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9-12: The Sequence of Events in the Creation Week, Part 3

Biblical Chronology, Vol. 9, No. 12
Copyright James B. Jordan
December, 1997

Day 6.

The sixth day provides the creation of land animals and of humanity. As we saw above, the second day spills over to the first half of the third day, for only at that point did God say that it was good. Similarly, it seems that the fifth day spills over onto the first half of the sixth, in accord with the chiastic structure of the passage.

Day 1 Throne Father

Day 2 High Altar Son

Day 3a Low Altar Son

Day 3b Glory Plants Spirit

Day 4 Glory Lights Spirit

Day 5 Swarmers Spirit

Day 6a Animals Spirit

Day 6b Man Son

Day 7 Sabbath Father

As regards the land animals, we once again have three groups:

Cattle Domestic-sacrificial animals Son

Creeping things Swarms Spirit

Beasts Ruling animals Father

In a larger way, we have three creatures:

Fishes Son

Birds Spirit

Land animals Father

On the third day, the land was created as a throne for the plants. Similarly, the cattle (behemah) are a throne (bamah) for human life, for human beings depend, in the main, on domestic animals — or at least they did before the technological era.

No particular blessing is given to the land animals; we may assume that the Spirit’s blessing upon the fishes and birds applies to them as well.

When we come to the second work of the sixth day, we come to the creation of humanity. The word "create," indicating a special wondrous work, is used for the third time here. Thus:

Create environment Spirit

Create tannins Father

Create man Son

Humanity is positioned between God and the lower creation, in the firmament symbolically. He is to rule over the lower animals, which are listed as five:




Beasts (the "earth")


This list of five is odd in this passage, which heretofore has been authored in terms of lists of two and three. I think the list is given this way to call attention to what is not listed: the tannins. The omission is striking. Humanity is not to rule over them. From the end of Job, we see that only God can rule them.

Let me suggest that the tannins no longer exist in the earth precisely because angels no longer rule humanity. We will someday judge the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). At the present time, angels are God’s servants for our good, but they no longer rule us as sergeants over raw recruits because in Christ we have graduated from officer boot camp and are now His officers in the world (Hebrews 1:14). Tannins are (were) associated with angels, a part of creation that serves God but that we do not rule.

God’s blessing upon humanity starts with the blessing of the Spirit, to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. It continues with the blessing of the Son: to subdue and rule over the earth. As the land bears trees that bear fruit, so man, made of soil, is to bear fruit.

God also lists the initial food given to man and to the animals. To man is particularly given the grains and fruit trees. We note that ALL the fruit trees "shall be" food for man, so we realize that the prohibition on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is temporary.

The list of animals to whom food is given is odd:

Beasts Father

Birds Spirit

Creepers Spirit

None of the creatures we have associated with the Son are mentioned. My take on this is that the plants represent the Son. Plants give life, but only when they are dead. To tear off a leaf or eat a fruit or a tuber is to kill it.

In Psalm 104:27-30, the stress is on the food God gives to the animals, by by implication, to humanity.

Covenantally, a communion meal is always part of the covenant making ceremony.


Day 7.

The seventh day is blessed with the blessing of the Father. That blessing comes when the work is finished, and thus is eschatological. Because God has finished His work, He enters into His rest, which is unending. Humanity has a work to do, so man’s weekly sabbath ends and ushers in another week, until the end.

There is another triad here: the heavens and the earth were completed and all their hosts:

Heavens – Father

Earth – Son, "growing up" to be like Father

Hosts – Spirit

Covenantally, the sabbath day is the preeminent day of the Lord, coming after the first six days of the Lord. It is the normal time of covenant renewal in the Scriptures, for it is the time when God comes to visit His people (as He did on the first sabbath in Genesis 3). Psalm 104:31-35 speaks of God’s coming down on the mountains to be with His people, to judge the wicked, and to receive His people’s praises.


Concluding Observations on the Structure of the Passage.

A. The refrain "And God saw that it was good" occurs seven times in the passage, and the arrangement is chiastic; to wit:

A. Day 1 Light good

B. Day 3a Both separations good

C. Day 3b Plants good

A’ Day 4 Lights good

C’ Day 5 Fishes and birds good

B’ Day 6a Animals good

A" Day 6b Man good

Just as the chiasm of the seven days associates light with the lights and with the sabbath, so this chiasm associates humanity with the light and the light-bearers. The B sections link the emergence of the land with the land animals. The C sections link the glorifying of the earth with the glorifying of the seas and air, with fishes and birds. The central section links most closely with the A sections, of course, but in that it glorifies the fourth realm, it also links with the C sections.

