What is the Creation Orchard?

The Creation Orchard is defined as a creationist depiction of the separate created kinds of plants and animals described in the book of Genesis and the respective species that have developed within each kind through time. Within the creation orchard, each tree trunk represents a separate created kind while the branches and twigs represent the breeds and species that have developed within the kind. The orchard shows the expected limits of variation within a kind and the expectation that there are no transitional forms existing between kinds. This is in opposition to the evolutionary tree of life which suggests all life forms belong to a single large tree.

The Creation Orchard was, in part, a reaction to an inaccurate description of Creationist beliefs made by evolutionists which is called the Creation Lawn. In the Creation Lawn, each species that exists today was considered a separate created kind which would be more like blades of grass in a field rather than a branching tree. This concept produced many problems. For example, under this concept, Noah would have had millions of kinds on board the ark instead of just a few thousand. To be specific, which is easier to deal with, the over 10,000 species of birds that were labeled as ‘kinds’ or the 196 actual bird kinds currently considered?

A section of the Creation Orchard Showing the Number of Kinds in Each Group

A section of the Creation Orchard Showing the Number of Kinds in Each Group

Speciation

Within a creationist perspective, species are defined as a breed within a created kind. It has a specific set of reproductively connected characteristics that produce a recognizable pattern. An individual of the species is able to reproduce with others of the same species and potentially able to hybridize with other breeds / species within the same Kind. Habitats and geographical distribution can be indicators of where species boundaries may occur.

Katagenos Species Concept

The Katagenos Species Concept is based on the Theory of Created Kinds. It allows for a reproductive and genetic discontinuity between kinds and a continuity between breeds / species within a kind. The active dynamics for change within a Kind are communication and environmental acclimation through the mechanism of genetic selection of already existing DNA. It currently combines the terminology of Baraminology, breeding techniques, and Linnaean classification in order to express these concepts.

Revelatory Species Concept

The Revelatory Species Concept is based on Romans 1:18-20 which, according to Wise, “suggests that God created the universe with physical illustrations of His invisible attributes and God created humans with the ability to recognize those illustrations.”

Species Concepts in Evolution

By some counts, at least 22 different (although maybe somewhat overlapping) species concepts have been proposed within evolutionary circles. Each of them has their own benefits and problems which tend to be associated with the field of science for which they were made. A quick description of the more commonly encountered concepts will serve as an example.

Environmental Acclimation

Environment Acclimation is a selection of traits favorable for a given environment and is the primary cause of natural breeding and speciation. Mating selections are typically based on appearance / phenotype which in turn select the genetics behind those traits / genotype. This is similar to the evolutionary process of natural selection; however it can occur rapidly because already existing traits are chosen and no new genetic material must form over time.

Heritage Mating

When a member of a species decides to mate, it typically follows a pattern of Heritage Mating. Heritage Mating is the mating selection of individuals with the same surface characteristics as oneself – caused by having the same heritage (both genetically and culturally). Heritage Mating explains why hybridization and mixing of less common individuals is not the norm and why species continue with the same surface characteristics that define the species. It indirectly shows the differences that will become prezygotic barriers to reproduction.

Understanding Created Kinds and Species

Many people ask what taxonomic level is equated with the Created Kinds. This is a poor and overly simplistic question. Historically, our taxonomic system has been based on similar morphology (appearance). Created Kinds is based on breeding capability. These are two different systems and they do not necessarily equate to each other. Simply put, Kinds do not equate to any one taxonomic rank.

Post-Flood Speciation

Because of the limited number of animals that were contained on the Ark and the many species found today, evolutionists have suggested there must be some form of “ultra-fast evolution” or “super fast post-flood adaptation” to make this amount of speciation occur in only 4,500 years. However, this thinking is flawed. They are using the evolutionary means of mutation, adaptive radiation, and genetic build-up to bring about the changes necessary to produce these many species.Instead, creationists view this a selection of already existing genetic traits which does not take long periods of time.

Breeding Terminology

When looking at the differences between types of animals like dogs or of plant crops like oranges, it is probably easier to use the terminology used in farming and breeding rather than the scientific use of genus, species, and sub-species. Breeding is the development or refinement of certain traits within a type of plant or animal. This is typically done by man to bring out certain desirable traits while diminishing undesirable traits.

