Our final installment on the “Plant Evolution Tour” brings us to God’s stated purpose for Day 3… the development of seeded plants.Â This includes grass and trees.
…it was during the late Devonian between 395-286Ma that seeds developed (to replace spores).Â This was a major evolutionary advance, because it eliminated the requirement for external sources of water for sexual reproduction of plants. It also provided better protection and a nutrient source for the developing embryo. This process of development is thought to have started with the conversion of plants from producing spores of one size (homospory) to producing spores of two sizes (heterospory). It is thought that the larger spores were precursors for ovules, and the smaller ovules precursors for pollen.Â – The Plant Evolution Tour
It is thought that a group of plants called progymnosperms (which no longer exist) were the first of the seeded plants, and that all seeded plants descend from them.Â In any case, the advent of the seed allowed the development of large trees, and resulted in extensive forests of them. It was during this time when the high concentration of CO2 began to go down. Over the next 100 million years, new species developed, capable of surviving in drier regions of the earth.
Now, let us go back to our scripture for seeded plants, Genesis 1:11 – 13:
Â 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the third day.
Now, based on our study of the Plant Evolution Tour, we can see that there are many more plant types than simply those that re-produce by seeds, and yet Day 3 neglects to mention those other kinds.Â That is a scriptural oddity that is never pointed out in anything I’ve read… yet there it is.Â Combine that with the chain of plant life that ultimately led to the appearance of seeded plants, and the distinct creative roles played by the Father and the Son, and a picture starts to appear.
- On Day 3, Jesus started plate tectonics, so that there would be land
- Before the day ended,Â God told Jesus to let the land produce seeded plants.
- The moment it could happen, Jesus made sure that sea algae could reach the land.
- The process began, and plant evolution (which would eventually produce the seeded plants commanded by God) was under-way.
- Day 3 ended
- God helped the process at a micro-level
- As Oxygen increased in the atmosphere, and CO2 decreased, Day 4 came and went
- Plant evolution continued to the point where seeded plants finally appeared
Though I believe this is the sequence of events, I seeÂ an issue with it that I want to address.Â The problem is that verse 12 reads like the seeded plants had been produced before Day 3′s end.Â Surely, to a Young Earth Creationist, this isÂ because all plant typesÂ were in fact created on Day 3.Â However, the answer is not that simple, because scripture only mentions seeded plants.Â To conclude all plants were created on that day is to assume more than what scripture says, something Young Earth Creationists frequently criticized me for doing.Â But, if one must analyze what happened besides what Moses recorded, then it behooves one to consider all the possibilities.Â That God created all plants on Day 3 is one possibility.Â That He merely freed the earth to produce them is another.
So, let us note for the record: scripture does not mention the creation of non-seeded plants.
Another oddity is that the word “let” merely requires thatÂ any hindrance to the creation of seeded plants be removed.Â Â We know for sure that happened onÂ Day 3. However, the scripture for Day 3 also mentions the plants’Â appearance.Â This makes the young earth interpretation is easy to infer from the scriptures, but the fact it is incomplete means thatÂ such anÂ interpretation may not be correct.Â But, does the Geocreationist interpretation fare any better?Â I believe it does.Â Notice here how a simple re-parsing of the scripture can effect the meaning one sees in it:
a Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”
b And it was so.
c The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
d And God saw that it was good.
e And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the third day.
Do you see what I did there?Â Part c reads like an elaboration of part b.Â Parts d and e read like they happened subsequently to part b.Â By simply parsing the scriptures above accordingly, the meaning of Moses’ narrative can be read more clearly:Â God made a pronouncement, to “let” the land produce seeded plants.Â This resulted in three events.Â The first is that all hindrances to the appearance of seed-bearing plants was removed.Â The second is that God saw this was good.Â The third is that that Day 3 ended.
Now, consider part c above, “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.”Â Notice that this elaboration is not structurally part of the sequence of events from Day 3, even while it is clearly a result.Â Is it an explanation?Â I do not believe so, because it would be woefully incomplete (i.e., no non-seeded plants).Â However, the appearance of seeded plants is clearly a result of God letting it happen, and that is all the scripture says.Â Therefore, part c is clearly a result of Day 3′s sequence of events.Â The grammar however does not require that it beÂ a part of that sequence, and the science confirms that it was not.
To support this perspective, notice what this results in.Â By removing the hindrance to seeded plants, the development of land plants from sea-algae could begin, eventually leading up to seeded plants, the last major kind of plant to appear.Â In other words, God’s command to “let” seeded plant life appear triggered the evolution of all plant life preceding it.Â If God had only commanded pollenated plants to appear, then small trees would not be covered by the pronouncement of Day 3.Â If God had only commanded small trees to appear, then Day 3 would not cover seeded plants.Â However, God commanded seeded plants to appear, and so that process, started on Day 3, covers all major families of plant life.Â (Note that plant evolution did not stop with seeded plants, but no new major forms of plant life appeared after seeded plants did)
We see now that God’s mention of seeded plants did in fact cover plant life in general… but only if plant evolution is assumed.
Well, that is the end of the Plant Evolution Tour.Â There is more to it of course, and I highly recommend reading through the tour yourself, but I hope this was helpful in wading through the confusion caused for so many when they compare creation Day 3 to the science, and think they see something different.