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Genesis 1:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Let the earth bring forth grass - herb - fruit-tree, etc. - In these general expressions all kinds of vegetable productions are included. Fruit-tree is not to be understood here in the restricted sense in which the term is used among us; it signifies all trees, not only those which bear fruit, which may be applied to the use of men and cattle, but also those which had the power of propagating themselves by seeds, etc. Now as God delights to manifest himself in the little as well as in the great, he has shown his consummate wisdom in every part of the vegetable creation. Who can account for, or comprehend, the structure of a single tree or plant? The roots, the stem, the woody fibres, the bark, the rind, the air-vessels, the sap-vessels, the leaves, the flowers, and the fruits, are so many mysteries. All the skill, wisdom, and power of men and angels could not produce a single grain of wheat: A serious and reflecting mind can see the grandeur of God, not only in the immense cedars on Lebanon, but also in the endlessly varied forests that appear through the microscope in the mould of cheese, stale paste, etc., etc.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 9-13

- V. The Third Day

9. קוה qāvâh “turn, bind, gather, expect.”

יבשׁה yabāshâh “the dry, the ground.” יבשׁ yabēsh “be dry.” בושׁ bôsh “be abashed.”

11. דשׁא deshe' “green thing, grass.”

עשׂב ‛ēśāb “herb.”

זרע zēra‛ “seed.” זרע zāra‛ “sow,” sero.

פרי perı̂y “fruit.” ברה pārâh “bear”; φέρω pherō work of creation on this day is evidently twofold, - the distribution of land and water, and the creation of plants. The former part of it is completed, named, reviewed, and approved before the latter is commenced. All that has been done before this, indeed, is preparatory to the introduction of the vegetable kingdom. This may be regarded as the first stage of the present creative process.

Genesis 1:9

Let the water be gathered to one place; let the ground appear. - This refers to the yet overflowing deep of waters Genesis 1:2 under “the expanse.” They must be confined within certain limits. For this purpose the order is issued, that they be gathered into one place; that is, evidently, into a place apart from that designed for the land.

Genesis 1:10

Then called God to the ground, land. - We use the word “ground” to denote the dry surface left after the retreat of the waters. To this the Creator applies the term ארץ 'erets “land, earth.” Hence, we find that the primitive meaning of this term was land, the dry solid surface of matter on which we stand. This meaning it still retains in all its various applications (see note on Genesis 1:2). As it was soon learned by experience that the solid ground was continuous at the bottom of the water-masses, and that these were a mere superficial deposit gathering into the hollows, the term was, by an easy extension of its meaning, applied to the whole surface, as it was diversified by land and water. Our word “earth” is the term to express it in this more extended sense. In this sense it was the meet counterpart of the heavens in that complex phrase by which the universe of things is expressed.

And to the gathering of the waters called he seas. - In contradistinction to the land, the gathered waters are called seas; a term applied in Scripture to any large collection of water, even though seen to be surrounded by land; as, the salt sea, the sea of Kinnereth, the sea of the plain or valley, the fore sea, the hinder sea Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joel 2:20; Deuteronomy 11:24. The plural form “seas” shows that the “one place” consists of several basins, all of which taken together are called the place of the waters.

The Scripture, according to its manner, notices only the palpable result; namely, a diversified scene of “land” and “seas.” The sacred singer possibly hints at the process in Psalm 104:6-8: “The deep as a garment thou didst spread over it; above the mountains stood the waters. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up the mountains; they go down the valleys; unto the place that thou hast founded for them.” This description is highly poetical, and therefore true to nature. The hills are to rise out of the waters above them. The agitated waters dash up the stirring mountains, but, as these ascend, at length sink into the valleys, and take the place allotted for them. Plainly the result was accomplished by lowering some and elevating other parts of the solid ground. Over this inequality of surface, the waters, which before overspread the whole ground, flowed into the hollows, and the elevated regions became dry land. This is a kind of geological change which has been long known to the students of nature. Such changes have often been sudden and violent. Alterations of level, of a gradual character, are known to be going on at all times.

This disposition of land and water prepares for the second step, which is the main work of this day; namely, the creation of plants. We are now come to the removal of another defect in the state of the earth, mentioned in the second verse, - its deformity, or rude and uncouth appearance.

Genesis 1:11

Let the land grow. - The plants are said to be products of the land, because they spring from the dry ground, and a margin round it where the water is so shallow as to permit the light and heat to reach the bottom. The land is said to grow or bring forth plants; not because it is endowed with any inherent power to generate plants, but because it is the element in which they are to take root, and from which they are to spring forth.

