Thank you for listening to these Words of Life broadcasts of the Word of God.  The title for the lesson is “God saw that it was good.”  And our text, our primary text is Genesis chapter 1 verses 6 through 13 which will be read in the body of our lesson.  God created in an intelligent and orderly fashion, that is for example, He did not create plants before light; He created water before dry ground.

     And therefore, the fine expositor John MacArthur writes: “As the second day dawned, the earth was still covered with water.  It probably had the appearance of a seething cauldron of mud, with no dry land and no breathable atmosphere.  Its entire surface was a liquid soup of elements, predominantly water, situated in a spherical shape and hung on nothing in space.”  Compare in the book of Job chapter 26 and verse 7 collaborating this truth “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.”  One of the factors that makes the Bible a reasonable and reliable source of truth is its consistent uniformity. 

     Let’s consider in our main text: Genesis chapter 1 verses 6 and 7 “And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So, God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.”  God called the expanse sky, and it was evening, and it was morning the second day.  Notice again our omnipotent Creator God simply had to speak each part of His creation into existence.

“Let there be an expanse.”  This expanse or firmament separated water from water.  There was water on the earth and water that rose above the expanse.

     The original Hebrew word translated expanse refers to something ‘spread out.’  So here a vast expanse serves as a protective layer that overlays the earth and divides the waters below, the water that covered the earth, from the waters above, atmospheric water, clouds, and water vapor; or it may describe some kind of ice-crystal or water vapor canopy that encircled the primordial earth.  So, the expanse in between includes the earth’s breathable atmosphere.

We must constantly keep in mind that the Genesis account, the Genesis creation account is not a scientific treatise, but instead uses ordinary language.  This expanse or firmament could refer to space, sky or heaven.  Into this space God later placed the sun, moon, and stars.  Expositor H. C. Leupold writes: “Apparently before this expanse existed, the earth waters and the cloud waters as we now know them were contiguous, connected, without an intervening clear air space in between.  It was a situation like a dense fog upon the surface of the waters.  Free activity unhampered by the fog blanket would have been impossible.  Man would not have had an appropriate sphere for activity, nor could sunlight have penetrated freely to do its beneficent and cheering work.”

Genesis chapter 1 and verse 8 “God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the second day.”

      God called this expanse sky, or heaven.  This seems to refer primarily to the sky immediately above us.  That is earth’s atmospheric heaven.  But the word expanse, or firmament, is also sometimes used to signify the stellar heavens beyond earth’s atmosphere as in verse 14 that says in part “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night.”

     According to Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1, the heavens of outer space had already been created.  So, the expanse of verses 6 through 8 is the earth’s atmosphere or the first heaven.  So, earth’s atmosphere is the first heaven, space beyond earth’s atmosphere is the second heaven, and heaven where God dwells is the third heaven. Compare Second Corinthians chapter 12 verse 2 where the apostle Paul wrote “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.

     Expositor of scripture John MacArthur writes: “He released some of earth’s water and sent it up, and he made a firmament of breathable gases between the water above and the water below.  And as that firmament formed, the upper waters, in the form of a layer of mist or vapor, rose into the sky, giving the appearance of a transparent vault, or an invisible dome, rising up from earth’s surface.  A similar effect can be seen at times when the weather changes.

     One of the most difficult issues raised by this passage (Genesis chapter 1 verses 6 through 8) is the question of what “the waters which were above the firmament,” refers to.  Some creationists including Henry Morris, believe that this was a protective canopy that remained in place until the flood of Noah’s time.  Those who hold this view suggest that the waters above the firmament were a transparent vapor or a layer of water molecules at the outer edge of the atmosphere that kept the earth in a kind of a hothouse environment.  This might explain why prior to the Flood it was common for humans to live more than 900 years.  According to the hypothesis, the water canopy shielded people from the sun’s more harmful rays, regulated the climate at a perfect temperature, and provided other benefits that increased the longevity of life on earth.  But at the Flood, according to this theory, that canopy fell and contributed to the deluge that drowned the earth.

     Other scientists, however, including some who hold biblical views of creation, believe the canopy theory poses more problems than it solves.  “The waters which were above the firmament” needn’t refer to a canopy of water; it might merely refer to the water vapor that continually floats above the earth’s surface.  I’m inclined to think it describes a unique atmospheric condition that existed prior to the Flood because scripture says the before the Flood there was no rain (Genesis chapter 2 verse 5), and at the Flood, the windows of heaven opened, and the waters above contributed to the deluge.”

