In Genesis 2:1 we read (KJV)

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

In Nehemiah 9:6 we read (KJV)

Thou,even thou art LORD alone; thy has made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is therein, and thy preservest them all, and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

In Job 38:4-7

4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Ezekiel 1:5-12 (will use vs 10 only to save typing do read it all) (KJV)

10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

Ezekiel 41:19 (KJV)

So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about

Revelation 4:7

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

The scriptures are clear to me that GOD created and filled the heavens before the earth.

The Cherubim and living creatures had faces of man, lion, eagle & ox.

So are we to believe GOD didn't name these faces when he created them? That he waited until the creation of man for him to do it as per Gen 2:19, 20?

19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and He brought them to the man to see what he would name each one. And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

  • 2
    I presume they had names in heavenly language but not earthly language. That is all that can be said.
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 7:33
  • 1
    This question is making an assumption that cherubim are created beings. I would disagree and say that they are symbolic of the purposes of God in humanity. But I agree that 'the heavens' (created first) are indicative of angelic powers required to support matter and energy in a substantial universe. See my profile (hence my website) for the book 'The Cherubim of Glory' freely available in PDF, free of charge. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 7:33
  • @Nigel J tried the web site nothing came up when the book was clicked on.
    – Dpki8p
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 0:24
  • @Dpki8p Thank you for pointing this out. I have checked and yes, there is a problem. I have just called the Web Hosting Service and they are on to it. Please try again in a day or two and I believe it will be sorted by then. Thank you again for your feedback : I was not aware there was a problem. Nigel.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 8:57
  • @Dpki8p The website is fixed now. It was a server fault. Thank you again for raising the matter so that it could be corrected. Nigel
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 11:45

4 Answers 4


According to Genesis, the original words used to name the beasts in question were given by Adam.

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. (Gen. 2:19)

The OP asks: are we to believe GOD didn't name these faces when he created them?

That seems to be what Genesis suggests. But we don't know how these faces appeared in God's sight. Ezekiel perceived them as he described them, but in God's sight these "faces" may have been spiritual qualities that the animals represent. God may have seen courage where Ezekiel saw a lion, he may have seen obedience or steadfastness where Ezekiel saw an ox, etc.

In any case, according the Gen. 2, God left the naming of the animals to Adam. However God thought of the cherubim and their faces, it was Adam who came up with the names translated as lion, eagle and ox.


are we to believe GOD didn't name these faces when he created them?
That he waited until the creation of man for him to do it as per Gen 2:19, 20?

Why is that difficult to believe?

Imagine people that are born totally deaf. By the time they are a few years old they can clearly distinguish between lions and eagles; they have some concept of what these creatures are; and they have some means of referencing them when they think.

Eventually they learn to read and write English, and, even without the concept of pronunciation, they will be able to associate the letters "l.i.o.n" with the animal.
(Or, if their families are Chinese, they'll use the two symbols "狮子", which have effectively no pronunciation naturally associated with them.) They will likely also learn ASL, and associate using spread fingers to comb their hair straight back as the "name" of the animal.

There are many ways of mapping the concept and the object.
That Adam assigned a set of human names to animals doesn't in any way mean that God didn't already have the concept of those animals before then.

We can't presume to know or understand how God himself thinks. The difference between whatever God's mind uses and our "lion" or Adam's "אֲרִי" is almost certainly greater than the difference between "狮子" and the combing-hair sign though.


"So are we to believe GOD didn't name these faces when he created them? That he waited until the creation of man for him to do it as per Gen 2:19, 20?"

It was given to Adam to name the creatures on earth that were under his authority.

In the heavenly realm, every thing that God created has been given a name by Him.

He determines the number of the stars; He calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4

Lift up your eyes on high: Who created all these? He leads forth the starry host by number; He calls each one by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

There are only a few names of those in the heavenly realm that have been revealed to us throughout scripture. The myriads of the heavenly host each have a name that God gave to each one. God is very personal with each of His creatures. Just as He knows the numbers of hairs on each of our heads, since He put them there.


I'm not sure how literally we are supposed to take Ezekiel's description. (For example, many of the early church fathers considered the beasts in Revelation to be representative of the four gospel authors.)

Notice that in the description of the cherubim statues on the Ark of the Covenant, it is specifically stated that their faces should be facing towards the mercy seat. If they had separate faces on opposite sides of their heads, it would be impossible for all the faces to be facing toward the mercy seat.

This shows that the cherubim on the Ark were not like Ezekiel's description, implying that Ezekiel's description shouldn't be taken literally.

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    As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 26 at 3:31
  • @ Michael - Thanks for your interest in Bible study! However, when answering a question, one should stick to the main topic. Here, the question dealt with the creation of animals...not the beasts of Ezekiel, nor the cherubim on the Ark. Even if this were a topic introduced by another Answer, it should be considered a false "rabbit trail" to distract from the Posted Question. Keep studying the Bible; it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Commented Jan 27 at 22:45
  • @raygrant The OP asked if animals were named before creation since their faces were on the cherubim, which, as heavenly creatures, were created before the animals. His assumption that the faces of the animals were on the cherubim is based on Ezekiel's description of cherubim. I pointed out that it is not necessarily the case that the animal faces were created in the heavenly cherubim before the animals were created since there are other ways of interpreting the cherubim's appearance. So, I did address his question
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 29 at 14:08

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