Sunday, April 09, 2006

A misplaced "good"?

'Tis Interesting how often I can read something and not notice little details, omissions, patterns, or breaks in patterns. I was reading Genesis 1 today for the umpteenth time in my life, and for the first time I noticed that God never pronounces the events of day two as good. In addition God pronounces "good" twice in day three and twice in day six. I had previously noticed the details of day six, but not day two and three.

Day 1:
And God saw that the light was good.

Day 2:

Day 3:
And God saw that it was good.
(after the waters are gather and dry ground appears)
And God saw that it was good.
(after the earth produced vegetation)

Day 4:
And God saw that it was good.

Day 5:
And God saw that it was good.

Day 6:
And God saw that it was good
(after the land animals were created). . .
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good
(after mankind was created)

Has anyone else noticed these breaks in the pattern (particularly the omission in day two)?

I think the additional "good" in day six is to emphasize that the creation was very good after mankind was created. Before it was good; after man it was very good. Notice also that in Chapter 2, when the creation of man is expanded, God said that it is not good for man to be alone, another break in pattern. Only after Adam's helpmeet was made was the creation complete and very good.

The omission of "good" in day two is a little more perplexing to me, as is the addition of another "good" in day three. Having no revelations myself, I turned to an authority on the subject :).

John Calvin's explanation:

Moses has not affixed to the work of this day the note that "God saw that it
was good:" perhaps because there was no advantage from it till the terrestrial
waters were gathered into their proper place, which was done on the next day,
and therefore it is there twice repeated.

So the expanse was meaningless or incomplete until the waters under it were gathered to make dry ground appear? His commentary helps a bit, but it is still a bit foggy to me. It almost seems like day two should have ended after verse ten instead of after verse eight. I wonder why God split the days as He did.

Any comments, speculations, suggestions as to why there is this break in pattern?


Samara said...

I'll venture to speculate that on the second day, instead of "good", saw fit to call it "Heaven"- that fits an overall pattern of Him having an observation about His Creation at the end of each day, rather than observing specifically that "it was good".

Genesis 1:8 "And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Of course, I don't really know. I think I've got a bad case of Ecclesiastes 1 today :)

Susan said...

I had actually thought of that, Samara. Since Heaven is capitalized in my translation I thought perhaps it was another way of positive affirmation. My footnote says "Or Sky," though, so I'm not sure the word has any special significance. I do wonder, though. Thanks for pointing it out.

Jessie said...

That's a "good" question! I'll be thinking about that, and I'll see if Matthew Henry has anything to say on that.

Here's a quote I should've put down on your post about "The Rules" but I wasn't sure if you were still reading them:

"I am not the sort of female to torment a respectable man." -Lizzy, the new P&P

(Notice how she qualifies that statement- she won't torment respectable men... ; ) )

Lydia said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts from Genesis, Susan. I never noticed that before so I'm glad you brought it to our attention. I, too, love studying Genesis.

I'm still in BSF studying Genesis this year. We are just starting to read about Joseph from Genesis 38-40. Awhile back I shared some of my thoughts on Genesis in my Musing on Genesis post. I think you commented on the second one but I wasn't sure if you had seen the first. I think it had to do with the phrase, "And God saw that it was good."

I love having those "Ahaa" moments when I'm reading where I discover something new or fascinating that went unnoticed before. You can read the same Bible passage thousands of times and get new insight each time.

Your post was one of those "Ahaa" moments for me. :)

Susan said...

I was actually going to post that quote, Jessie, but it must have got cut out during the whittling down of that post :( because it's not there. My rant on The Rules was already so long, and had to be split into two posts. I think that quote perfectly encompasses my problems with The Rules, so I'm glad you brought it up since it disappeared from my draft!

Yes, Lydia, I remember reading your Musing on Genesis post a while back - I quite enjoyed it :). Genesis is one of my favorite books of the Bible, and I like to go back to various parts regularly. Part of my fascination over Genesis goes back to Father Dear's focus on Creation Science :). Adrian's brother Lane is periodically posting sermons from his series about Genesis on his blog, and I love reading them! They are giving me a whole new perspective on Genesis.

I love having "Aha" moments as well. I remember when I decided to graph Adam through Ham/Shem/Japheth on a timeline for fun (must be the mathematician in me. . . ) and found that Methuselah died in the year of the flood. Of course come to find out that was semi-common knowledge, but it was so much more interesting to find it out myself :).

Adrian C. Keister said...

Come on, bro. You know you want to say something here. ;-)

In Christ.

Mr. Baggins said...

My take on this is that the work of day two was not done until day three. This is basically Calvin's position. I would say that God starts the separation of waters from waters *in order to* further separate the water from the land. The work of day two and day three can be subsumed under the category of the basic structure of the visible world. The direction of everything in the creation week points forward to the creation of mankind, the crown of creation. That is why the work of separating waters above and waters below is not finished on day two: it is still no inhabitable by man until day three. You have to read any of the creation days with a view to day six.

Susan said...

Thank you for your explanation, Lane. Ah, that really does clarify Calvin's commentary. Your emphasis that everything is working towards the creation of man really helped. Thanks!

John Dekker said...

gOk, I know I'm a johnny-come-lately, but I think the ommission is also because there needed to be seven pronouncements of goodness. :)