Genesis 1:9-10 Day Three pt.1 Differentiation
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
God continues to give form to the world, by the process of differentiation (9, 10; see on 4, 5); but the emphasis begins to shift towards the theme of fullness (11, 12) which will be prominent in the rest of the chapter.
1:9–10 The third day concerns the surface of the earth: the waters are gathered into seas, thereby distinguishing the land masses (1:9–10), and the earth yields green vegetation (1:11–13). God’s approval (“it was good”) for the work of the second day was delayed until the third, when the final separation of the waters was achieved (1:10). This finishes the three “separations” of days one through three, which together differentiate the spheres of time and space where life exists. The consequence of the three days is the productivity of the earth that yields its vegetation.
River systems were essential for the stability of the regions of the ancient Near East. Seasonal rains would reach flood stage, and then their departure would leave the land with drought and sometimes famine. Although the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates river systems provided a more stable environment than Canaan, which was dependent solely on rainfall for its agricultural needs, their seasonal inundations also could be devastating if too great. God’s gathering and appointment of the waters show that they too are under his dominion. The seas are not independent forces to be feared and worshiped but creations that respond to the direct commands of God. He exerted authority as he named the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas,” assigning them their place and function (1:10).
let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place—The world was to be rendered a terraqueous globe, and this was effected by a volcanic convulsion on its surface, the upheaving of some parts, the sinking of others, and the formation of vast hollows, into which the waters impetuously rushed, as is graphically described (Ps 104:6–9) [HITCHCOCK]. Thus a large part of the earth was left “dry land,” and thus were formed oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers which, though each having its own bed, or channel, are all connected with the sea (Job 38:10; Ec 1:7).
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
10 and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
In what way the gathering of the earthly waters in the sea and the appearance of the dry land were effected, whether by the sinking or deepening of places in the body of the globe, into which the water was drawn off, or by the elevation of the solid ground, the record does not inform us, since it never describes the process by which effects are produced. It is probable, however, that the separation was caused both by depression and elevation. With the dry land the mountains naturally arose as the headlands of the mainland. But of this we have no physical explanations, either in the account before us, or in the poetical description of the creation in Ps. 104. Even if we render Ps. 104:8, “the mountains arise, and they (the waters) descend into the valleys, to the place which Thou (Jehovah) hast founded for them,” we have no proof, in this poetical account, of the elevation-theory of geology, since the psalmist is not speaking as a naturalist, but as a sacred poet describing the creation on the basis of Gen. 1.
1:7 sea is never full In addition to showing that life involves cycles, the author uses nature to show the unsatisfying nature of life. Just as the sea is never full, people struggle to be filled or find satisfaction in life (compare Eccles 6:7 and note). The author emphasizes the unsatisfactory nature of wealth throughout the book (4:7–8; 5:10–12).
The earth, it seems, was in being before; but it was of no use, because it was under water. Thus many of God’s gifts are received in vain, because they are buried; make them to appear, and they become serviceable. We who, to this day, enjoy the benefit of the dry land (though, since this, it was once deluged, and dried again) must own ourselves tenants to, and dependents upon, that God whose hands formed the dry land, Ps. 95:5; Jonah 1:9.
The earth is still uninhabited, uninhabitable and not in its final form until day three. Before we go to day three I just want to stick something in here for your thinking. On the day that God created the expanse there was this tremendous cataclysmic movement of water coming off the earth and just literally moving to the extremities of the infinity of heaven. This great expanse that we know as space, the great expanse that we know as heaven takes its shape. And it came into being, just imagine the speed with which the whole of the infinite heavens were created. A little later when we talk about stars, we’re going to talk about how vast outer space is, it just staggers your mind. And all of that came into being instantaneously, the full vast universe.
Science has come to the place where they have to recognize this. There are scientific clues, they call it the “Big Bang” theory. We like to call it the “Big God” theory. We know it was a big God. They think it was a big bang.
Now let me sum up what the Word of God in this much of Genesis has taught us about origins. With plain, understanding of the text, the inescapable account says that the eternal God created out of nothing without preexisting material the heavens and the earth, which simply means the universe. He created the universe as it is now in a sequence of six solar days, the first three of which we just read. He capped His creation, as we will find out, on the sixth day by creating man in His own image, an intelligent being with personality, with self-consciousness and cognition. This creation occurred in a period of one week of normal days, about 6000 or so years ago. And the entire creation was mature and aged at the instant of its creation. Death did not exist, nor any corrupting influence and the creation was good. Death and corruption entered the creation for the first time at the Fall of Adam and Eve which is recorded in the third chapter of Genesis. When they sinned in disobedience to God death entered the scene, prior to that there was no death. That means there could be no evolutionary processes because nothing died.
A Mr. Gregg Easterbrook explains, quote, “The entire universe popped out of a point with no content and no dimensions, essentially expanding instantaneously to cosmological size. This is now being taught at Stanford, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other top science schools. This explanation of the beginning of the universe bears haunting similarity to the traditional theological idea of creation ex nihilo, out of nothing.” Mr. Easterbrook quotes one of the world’s top astronomers, Allan Sandage of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution as saying, quote, “The Big Bang can only be understood as a miracle,” end quote.
Back to Genesis 1. So verse 9, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place,” that would include subterranean lakes, subterranean rivers and streams and springs and wells all interconnected. And the land probably in one great massive continent. And by the way, just as a footnote, if you take the continents of the earth and push them all together, it’s almost a perfect fit, almost as if they cracked and split apart.
Verse 10 then tells us that God named what He had made. “He called the dry land erets, earth, and He called the gatherings of the waters yamim, seas. And God saw that it was good.” It was good.
It had been so, He said back in the very beginning that He created light and there was light. He said He created heaven and it was so. And He created in verse 9 dry land and seas and it was so. But now He says it was good … it was good. Why? Because it was now habitable … it was now habitable.