Grass, herb yielding seed, fruit tree bearing fruit. - The plants now created are divided into three classes - grass, herb, and tree. In the first, the seed is not noticed, as not obvious to the eye; in the second, the seed is the striking characteristic; in the third, the fruit, “in which is its seed,” in which the seed is enclosed, forms the distinguishing mark. This division is simple and natural. It proceeds upon two concurrent marks - the structure and the seed. In the first, the green leaf or blade is prominent; in the second, the stalk; in the third, the woody texture. In the first, the seed is not conspicuous; in the second, it is conspicuous; in the third, it is enclosed in a fruit which is conspicuous. This division corresponds with certain classes in our present systems of botany. But it is much less complex than any of them, and is founded upon obvious characteristics. The plants that are on the margin of these great divisions may be arranged conveniently enough under one or another of them, according to their several orders or species.

After its kind. - This phrase intimates that like produces like, and therefore that the “kinds” or species are fixed, and do not run into one another. In this little phrase the theory of one species being developed from another is denied.

Genesis 1:12

Here the fulfillment of the divine command is detailed, after being summed up in the words “it was so,” at the close of the previous verse. This seems to arise from the nature of growth, which has a commencement, indeed, but goes on without ceasing in a progressive development. It appears from the text that the full plants, and not the seeds, germs, or roots, were created. The land sent forth grass, herb, tree, each in its fully developed form. This was absolutely necessary, if man and the land animals were to be sustained by grasses, seeds, and fruits.

Thus, the land begins to assume the form of beauty and fertility. Its bare and rough soil is set with the germs of an incipient verdure. It has already ceased to be “a waste.” And now, at the end of this third day, let us pause to review the natural order in which everything has been thus far done. It was necessary to produce light in the first place, because without this potent element water could not pass into vapor, and rise on the wings of the buoyant air into the region above the expanse. The atmosphere must in the next place be reduced to order, and charged with its treasures of vapor, before the plants could commence the process of growth, even though stimulated by the influence of light and heat. Again, the waters must be withdrawn from a portion of the solid surface before the plants could be placed in the ground, so as to have the full benefit of the light, air, and vapor in enabling them to draw from the soil the sap by which they are to be nourished. When all these conditions are fulfilled, then the plants themselves are called into existence, and the first cycle of the new creation is completed.

Could not the Eternal One have accomplished all this in one day? Doubtless, He might. He might have effected it all in an instant of time. And He might have compressed the growth and development of centuries into a moment. He might even by possibility have constructed the stratifications of the earth‘s crust with all their slips, elevations, depressions, unconformities, and organic formations in a day. And, lastly, He might have carried on to completion all the evolutions of universal nature that have since taken place or will hereafter take place until the last hour has struck on the clock of time. But what then? What purpose would have been served by all this speed? It is obvious that the above and such like questions are not wisely put. The very nature of the eternal shows the futility of such speculations. Is the commodity of time so scarce with him that he must or should for any good reason sum up the course of a universe of things in an infinitesimal portion of its duration? May we not, rather, must we not, soberly conclude that there is a due proportion between the action and the time of the action, the creation to be developed and the time of development. Both the beginning and the process of this latest creation are to a nicety adjusted to the preexistent and concurrent state of things. And the development of what is created not only displays a mutual harmony and exact coincidence in the progress of all its other parts, but is at the same time finely adapted to the constitution of man, and the natural, safe, and healthy ratio of his physical and metaphysical movements.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The earth was emptiness, but by a word spoken, it became full of God's riches, and his they are still. Though the use of them is allowed to man, they are from God, and to his service and honour they must be used. The earth, at his command, brings forth grass, herbs, and fruits. God must have the glory of all the benefit we receive from the produce of the earth. If we have, through grace, an interest in Him who is the Fountain, we may rejoice in him when the streams of temporal mercies are dried up.
Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 38

The word of God is the seed. Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. So there is life in God's word. Christ says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life.” John 5:24. In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God. COL 38.1

Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant. Receive into the soul by faith the incorruptible seed of the word, and it will bring forth a character and a life after the similitude of the character and the life of God. COL 38.2

The teachers of Israel were not sowing the seed of the word of God. Christ's work as a teacher of truth was in marked contrast to that of the rabbis of His time. They dwelt upon traditions, upon human theories and speculations. Often that which man had taught and written about the word, they put in place of the word itself. Their teaching had no power to quicken the soul. The subject of Christ's teaching and preaching was the word of God. He met questioners with a plain, “It is written.” “What saith the Scriptures?” “How readest thou?” At every opportunity, when an interest was awakened by either friend or foe, He sowed the seed of the word. He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Himself the living Word, points to the Scriptures, saying, “They are they which testify of Me.” And “beginning at Moses and all the prophets,” He opened to His disciples “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” John 5:39; Luke 24:27. COL 38.3

