The Waters of the Sea


The Waters of the Sea

November 4th, 1956 @ 8:15 AM

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.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 1:9-10

11-4-56    8:15 a.m.


We’ve come to the third day of the recreation of God’s world.  It’s the ninth verse through the thirteenth [Genesis 1:9-13].  And I have divided – you know I started out, I said, to speak one morning, just once, on this creation. Even on this third day, I’ve already divided it into three sermons – already.  The one this morning on the Waters of the Sea, the one next Sunday morning on the World of Geology, and the one the following Sunday morning on the World of Botany – and all three of them are here in this third day:


And God said –

wayyōmer Elōhim – one of the most familiar phrases in the Hebrew –

And God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one bed, 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.

And God said –

wayyōmer Elōhim –

"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 the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 

And the evening and the morning were the yom three.    

[Genesis 1:9-13]


Well, how wonderful that we come to a passage like this right in the midst of these heavens opening their windows of blessing upon us.  I don’t know whether it does to you or not, but since I have been preparing these sermons, now when it rains, it doesn’t just rain anymore.  I think through that whole thing of how God made the firmamental sea above us which is greater than the sea we’re going to talk about this morning below us and how God overcomes the problem of getting the water that is saline out there in the seas and picks it up and wafts it clear over the great, high plateaus of the earth and refreshes the parched, thirsty ground.  Why, it just means twice as much to me now when it rains when I think of how God did it! 

Now, this morning, we’re going to talk about the terrestrial sea.  Last Sunday was the waters above the heavens, the great firmament above us, and today the great seas around us.  This third day is a reverse of the cataclysmic, catastrophe that overwhelmed the pre-Adamic world.  That world was destroyed by water.  God made it not buried in a watery grave – Isaiah 45 [Isaiah 45:8] – God made it to be habitable.  God made it beautiful.  The Lord made it with every good thing He could bestow upon it. 

But Satan, who is the prince of this world [John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4], who was the cherub in whose hands it was [Ezekiel 28:14] – when sin was found in his proud and uplifted heart [Ezekiel 28:15], it brought destruction into this world: darkness and emptiness and void [Genesis 1:2].  And the watery grave buried the beautiful earth that God had made.

Now, this day is a reversal of that process.  The earth begins to emerge out of the blackness of the depths of its watery grave, and God makes all of the beautiful things that were in the earth.  See that twenty-first verse?  "And God bara," [Genesis 1:21].  He created the animals. He had to.  They’d all died.  The great glaciers, and the eternal snows, and the billowy deep, and the vast waters that covered the earth: all animal life died. 

But here in the eleventh verse [Genesis 1:11], God said to His seed that were in the earth and the roots that were in the earth and all kinds of bulbs and plants and herbs and trees, He said to them, "Now, grow again; sprout, spring up and cover the earth with a beautiful, emerald blanket" [from Genesis 1:11].  And those seed heard the voice of God and those roots heard the voice of God and those bulbs heard the voice of God, and within that day, there sprang up on the face of the earth the beautiful plants and flowers and trees that God had made in the pre-Adamic world [from Genesis 1:1, 12].

"Well," you say, "Preacher, I don’t believe God does that.  You see, in our country the Commissioner of Agriculture does that.  He tells the seed to germinate.  That’s the way it is in our country."  And, "Over here in our country, why the Secretary of Agriculture does that.  He tells the bulbs to open up and exhibit their beautiful flowers."  And, "Over here in our country, we have a Commissioner on Agronomy and he tells the fruit trees, ‘Now you bring forth apples, and you bring forth oranges, and you bring forth pears.g  That’s the way it is in our country."

Yeah, and you live in the awfullest country a lying that I ever heard of.  I don’t care where you live, God speaks to the little seed, and God speaks to the bulbs, and God speaks to the roots, and God speaks to His trees.  And if God didn’t speak to them, all of the scientists and all the agronomists and all the agriculturists and all the commissioners and all of the men in this world couldn’t get one little tiny millet seed to sprout much less so the fields and the great wide places of God’s trees and orchards and fields.  It’s all of God just as it here is in the Book, just as it here is today.

When you leave God out of it, you don’t have anything left.  In fact, a man could just turn loose and preach a sermon on how much is of us and how much is of God; and how much is of us is so little and so tiny that it’s hardly to be mentioned.  All of this is of God – the elective purposes of God.  So it was back there when God re-created this earth.