     Notice that God’s creating on day two is the only day of six in which God does not expressly say “It was good.”  It cannot mean that God’s second day’s work was not good.  Instead it implies that the work on day two was incomplete toward making the earth habitable.  The process of creation that began on day two wasn’t complete until day three.

     Genesis chapter 1 verses 9 and 10 “And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.”

     This records the uncovering of the dry ground which up to this stage has been covered with the deep water.  In verse 10 we find that the last time in the creation account that God names anything.  In the future that responsibility will be delegated by God to mankind.  However, in naming the land and seas God shows his sovereign power over them.

     The Hebrew language used here does not demand that all waters on earth form a single ocean nor does all dry ground have to be a single continent, although the latter (dry ground) is certainly possible.

  1. C. Leupold, a fine expositor of scripture writes: “Surely, in the course of these gigantic upheavals, not catastrophic in nature because they involve organization rather than disruption, there was a tremendous amount of geological formation. This ninth verse surely teaches that what we call geological formations took place in titanic and gigantic measure at a vastly accelerated pace in a truly miraculous creative work as astounding as the rest.

      As far as the expression (translated) ‘seas’ in verse 10 is concerned it must be noted that it is used in a loose sense so as to include everybody of water, like inland lakes, and also the rivers.  But since the area of the seas is vastly in excess of that of the smaller bodies, the name is taken from the outstanding part (the seas).”

     John MacArthur writes: “Many who deny a literal six-day creation claim that such rapid changes as described in Genesis chapter 1 verses 9 through 13, including seas, dry land and vegetation are not possible.  Obviously, land submerged under the sea in the morning would not normally be dry enough to support the planting of vegetation by evening  And the massive global tectonic changes that would be necessary to cause whole continents to appear from the sea would hardly seem feasible in the same 24-hour period that plant life emerges.

     That might seem to be a powerful and persuasive argument if we were talking about natural processes.  But scripture is describing the creative work of Almighty God, with whom all things are possible Matthew chapter 19 verse 26.  Therefore, the laws of nature place no limit on what God can do.  Genesis chapter 18 verse 14 which says in part “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  And for that reason, our understanding of science should never govern whether we take God’s Word literally or not.

     It is nonetheless interesting and ironic that secular physicists try to explain the origin of the earth on purely scientific principals and face a similar dilemma.  Scientists who hold to the ‘Bid Bang Theory’ must explain how a universe full of matter appeared out of nowhere in an instant.  According to an article in the ‘Los Angeles Times’:

     “The Big Bang is looking more supernatural all the time.  About 20 years ago, the late Carl Sagan famously said that Big Bang science would eventually show that the universe was created without any creator.  Since then, the picture has changed quite a bit, one reason why in the years before his 1996 death, Sagan himself began to advocate science and religion studies.  The leading contemporary development in Big Bang thinking is a theory called “Cosmic inflation” which hold that the entire universe popped out of a point with no content and no dimensions, essentially expanding instantaneously to cosmological size.  Now being taught at Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and other top schools, this explanation of the beginning of the universe bears haunting similarity to the traditional theological notion of creation ‘out of nothing.’

     Allan Sandage, a foremost astronomer, of the observatories of the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, California proposed that the Big Bang could only be understood as a ‘miracle’ in which some higher force must have played a role.  Adding multiple billions of years to the time frame doesn’t solve the problem; it only pushes it further back in time.

     All of a sudden rock and earth, still in its unformed condition and buried under the depths of a global sea (remember in Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth)” which started to move to the surface of the water.  Perhaps chemical reactions occurred along with the massive tectonic movements, so that minerals, rocks, and fertile soil were instantly formed out of the primordial ocean.  But notice that what emerged was neither mud nor slime, but ‘dry land’, instantly ready to sustain plant life.  It was a staggering act of creation. There was now earth, sea, and heaven, a tri-part-ite eco-system, ready for life.  Everything necessary for the sustenance of life was there, but life itself had not yet been created.”

     Genesis chapter 1 verses 11 through 13 “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the third day.”

     Again, God merely spoke vegetation into existence.  It was not a ‘by chance’ or accidental byproduct of some chemical reaction.  It was not the result of billions of years of evolving natural processes.  It was the instantaneous result of God’s sovereign command!