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 80

From the work of seed sowing and the growth of the plant from the seed, precious lessons may be taught in the family and the school. Let the children and youth learn to recognize in natural things the working of divine agencies, and they will be enabled to grasp by faith unseen benefits. As they come to understand the wonderful work of God in supplying the wants of His great family, and how we are to co-operate with Him, they will have more faith in God, and will realize more of His power in their own daily life. COL 80.1

God created the seed, as He created the earth, by His word. By His word He gave it power to grow and multiply. He said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so ... and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11, 12. It is that word which still causes the seed to grow. Every seed that sends up its green blade to the sunlight declares the wonder-working power of that word uttered by Him who “spake, and it was”; who “commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9. COL 80.2

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 84

The little children may be Christians, having an experience in accordance with their years. This is all that God expects of them. They need to be educated in spiritual things; and parents should give them every advantage that they may form characters after the similitude of the character of Christ. COL 84.1

In the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unerring certainty. The reaping will testify as to what the sowing has been. The slothful worker is condemned by his work. The harvest bears witness against him. So in spiritual things: the faithfulness of every worker is measured by the results of his work. The character of his work, whether diligent or slothful, is revealed by the harvest. It is thus that his destiny for eternity is decided. COL 84.2

Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life. We all need to sow the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and love; for we shall reap what we sow. Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, every act of self-indulgence, will bring forth a like harvest. He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption. COL 84.3

God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. Everyone who stifles the admonitions of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest. By rejecting the first warning from God, Pharaoh of old sowed the seeds of obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. God did not compel him to disbelieve. The seed of unbelief which he sowed produced a harvest of its kind. Thus his resistance continued, until he looked upon his devastated land, upon the cold, dead form of his first-born, and the first-born of all in his house and of all the families in his kingdom, until the waters of the sea closed over his horses and his chariots and his men of war. His history is a fearful illustration of the truth of the words that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7. Did men but realize this, they would be careful what seed they sow. COL 84.4

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Ellen G. White
Education, 109

The harvest is a reproduction of the seed sown. Every seed yields fruit after its kind. So it is with the traits of character we cherish. Selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, self-indulgence, reproduce themselves, and the end is wretchedness and ruin. “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:8. Love, sympathy, and kindness yield fruitage of blessing, a harvest that is imperishable. Ed 109.1

In the harvest the seed is multiplied. A single grain of wheat, increased by repeated sowings, would cover a whole land with golden sheaves. So widespread may be the influence of a single life, of even a single act. Ed 109.2

What deeds of love the memory of that alabaster box broken for Christ's anointing has through the long centuries prompted! What countless gifts that contribution, by a poor unnamed widow, of “two mites, which make a farthing” (Mark 12:42), has brought to the Saviour's cause! Ed 109.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 44

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” “For He spake, and it was;” “He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9. He “laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.” Psalm 104:5. PP 44.1

As the earth came forth from the hand of its Maker, it was exceedingly beautiful. Its surface was diversified with mountains, hills, and plains, interspersed with noble rivers and lovely lakes; but the hills and mountains were not abrupt and rugged, abounding in terrific steeps and frightful chasms, as they now do; the sharp, ragged edges of earth's rocky framework were buried beneath the fruitful soil, which everywhere produced a luxuriant growth of verdure. There were no loathsome swamps or barren deserts. Graceful shrubs and delicate flowers greeted the eye at every turn. The heights were crowned with trees more majestic than any that now exist. The air, untainted by foul miasma, was clear and healthful. The entire landscape outvied in beauty the decorated grounds of the proudest palace. The angelic host viewed the scene with delight, and rejoiced at the wonderful works of God. PP 44.2

After the earth with its teeming animal and vegetable life had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was brought upon the stage of action. To him was given dominion over all that his eye could behold; for “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over ...all the earth.... So God created man in His own image; ...male and female created He them.” Here is clearly set forth the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly stated that there is no occasion for erroneous conclusions. God created man in His own image. Here is no mystery. There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man's narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was “the son of God.” PP 44.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 47

The creation was now complete. “The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Eden bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. PP 47.1

The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had been accomplished. And God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory. PP 47.2

After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God's great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God's wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker. PP 47.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1100

(Matthew 12:31, 32). God Gave Pharaoh Into Hands of Self—Every additional evidence of the power of God that the Egyptian monarch resisted, carried him on to a stronger and more persistent defiance of God. Thus the work went on, finite man warring against the expressed will of an infinite God. This case is a clear illustration of the sin against the Holy Ghost. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gradually the Lord withdrew His Spirit. Removing His restraining power, He gave the king into the hands of the worst of all tyrants,—self (The Review and Herald, July 27, 1897). 1BC 1100.1

