Could Adam have named all the animals in one day?

Genesis 1:24–27 states that God made the land animals, as well as the first man and woman, on Day Six of Creation Week. Genesis 2:18–23 tells us that Adam named the animals before Eve was created. So how could Adam have named all the animals in one day?

The Time Factor

Day Six of Creation Week began at evening (Genesis 1:31), and so consisted of about 12 hours of darkness followed by about 12 hours of daylight. There is no reason why God could not have made the land animals, and Adam too, during the darkness period of Day Six, so that at first light there they all were!

If, however, God used the daylight period, there is no reason to suppose that His creative acts in making the animals and Adam took any longer than the instant for Him to command these events to happen. So either way it need not have taken any time at all beyond first light on Day Six for all the land animals and Adam to have come into existence.

Adam therefore had most of the daylight hours of Day Six in which to complete his task. Note that this task did not include his searching out the animal, because Genesis 2:19 tells us that God ‘brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them’. Presumably this was in some sort of reasonably orderly procession.

Naming the animals

The following points need to be noted:

1. Genesis chapter 1 says that the animals were created according to their kinds, rather than according to their species—the phrase ‘after his/their kind’ occurs 10 times in this chapter (referring to both plants and animals). Exactly what the term ‘kind’ (Hebrew min) corresponds to in terms of the modern Linnaean classification system is not clear, but it appears that sometimes the min corresponds to today’s species, sometimes to the genus, and sometimes to the family. It indicates the limitations of variation. What is clear is that numerically there must have been fewer kinds in Adam’s day than the number of species we count today. [Ed. note: for more information, see Ligers and wholphins? What next?]

For example, it is more than likely that there would have been no domestic dogs, coyotes, and wolves as such, but rather one ancestral kind containing the genetic information for all of these to appear under natural selection pressures.

This is not evolution, because no new information is added. In the same way, the mongrel dog population of a few hundred years back was able to give rise (under human selection) to the various modern breeds of dog—because the information was already there in that population, much more than in today’s specialized, genetically depleted breeds. That’s why you can’t start with a chihuahua population, and expect that breeding/selection will eventually produce Great Danes….

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