So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. (Gen. 2:20)

Dr. Dolittle is a fictional person created by British writer Hugh Lofting, who made him the central character of a series of children’s books. Dr. Dolittle had the ability to talk to animals. He could understand them, and they could understand him. That would be an amazing ability, if it actually happened. We do hear of “horse whisperers” who have an amazing ability in taming and training unruly horses.

But think what it would have been like to name all the animals in the world, having never seen them before. How awesome would that be? That’s exactly what happened to Adam.

What a great name the rhinoceros has. A hippopotamus (literally, “river horse” in the Greek) seems absolutely appropriate. And what else could you call an elephant but “elephant.” I know we are talking about their English names and it’s what we have all become accustomed to hearing and saying. But I think you will agree that Adam was a genius. How else could he have thought of a different name for every kind of animal?

In ancient times, to name something meant you had a kind of dominion or ownership over it. This is exactly what God said the man would do—rule over all the fish, birds, and every living creature that moved on the ground (Gen. 1:26).

Thank God for the variety of creatures we enjoy in his world.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. He has served The Wesleyan Church for over fifty years and written his weekly column, Positive Perspective, for more than thirty.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.