Variation within a Kind

How much change can occur within a kind? Using the Hibiscus Kind as an example, there are changes to color, overall size, and even complexity of the petals (ornamentals). The major features that distinguish this kind do not change. The major features include a corolla of 5 petals fused at the base and an Androecium composed of many stamen fused with the carpels of the Gynoecium.

Hybrid Plants and Animals Display Variation within a Kind

The amount of variation that can occur within a single kind is somewhat surprising. Hybrids that are witnessed between species and genera give strong examples of what is possible. These hybrids will typically have a unique appearance which shows characteristics of both of the parents since they have genetic information from both of them.

Reproductive Isolation of Kinds vs. Species

The concept of reproductive isolation is commonly used in evolutionary terminology stating that species are reproductively isolated from other species. However, in reality what you see is that what we think of as a species can often hybridize with other species, with other genera, and sometimes with other families. Reproductive isolation fits the concept of a Created Kinds much better than it does a species.

Extinction

Extinction is not a driving force or cause for change. Instead, it is a result of an inability of a individual to mate with others of its breed or go back and hybridize with others of its kind. It typically comes from the inability to acclimate to changing environments which in turn challenges its survival. This is primarily caused by a lack of genetic variation or over-specialization of that breed. When extinction occurs due to environmental changes, other species or kinds with traits favorable for that new environment will likely be ready to move in and fill the that environment.

Ring Species

Ring Species are defined as a series of connected populations which spread around a geographic barrier where neighboring populations are able to interbreed but the distant populations that meet after the barrier are unable to interbreed. The basic idea was first suggested in the early 1900’s and the concept was formalized in the 1940’s. This idea was to show in a spatial dimension what is typically expected of evolution in a time dimension. Only a few species have been suggested as potential Ring Species, but with further study each has been found to not qualify as true Ring Species. Therefore, the Ring Species concept is an evolutionary idea lacking any proven examples.

Taxonomy and Classification

Taxonomy is defined as a system or structure showing the relationships between different types of items. It comes from the Greek word τάξις ‘Taxis’ which means ‘arrangement’. It can be compared to a filing system. Within biology, it is a hierarchical arrangement of species within larger categories based on common characteristics. It traditionally studies the morphology (form and structure) of species. More recently, studies of behavior and genetics have also become common. Classification is defined as the arrangement or grouping of species within taxonomic units. It can be compared to the process of placing items within a filing system.

Natanzera Classification System

A taxonomic system based on the concept of Created Kinds. While based on classical Linneaen classification, it removes the evolutionary assumptions and introduces the Baramin, Sabah, Avot, and Benim levels and the following chart compares the Linnaean Taxonomic Endings to the Natanzera Taxonoming Endings.

Methods for Delineating Baramin

Baraminology is defined as the study of Created Kinds and generally refers to the taxonomic studies made within a creationist framework. The field of Baraminology makes an attempt to determine what the original created kinds were as well as connect different species within a kind today. One method of this work deals with reproduction, which is a very strong indication that two plants or animals are related. A second method is statistical analysis of characteristics of the plants or animals to determine if they are similar. The statistical approach is not as strong for evidence, but is especially useful in working with fossils.

What are Lumpers and Splitters in Taxonomy?

Lumpers and Splitters are defined as individuals or methodologies that broadly or narrowly group together similar members into a species (or other taxonomic rank).

Plant Baramin

Plant Baramin are defined as groups of created kinds of plants which have been tested and found to belong to the same kind or are currently under investigation and tentatively belong to the same kind. In comparison to evolutionary taxonomy, plant kinds tend to average near the Family level of classification.

Flowering / Angiosperm Plants

The taxonomy and classification of the angiosperm (flowering) plants including both monocot and dicot groupings.

Cone Bearing / Gymnosperm Plants

The taxonomy and classification of the gymnosperms (cone bearing plants) including conifers, cycads, ginkgos.

Spore Bearing / Pteridophyte Cognitum

The Pteridophytes include ferns, horsetails, and club mosses. They are vascular plants with roots, stems, and leaves but which reproduce using spores.

