God said: "Let the earth bring forth grass, grass ... and a fruit tree yielding fruit according to its kind" (Gen. 1, 11). Then God said: "Let the earth bring forth the living creature ... cattle ... and beasts" (Gen. 1, 24). Why does the Scripture say: "Let it grow", but in another place: "Let it produce"?
... Trees, plants and fruits grow every year, and due to the fact that their seeds must remain in the earth every year and occur without fail from it, and it is said: "Let the earth increase." And as for animals and animals, they only once, according to the word of Almighty God, were generated by the earth and are born again not from the earth, but by natural succession from each other. That is why the Creator said about animals: "Let the earth bring forth", that is, once and for all, let the land of animals beget. "And it was so" (Gen. 1, 24), says the Scripture. The Word of Almighty God was realized: the earth was decorated with plants and animals (40, 755).
... Almighty God pleased to grant the earth plants, he gave water to the fish and birds. ... Because He first gave the universe life through the waters, he also commands first of all the waters and produce a living nature with the obvious goal that you, the beloved, know where the root of life comes from. St. John Chrysostom (40, 767).
Since the Creator of the world is by His nature life, the very nature of the waters He made the mother floating in them and flying through the air. He ordered the Earth to produce a diverse nature of animals and countless species of wild animals. And undoubtedly. He did everything that pleased Him, and beyond all reason. St. Cyril of Alexandria. Creations, part 4, M., 1886, p. 10-11.
When God said, "Let the earth bring forth" (Gen. 1, 24), this does not mean that the earth produces already in it, but the commander gave earth and power to produce (113, 157).
"Let the earth bring forth grass" (Gen. 1,11). And the earth, observing the laws of the Creator, having started from the germ, in a brief instant of time carried out all kinds of growth and immediately brought them to perfection(4, 73).
Like a ball cast on an inclined surface, it rolls down and does not stop until it is on the plane, and the living nature, inspired by one command, makes uniform transitions of creatures from birth to destruction, preserving a uniform sequence of species until it reaches end. A horse is born from a horse, a lion from a lion, an eagle from an eagle, and every animal kept from generation to generation continues until the end of the universe. No time damages and does not destroy the properties of animals. On the contrary, their nature, as newly created, exists with time. St. Basil the Great (4, 137).
The earth made everything out of itself with the assistance of light and water. Although God could produce all of them without them, this was His will, and He wanted to show that everything created on earth was created for the benefit of man and for his service.
... God ... commands the earth to produce cereals, and grass, and various fruitful trees. Grains arose in an instant, but immediately became as if they had grown for months. Also, the trees appeared on the same day in their creation, but on perfection and by the fruits on the branches they seemed to be the products of many years.
... After collecting the waters on the second day, rivers, springs, lakes and swamps appeared, and then the waters scattered throughout the universe, according to God's word, spawned reptiles and fishes; In the abysses, whales were created, and birds flew out of the water at the same time. The Monk Ephrem the Syrian. Creations, Part 8, M., 1853, p. 256, 264, 267.
Our God, glorified in the Trinity and the Unit, created the heaven and the earth, and everything in them, bringing everything from non-being into being without withdrawal: one - from a substance that did not exist before, such as heaven, earth, air , fire, water; the other - from these descendants from Him (elements), as, for example, animals, plants, seeds. For it was by the command of the Creator that He came from the earth and water, and air, and fire.
... So, in the beginning, as the Divine Scripture says (Gen. 1, 2), the earth was covered with waters and was "formless", that is, devoid of ornamentation. When God commanded, there were reservoirs of water and mountains arose, and the earth, according to Divine command, accepted its ornament - all grains and plants in which the Divine command also invested the power that promotes growth, and the power nourishing and enclosing the seed, that is, capable of giving birth to each of them. At the behest of the Creator, the earth produced various species of animals - both reptiles, animals and livestock. All - for the sake of the time-consuming use of man, but alone - for his food, such as deer, small animals, chamois and the like, others - for serving him, such as camels, oxen, horses, donkeys and others. like others, for amusement, like, for example, monkeys, and from birds: both forty and parrots, and the like. And also from plants and grasses: some of the earth produced fruit, others - edible, others - fragrant and blooming, given to us for enjoyment, like, for example, a rose and the like, others - for curing diseases. For there is no living being, no plant, into which the Creator would not have invested any power suitable for human use. For "He who knows all things before his existence" (Dan 13, 42), knowing that a person will arbitrarily break the divine commandment and give himself up to destruction, created everything: that which is in the firmament, and that on the earth and that on the waters, enjoyed this.
Before the violation of the divine commandment, of course, everything was obedient to man. For God made him ruler over all that is in the earth and in the waters. And also the serpent was friendly to man more than other living things, coming to him and his pleasant movements talking with him. Therefore, the culprit of evil - the devil - through him offered the progenitors the most evil counsel (Gen. 3, 1-5). And on the other hand, the earth itself brought fruits, so that they could use the living beings subordinate to man; and there was neither rain nor winter on the earth. After the crime, when a person became like "animals that perish" (Psalm 48, 13), as soon as unreasonable lust began to control a gifted mind by the soul, when he transgressed the commandment of the Lord, the subordinate creature rebelled against the superior chosen by the Creator, and was appointed to to cultivate the land from which it was taken.
... Moreover, after the crime, thorns grew out of the ground - according to the saying of the Lord, according to which even a beautiful rose has thorns - leading us to the memory of the crime, because of which the earth was condemned to grow for us by thorns and thistles. That this is so, must be believed because the words of the Lord: "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Gen. 1, 28) support the incessant existence of all that up to the present time.
However, the land will pass away and change. Blessed is he who inherits the earth of the meek (Matthew 5, 5). For the earth that receives the saints to itself is immortal. Therefore, who could adequately express the astonishment of the infinite and incomprehensible wisdom of the Creator? Or who could give appropriate thanks to the Giver of such great blessings? The Monk John of Damascus. Exact statement of the Orthodox faith. St. Petersburg, 1894, p. 43-74.