"Then God said, 'Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.' So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.' So the evening and the morning were the fifth day" (Gen. 1:20-23).
God determined that the seas and skies should be filled with life, so He made sea creatures and birds. Interestingly, the text indicates that God created "great sea creatures"; in other words, sea creatures of great length. God made all sorts of marine life on the same day. He didn't start simple and then use "evolutionary processes" to create more complex creatures over eons of time. He made them all--both large and small--on the same day. God blessed all these creatures with the power to procreate.
"Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creatures according to its kind; cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind'; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' And God said, 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food'; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (Gen. 1:24-31).
God made domestic animals ("cattle"), smaller creatures ("creeping things"), and wild animals ("beasts"). He intended to fill the land with life as He had the water and sky. Then, for the zenith of His creation on Earth, He made mankind (male and female) and desired that they procreate and fill the planet. More detailed information is recorded regarding the creation of the human race in Genesis 2. Let us emphasize at this time the fact that God created mankind to have authority, so to speak, over all other forms of life on Earth. Clearly there is a difference between our fellow man whom we are to love and a wild animal that we are to subdue. The fundamental distinction is found in the fact that humans are made in God's image. God, of course, is a spiritual being (cf. John 4:24). Thus, for us to be made in His image has nothing to do with our physical form. Rather, it indicates that we, too, are spiritual beings! We are blessed with personality (i.e., emotion, intellect, and willpower) in a way that animals do not share. Man has an eternal spirit; other animals do not. For more consideration of these points, please consult our archived lessons from 02/02/05 and 02/03/05. Finally, we would be remiss to not comment on the plural pronoun usage in Genesis 1:26. God is speaking and He says "Us" and "Our". How are we to understand these plural pronouns? I believe we have a glimpse here of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). All were involved in the creation and all share the divine essence (cf. Gen. 1:26; John 1:1-3; Gen. 1:2). We have written about the Godhead in greater depth in our archived lessons from 04/13/05 and 04/14/05.