Land Ho!

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My Musings – As we continue to compare the account of Genesis  with current scientific theories (setting aside the apparent time discrepancy), I continue to be amazed at what God commanded Moses to write (in simple enough terms for early man to grasp the essentials – I AM who I AM, and I created all this) is not contradicted by man’s “advanced learning” over the centuries.  Did I say amazed?  Not amazed at all.

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Let the Water Under the Sky Be Gathered to One Place (Seas) – In the beginning the water covered the whole earth. As the waters that covered the earth were ordered to retire (“let dry ground appear”), they “gathered into one place.” The waters, he called seas.

Until around 2.5 billion years ago oceans covered almost the whole of the planet. The oceans would have been devoid of fish, which had not yet “evolved” (of course, they were not created until the fourth day). Back then life consisted of nothing more complex than algae and bacteria. As the earth’s mantle cooled, land would have gradually appeared (initially 2% to 3% of Earth’s surface, compared to 28% today) as the oceans became deeper and regions of high relief on the continental crust formed.

Let Dry Ground Appear (Land) – As dry land emerges above the surface, the receding waters are collected to one place. Land was already there beforehand, but it was of no use because it was under water. This is one more work of separation, land is separated from seas, just as previously waters (above) were separated from waters (below), and light separated the darkness.

The first protocontinents (an actual or hypothetical landmass that might later be enlarged into a major continent or broken up into smaller ones) began to form about 4 billion years ago. During this period, plate building blocks known as cratons (giant rock cores) came together and causing them to rise to the surface (“let dry ground appear”). Over time, the first supercontinent (a hypothetical former single large continent) broke apart to ultimately form our current seven continents. The first supercontinent (if water gathered to one place, then land gathered to one place) was probably Columbia, which formed around 1.8 billion years ago. Scientists conjecture that breaking apart or supercontinents and coming back together of the subcontinents occurred several times over the Earth’s history.

Let the Land Produce Vegetation – God’s command for vegetation to grow is the first indirect command in the creation sequence. Previously, God has directly spoke each created thing into existence. This time He commands the Earth to produce plant life. The Hebrew word translated “vegetation” normally means “grass,” but here it probably refers more generally to vegetation that includes many of the plants and trees.

Scientists believe that plants first moved onto the land during the Ordovician period, although plant life (single-celled plant organisms and multicellular algae) had likely appeared in the oceans as early as 1 billion years BCE. It was not until the Carboniferous period that plant life expanded from the coastlines and edges of lakes and began to more fully resemble modern plants. The first trees appeared in the Devonian period. These trees did not produce flowers and in fact it was not until 135 million years ago (Cretaceous time period) that the first flowering plants became abundant. Perhaps in preparation of a certain garden?

While oxygen is essential for life on Earth, the atmosphere did not originally contain oxygen. The process responsible for producing most of the Earth’s oxygen is known as photosynthesis, the process in which plants and certain other organisms convert sunlight into oxygen. Land-based, plants — such as flowers, grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees — produce up to half of the planet’s oxygen. Rainforests, with their dense canopies and vast diversity of plant species, are themselves responsible for one-third of the Earth’s oxygen production. The rest of the world’s oxygen comes mainly from photosynthesis caused by the phytoplankton in the oceans. It stands to reason why God started His creation of life with plants. Oxygen was a precondition to life and plants were a precondition to oxygen.

According to Their Various Kind – The Hebrew word translated “kind” indicates that God was concerned with defining and dividing time, space, and species. The point is that creation was an ordered process, as opposed to “evolving” from disorder. And what God created and distinguished with boundaries was not to be confused. Kind refers to the broad distinctions between different types of plants. All created things (including animals and humans) reproduce within the parameters set by God. With respect to plants, there are an estimated 375,000 species, with more being discovered each year. Some 297,326 of these species of plants have been identified.

My Advice – Do not be too hasty in relegating the Genesis account to allegory or fairy tale.  When we are served a meal by a master chef, we do not need to ask how the “soup”was made. We simply enjoy that it was made especially for us.

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://palaeos.com/archean/archean.html
  3. http://odec.ca/projects/2002/food_for_life/history_of_plants.htm
  4. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. https://metro.co.uk/2008/12/31/early-earth-was-covered-in-water-274995/
  7. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  8. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  9. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  10. https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-history-of-supercontinents-on-planet-earth-5744636
  11. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  12. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  13. https://www.reference.com/science/did-plant-life-begin-appear-earth-d57a1645b8cf9459
  14. http://www.infobharti.com/how-and-why/plants-and-animals/when-did-plants-apear-on-the-earth.php
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  17. https://sciencing.com/process-responsible-producing-earths-oxygen-19636.html
  18. https://www.wisegeek.com/how-many-species-of-plants-are-there.htm

 

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