Animal Baramin

Animal Baramin are defined as groups of created kinds of animals which have been tested and found to belong to the same kind or are currently under investigation and tentatively belong to the same kind. In comparison to evolutionary taxonomy, animal baramin tend to average near the Family level of classification. Animals are generally defined by have having eukaryotic cells (containing a nucleus), ingesting food rather than producing it, lacking cell walls so cells can join together to form tissues and organs, and the capability of motion.

Reptile Kinds

Reptiles are identified as animals containing scales and breathing air through lungs. They have bony skeletons and are ectothermic (cold-blooded). Most lay eggs on land although a few give live birth. They are primarily adapted for terrestrial environments, but some also take advantage of aquatic regions. The major groupings within the reptile cognitum are turtles, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and most dinosaurs.

Lizard Kinds

Lizards are recognized as reptiles with a long body, tail, moveable eyelid, eardrum, and (usually) four legs. Most live on the ground, but some can be found in water, up in trees, or in burrows. They typically have claws on their toes (except the legless lizards) which can be used for climbing. They include the iguana, chameleons, geckos, burrowing, and worm lizards. There are a tentative 43 extant lizard Kinds.

Snake Kinds

The snake cognitum is recognized as a group of reptiles which are long, limbless, without eyelids, a short tail, and an ear without an eardrum. Evolutionary taxonomy has about 3,450 species in 24 families.

Turtle Kinds

Turtles are a grouping of reptiles (having scales and breathing air) in which the scales form a shell around much of the animal. As with most reptiles, turtles will lay eggs on land. Although breathing air, some species are well designed for aquatic living and have been designed with webbed feet and lightweight shells. Statistical studies have suggested possibly 5 kinds of turtles.

Crocodile Kinds

The crocodilian cognitum is recognized as reptiles with long flattened snouts and also with eyes, ears, and nostrils on top of the head for ease of use while swimming. They have a four-chambered heart and a unidirectional system of airflow through the lungs. They include alligators, caimans, crocodiles, and gharials.

Dinosaur Kinds

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles. Most were bipedal while some others were quadripedal. From an evolutionary standpoint, dinosaurs are an often misunderstood and misrepresented group. The word ‘dinosaur’ means terrible lizard, but dinosaurs are not truly considered to be lizards. Furthering the confusion are groups like the Pterosaurs and Plesiosaurs (think Loch Ness Monster) which are commonly thought of as dinosaurs, but which are themselves classified as other types of reptiles. In general, baraminology studies on fossil groups has been quite limited, so I will limit this section to one Kind which has been studied.

Bird Kinds

Birds are defined as creatures with feathers, wings, and a beak. They are warm-blooded, lay eggs, usually build nests, and most are able to fly.

Mammal Kinds

Mammals are a grouping of animals with the common feature of feeding milk to the young. They also have a skeleton made of bones, are warm-blooded, most have fur and teeth, most have live birth (a few lay eggs), and they generally care for the young until they can care for themselves.

Amphibian Kinds

The Amphibian cognitum is generally defined as creatures with an aquatic larval stage with gills followed by a terrestrial adult stage with lungs (although variations do occur). They typically have smooth and scaleless skin which is used for respiration and gas exchange. Usually, they are tetrapods (having 4 feet), but they may also have reduced or absent appendages. Amphibians have bony skeletons, are ectothermic (cold-blooded), and have smooth skin (no scales). They have non-amniotic eggs and therefore require water to keep the eggs moist.

Human Baramin

The human baramin is defined as the group of all people, present and past, which are descended from Adam and Eve. Although many nationalities exist, they can all be considered one kind with no races.

Variation of Man Kind in the Fossil Record

In recent decades, evolutionary archaeologists have uncovered many fossilized remains that they consider to be transitional species between ape and man. Creationist researchers look at these same fossils and and sometimes place them among the apes, with humans, as frauds, or as uncertain where they belong. Ultimately, the question has to be asked, just how much variation is possible within Man Kind?

Nebraska Man and the Scopes Trial

The fossil tooth that became known as Nebraska Man has been given much attention in the creation / evolution debate. It has also been given some publicity in several movies over the last few decades. Sadly, much of what is presented is misinformation about the topic and makes a good example of how people can accidentally or intentionally misunderstand or misrepresent the facts. This paper is an attempt to return to a factual record of events that relate to this topic.

Last Updated: 2018-07-12
Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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