[Lengthened]Here is a hard thing:

Darby Bible Translation
and to every animal of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth on the earth, in which is a living soul, every green herb for food. And it was so.

For more:


Where you can read several translations, and commentary.

My point is the use of the word soul.

I hold, and I understand it as orthodox in Christianity, that we humans have souls, something within that is transcendent, a supernatural aspect to us breathed into us by God.

This scripture plainly states that all living creatures have souls, and plants are provided as food. Hmm…

It is more evidence that strict literalism just doesn’t work.

Pulpit Commentary

Quite interesting. I kinda think it is ridiculous that commentators could wonder if carnivores, with no anatomical capacity to eat vegetation, from their teeth and claws to their digestive tract, and their enzymes, could have eaten only vegetation, especially from such a generic statement about why plants were made (rather than what living critters were allowed to eat).



The interlinear shows us two words in the Hebrew for life.


Obviously soul.


Also can be translated soul, including of humans, but rare.

So, figure it out for yourself.

It is literalist support for vegetarianism.

In my view, it is a simple, poetic statement as to the reason God created vegetation, that reason being for food, for supporting the base of the food chain. Of course, had the original author known about oxygen, I’m sure he would have included a comment along the lines of:

English Standard Version
And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food, even for the very breath of life within them.” And it was so.

Note my addition.

I find it significant that the scriptures address subsets of only two of the biological kingdoms of life. It makes clear to me that Genesis and the scriptures in their whole CANNOT be taken overly literally and CANNOT be taken as statements of science.

Scripture is given for spiritual reasons, lessons for life, not lessons for science class.

English Standard Version
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,


Update (added):

Isn’t it interesting that Carl Linnaeus came up with two kingdoms of life? I suspect it was influenced by his faith and understanding that the bible describes two kingdoms of life, animals and plants, though rather selectively. Still, the division is about as ancient as we can look at with documentation, so, not surprising at all.

I got to wondering if the bible does mention anything that isn’t plant or animal. (Not counting references to mythological entities. I don’t really count the unicorn, though. It seems to be a mistranslation. Rhinoceros or wild ox seems more consistent for a translation. It seems uncertain regardless.)

I find it does reference fungus, particularly mildew and yeast. I should have remembered that. I don’t think I can find scripture that would justify claiming the bible anticipated the difference between fungi and plants. A quick search gives me no idea what ancients thought of yeast. Fermentation was figured out at least 5,000 years ago, and leavening shortly thereafter. I wonder if they thought yeast part of some plants, or as something distinct?

I’d be happy to have comments, questions, or objections on this topic.

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