On the third day of creation, God created the dry ground, seas, plants, and trees (Genesis 1:9–13). Using the foundation He created on the first day of creation, the Lord began to form the earth into a place suitable for life. On days three through six, the Lord was filling the earth, which had been “formless and empty” on day one (Genesis 1:2).
Dry Ground: “Then God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:9, CSB). Telling the waters to move to one place, the Lord made the dry ground appear, and He called this “land” (NLT) or “earth” (verses 9–10, ESV). By creating land first on day three, God was preparing for the creation of vegetation of all kinds. The Lord was intimately involved in creating the earth; “His hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:5).
The Seas: “The gathered waters he called ‘seas’” (Genesis 1:10). He separated the waters that were created on day one from the dry ground, and He called these waters “the seas.” By creating the ocean and seas, God was preparing for the aquatic animals He would make on day five (Genesis 1:21). God separated the ocean from the dry ground and set boundaries for the waters not to cross (Proverbs 8:29). Some commentators hold that the sea originally surrounded one large continent because the Bible says the waters were drawn to one place (Genesis 1:9). According to this view, not until the flood or shortly thereafter did the seven continents break away and spread apart as we see them today.
Plants: “Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed” (Genesis 1:11, NASB). The Lord spoke vegetation into being upon the dry land, bringing forth seed-bearing plants of “various kinds”—grass, bushes, vines, flowers, vegetables, etc. These abundant plants would fill the land with food for the animals created on days five and six (Genesis 1:20–24), as well as for mankind, also created on day six (Genesis 1:26, 29).
Trees: “Trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds” (Genesis 1:12). All types of trees were created on the third day of creation. The Lord spoke trees into being, including fruit trees, nut trees, conifers, and ornamentals. All trees testify to God’s power of creation, from the smallest to the largest (Psalm 148:9, 13).
Beginning on day three, God began preparing the earth for the future creation of animals and humans on days five and six. In His divine creative power, God spoke the land, seas, plants, and trees into existence. People today can see evidence of God’s design in a delicate flower or in a majestic tree, as all vegetation displays the truth of God as the Creator of all things (Romans 1:20).