Genesis One, Day Three: Edible Vegetation – Grass, Herbs, and Fruit

I’ve taken a couple days to address day three of creation because it stumped me for a while. “Hmm,” I thought, “Maybe day 3 really is just about saying God created dry land and plants.”

I really didn’t believe it, though, so I waited. Sometimes I have to seek God just a little bit more. It’s not good for us to adopt a cavalier attitude. Some treasures have to be sought for; you have to diligently ask.

The thing that jumped out to me today was the trees. Gen. 1:11 says, “Let the earth … bring forth the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind.”

What about the other trees?

Had Moses never heard of a cedar tree? A fir tree? An oak tree? Not all trees are fruit trees. Why are only the fruit trees mentioned?

In the creation story of Genesis one, only edible things are mentioned. Nothing inedible is created on any of the six days of creation.

Have you ever noticed that?

There’s Only Food in Genesis One

It seems apparent to me that this was no accident. On day six, after the creation of man, God says that humans are to have dominion over all the fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals that he formed on day 5 and 6, and he says that the herbs and fruit trees he formed on day 3 are for our food. He doesn’t mention the grass, but the grass is food for the animals (and if grains are included among the grasses rather than the herbs, then grass is food for us as well).

Now God doesn’t say animals are food for humans in Genesis one, but after the flood, in Genesis 9:2, he gives a list that uses the same wording as day 5 and 6 of Genesis one.

Atheists and skeptics like to suggest that there are two creation stories, one in Genesis one and one in Genesis two; that there are two flood stories mingled into one, the one requiring seven clean animals on the ark and the other requiring a pair of every animal; and finally, that all of the Pentateuch (the 5 books of Moses) is a combination of works compiled later.

Ok, maybe. It’s been 3,000 years since the Pentateuch was written, so who knows. Maybe it wasn’t all planned together as one consistent message by man. That makes the inspiration and breath of God all the more amazing because the spiritual message God put in the Scriptures is consistent, amazingly consistent.

Genesis 9:2 hearkens back to the creatures created on day 5 and day 6 in Genesis one, carefully reminding us that only food is mentioned in the creation story. Nor is it an accident. Do you think the Israelites were unaware that the fruit tree was not the only tree on earth? Were they unaware that edible and medicinal herbs are not the only plants that grow in the ground?

No, they knew. The creation story of Genesis one mentions only food … on purpose.

Why Only Food?

Because skeptical, scoffing evolutionists are wrong.

If you read my blog on any regular basis, then you know that I don’t think skeptical, scoffing evolutionists are wrong about evolution. I believe all life evolved. I don’t believe the soul of man evolved. I believe it was breathed into us by the breath of God, but I believe our bodies evolved. The chain from Ardipithecus ramidus through the australopithecines and the hominids is too consistent in time, geography, and morphology for me to deny. I think the consistency of that chain is as much the testimony of God as is the consistency of Genesis.

However, skeptics and scoffers love to use evolution as an argument that man is not purpose. Man, they say, is a simple lucky side branch on the evolutionary tree. There’s no purpose to us, it could just as well have been some insect that evolved to be the dominant species on the planet. In fact, dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years, and we’ve only ruled it for a few thousand years. We’re meaningless; just a side show, not an end.

I wonder what double blind study or what powerful empirical evidence they used to come to that conclusion?

God doesn’t agree. The creation story is all about man. It’s not about creation in general. It’s about man. That’s why it doesn’t matter if the science is accurate. It doesn’t matter whether the sky is really a solid dome (which is what the word firmament strongly implies) with the sun, moon, and stars in it. It doesn’t matter whether water can really be above the stars. It doesn’t matter whether grass, herbs, and trees can grow before the sun is created.

Genesis one isn’t about those things. It is only about man.

Because man is the purpose of creation.

So it took 14.7 billion years to go from the big bang to us (assuming scientists are right about all that). So what? Scoffers and skeptics want to use  science to argue against our being the purpose of God, but they ignore the fact that science has seen that “time” is almost a meaningless thought. I’m reading the June 2007 issue of Discover, and it has an article entitled “Does Time Exist?”

From our perspective, it looks like it took a very, very long time to get to us. But from God’s?

We don’t have any way of knowing. It could have been a fraction of a second, or it could have been much longer that 14.7 billion years would seem to us. This is a big universe. Maybe–indeed, probably–the earth is not the only place he’s working with life.

Anyway, enough of all my scientific speculations. The point is that Genesis one announces loudly that its concern is the creation of man, nothing else. Everything else is the side show; God cares about man, and it is man into which he breathed the breath of life.

Sorry, One More Science Comment

We keep finding out about some amazing abilities of animals. Apes can count, and one managed to obtain a several hundred work vocabulary. Parrots can not only distinguish between metal, plastic, wood, and various shapes, but they can name them when presented to them. One bonobo chimp had a 3,000 word vocabulary and African Grey Parrots have vocabularies up to 2,000 words.

It is not our abilities that make us unique. Yes, we can talk better that chimps and parrots, a lot better. Yes, we can reason better than any animal on earth. Yes, we’re the ones who have dominated the earth, not lions or dolphins.

However, it is not our intelligence that makes us unique. God chose us, gave us a soul, and entered into fellowship with us.

In the long run, it will be our eternal life that makes us unique. God has called us into fellowship with himself, offered us immortality, and made us not children of the earth but children of God.

Genesis one is not some general description of creation. It is the choosing of man as the heirs of God.

Now that’s intense truth!

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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3 Responses to Genesis One, Day Three: Edible Vegetation – Grass, Herbs, and Fruit

  1. Herbs are really useful in getting nutrients naturally, some of them have medicinal properties too.’~.

  2. Shammah says:

    Thanks, Britt. I think that’s an excellent point.

  3. britt says:

    Another thing I’ve gotten from this particular day, with “trees bearing fruit of its kind” (and why it specifies “fruit”) is the connection to the trees of life and knowledge of good and evil.

    Essentially, choosing the right tree will bear fruit of its kind, tree of Life to life and tree of knowledge of good and evil bears fruit unto death.

    Anyway, I could ramble more on that, but thought that was worth sharing.


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