Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” 7 And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. 8 God called the space “sky.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.
9 Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
13 And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.
14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day. – Genesis 1:6-19
Once in a while I win a photo club competition ribbon. These days it’s a virtual ribbon: a graphic image of a blue, red, white, or green ribbon, superimposed on a PowerPoint slide. And it feels pretty good to see my photo next to the ribbon. Most of us consider the green “Honorable Mention” ribbons to be little praise. But at least we still get the mention. Most veteran photo club members worry less about ribbons and seek to learn more about their photos through the discussion and critiques of our images. But even the veterans enjoy winning.
Winning or losing is not the issue in the case of the days of creation. Light, which was first created, was not an end in itself. Light was created to illuminate that which God was yet to create on the following days of creation. It would allow stars to be stars. People to see flowers. Planets to reflect their presence in the night sky. So too with the separation of the land and waters. They would support the presence of plant life and water and land animals, and ultimately man.
There is a reason for the unfolding nature of creation’s order. And every step of creation will find its purpose in that which follows. Light doesn’t exist for its own sake. Neither does the dry ground or gathered waters. Planets and stars mark season. Wildlife and plants provide food and adorn the creation with beauty. All these will both serve man. And man will have dominion over them – serving creation itself.
All creation declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-6; 148). The Creator – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – has made us and all that exists. His orderly unfolding of the heavens and the earth reveal a thoughtful and purposeful intention. That purpose is ultimately expressed in the delightful relationship between earth, heavens, man, animals, plants, and God himself before the fall into sin.
The planets and stars of day four needs the events of days one, two, and three to have happened. And day one is not complete until God is finished with his work on the sixth day. Now God is forming and filling that which was empty and formless. As we see it unfold we can delight in that which God says is good.