     John MacArthur again writes: “This, by the way, represents one of the inexplicable steps of creation that evolution simply cannot explain by any reasonable theory: the generation of life from that which is inanimate.  As author and biochemist Michael Behe has pointed out, evolution can deal only with ‘systems that are already working.”  By definition, that which does not function simple cannot ‘evolve.’  It is therefore impossible for inanimate matter to produce biological systems by ‘evolution.’  So, evolution utterly fails as an explanation for how life came about.  God created both herb and tree which yield seed, each according to their various kinds.  God made them not only capable of reproduction, but also ready for it.  He created fully mature vegetation with seed already in it, ready to be dispersed.  There are hundreds of creative ways for seeds to be dispersed.  This one aspect of creation alone reveals that a marvelous mind planned and shaped everything we see.  As we see consistently throughout the Genesis account, from the moment He creates something, it appears as if it has been there for some time.

     The Hebrew word for ‘kind’ is roughly equivalent to our English word species.  ‘Kind’ is not a technical term; it simply designates a category of related organisms capable of breeding with one another.  Careful breeding can emphasize or minimize certain characteristics within genotypes, but no amount of cross-pollination can cause a whole new life-form to arise from the species that exist.  Attempting to crossbreed an oak tree with a fungus would not produce any offspring whatsoever, much less a whole new species.  Boundaries are set on which species may be cross-pollinated.  It is fair to say that this crucial phase ‘according to its kind’ clearly refutes the very heart of the evolutionary idea.  It debunks the notion that all life descended from a common source, and it sets a limitation on the degree of difference between any creature and its offspring.  Plants cannot bring forth anything but more plants with characteristics inherited from their parents.  These are fundamental genetic principals, and they contradict the whole basis of the evolutionary theory.”

Henry Morris writes: “It should also be mentioned that the formation of plants even in such complex forms as   fruit trees, occurred before the creation of any form of animal life.  This, of course, is quite logical, but it does flatly contradict the accepted evolutionary system, which has marine animals, both invertebrates and vertebrates, evolving hundreds of millions of years before the evolution of fruit trees and other higher plants.  Furthermore, many plants require pollination by insects, but insects were not made until the 6th day of creation, which argues against the possibility that the days of creation could have been long ages.  The idea of theistic evolution (that God used evolution over billions of years to create what we see) is counter to the biblical record of creation in practically every passage.”

     All the marvelous complexity of the universe – from carefully balanced gases in our atmosphere to the incredible means by which plants reproduce is clear evidence of intelligent design by a creative God.

John MacArthur writes: “Of all the days of Genesis chapter 1, this third day brought about the most dramatic changes in the way the earth looked.  At the beginning of the day the face of the earth was covered with water and probably had the appearance of a seething cauldron of mud.  By the end of the day, it was a paradise of green-covered earth, decorated with all the hues of various flowers and trees, set in the midst of a spectacular blue ocean.  No wonder God saw that it was good.  It was good – a perfect environment for life, and a paradise for the creature God planned to make in his own image.”

     It is true that the first three days have no sun and no moon to furnish and to measure the needed light.  But God did create light on the first day in Genesis chapter 1 verses 3 through 5.

     God is omnipotent and omniscient and did not need to conform to any natural laws as He after all created supernaturally out of nothing.

     Consider this, in the city hall of Copenhagen, Denmark stands the world’s most complicated clock.  It took 40 years to build it at a cost of more than one million dollars.  This clock has 10 faces, 15,000 parts, and is accurate to 2/5th of a second every 300 years.  The clock computes the time of day, the days of the week, the months and years, and the movements of the planets for twenty-five hundred years.  Some parts of this clock will not move until 25 centuries have passed.

     What is intriguing about this clock is that it is not completely accurate in spite of all its incredible craftsmanship it loses 2/5th of a second every 300 years.  Like all clocks, this timepiece in Copenhagen must be regulated by a more precise clock, the universe itself.  The universe which serves also as a mighty astronomical clock with its billions upon billions of moving parts, from atoms to stars, rolls on century after century with movements so reliable that all time on our tiny planet of earth, in the vastness of the universe, can be measured against it.  And that’s only a snippet of God’s awesome creative power and genius as Creator extraordinary!

     Do you believe in the literal creation account in Genesis one by Almighty God in six days?  What drives your belief.  Is it science or is it scripture?


                      David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.