(Galatians 6:7). Pharaoh Sowed Obstinacy, Reaped Obstinacy—“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Pharaoh sowed obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. He himself put this seed into the soil. There was no more need for God by some new power to interfere with its growth, than there is for Him to interfere with the growth of a grain of corn. All that is required is that a seed shall be left to germinate and spring up to bring forth fruit after its kind. The harvest reveals the kind of seed that has been sown (Manuscript 126, 1901). 1BC 1100.2

Rebellion Produces Rebellion—After the plague was stayed, the king refused to let Israel go. Rebellion produces rebellion. The king had become so hardened with his continual opposition to the will of God, that his whole being rose in rebellion to the awful exhibitions of His divine power (Spiritual Gifts 3:215). 1BC 1100.3

Israel Would Be Preserved, Even if Pharaoh Had to Die—Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord and he ventured, notwithstanding all the signs and mighty wonders he had witnessed, to threaten that if Moses and Aaron appeared before him again they should die. If the king had not become hardened in his rebellion against God, he would have been humbled under a sense of the power of the living God who could save or destroy. He would have known that He who could do such miracles, and multiply His signs and wonders, would preserve the lives of His chosen servants, even if He should have to slay the king of Egypt (Spiritual Gifts 3:220). 1BC 1100.4

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 33

When God had formed the earth, there were mountains, hills, and plains, and interspersed among them were rivers and bodies of water. The earth was not one extensive plain, but the monotony of the scenery was broken by hills and mountains, not high and ragged as they now are, but regular and beautiful in shape. The bare, high rocks were never seen upon them, but lay beneath the surface, answering as bones to the earth. The waters were regularly dispersed. The hills, mountains, and very beautiful plains, were adorned with plants and flowers, and tall, majestic trees of every description, which were many times larger, and much more beautiful, than trees now are. The air was pure and healthful, and the earth seemed like a noble palace. Angels beheld and rejoiced at the wonderful and beautiful works of God. 3SG 33.1

After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, “Let us make man in our image.” As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of noble height, and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His complexion was neither white, nor sallow, but ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble—perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful. 3SG 33.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 180f

The royal fugitive does not render evil for evil or railing for railing. He does not harbor revengeful feelings in his heart, but amid his own woes he is kind, noble, and sympathetic. Oh, what a marked contrast has been your course.... TSB 180.1

Law of Sowing and Reaping—You have had every opportunity, every privilege, every advantage, but you have not improved them. When you came to Colorado, if you had both sought God like young converts, studied your Bibles, walked humbly with God, prayed earnestly, and watched thereunto, you would have shown that you prized the boon of eternal life. TSB 180.2

But you would not appreciate heaven. Although you have, on account of your sins, been most terribly threatened of God and warned for years of His punishment which is sure to come for transgression, yet all the time you have been grieving the Saviour. He has made you the object of His unwearied love and tender solicitude. He and all heaven have been ashamed of you and looked upon your course with loathing. TSB 180.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 243

We are not to be put about and discouraged about temporal things because of apparent failures, nor should we be disheartened by delay. We should work the soil cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich stores for the faithful worker to garner, richer than gold or silver. The niggardliness laid to her charge is false witness. With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of man. TM 243.1

The spiritual lessons to be learned are of no mean order. The seeds of truth sown in the soil of the heart will not all be lost, but will spring up, first the blade, then the ear, and then the corn in the ear. God said in the beginning, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit.” God created the seed as He did the earth, by the divine word. We are to exercise our reasoning powers in the cultivation of the earth, and to have faith in the word of God that has created the fruit of the earth for the service of man. TM 243.2

The cultivation of our lands requires the exercise of all the brainpower and tact we possess. The lands around us testify to the indolence of men. We hope to arouse to action the dormant senses. We hope to see intelligent farmers, who will be rewarded for their earnest labor. The hand and heart must cooperate, bringing new and sensible plans into operation in the cultivation of the soil. We have here seen the giant trees felled and uprooted, we have seen the plowshare pressed into the earth, turning deep furrows for the planting of young trees and the sowing of the seed. The students are learning what plowing means, and that the hoe and the shovel, the rake and the harrow, are all implements of honorable and profitable industry. Mistakes will often be made, but error lies close beside truth. Wisdom will be learned by failures, and the energy that will make a beginning gives hope of success in the end. Hesitation will keep things back, precipitancy will alike retard, but all will serve as lessons if the human agents will have it so. TM 243.3

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