Genesis 1:11-13 Fullness
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, 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 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.
The earth is empowered to bring forth (AV) what is proper to it
If this language seems well suited to the hypothesis of creation by evolution (as the present writer thinks), this is not the only scheme it would allow, and its purpose is not to drop a special clue for the present age. Rather it is to show that God has bound together all creatures in a common dependence on their native elements, while giving each the distinctive character of its kind. Each has an origin which is from one angle natural and from another supernatural; and the natural process is made self-perpetuating and, under God, autonomous. One implication of this is that it is part of godliness to respect the limitations within which we live as natural creatures, as from him. Another is that fertility, so often deified in the ancient world, is a created capacity, from the hand of the one God.
Unlike the first two days of creation, the third day includes a second act of creation. After the appearance of the land masses, God creates vegetation upon the land. This is the climax of the first grouping of days, where for the first time the earth becomes productive. The presence of vegetation prepares the way for the life systems to follow by providing the diet for animal and human life (1:29–30). The arrangement of the six days differentiates between those creatures that have movement (even the sun and moon appear to move), which are created on days four through six, and those elements of creation that do not move, such as vegetation, which were created on days one through three. Vegetation may not have been considered “alive” in the way moderns think of it, since unlike animal or human life the term “living creature” is not used of it
Also for the first time God’s creative decree is indirect (also 1:20, 24). The land is commanded to produce vegetation (1:11). There is no hint of the pagan notion of Mother Earth. The land by itself, of course, does not produce vegetation; rather God enables the land to do so by his creative word. Whereas the ancients believed that vegetation and all reproducing processes were dependent upon the procreation of the gods, the Genesis account attributes vegetation to the inanimate soil. The sensual practices involved in fertility worship reflect the pagan misconception of life’s origins and renewal. Procreation is the gift of God, deemed a divine “blessing” (1:22, 28) that he graciously enables his creatures to enjoy (e.g., Gen 12:2; 22:17; 26:3–4; Deut 28:4; Ps 127:3).
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
let the earth bring forth—The bare soil was clothed with verdure, and it is noticeable that the trees, plants, and grasses—the three great divisions of the vegetable kingdom here mentioned—were not called into existence in the same way as the light and the air; they were made to grow, and they grew as they do still out of the ground—not, however, by the slow process of vegetation, but through the divine power, without rain, dew, or any process of labor—sprouting up and flourishing in a single day.
And this is vegetation. Verse 11, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” Now I think that’s a general category and there are two parts to that category. There are plants, verse 11, and trees. Vegetation is divided into two parts … plants and trees.
Down to verse 29, God said, “Behold, I have given you … speaking to man … every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed it shall be food for you and for every beast.” So God divides the vegetation into two parts … plants and trees.
And what is the difference? The difference is the plant has the seed in it, and the tree has the seed in its fruit. That is clearly indicated in verse 11. Plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit with seed in them. That’s the distinction. All the vegetation which itself contains the seed would come under the plants, all the vegetation which in its fruit contains the seed would come under the trees. As soon as the inanimate material was ready to sustain life, without delay life in its simplest form was created and intended to be the food for all of the higher life yet to be made.
Now I want you to notice that first of all in describing the plants He says of them in verse 11, “Plants yielding seed.” He says it again in verse 12, “Plants yielding seed.” And again in verse 29, “Plants yielding seed.” He continues to repeat that feature to let us know, and this is so important, that the vegetation was capable of … what?… what?… reproduction. That’s the whole point. He made full-grown, fully-mature vegetation with seed in it that could be dispersed. One of the great, great wonders of the world is the science of seed dispersal. I watched an entire video on that just absolutely astonishing to see how God designed seed dispersal, not the least of which is accomplished by birds in your own yard, sometimes even attempted on your car and on your head. Pre-fertilized seed dispersal is very efficient. I’ll leave it at that.
There are a number of other ways. One of the wonderful works of the wind is seed dispersal. The whole science of seed dispersal is just absolutely phenomenal. Plants were made then by God not as seeds, but as full-grown plants containing seeds that could then multiply. That’s the way the whole of creation was made, and I remind you of that again. It was made mature. When man was created he wasn’t created as an infant, had to grow. He was created as a full-grown man. Everything was created full-grown.
