When classifying a living thing, it is done through a specific process by placing it into categories that begin with a broad title and end with a specific name. You may remember from school the following order of classification: Kingdom (broad), Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species (specific). When we study Creation in the Bible, we do not see the aforementioned classification order but instead are introduced to the word “kind.” You will find the word “kind” used in the following verses, just to name a few: Gen. 1:12; Gen. 1:21; Gen. 1:24; and Gen. 1:25. God created the plants, birds, fish, and land animals, and commanded them to reproduce “after their kind.” The “kind” is considered by the majority of creationists to equal that of the Family in the classification order. There is current research being done to help better define “kind.” As mentioned, “Family” is often referred to as the kind, but some have suggested it may also be the Order or the Genus. There is more information on that below.
The “kind” is better understood as the canine (dog) kind, the feline (cat) kind, the equidae (horse) kind, etc. “After their kind” means that dogs would reproduce within the dog kind, cats would reproduce within the cat kind, and horses would reproduce within the horse kind. This is what we observe today. See the “Creation Orchard” below, which is much different than the Evolution Tree of Life.
The DNA holds an awesome amount of information, and when the proteins formed by the DNA are switched around, the results are different variations of the animal kind. This is what creationists refer to as micro-evolution, or some may refer to it as “adaptive variation.” The DNA is made so that it can only be altered to produce more animals after its specific kind. That is why we don’t find hideous dog/cat hybrids—the DNA would not allow for it to ever happen (an Darwinian evolution doesn’t necessarily teach that). There are times when after so much variation has occurred, the DNA has altered to the extent that certain species within the kind can no longer reproduce with each other. This is referred to as a ring species. This is not evolution, but instead a loss of information (reverse evolution). To help understand why we see different species in certain parts of the world but not in others, see the article about genetics.
Let’s use the canine family as an example to better understand this “kind” concept. There are hundreds of variations of the canine kind such as the German Shepherd, Boxer, Shih-Tzu, and Labrador. There are also variations of these variations, such as the Black Labrador, Yellow Labrador, White Labrador, and Chocolate Labrador. These are all dogs and will always be dogs. They will never change into another family (kind) of animal. The canine kind is not limited to dogs as we know them—it also includes foxes, dingos, wolves, and coyotes–and many within the canine kind can reproduce with one another to create new hybrids.
There is a field of Creation Science called “Baraminology” which comes from the Hebrew words bara and min. Translated, those words mean “created kind.” This is a study of the taxonomy of God’s creation. More information about this interesting field of research can be found at www.creationbiology.org The most recent research shows that of the Mammal kind, there were about 350 kinds identified. Of the Aviary kind, there were about 196 kinds. The research continues.