“You got baptized,” a five-year-old friend told my daughter.
She answered, “Yes. And one day, if you decide to, you can be baptized, too.”
Her friend looked solemn. “I don’t think I’m old enough,” she said. “I can’t close my eyes that long, and I don’t think I can hold my breath, either.”
Water’s kinda scary that way, even to adults.
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.
Kids learn water’s cohesive properties when it slips down the window pane and collects in little pearls. Objects floating in a filled bathtub teach them about its surface tension. Water is so enthralling few toddlers can resist taking a splash in the toilet. They can’t tell you the scientific terms for the properties of water, but they understand and appreciate them. God just spoke those properties into existence and told the water where to go. By letting the dry land appear, He introduces the system to support life on the Earth.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Have you noticed when God names things in the first chapter of Genesis, He uses opposites? Light and Darkness, Day and Night, Earth and Sea. He’s teaching basic concepts by comparing their properties.
The word ‘grass’ is also translated ‘vegetation.’ There are two types of vegetation mentioned here, the herb and the tree. God explains that they were made to multiply. This system—the herb creating its own seeds and the fruit tree making fruit that houses its seeds—tells me so much about God’s forward-looking plans for design. Not only is the life He created made to sustain itself but to recreate itself.
Plants reproduce what is in their own genetic makeup. An herb cannot reproduce a tree, nor a tree an herb. God points out His natural law for vegetation so that I’ll know that a walnut cannot be produced by an orange tree; components of the walnut tree are required to produce the walnut characteristics. In the same way, a carrot’s characteristics would not spontaneously come from the cabbage plant. According to God’s natural law, plant kinds have no instinctive or inventive capacity to produce another kind not their own.
But when it comes to reproduction, these herbs and trees needed the means to spread their pollen, right? Where are the bees? They have not been created yet. In this instance God is growing and fertilizing them before the whole system has been created. This answers the question, “Which came first, the seed or the plant?” The plant came first. It sprung up out of the ground out of nothing because God spoke it into existence. But wait! If the plant was created with the seed inside, weren’t they both first? Hm.
Speaking something into existence is a foreign idea because I’ve never seen God work directly, miraculously, by breaking His natural laws. I have to look at His mode of operation over time to see how and why He would do something through supernatural means that He doesn’t do today. There was a time when He directly told man the rules until the rules were set in place for mankind to grow and work independently. I can see this in His relationship with Adam. He spoke to Adam directly. He visited with Adam and Eve in the garden. Then came the era when He spoke to the fathers of the families, a.k.a. patriarchs, like Noah and Abraham. When He established the nation of Israel, He spoke to the people through prophets and deliverers (e.g., judges). Lastly, Jesus His Son entered the world, and He spoke to all the nations, establishing a world-wide kingdom that is other-worldly in scope.
Supernatural intervention was for times when His laws and words needed to be communicated. So, I see Him creating and pollinating the plants directly on the third day, but once the system of life on Earth is established, His natural laws that sustain and reproduce life take over. I see this same pattern when Jesus lived on Earth. Jesus performed miracles to prove His message was from God. He gave His apostles the ability to perform miracles to establish the words of His Will and Testament that went into effect after His death. Once that New Testament was written down, the Word was established to sustain and reproduce life. Spiritual life. How does it reproduce spiritual life? Spiritually alive people spread the seed of His Word to the hearts of others. The seed will take hold, grow in the heart, and reproduce more seeds of God’s Word to spread. Or a person will choose to reject that seed.
God established the boundaries for water.
He divided and named the Earth and the Seas.
He called them both good.
He established plant life and gave it the ability to reproduce.
Plant seeds produce only their own genetic kind.
Plants and their design He called good.
And the evening and the morning were the third day.
God’s natural laws remain. They are proof of His faithfulness. If He can design and sustain this Earth, I can put my trust in Him fully that He knows everything I need for the life to come.
The feature image and all images in this post are used by permission courtesy of Keriography.