The Deep Things of God the Creator
A puzzle I present to the reader for his consideration: my solution is on the next page.
I have started reading Gary North’s Covenantal Economics, and I plan to review it sometime in the coming weeks. (More on the background here). While reading, I came upon an interesting truth in the following passage:
In Genesis 1, God pronounces judgment on His work at the end of five out of six days (not day two). He pronounces His day’s work as being good. God assesses the work of His creative word, day by day. He compares His work with some sort of standard. Here is the origin of all evaluation: the application of a fixed standard to the realm of creation. Theologians call this activity casuistry: the application of moral standards to human action.
God has a moral standard: perfection. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
– Gary North, Covenatal Economics, page 36-37
But what was created in day two, the day God did not say “it was good”?
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
– Moses, Genesis 1:6-8, KJV
Here we learn two things:
- God can do things that He does not publicly declare to be good;
- He can desire to do these things even without the presence of evil.
The first is already established elsewhere in the Bible: for example, He does not not declare it good for any man to be sent to hell, but people still reject His Son, and pointedly choose hell despite God’s warnings. Certainly, it is just and right for the unrepentant wicked to burn forevermore, but there is no joy in it.
The second point is what interests me more though. There is nothing that was forcing God to divide the waters into the clouds in the sky and the waters underneath the earth. (I am assuming that today’s oceans are primarily a result of the Flood, and were not part of the initial Creation. But see Genesis 1:26-28, where God gave man dominion over the fish of the seas…)
There was no evil at the time to force Him to do something just and lawful, yet fundamentally less-than-desirable. He could have handled the waters in such a way that would be pleasing to His mind, so He could declare it to be good.
But no: with no evil in existence (that we know of), the waters were divided by God Himself, and were not declared good.
The evil of the future would come soon enough… and the waters would be put to work in the service of God’s Wrath.
And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. – Moses, Genesis 7:10-12
Furthermore, we learn that the seas would be removed – perhaps brought back under the ground, or returned to the air, or both:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” John of Patmos, Revelation 21:1
One more thing, before I present my solution on the next page.
The Dominion Covenant places man as the ruler of the seas: yet, we have great difficulty setting property rights over the oceans, or any fluid environment. It is extraordinarily difficult for us to live in the depths: while it is not as hostile as space, it is no friend to man, either.
I think that God did not declare the division of the firmament good, because
- He knew that the waters would be used to kill many men and destroy much of the land: something that would give Him no joy;
- He made men to rule the land and the seas: but because of our inability to dive deep, breathe water, and live in the oceans, the rule of men over the oceans would always be weak and feeble.
- We can certainly destroy the live of the sea and poison the waters – Greenpeace wasted the 2000’s yapping about global warming, while the government-subsided South Korean fishing fleets slaughtered a major percentage – 90%, I seem to remember – of the fish. But dominion primarily means the ability to cultivate, nurture, regulate, and build up life, not to merely destroy it – any lawless thug, government-licensed agent, or abortuary can kill with abandon, after all!
Christ did walk upon the waters, and the storms listened to His Word: but at the end of the day, the great seas are displeasing to God, and their days are numbered.
And that’s why I think God did not declare their creation to be good. Their existence was necessary for a time, but not forever: and in the eternal state, there will be no oceans on the New Earth.