balaam’s ass; who was gifted with the ability ONLY AFTERThe Lord opened the mouth of the ass“. [Numbers 22:28]

I will not argue either side of the case.  I will only present the scripture, and the information from Strong’s in the same format as I have done with the creation account, in order to allow you the reader, draw your own conclusions.

*** On a side note: It seems to me, there may be some missing text here; Take some time to consider where we leave off at the end of Chapter 2- compare it to the transitions between other chapters in the book:
Gen 2:25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

I want to point out 3 things– the spelling of the word subtle, no reference is made to him being a beast; only that he his “more subtil than any beast,” – also notice where it says, implicitly, “that the LORD God had made,” meaning specifically, JEHOVAH

First, we will look at this word, subtil-

Starting with the synonyms for the word, in our own language, which I find interesting:

attenuated, deficient, extraordinary, few-and-far-between, flimsy, inconceivable, isolated, light, limited, occasional, out of the ordinary, rarefied, recherché, scanty, scarce, scattered, seldom, semioccasional,  singular, sparse, sporadic, strange, subtile, subtle, tenuous, thin, uncommon,
unfrequent, unheardof, unimaginable, unique, unlikely, unthinkable, unusual,
unwonted, diaphanous, filmy, flimsy, gossamer, paper-thin, permeable, rare, rarefied, refined, see-through, sheer, slight, towering, uncommon, unimaginable 

Subtil or ‘Ârûm [S# H6175]





Passive participle of H6191cunning(usually in a bad sense): – crafty, prudent, subtil.





A primitive root; properly to be (or makebare; but used only in the derived sense (through the idea perhaps of smoothness) to be cunning (usually in a bad sense): –    X very, beware, take crafty [counsel], be prudent, deal subtilly.

 Ok.. But wait.. A whale was not just a whale.. And wasn’t a whale or a tannı̂yn/m a serpent?
 So what does the original word for serpent look like here, and what is it’s definition-

Serpent or Nâchâsh [S# H5172]





A primitive root; properly to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell; generally to prognosticate: –  X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed, diligently observe.

Why is the serpent of Genesis 3:1 not referred to as a Remés or a Tamyîn?

Why does the serpent have the ability to speak?

Why is the serpent more subtil than any beast of the field YêHôWâH God had made?

Perhaps we will never know.

Here are some verse listings from the KJC (King James Concordance) matching these words, for those who care to do an independent, comparative word study.





Total KJV Occurrences: 14

enchantments, 4

Num 24:12Ki 17:172Ch 33:6 (2)

enchantment, 2

Lev 19:26Num 23:23

diligently, 1

1Ki 20:33

divine, 1

Gen 44:15

divineth, 1

Gen 44:5

enchanter, 1

Deu 18:10

experience, 1

Gen 30:27

learned, 1

Gen 30:27 (2)

observe, 1

1Ki 20:33

use, 1

Lev 19:26

Subtil ‘Ârûm

Note some interesting similarities here:


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