When we read the Bible, it’s helpful to note words or phrases that are repeated. Repetition can indicate clarification, emphasis or progression. The story of creation in Genesis 1 is full of repetition.

For example, the NIV text repeats “God said…” at least eleven times in the chapter. We read God made or created something at least nine times in the chapter. It’s hard to miss the emphasis that God is identified as Creator through the spoken word. John 1:1-3 adds powerful insight here. Jesus Christ, God the Son, is identified as the Word, the creative agent of all things.

Repetition of the ordinal days of creation, “and there was evening and there was morning,” indicate a clear progression in creation: the first day, the second day, etc. The assignment of a moral value, “and God saw that it was good,” also indicates progression. God’s repetition of separating (light from darkness, water above from water below, land from seas) brings order out of chaos in the first three days of creation.

Here’s another pattern of repetition: “according to their kinds.” A variation of that phrase occurs ten times in the chapter. At first glance this repetition may seem inconsequential. But when we question the compatibility of evolution to the scriptural account of creation, this phrase takes on more significance.

Darwin’s tree of life requires a common ancestry of all life with offspring that gradually differs from its parentage through mutation and natural selection. In other words, different kinds of life weren’t created “according to their kinds,” nor do they ultimately reproduce “according to their kinds.” If macro-evolution is true, life changes from one kind to another.

But when we read Genesis 1, we see an entirely different picture. Looking backward, God created everything “according to their kinds.” And looking forward, everything reproduces “according to their kinds.” The repetition of that phrase in the text does not point to a tree of life, but to separate, individual lines of life, created and reproducing “according to their kinds.”

To be fair, we must admit the text doesn’t positively exclude the possibility of some system of theistic evolution. But a plain reading of the text certainly doesn’t look like evolution. It looks like special creation with individual species created independently of one another.