All right, now I have several comments to make about this.  One is this:  there is in all this – and this is just a re-fortification of an avowal I’ve already made – there is in all of this a note, a feeling, of instancy:  God says it, and it’s done.  There’s no 500,000 years here.  There’s no eon here.  This is a day – a yom.  This is yom three: morning and evening, twenty-four hours, the turning over of this earth – yom three [Genesis 1:11-13].

You look at this and see if there’s not the feeling of instancy in it: wayyōmer, "and He said"; Elōhim, "God"; yiqqāwū, "let be together, let be collected"; hammayim, "the waters"; me, "from"; tachath, "under"; hashamayim, "the heavens"; el, "unto"; maqom, "place"; ēhad, "one"; we, "and"; terāeh, "let be seen" – let it be seen; he, "the"; yabashah, "dry land"; wayhi, "and it was"; ken, "so." [Genesis 1:9] 

That doesn’t sound like 500,000 years, does it?  Just like that and that end of it: wayhi, "and it was"; ereb, "evening, twilight, darkness."  Wayhi, "and it was" – wa and yihi, "it was"; bōqer – isn’t that a pretty word? – bōqer, "morning"; yom, "day"; ehād, "one [Genesis 1:5]."  Just like that – wayhi, "and it was"; ken, "so" [Genesis 1:9].  God spoke it; there it was.

Now, I want you to look at this inspiration.  I tell you this is the most marvelous thing I ever ran into in my life.  Remember, this man is writing thousands of years before there was any such thing as science or modern instruments.  Now, you look at Moses as he said: "And God said" – wayyōmer Elōhim – "let the waters under the heavens be collected together into one bed" [Genesis 1:9]. 

The waters above the heavens, all this great firmamental sea, it’s everywhere.  Wherever you have the firmament, there you have the waters.  They’re not collected together in one place.  They’re everywhere in the great firmament – everywhere.  But underneath that firmament, "God said, ‘Let these waters be gathered together into one placeg [Genesis 1:9].  So God called the gathering together of the waters, plural, mayim – waters, mayim" [Genesis 1:10]. Now you’ve been coming down here long enough to know that plural in Hebrew is immayim, "waters."  "And the waters called He yammimim, plural, ‘seas’" [Genesis 1:10].

How did Moses know there were several oceans?  You tell me.  Billy, you know everything.  How did Moses know there were more than one ocean?  Yeah, how did he know?  How did Moses know there were several oceans?  How did he know?  Billy says, "God told him." 

All right, another thing.  How did Moses know they were all in one bed?  Isn’t that what it say there?  maqom, "bed, place"; ehād, "one" [Genesis 1:9].  How did Moses know that – that there were several oceans, several seas – plural, yammim, plural – seas?  There were several oceans, several seas, but they are all in one bed, one place.

You get your map.  You could never say that about the land.  The land’s not in one place.  The land’s not gathered together into one bed.  Why, I don’t care what direction you go. 

Listen here, Dr. Feezer, when you start out that way, you’re going to bump into some land here, just a little further on you bump into some land there, and pretty soon, you bump into some there.  You’re going to bump into Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands.  You going to bump into Wake.  You going to bump into the Philippines.  You going to bump into the Nipponese Islands; you going to bump into the mainland of China just beyond Hong Kong. 

Why, you bump into land everywhere.  It’s not gathered together into one place, but the seas are.  They’re all in one bed, and yet, they are plural.  They are seas, plural.

If you were to take a fish out of the Pacific and dump it into the Atlantic, just like that, it’d die.  The chemical elements of these seas are all different.  Yet, you would have gradually to acclimate that fish before he could live in any other sea.  The seas are different.  They are plural, yet, they are all one.  You look at the map, the globe, and every sea is connected together in one bed, not the land. 

How did Moses know all that?  God told him, and it’s written right there in the Book.  Now, it’s a marvelous thing how God made this sea, made this great ocean – these bodies of water.  It’s a marvelous thing.  So let’s look at how God did it.

 Well, for one thing, the earth is three-fourths water and one-fourth land.  The seas and the earth, the dry land: three-fourths one and one-fourth the other.  Does that bring to your mind the oldest story you ever heard in your life?  Do you remember it – the oldest joke?  No? 

