Creation days 2 and 3 – atmosphere and vegetation


Major update: 26th December 2021

Table of Contents for: Creation days 2 and 3 – atmosphere and vegetation

How does the Bible deal with the formation of the atmosphere and the appearance of the land in Creation days 2 and 3?

Day 2 of creation the earth’s atmosphere

Before scientists told us all the facts about the earth’s atmosphere, we may never have realised how important this invisible stuff really is!

In all the stories around the world, which describe the beginning of the earth, there has not been such an emphasis put on the importance of the ATMOSPHERE as in Genesis.

The Earth's atmosphere wonderfully sustaining life from space's hostile environment.

The Earth’s atmosphere wonderfully sustains life from space’s hostile environment.

One whole day of creation is devoted to Earth’s atmosphere, when 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’.”

Genesis 1:6

The water above the expanse must mean the clouds.
Job in the Bible tells us that God:

wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.”

Job 26:8

Who would have thought that clouds have weight, they are light and fluffy, floating in the sky!
But clouds float on air because the moist air in clouds is less dense than dry air.
If you say a cloud has a density of about 0.5 gram per cubic meter, then 1 cubic kilometre (km3) of cloud contains 1 billion cubic meters.
This equals about 500,000 kilograms or about 551 tons! [ix]

That is a LOT of weight above our heads!
Science has only recently told us this, but Job knew that thousands of years ago.

Dark clouds in a stormy sky. Creation days 2 and 3 - atmosphere and vegetation
By Peter Reason licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Earth’s atmosphere is divided into five main layers: [i]

  • The troposphere is 4 to 12 miles (7 to 20 km) thick and is closest to Earth. This is lowest at the poles and highest at the equator. Most of the water vapor and dust is found here – hence clouds form.
  • The stratosphere is the next layer and ends about 31 miles (50 km) above the ground. Ozone is abundant heating the atmosphere and absorbing harmful radiation from the sun. The air has virtually no moisture. It is a thousand times thinner than at sea level, so jet aeroplanes and weather balloons fly there.
  • The mesosphere extends to 53 miles (85 km) from the Earth. This is too high for aeroplanes and satellites orbit above this. The temperature is about minus 130 degrees F (minus 90 C).
  • The thermosphere extends to between 310 and 620 miles (500 and 1,000 km) from the Earth’s surface. Scientifically it is part of the atmosphere, but air density is so low that it can be considered as outer space. This is where the International Space Station orbits. Also auroras occur here. Temperatures can get up to 2,700 degrees F (1,500 C) at this altitude.
  • The exosphere, the last layer, is extremely thin and is where the atmosphere merges into outer space.

From the various space missions we now know how hostile space is.
Therefore the earth’s atmosphere is incredibly important to our survival.

So it is apt that God devotes a whole day creating the atmosphere in the Genesis creation account.
Here it is from a different Bible translation:

And God said,
‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’
So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome.
And it was so.
God called the dome Sky.
And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.”

Genesis 1:6-8 NRS

Some Bible translations use the word ‘firmament’ which means: ‘the sky / heavens’ and hence atmosphere .

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

Genesis 1:6 King James Version

Some people believe that God possibly created a thick canopy around the earth, giving a semi-tropical climate to the whole earth, which then collapsed at the time of Noah’s flood, creating a world wide flood.
But if there was such a canopy surely it would have obscured the stars?
Because on day 4 it mentions the stars being seen from the earth.

There is an in-depth look at the theories of how the earth’s primitive atmosphere looked by D. Denner, here’s an extract:

Davidson’s observations and Brinkman’s calculations concerning oxygen content of the early atmosphere imply that the reducing atmosphere is no more than a concept.
The evolutionary theorist is left with the invitation of Miller and Orgel to construct his own scenario for the non-occurrence of free oxygen on the early earth and from thence the origin of life itself.”

‘The Primitive atmosphere’ by D. Denner [ii]

Day 3 of creation the dry ground appears

And God said,
‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’
And it was so.
God called the dry ground ‘land,’ and the gathered waters he called ‘seas.’
And God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:9-10

We now know that ‘land’ can be pushed up by huge forces within the Earth’s crust. [iii]

Scientists who hold to the Genesis creation account and to Noah’s flood, believe that the highest mountains were not pushed up until near the end of that flood, when there were possibly huge volcanic earth movements.
The Earth had lower mountains, or even perhaps just hills, which were easily covered by the flood waters.