Now this brings up an interesting point, and I think you’ll find this also fascinating. There was then plants made by God which had seed in them. Go over to 2:5 for a minute, cause if I don’t explain this somebody will ask me. Verse 4 talks about the account of the creation of the earth. The account of the creation of the heavens and the earth, when they were created in the day of the Lord, God made earth and heaven. Now verse 5, “No shrub of the field was yet in the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to cultivate the ground.” That’s an interesting verse.
How can you say … how does this fit? No shrub of the field was yet in the earth … well, there was a time when there weren’t any shrubs … that was a brief time when the earth was shaped and it was … I don’t know how much time. In a 24-hour day God waited after shaping the earth, separating land from the sea before He put the plants on it. But there was no shrub of the field. There was a time when there was no shrub of the field in the earth and no plant of the earth had yet sprouted.
You could say, “Well sure, that was prior to the second creative act on day three.” But the problem with that is the reason is explained in verse 5. The reason there was no shrub on the earth and no plant of the field yet sprouted was because the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to cultivate the ground. “But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.”
What in the world is this talking about? Well, as I said, if you’re talking about day one and two, there were no plants on the earth. There were no plants in the field, no shrub of the field. But how does that connect with the fact that the Lord hadn’t sent rain and He was watering the earth with a mist? And how does it connect with the fact there was no man to cultivate the ground? That’s pretty specific language.
When did rain come? When did rain come? When did it rain the first time? The Flood. And when was the first time anybody cultivated anything? After … what?… after Adam’s sin. So what you have here is not a description of something during creation, but a description of something after creation but before the Fall and before the rain. And you look a little more closely, the word siah and we need to find a usage for this that makes sense. Go over to verse 18 of chapter 3. In 3:18 you have, of course in chapter 3 sin and the Fall, and the curse, now what God did when He cursed Adam, verse 17 toward the end of the verse, “Cursed is the ground because of you in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” Now look at verses 18 and 19. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you.” Verse 18, “And you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground because from it you were taken for you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Down in verse 23, the Lord sent them out of Eden to till the ground, to cultivate the ground. Thorns and thistles are synonymous with siah. And plants with asab. The asab of the field would be the wheat and barley and other cultivated when man began to till the ground. And the siah of the field would be the thorns and thistles that grow themselves and they grow … they grow, I guess you could say, as punishment wherever the soil isn’t properly tilled. And they grow particularly well when it rains. He’s describing this wonderful world that was watered by a mist over the surface of the ground. It was that world to which God brought man.
Just one very important note, catch this little phrase, it’s repeated over and over, verse 11, “After their kind.” Verse 12, “After their kind.” Once in the middle of the verse, toward the end of the verse, “After their kind.” May I encourage you a little bit? That phrase is repeated ten times in the first chapter of Genesis … ten times. The Hebrew word for “kind” is min, m-i-n. What it does is indicate the limitations of variation. A plant can only bring forth something of its own kind. A tree can only bring forth something of its own kind. It only has the capacity to function on the basis of the genetic code that is in it.
the one thing it does do is eliminate any possibility of an evolutionary process because whatever the plant is and whatever the tree is, it can only reproduce after its own kind. To say that all living things come from a common ancestry is refuted by the ten-times repeated phrase “after its kind … after its kind.”
There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind, facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds. A great deal of horizonal variation is easily possible but no vertical changes
We don’t exactly what Genesis meant but we do know limits were set. And we understand that. Organisms were to stay within their own kind. The biggest thing we could say is birds remain birds, and animals remain animals, and fish remain fish, and reptiles remain reptiles, and insects remain insects. And that itself halts the entire evolutionary process. That’s how God created.
So what do you have? Go back to the text. In Genesis 1:11 and 12 you have the origin all vegetable life and you have not only its origin, but you have its orderly continuity fixed by means of certain seeds and kinds that perpetuate that life
So, what are we learning then? Genesis 1:1–12 shows us that the intelligent agent is the living God who on the third day of creation separated the land from the sea, caused plant life to sprout from the land
God’s the object of this, the subject of it