The oldest story that I know, the one that I can remember just as far back as I can remember, is the fellow hipped on baptism.  Every time he got up, he preached on baptism.  They got tired of it.  They said they’s going to give him a text as far away from it as they could, so they gave him the first chapter of Genesis.  And he started out: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and He made the earth one-fourth land but three-fourths water and that was in order to have plenty to baptize with."  And away he started on his sermon on baptism!  That’s the earliest story I can remember.

There are about 197 million square miles in the globe.  There are 145 million square miles water.  There is 52 million square miles land.  The United States has about 3,750,000 square miles – the great majority. 

Did you know there is – I’ve tried this – there is a way you can look at the globe, look at the Pacific Ocean – there’s a way you can look at the globe that the whole thing looks like water?  Won’t see any land except the little specks of island – whole thing.

Now, God did that for several reasons.  One is for the rain – had to be a certain proportion.  The deserts of this earth are the result of the curse of the earth on Adam’s seed sake? [Genesis 3:17-19].  God never meant for there to be any deserts in this earth, and some of these days, the deserts are going to bloom and blossom like the rose [Isaiah 35:1-2].  That’s a part of the curse [Genesis 3:17-19].

But God made this earth to be wonderfully covered with vegetation, and it was in the pre-Adamic world.  That’s where your coal came from – those great ferns and trees growing profusely. God made it to be that way.  And He made that proportion of land and water so that He would have plenty of rain upon the earth. 

Then, the oceans are the sources of our greatest and chiefest food supply.  That’s where the fish grow, and that’s why God lets it rain on the ocean.  He has to aerate the water.  He has to put oxygen in the water so the fish can breathe.  So it rains on the seas and it rains on the land.

All right, there’s something about the seas that is very unusual and that is this: they’re salty.  They’re filled with saline elements.  Well, you say, isn’t that too bad?  No, it isn’t.  God made it that way.  God made it that way.  These geologists and geographers and oceanographers, why, at the front of their book they will say, "Now, the ocean is saline.  The ocean is salty because the rain leaches these great salt deposits out of the land, and it runs into the ocean and that makes the ocean saline."  All right, that’s what they say up here in this paragraph.

Then, down here a little further, they say, "Now these great saline deposits in the earth and these saline minerals that are in the earth were deposited there by primeval seas.  Well, you get your head to swimming.  Just exactly now what are they going finally to conclude?  The salt is in the earth because of the primeval seas that put it there, but the salt is in the seas because the water leaches it out of the ground and it runs down there into the oceans. 

Well, you got the same sort of a thing: which is first – the chicken or the egg?  Just the same thing.  The seas put it there, but the seas got it from the land. 

I’ll tell you who put it there.  God put it there.  God put it there.  And the reason these elements are in this land is because all of this land once was under the sea – every bit of it, every bit of it.  There’s not anywhere in this earth that hasn’t been lifted up out of the grave of the sea.  That’s what God’s Book says.  God’s Book says He resurrected this land.  He lifted it up out of the seas.  And when you look at this world, anywhere in this earth – on the top highest mountain – anywhere you look, there you’ll see those evidences of the great seas that once covered this earth.  All of it was one time buried in a watery grave.  God made that salty.  That’s the way God created it.

Well, why did God create that sea salty?  Well, here’s why He did it: first, for health.  If the seas were not salty, the chances are they would finally become one vast, illimitable mass of putrefaction, and epidemic, and corruption. 

Salt is healing.  It is cleansing.  Salt is purifying.  Salt heals and is clean.  If you have put in a water softener in your house, the chances are they’ll use salt in the water purifier.  Now, God did that in order that His seas might be clean and pure.

Did you ever go down to the sea and look on that vast body of water and think, "Why in the world doesn’t that thing get polluted with millions, and millions, and millions of years of all kinds of vegetation and dead fish and corruption and everything that washes into it?  Why doesn’t it get filthy and contaminated and finally be the breeding place for every epidemic that mind could think of?"  Because of the salt that is in it that cleanses it and purifies it.

All right, the second reason why God made His seas salty, saline: He did it in order to set up those great currents that sweep through the ocean like great, vast, illimitable, immeasurable rivers.  And those currents are the very life of God’s world.  Without them, we couldn’t live. 

Now, I want us to look at those currents.  What causes them? 

