Sunday Service: A Single Act for a Single Day

Last week we took an additional, and far more extensive look at the beginning moments of creation. This week we press forward into the second day of God’s magnificent work. With day two containing only a single act, the study is short and I considered a look into part of day three as well. However, after last week’s long study, and knowing that day three has a wealth of information for us to explore, I opted to keep this week short and focus only on the second day of creation. Please feel free to comment or ask questions as we continue in our study, and may the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior rest upon you in the coming days.

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse ‘sky.’ And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day” (Genesis 1:6-8 NIV).

Day two begins as abruptly as day one ends and even ends as abruptly as it began. There is no need for any additional distinctions of time here, for we have already explored the terminology of a “day”. So it is then, that we dive directly into day two and we quickly find that though the work has begun, God seems to have reserved the larger projects for a later date. We know that the course of creation was not six days by necessity so much as it was simply six days by design. This is an important distinction that we would do well to keep in mind; God sets forth with a plan. There is purpose in everything He does; nothing is on a whim.

“’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NAS/ESV).

God’s plans go far beyond just the creation story, and we will explore them in depth as we continue. However, it is critical that we understand up front just what God’s ultimate purpose is regarding His plans for us. The verse above (Jeremiah 29:11) says that God has plans for our “welfare”. We often associate welfare with merely a helping hand, or even a handout; something that our pride refuses to accept. Something about the use of that word seems negative to our ears. However, while the word is appropriate, it is better understood in relation to its original Hebrew meaning. The word used here is one we are likely all familiar with; “shâlôm” which means completeness; soundness; or peace. In other words, God has plans for us that include peace and completeness. Day two of creation is a critical part of that plan. We would do well to remember, that plan is about mankind. The whole of creation comes before us in a startling array of wonder and beauty, but each act, each moment of creation was to compliment God’s greatest creation; mankind. Yes, despite our rebellion against God; despite our sinful nature and the way in which we so often turn our faces from Him; God’s greatest creation has always been mankind. We need look no further than the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross to verify this; for if God let pass 1/3 of His angels into darkness, and yet is not willing that even one of us faces that same fate…(That’s an intentional cliffhanger by the way). If that does not convince you, stick around, as we complete our study of creation we will quickly begin to see the grace of God and His never ending love for mankind.

Here, on day two, God limits His creative work to a single act; one we will return to in a later study; a study which may help us better understand God’s choice to limit day two to a single creative act. Here is a hint for a future study, and somewhere you may want to explore in the interim.

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11 NIV Emphasis Mine).

For now it is enough to note a few key points about day two in creation.

Note first: God separates the waters upon the earth from the waters above it. We don’t really have much information to go on here, but there is purpose to be found in everything God does. We know the separation results in the sky; another term noted first by God. Like everything, there is purpose in God’s creation, and in later verses we will see the purpose for the sky. There is much confusion over what the waters above the earth refers to however. Science has explained the process in which water on the surface evaporates; changing from a liquid to a gas until it is cooled to the point in which it reverts again to a liquid. We might consider that the water which is separated above the earth is simply that which God first placed there to facilitate this process. However, there is something more to the text of Genesis 7:11 that may hold other clues as to the water above the earth as it is mentioned here. That we shall explore when we get to it.

Note second: God does not make any reference to whether the completion of this act is good or not. It is interesting in light of the fact that He specifically addresses each act of creation as good with the exception seen here, and with the exception of man.

“And God saw that it was good” (Vs. 10; 12; 18; 21; 25)

Despite what seems at odds with the rest of the creation account, we can be certain that God’s creation of the sky here, by separating the waters, was just as good as any other act of the creation process. However, either God did not feel the need to include this phraseology here, or the writer, viewing the single act as one of lesser importance, chose to omit it. This latter line of logic can be a slippery slope which we should be very cautious about traversing. While there is much indication in Scripture that God allowed the freedom of the writers’ personality to interact with the text, we should never forget that Scripture is still the result of God’s direct communication with the writer; it is not the act of a man deciding after a fact to record past events. We noted before that all Scripture is “God breathed”; a term meaning it comes directly from God to the writer. Any latitude given to the writers must surely have been with God’s approval. As such, we can be certain that God Himself saw no need to include the distinction here.

While there is little to explore in this second day of creation, there are two more critical points we should pay attention to. First, “and it was so”. God made an expanse between the water on earth and the water above it “and it was so”. There is no room here for ambiguity. God completes an act and it is finalized in that moment. Second, we see here again the text which indicates the completion of a single day’s work. Not an expanse of time, but a single day. A point we covered extensively when we discussed the first day of creation; however, it is worthy of note here and at the completion of each day of creation, if for no other reason than to remind us that God does not intend confusion, but rather clarity.

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day” (Genesis 1:8 NIV).

And so it is that day two comes to a rather quick completion, but the work, as we know, is not finished. The stage is set for the “form” of the Earth to be created, and we will see in day 3, God’s magnificent creation begin to take on life!

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