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Discovery Magazine 8/1/1994

Which Came First: The Chicken or The Egg?

Riddles are clever questions or puzzles designed to make you think. For example, you might say, "Daddy, which came first: our town or the railroad?" And he might say, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?" This is a trick question, because you can't have eggs without hens to lay them, and you can't have hens unless they hatch from eggs. By saying this riddle, your dad is telling you that your question has no easy answer. Then he might say, "Let's go down to the library and find out whether the railroad came to the town, or the town built up around the railroad."

Still, you may be wondering which did come first: the hen or the egg? The Bible has a very good answer: the hen. The first chapter of Genesis says that God created trees and grass, not just their seeds. He created birds that flew in the sky, not eggs or even chicks. He created fish that could swim in the seas, not fish eggs. He created cattle, not calves. And last, He created man and woman, not boy and girl. Why did God create adults first? There are two reasons. First, God wanted the plants and animals to make more plants and animals; they could not do this unless they were adult or mature. Second, many young plants and animals need adults to help them grow. So God had a very good plan for our feathery farmyard friends: He made the roosters and the hens first.

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