As Genesis records God’s final creative efforts on the third day, He not only creates fruit trees and vegetables, he makes them so that they will reproduce themselves for all generations. “And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.”

That the statement, “after their kind” as Berkhof observes, “distinctly favors the idea that the different species of plants were created by God and did not develop the one out of the other. Each one brought forth seed after its kind and could therefore only reproduce its kind. The doctrine of evolution, of course, negates both of these assertions; but it should be borne in mind that both spontaneous generation and the development of one species from another, are unproved, and now largely discredited, assumptions…”[1]

I’m not sure whether God created three types of botanical life in this verse or just two. If you want to see that there are three they would be grass, then plants and finally trees. But others think that the use of the first phrase “vegetation” is just a collective term that points to the two sub-categories of plants and trees. What’s interesting is that plants and trees, and grass for that matter, only produce after their kind. Gowan said this is because God had a concern to preserve the order of the universe for us. He is not a God of confusion. He writes, “But there is a pastoral concern revealed here also, in the repeated emphasis, ‘according to its kind.’ The reader is reminded that God has put regularity and predictability into his world. If one plants a lettuce seed, a lettuce plant will come up, not an onion. This is visible evidence that God has created a world of order and dependability…”[2] Man, it would be a downer to plant sweet corn and have Brussel sprouts grow.  Exell says that the oak and the cedar we now know are the same trees Adam and Eve observed in Eden.  He adds, “And the odours we breathe in spring-time are from the same flowers” that were enjoyed by the first man and woman. He continues “And upon our thousand hills the cattle feed upon the self-same grasses that fattened the living creatures to which Adam gave names.” He concludes, “Around every seed, as it came from the creative hand, was bound as an iron fetter that thing we call ‘law.’ All the men of the world, with all their power and skill of chemistry and magic, cannot produce a rose from a lily seed, nor a pomegranate from a fig-tree.”[3]

[1] Berkhof, L. 1938. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co.

[2] Gowan, Donald E. 1988. From Eden to Babel: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis 1–11. International Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

[3] Exell, Joseph S. n.d. The Biblical Illustrator: Galatians. New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.