That Flood accomplished abundant geologic work.
Eroding sediments here, redepositing them there, pushing up continents, elevating plateaus, denuding terrains, etc., so that the earth today is quite different from before.
Today even mountain ranges rise high above the sea.
Mt. Everest and the Himalayan range, along with the Alps, the Rockies, the Appalachians, the Andes, and most of the world’s other mountains are composed of ocean-bottom sediments, full of marine fossils laid down by the Flood.
Mt. Everest itself has clam fossils at its summit.
These rock layers cover an extensive area, including much of Asia.
They give every indication of resulting from cataclysmic water processes.
These are the kinds of deposits we would expect to result from the worldwide, world-destroying Flood of Noah’s day.
At the end of the Flood, after thick sequences of sediments had accumulated, the Indian subcontinent evidently collided with Asia, crumpling the sediments into mountains.
Today they stand as giants—folded and fractured layers of ocean-bottom sediments at high elevations.
No, Noah’s Flood didn’t cover the Himalayas, it formed them!”

‘Did Noah’s Flood Cover the Himalayan Mountains? by John D. Morris Ph.D. [iv]

The Apostle Peter implies that the world landscape was different before the flood:

By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.”

2 Peter 3:6

Day 3 of creation continued – Vegetation appeared

Then God said,
‘Let the land produce vegetation:
seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’
And it was so.
The land produced vegetation:
plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.”

Genesis 1:11-13

The important thing to see here is that God created different plants and trees and that they would reproduce ‘according to their kinds.’

Clematis, bamboo, shrubs and trees. Creation days 2 and 3 - atmosphere and vegetation
Clematis, bamboo, shrubs and trees. By Peter Reason licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

God designed and created different plants right from the start.

Plants and animals were originally created with large gene pools within distinct created kinds.
A large gene pool gives a created kind the genetic potential to produce a variety of types within the kind, allowing the offspring to adapt to varying ecosystems and ensure the survival of that kind of organism.
Genetic potential can best be understood by observing the large number of dog breeds.
There are many shapes, sizes, and colors of dogs, illustrating the tremendous genetic potential in this kind of animal—but they all remain distinctly recognizable as dogs.
Other kinds of plants and animals have similar potential to produce variety within their own created kinds.

‘Variation Is Limited within Kinds’ Institute of Creation Research [vi]

Baraminology – A Scientific Taxonomy Based on Created Kinds

The current system of classification is based on the pioneering work of the creation scientist Carolus Linnaeus.
He eventually taught that new organisms that arose were all derived from the primae speciei (original kinds) and were a part of God’s original plan because He placed the potential for variation in the original creation.
Modern biblical creationists still use the concept.
The desire to classify modern creatures—based on the original created kinds – has spawned a new field of biology known as baraminology.
Is there any way for a scientist to identify the original kinds that Adam named?”

‘Created Kinds (Baraminology)’ Answers in Genesis [vii]

The Hebrew word for kind is min, meaning subdivisions within a larger group.
A plain reading of the text indicates that plants and animals were created to reproduce within the boundaries of their kind.
A good rule of thumb is that if two things can breed together and produce offspring, they are members of the same created kind…
Creation scientists refer to kinds more technically as baramins.
The Hebrew word bara means “create” and min means “kind”; so a baramin is a created kind.
The study of created kinds is baraminology.
Baraminologists seek to categorize into respective baramins the animals that are living and the organisms known only from the fossil record.”

‘One of a Kind?’ by Dr. Georgia Purdom [viii]

References:
[i] ‘Layers of Earth’s Atmosphere’ Center for Science Education
[ii] ‘The Primitive atmosphere’ by D. Denner
[iii] ‘Fold Mountain’ National Geographic
[iv]‘Did Noah’s Flood Cover the Himalayan Mountains?’ by John D. Morris Ph.D.
[v] ‘What are the 7 days of creation?’
[vi] ‘Variation Is Limited within Kinds’ Institute of Creation Research
[vii] ‘Created Kinds (Baraminology)’ Answers in Genesis
[viii] ‘One of a Kind?’ by Dr. Georgia Purdom
[ix] How much does a cloud weigh?

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