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. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
The creative acts of this day can be divided into two major categories: the creation of the dry land and the creation of vegetation. A lot could be said about each category, though, so we'll break it down verse by verse.
v. 9a, And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place,
One stunning detail mentioned in this verse is that all the waters were “gathered unto one place.” Such wording strongly suggests there was initially only one ocean and, therefore, could only be one continent. Modern scientists, of course, have recently come to this same conclusion via scientific inquiry. In the 1920's, scientists began to suggest all the modern continents were once joined in a single super-continent dubbed, Pangea. More recent theories speculate there may have also been other super-continents.
Of course, the Bible does not need to be affirmed by science. Indeed, I feel the opposite is true – the clear wording of the Bible seems to affirm that the scientific theory of Pangea is correct. At the initial creation, there was a single continent.
What is not clear from the text is the initial ratio of land to sea. If I consider only the text and nothing else, I would probably guess that it was about 50/50. When I further consider that God intended the land to be man's domain and the He wanted the earth filled with people, I might then suggest there was probably more land than sea. After the Flood, when subterranean waters had been released, we are left with the present ratio of mostly water. The oft repeated criticism of “where did the flood water go” is a canard; it's still here.
v. 9b, and let the dry land appear
We're not sure exactly how the land “appeared.” There seems to be a sense of the land rising and the water running off it into the one place. Alternatively, God could have miraculously parted the water and created the dry land in the gap. If the land has risen out of the sea, we might even see signs of erosion as the waters rolled off and were gathered together.
This would have been the primordial earth. Since there has not been any living thing before this point, there cannot be any fossils found in the rocks. Later though, it may have happened that burrowing insects and other creatures were trapped in this rock and became fossilized.
v. 10, And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
This is certainly mere speculation by me but I noticed that God did not pronounce the division of the waters to be “good” at the end of Day two. However, He said that the creation was good twice on Day 3. Perhaps that could mean that the division of the waters and creation of the air (Day 2) and the creation of the land (Day 3) were sort of a single continuous act that lasted all of Day 2 and just now ended on Day 3. It's just a thought.
Old earth creationists should take note that the Bible clearly states the sea existed first and land was created afterward. This is directly the opposite of secular theories on the creation of the earth which says the earth was initially hot rock and oceans came later.
v. 11, And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Here God creates the plant life. There seems to be three classifications of plants which are distinguished by the seed:
- Grass. The seed is not mentioned here because the seed is not obvious. This group probably includes flowers as well.
- Herbs, where the seed is obvious as in wheat or corn.
- Trees, which yield fruit which carries the seed in itself.
Certainly this single sentence is not intended to be a scientific treaty on the classification of every type of plant. Something like grapes, for example, aren't trees but do yield fruit whose seed is in itself. Instead, it's likely intended to be a broad generalization that says God created all kinds plants.
One thing not mentioned here is marine plants. Did God create those here or on Day 5 with the other marine life? Also, what about things like mushrooms? I believe the wording of the text is such that it could include all non-animal, terrestrial creatures. Personally, I would include marine plants as being created on Day 5.
v. 12, And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
The plants seem to appear out of the ground at God's command – not as sprouts but as fully mature plants already yielding seed and ready to be eaten. We will see later that God intends all His living creatures to eat only plants.
We also see in this passage the introduction of the term “kind.” The herb and tree, for example, yield seeds “after their kind.” This is an important concept in creationism. Creatures are grouped not according to their “species” (a man made classification) but belong to created kinds. They also reproduce according to their kind. There may be many kinds of apple trees (red delicious, golden delicious, gala, granny smith, etc) but an apple tree will never produce bananas. There are variations within the kind (we call these “species”) but creatures only reproduce their own kind.
v. 13, And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Old earth creationists should again take note. Plants can survive overnight in the dark (it happens every day). It's difficult to believe, though, that vegetation can prosper millions of years without bright sunlight if the days represent long ages (the sun isn't created till Day 4). Also, evolution theorizes that life began in the sea and plants came much later. The Bible is clear that plant life came before marine life – exactly the opposite of evolutionary theory. Finally, how could the plants have survived millions of years waiting for bees and birds to come along and aid in pollination?
The events described here occurred in a single evening and morning. An ordinary day.