Originally posted on Tayibs.com
Welcome back to our discussion of Genesis. Last week, we went over verses 1 through 5 and focused on God being the creator of the heavens and the earth—both what we see and understand and what we don’t ( things that are invisible to us). We also came to the objective realization that without God, nothing could ever exist, so the idea that the universe can create itself is absurd. The first five verses also explained how God began to give His creation light, life, and function. He began by establishing periods of light (time) and distinguishing between light and darkness, as well as heaven and earth. We also saw how God was and continues to be involved in every detail of His creation. He assesses His own work and is pleased with every order He creates. Today, we’ll give our attention to Genesis 1:6-13 and will invite you to listen to Dr. Baruch Korman’s exposition of this portion of Scripture.
Genesis 1:6-13: Creation Continues
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse[a] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made[b] the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.[c] And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,[d] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants[e] yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
- Verse 6-8
We already saw in verses 1 through 5 that the very first Day of creation involved the coming into being of periods of light, and the distinction between Day and Night. The next day involves another creation as God speaks and things happen. This time, God creates the sky ( bibles often use the term heavens) to separate the waters below from the waters above. Water is very important in God’s creation; there is a connection between the waters and creation. Water is always related to life, sometimes blessing or a blessed life, but water and life usually go together. But what we also need to put a huge emphasis on is the phrase ” let it separate”. God is always in the enterprise of making distinction, separating. And this should ring a bell in our ears- it is through God’s word that we can distinguish, that is, exercise discernment in our lives.
We’ll also see later in chapter 2 that the waters from above will eventually be useful to God bringing rain down on earth, so nothing is out of order, and everything spoken about by God is indeed factual. So before Science came to understand the cycle of water, God had already revealed it through His word, so science only confirmed what was revealed in sacred Scripture. Let’s take a look at the phrase ” and it was so”. It indicates the power, the generating power of the Word of God. In Isaiah 55:10-11, we read the following,
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
We learn from it that God’s word brings about a purpose, it isn’t void, empty and dead, it brings life, order, God’s order. The phrase ” it was so” is to tell us readers that when the bible says ” and God said” things happened, that which HE spoke brought about an outcome. And at the end of verse 8, the phrase ” and there was evening and morning” is there to show us that there is continuation in God’s creation. This is why, we are told it was the second Day. This immediately took place after the first day ( when light was created), and the evening and the morning show us that the “day” is not anything other than what it is in our existence, a 24 hour period. We’ll see that later on as God creates two great lights ( Sun and Moon) to govern the Day ( daytime), and night ( night time).
- Verses 9-10
We see again here that the phrase ” and God said” tells us readers that God is preparing to bring about another order. He has just created a separation between the waters in the sky and the waters below. And now He is bringing about dry land by causing through His spoken Word bodies of water to merge together so that dry land can appear. Rabbi Baruch Korman makes an interesting observation in these verses, the phrase ” gathered together” is there to inform the reader about the concept of hope. Again, we see the phrase ” it was so” showing us how dry land came about, through the Word of God. Not only does God create the dry land but He also names it “earth” and calls the waters gathered together “seas” ( to be more precise, bodies of water).
The good thing about this process is that God evaluates His work and is pleased with it ( And God saw that it was good.). He is not just creating random , chaotic, orderless, purposeless things. They all reflect His glory, this is why the scripture said – and it was good. Creating reflect the goodness of God and everything He does is good. He isn’t the author of evil for nothing evil dwells in Him. What does that tell us readers? We ought to look to Him for purpose and order in our life. Without God, we go about empty, void and in darkness. This is what Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 tells us,
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment[c] in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him[d] who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Solomon attempted to live life without God’s order and it left him empty, weary and without anything good ( as God would define it). But Genesis 1:10 confirms that the only thing that pleases God is that which He himself brings about, hence without faith, it is impossible to please God, because faith comes from Him ( from His Word).
- Verses 11-13
On the third day, God speaks again and His word brings about what we know today as agriculture. The two elements brought together on the third day focus on a cosmos designed to provide for Vegetation and agriculture. Soil and water sources on the one hand , and reproduction of plants through seed on the other, represent the most important ingredients for vegetation. The description puts an emphasis on how the agricultural system is set up to function.
We can see that from verses 1 through 13, God has created three main functions that are vital to human life. Time, weather and agriculture. What do we learn from these three functions? One thing we are certain of is the fact that God said they were ” GOOD”. We need to understand how Genesis 1 define that which is good according to God. Based on the text, the word “good” conveyed that the function ( thing created) is working according to its purpose, ( Its God ordained purpose). This is important to know because the only time God used the word not good was when HE created man and said ” it isn’t good for the man to be alone” . The verse isn’t suggesting that God did something wrong, but it is saying that God hadn’t yet completed His purpose.