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הַמַּ֔יִם שֶׁ֖רֶץ נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה (Gen 1:20) תֹּוצֵ֨א הָאָ֜רֶץ נֶ֤פֶשׁ חַיָּה֙ (Gen 1:24)

I understand that fowls and fish come from the waters and that land animals come from the earth. It seems overly simplistic to suggest that Elohim made birds from H2O and made land animals from dirt/the earth. Therefore, do these verses provide possible metaphorical, symbolic, liturgical, or theological implications?

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Quite different Hebrew verbs are used in Gen 1:20 and 24. Let me be more specific (my translations).

  • Gen 1:20 - "And God said, let the water abound with an abundance of living creatures ..." The Hebrew verb here is שָׁרַץ (sherats) meaning "to swarm, team", (BDB). See also Gen 1:21, 7:21, 8:17, 9:7, Ex 1:7, 8:3, Lev 8:29, 41, 42, 43, 46, Ps 105:30, etc.
  • Gen 1:24 - "And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature ..." The Hebrew verb here is יָצָא (yatsa) meaning (BDB) "to go or come out, com forth". See Gen 1:12, 24, 2:10, 4:16, 8:7, 16, 17, 18, 19, 9:10, 18, 10:14, 11:31, 12:4, 14:8, 17, 18, etc.

It is also clear that when God created He was not necessarily dependent on pre-existing matter (Which He had previously created anyway). However, that is the method God chose to use in the case of Adam (Gen 2:7 using yet another verb).

The sense in Gen 1:20 and Gen 1:24 is not that God used the water or the earth to make the creatures but simply that is where is brought them forth or placed them.

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