You know, I said two Sundays ago the reason God made water to violate the law of contraction – when it gets down, it contracts to thirty-seven degrees, then it expands.  It violates the law.  Everything in the world, when it gets cooler, it contracts.  There’d be steam up here, pull it down, cool it, contract, finally turn to liquid, pull it down, finally turn to a solid. 

Everything practically is that way.  Heat it, you can vaporize it.  Pull it down, and you can finally condense it until finally it’s a solid.  Water is that way like everything else is that way.

But water does the most unusual and miraculous thing.  When you pull it down, it contracts to thirty-seven degrees, but then from there on until it freezes, it expands.  It’s a miracle.  The reason God did that was so the stone, so the ice, would float – wouldn’t go down.  If water, when it contracted, became a stone – became ice and sank – wouldn’t be long until those great polar seas would be solid ice.  The water would sink, the ice would sink, water freeze, the ice sink, the water freeze, the ice sink, and finally the whole thing would be a solid sea of ice and your world be destroyed.  So God did that miracle so the ice would stay up and the waters underneath would be flowing. 

All right, God did the same thing in making His seas saline, in making them salty.  Now you look.  Evaporation will make a sea about twelve percent saline – twelve percent.  Way down there under those equatorial suns, those tropical seas are about twelve percent saline.  Way up north, where there is very little evaporation, the sea will not be more than one and three-fourths percent salty, mineral.

Now, what does that do?  Here’s what it does.  It does in the sea the same thing that it does in God’s firmamental sea.  They’re exactly alike.

Down here in these oceans, the seas here on the surface of the earth, when the evaporation makes the sea salty, salty, salty, salty, why, the salty water’s heavier.  They sink to the bottom.  Up there in the north where the evaporation is not very much, why, the seas are not nearly so heavy. They’re not nearly so salty. 

So you have the great salt tropical seas getting heavy and heavy and falling to the bottom, and you have the polar seas, light, light in weight, coming to the top.  And that creates great currents in the oceans as the lighter water comes in and as the heavier water pushes out.  And that creates a great current.

It’s the same thing as you have in the heavens.  When you have heavy cold air and light hot air, you’re going to have an exchange; you’re going to have a current created.  And in a little space, a comparatively little spot like this, it’ll go around and around and around and around, hot and cold just chasing one another to death.  And that’s why you have a tornado and that’s why we have these great northers coming out of Canada.  There’ll be a lot of hot air down here that’s light, and the air up there at the North Pole and inside the urn in Canada, it gets cold and it gets heavy and it gets heavy, and it isn’t long until out of the north that cold air will rush down here where the resistance is not so much to it and you have these cold waves. 

Same thing in the ocean: when you have heavy, heavy saline water and when you have light, light not such saline water, the heavy water’s going to rush in up there where that light water is that then you’re going to have these great currents coming.

Now, I want to speak of one of those currents that make possible our life as we know it in the earth.  In our western world, I want to speak of the Gulf Stream – how God made the Gulf Stream. 

Down here in the South now, under those tropical skies, there’ll be great evaporation.  And the Gulf Stream is heated and warmed down there and then that Gulf Stream begins to move.  It comes out of the South and then swings through those great Caribbean channels and straits.  And then between the straits of Florida, there it turns northward. 

The Gulf Stream is about seventy miles wide.  It’s about three thousand feet deep, and it moves at about six miles an hour, and it has a temperature of about eighty-five degrees.  It is very, very blue and very, very clear.  It’s about a thousand times bigger than the Mississippi River, and it moves – the great mass of hot water, warm water – it moves toward the North just beyond the coast of Florida and just beyond the continental United States, and it moves north.

It is so clear and so blue and so warm that that Gulf Stream, when it comes into the waters of the great, greener ocean, you can have a boat half into the Gulf, half into the ocean; half in the Gulf Stream, half in the ocean; half in the blue, half in the green.

Then that great, warm Gulf Stream moves north; and up there about Nova Scotia, it runs head on, just like that, into the great Polar Stream that comes down from the North.  It comes out of Baffin Bay between the mainland of Canada and the mainland of Greenland – Baffin Bay.  Didn’t I tell you the great heavy waters of the north begin – of the south – begin moving north; and when they begin moving north to that lighter water, then the lighter water has to come down, has to give way.  So those two great streams meet just around beyond Nova Scotia, and there is a terrific and terrible battle of those tremendous giants: the Polar Stream moving south and the Gulf Stream moving north. 

