Are you standing on the firm and dry ground, the rock of salvation Jesus Christ? Jesus rescues us from disobedience and death, to obedience and life—abundant life! When he made vintage wedding wine he made a lot of it! (John 2:6). When he fed the five thousand with loaves and fishes, there were twelve baskets of leftovers (John 6:13). “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things!” (Ps. 107:9). And look at the home that Jesus is preparing for us. The New Heaven and Earth, a place of unceasing abundance and life.
Have you ever noticed how sad people look in cafés? There we are with our hot coffee and a table heaving with Eggs Benedict, warm croissants, and smashed avocado on toast. And though we feast on foods that most will only ever see in a picture, we seem unhappy. Why so?
We are unhappy because though our stomachs are full of delicacies, our hearts are empty and our spirits are parched. We don’t know our Creator. We don’t know why we exist. God pours out love-gifts of sun and breath, food and family, and we don’t see him. We are dying, and we don’t want our lives to end. We don’t know where we are going, nor how to get there.
This must have been how the first readers of Genesis felt: Israel was enslaved and dying in Egypt at the hand of cruel and genocidal Pharaoh. The six days of Genesis 1 showed them God, who he is, and what he is about to do for them—and for all his people in the millennia ahead.
Creation began as a lightless, lifeless, formless, and watery chaos (Gen. 1:1-2). Then we see God laboring on this raw material over six days to make it habitable for humankind. Humanity needs light, and so on Day One God floodlit the blackness. Humanity needs air, and so on Day Two he created the sky—a “vault” where humanity could breathe and live.
But human beings cannot live on water alone.
Even to travel across it, or to build above or on it, we need the hard materials that only dry land can provide. And when you read about the sailors of centuries past, after six months at sea even the most hardened sea dogs crave to see vegetation and to feel the coarse sand between their toes. We need the land and all that it produces for us. Our feet crave terra firma. And this is what God does on Day Three:
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. 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, “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. 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. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. (Gen. 1:9-13)
Note again the sheer power of God. God speaks, the waters gather, dry ground appears. By naming the ground and gathered waters he proves ownership and determines purpose.