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Thursday, August 14, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 3

Genesis 1:9-13
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.
The Third Day. - The work of this day was twofold, yet closely connected. At first the waters beneath the heavens, i.e., those upon the surface of the earth, were gathered together, so that the dry (hayabaashaah (OT:3004), the solid ground) appeared. 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 54.

Even if we render Ps. 54:8 , "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 Ge 1. "The dry" God called Earth, and "the gathering of the waters," i.e., the place into which the waters were collected, He called Sea. yamiym (OT:3220), an intensive rather than a numerical plural, is the great ocean, which surrounds the mainland on all sides, so that the earth appears to be founded upon seas (Ps 24:2). Earth and sea are the two constituents of the globe, by the separation of which its formation was completed. The "seas" include the rivers which flow into the ocean, and the lakes which are as it were "detached fragments" of the ocean, though they are not specially mentioned here.

By the divine act of naming the two constituents of the globe, and the divine approval which follows, this work is stamped with permanency; and the second act of the third day, the clothing of the earth with vegetation, is immediately connected with it. At the command of God "the earth brought forth green (deshe' (OT:1877)), seed yielding herb (eiowe`eeseb), and fruit-bearing fruit-trees (pªriy (OT:6529) `eets (OT:6086))." These three classes embrace all the productions of the vegetable kingdom. deshee' (OT:1877), lit., the young, tender green, which shoots up after rain and covers the meadows and downs (2 Sa 23:4; Job 38:27; Joel 2:22; Ps 23:2), is a generic name for all grasses and cryptogamous plants. `eeseb (OT:6212), with the epithet zera` (OT:2233) mazªriya` (OT:2232), yielding or forming seed, is used as a generic term for all herbaceous plants, corn, vegetables, and other plants by which seed-pods are formed. pry `ts: not only fruit-trees, but all trees and shrubs, bearing fruit in which there is a seed according to its kind, i.e., fruit with kernels. haa'aarets (OT:776) `al (OT:5921) (upon the earth) is not to be joined to "fruit-tree," as though indicating the superior size of the trees which bear seed above the earth, in distinction from vegetables which propagate their species upon or in the ground; for even the latter bear their seed above the earth.

It is appended to tadªshee' (OT:1876), as a more minute explanation: the earth is to bring forth grass, herb, and trees, upon or above the ground, as an ornament or covering for it. lªmiynow (OT:4327) (after its kind), from miyn (OT:4327) species, which is not only repeated in v. 12 in its old form lªmiyneehuw (OT:4327) in the case of the fruit-tree, but is also appended to the herb. It indicates that the herbs and trees sprang out of the earth according to their kinds, and received, together with power to bear seed and fruit, the capacity to propagate and multiply their own kind. In the case of the grass there is no reference either to different kinds, or to the production of seed, inasmuch as in the young green grass neither the one nor the other is apparent to the eye.

Moreover, we must not picture the work of creation as consisting of the production of the first tender germs which were gradually developed into herbs, shrubs, and trees; on the contrary, we must regard it as one element in the miracle of creation itself, that at the word of God not only tender grasses, but herbs, shrubs, and trees, sprang out of the earth, each ripe for the formation of blossom and the bearing of seed and fruit, without the necessity of waiting for years before the vegetation created was ready to blossom and bear fruit. Even if the earth was employed as a medium in the creation of the plants, since it was God who caused it to bring them forth, they were not the product of the powers of nature, generatio aequivoca in the ordinary sense of the word, but a work of divine omnipotence, by which the trees came into existence before their seed, and their fruit was produced in full development, without expanding gradually under the influence of sunshine and rain.