B. The refrain "and it was established" occurs six times in the passage, and again it is chiastically arranged; to wit:

A. Day 2 Firmament established

B. Day 3a Land established

C. Day 3b Plants established

C’ Day 4 Lights established

B’ Day 6a (Fishes, birds, and) Land animals established

C’ Day 6b Man established

As the chiasm of the seven days links man with the firmament, so here. The B sections link the sea-land distinction with the creatures of sea and land. The C sections link the glorifying of the lower altar (the earth) with the glorifying of the higher altar (the firmament).

C. The refrain "and God said" occurs nine times in the passage, and once again it is chiastically arranged; to wit:

A. Day 1 Light

B. Day 2 Firmament

C. Day 3a Sea and Land

D. Day 3b Plants

E. Day 4 Lights

D’ Day 5 Fishes and Birds

C’ Day 6a Land animals

B’ Day 6b Man as image and ruler

A’ Day 6c Plants for man and animals

As always, the lights of the fourth day are central. The D sections link the glorifying plants with the glorifying fishes and birds, as above. The C sections link the land with the land animals. The B sections once again link the firmament with man. The A sections don’t seem to correspond, but perhaps we are intended to see a link between the light produced by the Spirit and the life given by the Spirit through the consumption of plants.

D. In terms of the Trinity, we move chiastically:

A. Day 1 Throne of Father

B. Day 2-3a Altars of the Son

C. Day 3b Glory of the Spirit

D. Day 4 Central aspect

C’ Day 5-6a Living things of the Spirit

B’ Day 6b Images of the Son

A’ Day 7 Sabbath of the Father

E. The triadic lists in the passage can be summarized thusly, in the order they are presented in the statements "and God made":

Father: Sun Tannins Beasts

Son: Moon Fishes Cattle

Spirit: Stars Birds Creepers

G. The following dyads also appear, though not always in the same configuration:

A. Heaven – Earth

A. Light – Darkness

A. Day – Night

B. Evening – Morning (6x)

B. Waters below – Waters above

A. Waters – Dry land

A. Earth – Seas

B. Grains – Fruit trees

B. Grains – Fruit trees

A. Day – Night

A. Symbols – Festivals

A. Days – Years

A. Heaven – Earth (v. 17)

A. Day – Night

A. Light – Darkness

B. Fishes – Birds

B. Fruitful – Multiply

B. Fill the seas – Multiply on the land

B. Image – Likeness

A. Male – Female

B. Fruitful – Multiply

B. Fill – Subdue

B. Grains – Fruit trees

A. Heavens – Earth

B. Completed – Rested

B. Blessed – Sanctified

A. Created – Made

It would be pointless to try and find a chiastic structure here. Rather, we should note the relationship of inferiors to superiors.

The dyads marked A proceed from superior to inferior, from first to second. The dyads marked B move from inferior to superior. In every case, the movement is eschatological, as the inferior is to grow up to be equal to the superior in some sense. Thus:

The earth is to mature to become like heaven.

Darkness and night are to become like day, as evening precedes morning.

The waters below are lifted up to become waters above, a type of humanity, the soil that emerges from and is baptized by these waters.

Initially the waters were over the dry land, so they are mentioned first at the beginning; once they are below the land, we find the order Earth – Seas.

Grains precede Fruit trees, as bread precedes wine in daily life and in the Lord’s Supper. (You start the day with bread; you end it with a glass of wine.)

The lights as symbols precede the lights as festival markers, because the Word precedes the Sacrament.

Days precede Years because the Day of the Lord is the primary symbol, while the Acceptable Year of the Lord is secondary.

Fishes precede Birds because the waters below preceded the emergence of land.

Fruitfulness is the precondition for multiplication, and is a more general term, for we bear many kinds of fruits (such as the fruits of the Spirit).

Filling the seas precedes multiplying on the land because the sea preceded the land.

Man IS the image of God, even in hell, but is to grow in the likeness of God, maturing to fullness.

Male precedes Female. In history, man rules woman, but the initial Adam also grows to become the Bride of Christ.

Filling the earth must precede subduing it.

Completing His work precedes God’s resting from it.

Blessing is the precondition for sanctification.

Creating is the initial work, making the secondary.