We now turn to Day 2 and 5.
Now a big mistake most Christians make is use sweeping statements such as classifying the entire days of creation as “good” (a mistake I’ve made many times) when God does not state a “day” itself being good except for the Sabbath day seven. It is the ‘events’, the formations and fillings themselves which God describes as either good, or God says nothing at all.
In day one, God declares only one thing good – “light”. We have already examined the significance of light over darkness for the overview on 1:3-5;14-19.
What of day two? Are there any things which God declares as specifically good? What is the distinction between God declaring specific things as good as opposed to his entire creation as good? Is God trying to convey some special focus on something when he specifically says that thing is good? Genesis 1:6-8:
“And God said, “Let there be an expanse (a canopy in the ESV footnote) in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven (or Sky, ESV footnote). And there was evening and there was morning, the second day (day two)”.
If an illustration may help:
3rd Heavens (God) – (this may be slightly deceiving, because the 3rd heavens may be closer than we think (Acts 1:6-11). God’s construct of the universe is definitely a far cry from anything that modern science can even perceive.)
WATER (cosmic; above the earthly Sky)
EXPANSE (heavenly/Sky canopy)
WATER (on earth) – note, the water hasn’t been gathered together into one place yet (Gen 1:9) – not until day 3.
And day 5, Genesis 1:20-23:
“And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds (or flying things, ESV footnote) fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And so also, we now move to Day 2 whereupon God is silent, except to form the separation of waters, to be filled with the water creatures on Day 5. Why this silence? In the previous entry I’ve looked at the pattern of Day 4 to 6 filling in the formation of Day 1 to 3; that the things in Day 4 – 6 merely witness to the things on Day 1 – 3. This helped us establish the witnessing of the lights, the sun/moon/stars/fire/lightning and the different functions they have in displaying the Christian gospel. Day 1 is a day of God incarnate as Christ entering the world of darkness as the light of the world, and we already established how the entrance of light into the world, yet separated from darkness, is in itself a declaration of Christ’s incarnation and hidden glory – but more still needs to be said by the following days to complete the gospel picture.
If Day 1 is true Light of lights incarnate, what does Day 2 preach? And for the matter what does Day 3 preach? What specifically does Day 1 to 3 preach that Day 4 to 6 witness to? If we can accept that Day 1 is Christ’s incarnation as Messiah, and that Day 2 is separation of waters, waters above the heavens and waters on earth, and that nothing is declared good, then God is silent for a very good reason. This will then help us understand the teaching of Day 3 which Day 6 witnesses to.
Expanse of Waters
Couple of verses for us to look at concerning separation of waters.
Baptism through Noah’s ark (1 Peter 3:18-22)
The separation of waters at the Red Sea and river Jordan (Exodus 14:21-31; Josh 3:10-17)
Peter’s view of the ark (2 Peter 3:1-7)
The Cross (Matthew 24:36-39; 27:45-66)
It is notable that Noah’s ark, the presence of the Angel of the Lord (which later dwells in the tabernacle upon the ark of the covenant – both separating the waters at the Red Sea and the River Jordan), and of course the Messiah himself, the living presence and radiance of God – were all the subject of the global punishment prophesied through God’s separation of waters on earth and waters above the heavens. Indeed, the separation of waters, as Peter viewed in 2 Peter, is a prophecy of global punishment. The global flood in Noah’s time is a foretelling of the judgment of fire which disciplines Christians but destroys non-Christians; and that this presence of God through Noah’s ark, the Angel of the Lord, the ark of the covenant – were all methods through which God’s chosen would pass through the valley of death without being inflicted the punishment of second death. And what do the “three arks” have in common, except to prophesy to Christ’s mediation from the global punishment which all people deserve? In all three circumstances, it is concerning the safety of the people passing through the waters onto dry land. If Peter describes Noah’s ark as a baptism that saves us, “not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”, then no doubt the protection from water onto dry land is a prophetic image of Christ’s death on the cross, as Christ himself was separated from his Father. “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” the Saviour cried out with a loud voice, he who is also our heavenly canopy, stretched in the heavens as he was stretched on the Cross to withhold God’s wrathful judgment from crashing onto Christians and non-Christians alike. So also, Christ split the waters of judgment, shielding us through the global flood, so that we can pass onto dry land heading in the direction of the spiritual promised land. This dry land we will (unsurprisingly!) return to on Day 3.
It is also quite important to observe that new creation has no sea (Rev 21:1) – that new creation is dry land with the river of the water of life (Psalm 1). The river poses no such threat of global punishment, but it is definitely benevolent in comparison to the malevolent force of the crashing sea, the “wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame” (Jude 13). No doubt, God has placed “the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it” (Jeremiah 5:22). So what is this, but a choice for Christians to see that God has placed the gospel for us to choose – whether to arrive at the dry promised land safely, or to die in the global punishment symbolised by the sea?
And what is Day 5 but a filling of the events of Day 2? The sea dragons, the leviathans, the whale, the beasts arising from the sea littered throughout Job 41, Isaiah 27, Jonah, Revelation are no mere poetry, but true representations of the threat of God’s global punishment and what Christians should understand about God’s creation of the sea. Indeed, God never gave the express approval of everything in his creation being good – but the framework of Day 1-7 was used to proclaim the gospel of Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension. Is darkness itself good? No. Is the separation of waters good? Definitely not. But God used these imageries to portray a gospel truth, and by that means, the framework and tools which God used to proclaim the gospel justifies his creation being made in this particular order.
What of the fish (and the flying creatures, but let’s look @ the fish now) which were commanded to reproduce, to multiply and be fruitful, a command specifically given to man as well? Indeed, God drew the connection between the two creations himself! We are indeed as Christians entitled as fishers of men, to save these fish from the sea and bring them to dry land; so also Habbakuk 1:14-17 preaches that men are like mindless fish in the sea, wicked and having no rest. And what of Christ eating fish after his ascension (Luke 24:42)? Nothing less than a proclamation of judgment against men, for sea creatures do not partake in new creation in the same way as the other beasts as prophesied in Isaiah. For sea creatures were made for entirely different purposes from creatures on dry land.
And the birds? The different kinds of birds, the dove at Christ’s baptism, the eagles and ravens as symbols of judgment, the sparrows, many of which resemble angels as winged creatures – that they are witnesses to the angels also sent from the heavens. Yet there are also angels, cherubim and seraphim of many types (Hebrews 1), some for judgment and reaping on the Day; some for healing and solace (Matthew 28:2).
Indeed, these creatures in heaven witness to the unseen creatures in heaven, the angels; and these creatures in the sea witness to the seen creatures on earth, the unsaved men. The heavenly canopy foretells of Christ’s death on the cross, as a saving act in propitiation of God’s wrath through the global punishment of the water, prophesying to the global destruction by fire; and the eventual rebuilding and renewal of his entire creation soon after the sent one returns like a thief in the night.
So we see that Day 1 prophesies to Christ’s incarnation. What surprise therefore to see that Day 2 speaks of the silent treatment of God on Christ’s death, the pain that the Father will inevitably experience just to redeem us from eternal destruction?! Then Day 3 should be a day of rejoicing, as should every third day be, in the patterns of Scripture?
Incarnation; Light entering, and separated from darkness
Death; the heavenly canopy stretched to protect those from the global judgment
You fill the gap. A day of rejoice?