After God separated the waters into bodies above and below the firmament called heaven, he separated the waters below the firmament from the land.
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:9-10
Contrary to our modern scientific knowledge about continental formation, the Bible describes the emergence of the land as simply a gathering of the waters together. Nothing in the text even hints of the natural processes of volcanic eruptions, subduction, and erosion that gave rise to the continents.
Moreover, the passage describes the sprouting of grass, seed producing herbs, and fruit producing trees before the creation of the sun. In the Biblical conception of the cosmos, however, light and darkness or day and night seem unrelated to the presence of the sun. Day and night are simply incomprehensible and unexplained attributes of the firmament.
The text, however, does illuminate that opening verse which describes God creating the heavens and the earth. Modern readers assume that the opening verse alludes to the creation of planet earth. When adding the passages about the formation of the land and sea to the context and remembering that the author of Genesis knew nothing about planets, it becomes evident that the creation of earth in the opening passage of Genesis means the land. It refers to the land formed in the subsequent passages of verses 9-10 quoted above. Genesis 1:1 does not describe the creation of the celestial heavens and planet earth. It refers to the creation of the open expanse above and the land or ground beneath.
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