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If we use Scripture's taxonomy for the animal kingdom (4 kinds):

1 Corinthians 15:39 (KJV):

All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

  1. Men
  2. Beasts
  3. Fish
  4. Birds

Could Genesis 6:12 be referring to a dramatic physical/biological change, violating God's 4 categories? Perhaps mixing or altering the physical traits of creation?

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

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  • I think there's a more fundamental question there around whether 1 Corinthians 15:39 should really be interpreted in this way in the first place. For a start it's only interested in listing animals with 'flesh', so you've sort of lost the lower orders of animals - reptiles, insects, arachnids, crustaceans, echinoderms etc.
    – Steve Taylor
    Oct 14 at 11:25
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Could Genesis 6:12 be referring to a dramatic physical/biological change, violating God's 4 categories? Perhaps mixing or altering the physical traits of creation?

You ask an intriguing question. One that is difficult to verify scripturally. The reason it is difficult is because of the traditional interpretation of this period of time.

Genesis 6:4 talks about the sons of god interacting with the daughters of men. And depending on your understanding of this, namely, were? the sons of god ‘angels’? - this will shape the answer to your Q. With all of thisthis in mind ..

The genetic makeup of ‘a human’ would be compromised in a union between ‘angel’ and ‘man’. God created man, but the result of this union would not be what God created. And, over 100s of years, it’s clear that the whole earth was compromised - genetically.

GEN 6:9 [snip] Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time

‘Blameless’ - tāmîm - complete, whole, entire, wholesome.

Noah was ‘without blemish’ - how do I get that? Because tāmîm is the exact same word used to describe the ‘condition’ the lambs used for sacrifice had to meet - without blemish. Noah was a ‘complete’, genetically ‘pure’. One required condition for him being saved!

Now when we consider some extra biblical sources, we also learn that prior to the flood, there was ‘genetic’ manipulation of animals - that is, ‘kinds’ were being ‘mixed’. And the result of this animal interbreeding were the unclean animals. God did not create anything unclean! So here we have another part of the answer to your Q - that is, yes, there was genetic mixing, that is, biological changes to flesh.

However, many will not accept this answer as it challenges the traditional view which is well established, and this view I outline also uses extra non-canonical sources,so you will need to decide for yourself whether you may accept all/part/none of what I outlined.

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Genesis 6

3 And the Lord said: My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Notice the recurrent themes:

  • spirit & flesh
  • corruption & violence
  • earth & man & beast & fish & fowl

In the book's earlier chapters, man was made from the earth (2:7), to rule over it, along with its beasts, and the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the air (1:26-30). However, man proved incapable of ruling even over himself, and his own (beastly) passions or appetites (3:6-7), in which case, if the leader of the entire creation is weak and corrupt, why would his underlings (i.e., the rest of the creatures) fare any better ? If even the most rational, most spiritual, and least carnal creature is drawn towards the irrational, the material, and the carnal spheres of existence, how about literal beasts or actual animals ? Will they prove more successful than him in fighting off their beastly inclinations and animal appetites ? The question is rhetorical, and the answer self-evident; thus all of creation degenerated to the point where a new start was called for; a restart, to reset the world back to its original or initially intended state of purity (1:31).

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  • The question is whether a physical change in genes/flesh-and-blood took place. Oct 12 at 22:33
  • The creation actually did not restart at this point. The curse was still in effect. After Noah, the animals were afraid of man. God actually said the animals were now (for the first time) permissable to be eaten by man. It was not until Christ that the curse of the Adamic race was broken. Though arguably a new hybrid breed of spirit-man arose more than a restoration to the original creation. Oct 12 at 22:34
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    @KeenanDiggs: The text seems silent about a change of this nature taking place.
    – Lucian
    Oct 12 at 22:55
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1 Corinthians 15:

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

I don't think Paul meant this as describing modern scientific biological taxonomy.

Genesis 6:

12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

Could this be referring to a dramatic physical/biological change?

Yes, in fact, scientists found the longevity genes that affect how long a person lives. Genesis shows that people were living shorter and shorter life span.

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