As a recap, last time we discussed “Let there be light”, what is meant by a “day” in Genesis, the differences in Young Earth/Old Earth perspectives. Which brings us to Day 3, which describes the appearance of dry land and vegetation.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 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. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
So what is this “expanse” that is described? Some versions translate it as “firmament”
Either way, the Hebrew term is “raqia”, pronounced “raw-kee- uh”
It is referring to the expanse between the waters here on earth, and the waters above the earth, such as cloud cover.
Now some people believe this is describing a vast canopy of water that was held in place above the surface of the earth
This is known as the Canopy Theory.
They argue that this was the source of much of the water for the flood, and it also provided for a uniform tropical climate over the entire earth, and also helped explain long lifespans by protecting humans from solar radiation
However, modern science has demonstrated, for a variety of reasons, that the physics involved would not allow a canopy of water to be suspended over the earth
So just to provide a couple of examples of reasons the canopy theory would not be possible…
A canopy of water that large would have set up a greenhouse effect (heating) of the earth’s surface such that all ice and liquid water would have evaporated from earth’s surface, resulting in no life
If the water in this canopy was in a vaporous form, and it would have dissipated into space before growing to a large enough size to provide enough water to cover earth
A liquid or ice canopy would have crashed down under it’s own weight due to gravity
V8 – God called the expanse “heaven”, sometimes we read “sky”.
In 2 Cor 12:2-4. Paul mentions a third heaven. Scholars debate what he meant exactly, but most seem to land on – 1- planes and birds, 2-stars and planets (where you get out of our troposphere), 3- where God’s throne is…..????
Regardless of what the raqia was, the important thing is not exactly what its structure was, but what its function was
And the function of the expanse, the firmament, the raqia, was to separate the water on earth from the water above earth, so as to regulate the weather. This was the beginning of the water cycle which is needed for life
It is an interesting observation that the 2nd day is the only creation day for which God didn’t say that it was “good”.
Since Sunday is the first day of the week, Monday was the 2nd day, and so some people have joked that even God hates Mondays!
But the stage is now being set for what is to follow in creation, as we now have light available for photosynthesis to take place, and a weather system that can deliver water in all of its required forms

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
“And God said” – again, another reminder that creation did not take place without the willful act, and the information, and input from God
So this is where we see dry land appear on the early earth, which, remember, began as a water world
The discipline of Plate Tectonics is rather advanced these days. In fact, scientists are able to calculate the growth rate of the continental land masses.
And they can see how the land masses began as small island chains, and then grew and were pushed up from the ocean floor
What is very interesting is that if you look at a graph of the build-up of the land masses, you see a very large spike about halfway through Earth’s history.
Where does Genesis place the appearance of dry land?? Halfway through creation week. Exactly where scientists place it!
“Let the land produce, or let the earth produce” – some translations will read as “Let the earth bring forth” – the earth is the mechanism through which God works out his creative power. So “nature” is simply the mediated power of God. This idea of worshipping or deifying Mother Nature is just completely wrongheaded.
There are certain religions, or cults, that worship nature, and worshipping nature seems to be a part of several New Age religions
For example, contemporary witches, or Wiccans as they prefer to be called, worship nature and the powers that they believe permeate the universe
When we get to Day 4, we will see that Genesis tells us that God created the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Part of the reason we are told that is that the creation account acts as a polemic against all of the pagan creation accounts and worshipping those created things as Gods.
IOW, don’t worship the Sun as some sort of God, it is simply a created thing. It is not a God, but a creation of God.The same applies for the stars and planets, as well as all of nature
One very interesting conversation that takes place between various Christian interpretations, is How can there be plants before the Sun is created? IOW, Genesis is telling us that plants were created on Day 3, but the Sun os not created until Day 4
Well. We touched on the interpretation that the Sun had already been created, In the beginning, but it simply could not be seen as of yet from the earth due to the very thick atmosphere. This was an atmosphere that was literally 100 times thicker than it is today.
However, as it transformed from opaque to translucent, light rays from the sun began to penetrate the thinning atmosphere, and so photosynthesis could begin
Think about it, its not as if plants begin to die on a cloudy day. Even though you can’t see the sun, photosynthesis can still take place with the light rays that are penetrating the cloudy skies
One of the ways the Bible has been attacked by non-believers, is right here in creation day 3, and the order of events laid out in the creation narrative in Genesis
Skeptics are quick to point out that the Bble says plants were created before any animals, but science says the opposite. Science has the sea creatures before plants.
They point out the fossil record proves this order
In the past, a Christian response was to simply argue that of course we don’t find any plant fossils older than animal fossils because plants are soft and decay, and so they are not going to leave behind many fossils. Whereas animal skeletons made of bone, as well as animal shells did not decay so quickly, and thus had opportunity to fossilize.
Well, in 2009, scientists found isotope signatures from plants that were dated to 200 million years before sea creatures.
In 2011, Nature magazine published an article describing that pieces of plant fossils were discovered that demonstrated plants were abundant on the earth up to 600M years before the first sea creatures!
This is another example of where the Bible got it right almost 3500 years before our scientists figured it out!
And if we actually pause and inject some common sense into the equation, it makes sense that wherever we would see animal life flourishing, there would need to be the vegetation that it feeds on
Another interesting observation. On Day 3, God speaks twice. Two times we read that “And God said”. That occurs only on Day 3 and Day 6.
Is that a coincidence, or is there something we can take away from it?
On Day 3, God first spoke and the dry land began to appear, the habitat for plant life. He spoke again and plant life began to appear.
Is it possible that scripture is teaching us that you cannot make the leap from non-life to life without the input from God?
On Day 6 we will make the leap from animals to humans, but, again, not without multiple inputs from God.
And also, again, are we being taught that just as you can’t make the leap from non-life to life without God, neither can you make the leap from animal to human without the input and creative act of God?
V11-13 – so to wrap-up this discussion of Day 3…
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
I want to quickly mention this phrase “According to its kind” .
I am not going to go into detail on that phrase right now, because I want to spend more of that discussion when we get to the appearance of animals.
But, just know that what is being communicated here is the simple concept that plants produce other plants just like them.
When we get there and discuss animals, the concept also applies – penguins produce other penguins, apple trees produce other apple trees
Even Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda knew this. As he taught Master Shifu on how to best train Panda, he mentions the peach tree, and tells him when he plants a peach seed “No matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach”!
And this concept will come into play, and has more significant implications, when we discuss the appearance of animals and humans, and when we consider what we have been taught to believe from contemporary evolutionary biology
So we have now covered the first 3 days. These first three days see God creating the spaces, the habitats, for where he will place the life he will create over the remainder of creation week.
Next time we will discuss Day 4, which includes the appearance of the Sun, Moon, and Stars.
I look forward to you joining me in the next session. As always, Thank you for listening, and until next time, God bless.