THE DRY GROUND AND VEGETATION
BY: ADOLPH E. KNOCH
The new earth of the future will differ from the present one chiefly in this, that there will be no sea (Rev.21:1). There is no evidence that the first earth, when originally created, before it became a chaos and vacant, had a sea, either. It is confined, in time, to the present unsettled condition. In fact, the word “earth” is the same as land in Hebrew, and really refers only to the dry land so that, when God created the heavens and the earth, we are not warranted in including the sea. This came later, after the disruption. Then, to begin with, there was no land. All was covered by the abyss. When the Spirit began its work of restoration, it vibrated over the surface of the water (Gen.1:2). It was not until the third day that the water flowed together to form seas (Gen.1:9).
This, the temporary and transitory character of the sea, gives the term color in every passage in which it appears. It is a symbol of impermanence, restlessness, turbulence, and strife. Isaiah associates it with evil and wickedness. He says (57:20, 21): Yet the wicked are like the disgorging sea, When it cannot be quiet, And its waters are disgorging foulness and mud. There is no peace, says my Elohim, for the wicked.
It remains as long as enmity and offense are present, but disappears when God is reconciled with the denizens of the earth. Along with the disappearance of the sea we read “Lo! the tabernacle of God is with mankind, and He will be tabernacling with them, and they will be His peoples, God Himself will be with them. And He will be brushing away every tear from their eyes. And death will be no more, nor mourning nor clamor, nor misery…” Rev.21:3, 4)
In the meanwhile, the dry land is used to figure any approach to this, such as Israel, the nation among whom Yahweh tabernacled in the past. The sea is a symbol of the other nations, with their changing and clashing governments, their Godless legality and unrighteousness, and their temporary term. The history of mankind is a record of disturbances and wars. Some have objected to this and sought to place prominence on its peaceful “evolution” and advance in civilization. But this is unimpressive, compared with its terrible revolutions and lapses into barbarism. Since the days of Cain the methods of murder have been vastly improved, yet its victims have multiplied, and its operation is legalized.
It would seem that the waters were in great turmoil during the first and second days of restoration, for, although there was not sufficient to cover the entire earth when at rest, yet it all was submerged. On the third day, however, it responds to the normal force of gravitation, and falls from the higher elevations of the earth into the deeper hollows. Thus it flowed together, much as it still does in a minor measure, to form the seas. Consequently, the greater part of the earth’s surface, being beneath the water, is not suitable for the support of land life, such as herbage and trees, or the soul life which is dependent on these. That this was not the case before the disruption, is evident from Isaiah’s assertion that the earth was formed to be indwelt (45:18).
After the land was drained, it was fit for further restoration. It must be furnished with various forms of life, first plant life, and, thereafter with soul life, including humanity. On the third day only the plant life appears. In itself it is a great step in preparing the earth for habitation, not only providing the animals and man with food and shelter, but revealing to all the soul life an exhibition of God’s wisdom and power and glory.
“Let the earth bring forth grass” is the reading of the AV. The italicized verb and noun come from the same stem in Hebrew, and should show this, if possible, in translation. Moreover, the AV renders four different stems by grass and nearly a score by bring forth. Besides, this passage has a much wider scope than a single class of plants, for it seems to include both herbs and trees. This Hebrew stem is rendered by the AV not only grass and bring forth, as here, but also herb and spring. Literally the original reads, “Causing-to-be-verdant the land (with) verdure.” (The CV now uses the more familiar term vegetation for the noun. While this does not reflect the etymological connection between the Hebrew verb and noun, it does express the wide range of plants in view, including non-green vegetation.)
We might well marvel, even if God had formed only a single specimen of plant, but it ought to spur our hearts to wondering worship when we find myriads of varieties of vegetation, clothed in all the colors of the rainbow. Each has its own exclusive shape and shade and contributes to the good of the higher forms of life. And each one seeds seed for its species, so that it has potentialities far beyond even our most daring dreams. God saw that it was “good.” seems far too modest an appraisal! To one who gets only a glimpse of the glory that it reveals it seems splendid, superb, super-excellent! But if the herbs are so good, what shall we say of the trees and their fruit? Daily I enjoy samples of the wide range of God’s goodness. In the morning, besides my grapefruit and orange juice, I partake of the seed food provided by the grains, wheat, or barley, or oats, or maize, or rice. Then, at noon, I eat vegetables with my meat, carrots or peas or chard or tomatoes, with a few olives. The rest of the day, at intervals, I revel in a variety, the pineapple, the banana, the grape, and the fruit of the trees, the apple, the peach, the fig and the date. In this way I have a taste of many of the courses on the table He set before me, and receive the benefit of the special and distinct virtues He has stored in each. In such a diet there is not only substance to repair the body, but vitality to keep the mind vigorous and in tune. And each contributes its particular benefits, not only enriching the life, but adding a note to the scale of praise that ascends to Him for His terrestrial goodness.
The erroneous theory of evolution has had every opportunity to prove its correctness, but the more we learn of God’s creation, the more we are convinced that it is as contrary to nature as it is to revelation. Different “species,” or, as the Hebrew calls them, FROMers, cannot interbreed and reproduce. Even when man interferes and makes a mule, it is sterile. But, if it cannot be done with man’s artificial help, how could it ever have taken place naturally? The fossils present an enormous amount of evidence, yet there is not the least trace of the multitudinous intermediate forms, which should have connected the various species. In historical times there has been no record of any transmutation.
The early evolutionists thought that the reproductive cells of all animals were alike. A powerful microscope would have disillusioned them. Now, however, we know that each species, or FROM-KIND, has a different cell structure, and it always remains the same. The reproductive cell has a nucleus and a number of minute rods, called chromosomes, which contain the essential factors, which are transmitted. This cell structure is immutable in each species. “Evolution” is impossible. Even within species, the variable characteristics are regulated by natural law, so that small variations, such as size or color, cannot accumulate, so as to form entirely new species.
The wonders of creation are by no means exhausted by the number of each living creature involved in creation of the first one, great as that is. Still more astonishing is the fact that practically all differ in some slight degree from the original and from each other. This is due to the process of generation. Two are always united to form the offspring, and, as they differ, only the dominant traits of each appears. The other factors are not apparent, but may reappear in future generations. So it is that there are so many kinds of dogs. They are all of the same from-kind or “species,” but, in creating the first pair, all these varieties were provided for. And so it is with the human race. In creating Adam, God did not only make the first man, but all humanity, and all differ him in some degree in body, soul and spirit. He was not merely the “head” of the race, but, as the Scriptures express it with scientific exactitude, all were in him, and, literally and vitally, partake of the spirit that was imparted to him.
For many years increased investigation led to arrogant assumptions, based on inadequate knowledge, and illogical reasoning, which threatened to destroy all faith in the Word of God. Now that scholars are learning more, the tide shows signs of reversing. Even men who do not claim to believe in inspiration are convinced that previous objections, especially in the realm of archaeology, were unfounded and false. Whenever nature and revelation are correctly interpreted they are in complete harmony. In our comparative ignorance of the world about us, the only logical course is to accept the word of the Creator Himself.
DRY GROUND AND VEGETATION, THE [Adolph E. Knoch] 1