The Christian Perspective

Here are the relevant texts in the NASB:

Leviticus 11:13-19
These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the kite and the falcon in its kind, every raven in its kind, and the ostrich and the owl and the sea gull and the hawk in its kind, and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl, and the white owl and the pelican and the carrion vulture, and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat.

When reading the Bible in English, remember that the words are translations from another language. Generally speaking, the original Hebrew and Greek words are available for us to examine in any good Lexicon.

Therefore, you'll note that he never actually uses the word "birds" -- "birds" is an English word, and he wrote in Hebrew.

The word that he used that is translated "birds" ('owph) has several different meanings, of which "birds" is one, "flying things" is another, and "insects" is yet another. Translations can be very helpful, but Christians do not claim that the translations are infallible.

We should also note that the claim that "bats are not birds" is based entirely upon the man-defined classifications of species, genus, family, order, class, etc. These are not objective and absolute classifications, but are rather nothing more than essentially the arbitrary and subjective vote of the scientific community. In other words, when we say "bats are not birds", what we are REALLY saying is "Modern scientists have decided not to include what they have chosen to designate 'the order Chiroptera' (bats) within what they have chosen to designate 'the Class Aves' (birds)".

Obviously, Moses is not claiming that the order Chiroptera lies within the class Aves. He never mentions either Chiroptera or Aves. He had no interest in the man-made classifications of phylum, class, order, family, etc. In fact, those arbitrary designations were not even invented by the scientific community until much later in time. They did not exist at the time of Moses.

Moses is simply informing the Israelites of certain 'owph that they are not to eat, one of which is the 'atalleph.

God bless you in your studies.

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