But the Gulf Stream is mightier, and it vanquishes the Polar Stream.  And the Polar Stream is forced to dive down way deep underneath and the Gulf Stream rides triumphant.  But in vanquishing its opponent, the Gulf Stream is deflected by that Polar Stream, and instead of flowing straight north as it is on its path going up north, that great Polar Stream that is vanquished and forced to get down underneath, that Polar Stream deflects the Gulf Stream and it turns to the right and goes over there across the Atlantic to the British Isles and to Scandinavia.  And then the continent splits it, and it goes along the shores of France and of Spain.

That’s why the northern countries of Europe are habitable.  Were it not for the Gulf Stream, the British Isles and Scandinavian northern France would live in almost an Ice Age like northern Canada and Labrador and Greenland.  And were it not for that Polar Stream, the Gulf Stream would go straight north, and Labrador and northern Canada and Greenland would be salubrious and mild and beautiful, and you’d have a great civilization up there. But God turned it over there in order for Northern Europe and the British Isles and Scandinavia to be habitable. 

Those Bermudas are semi-tropical on account of the warmth of the Gulf Stream.  If there’s any little deflection or any change in the current of the Gulf Stream, why, near Ice Age falls upon Britain and Scandinavia.  Now, that Polar Stream that was forced to go way down at Nova Scotia, because of the mightier Gulf Stream, that Polar Stream comes up in the West Indies, and you have an arctic breath that cools those lands of the Caribbean and makes them delightful.  That’s what God does in His seas, in the waters of the sea.

Well, time for me to quit, but let’s just go on.  We haven’t got anything to do but go to Sunday school, have we?  I quit in a minute. I quit in a minute. 

What holds it in place?  What holds these oceans in place?  What does?  An ancient geographer from Persia drew a map of his world.  And all around his map – it was drawn kind of like a Persian War Shield, a little longer than wide.  And all around this map of the earth, he drew the mountains of Qaf.  And when he was asked about those mountains of Qaf, he replied, "No eye hath ever seen the mountains of Qaf, but we know they are there because if they weren’t there, the ocean would spill off of the earth." 

Well, what holds them in place – these seas?  Job knew. Job 38:8 and11: "God shut up the sea with doors, when it break forth, as if it had issued out of a womb. When He made cloud the garment thereof . . . and marked out the boundary and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed" [Job 38:8-11].  God did that.  God did that.

In Richmond, Virginia, there is a magnificent piece of statuary.  It is dedicated to Matthew Fontaine Maury [1806-1873] who was the father of our Annapolis Naval Academy [Annapolis, Maryland].  He is the great father of oceanography and the physical sciences of the waters.  He did more for shipping, for navel operation, than any man that ever lived. 

There is a beautiful statue of him in Richmond [Richmond, Virginia]. He’s born in Virginia.  He is sitting there, this eminent great scientist, and in one hand are his maps of oceanography and in the other hand is God’s Holy Word, the Bible.  Back of him is the globe, the seas that he knew so well, and the birds and the fish representing the worlds he had conquered for mankind.

Before his day, when any man sailed on the seas, he just did it according to caprice – however he wanted to.  He’d just strike out, and if he wanted to go that direction or however he wanted to go, every captain sailed the sea just as his own fancy dictated.  But one day when Maury was temporarily ill, his oldest son was reading to him out of the Bible, and it came across – he was reading to him the eighth Psalm.  And the eighth verse of the eighth Psalm says, you know: "The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea" [Psalm 8:8].

 And the great scientist said to his son, "Son, wait a minute.  Read that again."  And the boy read it again: " . . . and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea."  And the great geographer said, "If God says there are paths in the sea, I know they’re there and I’m going to find them!" 

And he did. And the ships of the sea to this day sail across the oceans through the paths of the sea.  We call them the shipping lanes of the sea.  Maury found them because in God’s Word he read they were there.  Ah, you don’t get ahead of the Book!  You just trying to come up to be abreast of the Book.

All right, Billy, let’s sing our song.  And somebody here give his life to the Lord or somebody here put his life with us in the church, while we stand and sing the song, you come and stand by me on this first stanza.