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Who Made Cows?
What do people who reject evolution think about the origin of cows? Were cows made by God? Or did man domesticate cows from wild aurochs in the last few thousand years?
The same question goes for lots of other animals. Did God make dogs, or did man domesticate them from wolves? Did God make sheep, or did man domesticate them from mouflon? Did God make pigs, or did man domesticate them from wild boar?
I'm not asking this question in order to challenge contemporary creationists or attempt to prove anything to them - I've long given up on such things. Rather, I am pursuing a historical investigation.
It would seem that the creationist position ought to be that God created cows. After all, that would appear to be the most straightforward explanation of the Torah, which states (Gen. 1:25) that God made the behemos and the chayos. Chayos means wild animals and behemos means domestic animals. Accordingly, the various lines of evidence for domestication are to be dismissed, and the genetic similarities between dogs and wolves, pigs and boar, and sheep and mouflon are simply coincidence - er, I mean inexplicable Divine providence. (The Gemara presents a view that the shor ha-bar - presumably the aurochs - is a domestic cow that has gone feral.)
However, I discovered that Malbim, in no less than four places (Gen. 1:28, 2:20, 7:3, and Lev. 11:2), writes that domestic animals were created by man. Accordingly, he is forced to explain that when Genesis describes the creation of behemos and chayos, those terms do not refer to domestic and wild animals, but rather they refer to herbivores and carnivores; thus, the deer is a behemah. Only later in the Torah do these terms change in meaning.
Malbim is forced into such a difficult explanation of the terms because, as he states, scientists have shown that domestic animals were domesticated from wild animals. But, curiously, Ramban also defines behemah and chayah in Genesis 1:25 as referring to herbivores and carnivores (and Abarbanel also seems to prefer this view). Netziv points out that this explanation is difficult, since the deer is certainly classified in the Torah as a chayah, and the dog, according to one view in the Mishnah, is a behemah. What, then, motivated Ramban to explain the verse in this difficult way? It does not seem that he would have been aware that domestic animals originated in wild animals. Can anyone shed any light on Ramban's motivations?
Likewise, so far I have not been able to discover any other sources dealing with this topic - if anyone can dig up something (which would most likely be from the 19th century), I'd be indebted.