“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place” (Gn. 1:9).
Here is God’s amazing act in forming the oceans. The Psalmist has an infallibly inspired account of it. “Thou coveredst it with the deep as with, a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of Thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys (Heb., The mountains ascend: the valleys descend) unto the place which Thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over, that they turn not again to cover the earth” (Ps. 104:6-9).
Some modern evolutionary scientists believe that the waters came forth from the depths of the earth — just the opposite of the Scripture teaching, which is that the Earth was originally covered with water, and the submerged land was made to emerge! A noted British scientist, Fred Hoyle, of Cambridge University, believes that the oceans were squeezed out of the earth’s interior, (ep. Frontiers of Astronomy, p. 42). But according to II Peter 3:5, the land was brought forth through the water by divine command.
Those who hold the age-theory of the days of creation think they have an argument here against the solar day, for they believe the ocean-covered earth would have left the land soggy with salty mud, and that this “saline ooze” could not have been removed soon enough in order that vegetable life might appear within such a short time as 24 hours. But what of the work on the first day? Was much more time than 24 hours required to create light? and to divide it from the darkness? Only the evolutionary mind is prone to think so. As to the second day, God set out the whole expanse by merely the movement of His forefingers, indicating that it took no time to speak of to accomplish. “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers (Heb., forefingers), the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained . . .” ( Ps. 8:3). Here is the picture of God lifting the constellations, nebulae and galaxies of the heavens into place merely with His forefingers! But as for the land, God caused it to appear not in a condition of saline ooze, but as dry land (v. 10). Furthermore, the idea not merely of certainty, but of instan cy is conveyed to our minds in the words immediately following. “And it was so” If this work extended over a period of hundreds of years, the Scripture would have read, “and year after year it became so.”
The words “gathered together in one place” evidently refer to a gathering not in several places, but in one place, and as some interpret, that land is made to appear, not lands, there being originally but one continent and one sea on Earth. The formations of seas and continents as we now know them, so it is believed, were made as a result of the Flood. “By the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the Earth (land) standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” (II Peter 3:5, 6). There were heavens of old and an earth existing “out of the water and in the water,” or (Heb.) “out of the water and between the water.” Peter refers to Gn. 1:9, 10, stating that the earth rose out of the water, and existed between the waiter, i.e., between the water below in the fountains of the deep and the water above the firmament. The world that then was, was literally surrounded by water, both by the deep, and in and by the expanse. Still scoffers could not believe it possible the world could be destroyed by a universal deluge. So today, modern scoffers cannot believe the world shall someday be destroyed by fire. Yet all the elements for causing such a great conflagration are not only present in the waters of the earth (hydrogen), but also in the very atmosphere (oxygen, nitrogen), and in many of the celestial bodies (hydrogen).
“And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas . .” (Gn. 1:10). The waters are gathered together into one place, and are given a name in the plural, seas. There are many seas, but they have only one place, one ocean bed (Psalm 104:8). How did Moses know there were numerous seas? He had never explored them, nor had anyone else of that day! How could he know there was but one bed for these seas? (The answer is to be found in II Peter 1:21). Students of oceanography have come to know this very well. The father of this science was Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873). A statue of this man may be found in Richmond, Va., showing him seated with sea charts in one hand and the Bible in the other; and in the background a globe of the world with fish and birds. One day when ill, he had his eldest son read to him from the Bible. Reading from Psalm 8, his mind centered on v. 8, “the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” On this he remarked, “It is enough. If the Word of God says there are paths in the seas, they must be there, and I am going to find them!” On a National Geographic Society map of the world you may take a sixth grade geography lesson and note that in the Arctic region, the North Pacific, and the North Atlantic Oceans are connected by the Arctic Ocean. In the Antarctic region the South Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans merge into one. In fact there is an amalgamation of all the seas of the World, having connection by a wonderful inter-communication system. But they all lay in one great expansive bed! They are rocked in one globe-encircling cradle of the deep! But it is not said of the land that it is in one place, thus forming one continent. Nor does Moses state or imply that the seas have one identity. For the one basic sea bed consists of several basins, containing different seas. For it has been demonstrated that the water of one ocean is chemically different from that of another ocean.
“And God saw that it was good” — beautiful! Much could he said of the majesty and beauty of the sea, both in tranquility and in raging storm. There is a fantasy land of beauty on the floor of tile sea observed with the aid of sea-diver’s “hard hat” helmet, the scuba divers mask, the latest developments of the diving bell, the Bathyscaph, and the great improvement over the Momsen Lung, the Steinke Hood. (The latter device enables a man to breathe normally in an ascent of 350 feet from the bottom!) The sea is good because of its rich chemical content, a good portion of which is salt. Salt is necessary for the preservation and purifying of life, both in the sea and on the earth. The ocean has healing powers. It contains the element iodine which is procured by binning the seaweed kelp, and removing the iodine from its ash. The thyroid gland of the human body produces iodine; but when this gland does not so produce, it becomes infected by the disease known as goiter. Then allopathic doses of iodine, or the taking of kelp tablets, may be prescribed to make up the deficiency. Iodine may be used to purify suspected drinking water. Ten drops in a gallon of such water is said to render it safe within forty minutes. Other elements are also present in the sea, e.g., gold, tin, radium and oil. The sea is good!
The sea is good also because of its “paths” or streams. You may trace on the map mentioned one of those paths called the Gulf Stream, which originates in the Gulf of Mexico, courses along the coast of Florida and the eastern seaboard, upward along Nova Scotia, thence sweeps out across the Atlantic to the British Isles, and crosses the mouth of the English Channel. This is a very warm stream (86 deg. F. at the Gulf), bringing warm climate to the Georgia-Carolina border, making not only New England habitable, but also the British Isles and Europe. The map will also indicate how this Gulf Stream is diverted eastward to the British coast by the power of a polar current (the Labrador Current) which issues forth from Baffin Bay and strikes the Gulf Stream somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland. The convergence of these two mighty forces at this point causes the superior power of the Gulf Stream to continue across the wide expanse of the Atlantic; while the polar stream in part winds and spirals south of Iceland, and also in part dives under the surface at the point of convergence to elude its rival. Beneath the surface it travels southward to the West Indies where it surfaces to cool the atmosphere enough to make life possible in that tropical area. Indeed the sea, and God’s work in the sea are good! (I like this, reader! The Editor)
Life can only come from life. Genesis 1:20 may seem to teach otherwise. “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life.” This seems to be saying that the waters produced or generated this life. But the original of this text says, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures.” Then there is no suggestion that the waters caused the life of these creatures. “Bring forth” means to issue from the womb. The waters were made to swarm, to teem with life by God’s creative word: Let! His command brought life!
Interesting it is to watch the water swarmers found in a single drop of water. These animalculae are plainly visible even with the aid of a toy microscope. How could Moses know there were myriads of microscopical swarmers in the water, since he had no such optical aids! Without the mastery of mathematics, the discovery of lenses and the powers of magnification, man would be ignorant of the existence of these microscopic creatures. Yet the fish, too, need relatively strong lenses to see the microscopic worms they eat. Some of their natural food is too small for unaided vision to see. So God has equipped them with optical lenses as strong as 6x and 7x. But if the fish were outfitted with only microscopical lenses, they would be entirely short-sighted, and would not be far-sighted enough to see and escape enemies. So the Lord created them with bi-focal lenses, a membrane covering the eye and dividing it into two sections, the bottom section with microscopic power, and the upper part being far-sighted so that it may see at a distance, even through the air above the water to detect the approach of pressing gulls. The Lord knew all about the science of optics long before Hans Lippershey or Benjamin Franklin!