It’s clear in reading through the creation account in Genesis 1 that God is in the business of separation. “God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness” (v. 4); “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water'” (v. 6); the water under the sky was separated by land (v. 9); “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night'” as He created the sun and the moon “to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness” (v. 14-18); He created living creatures to inhabit the waters, the earth, and the sky, all separating them out according to their kinds (v. 20-25); and lastly, He created man, separating again into male and female (v. 27). Separation is often thought of as an undesirable thing, but as we see God Himself separating all of creation, we ought to consider His ways and whys.
We know that God delights in order. He reveals this throughout Scripture in various ways. Paul expounds on the importance of orderly worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 and writes that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (v. 33). Jesus is likened to “a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6,10 & 7:17), in which all of the genealogy lists that are carefully recorded place a semblance of importance as to the order leading up to the birth of Christ (i.e. Matthew 1:1-16). These are a fraction of examples, but make the distinction that, to have or create order, separation is a necessity.
This separation isn’t just a requirement when chaos abounds, but we read that God began to do His separating work at a point when the earth was formless and empty (Genesis 1:2). Organizing and ordering, separating and setting apart, were all part of His work in those first six days before His further work of separation set in with humankind. We can see this as He separates the Israelites as His chosen people (Exodus 19:5-6), He consistently assigns definition between what is righteous and unrighteous in His view, He categorically calls some of mankind His children and saints (the elect spoken of in Romans 8:29-30) and the rest are destined for the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Revelation 21:7-8).
Separation is also a prerequisite when reconciliation is at hand and, as all Christians well know, it is only through Christ’s shed blood on the cross that we have been reconciled to the God we were separated from beforehand (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Rewind all the way back to the creation account and it’s apparent that God was simultaneously working with separation and reconciliation in His plan. The man He’d created was separate and distinct from the woman, but equal in that they were united to be one flesh (Genesis 2:22-24). In addition to painting a picture of marriage between man and woman, this verse foretells of the superior marriage between Jesus Christ and His Bride, united and become one. Where before there was separation, there is now reconciliation. And because of this, we will dwell with Him in the Holy City, where the “old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:2,4).
In seeing all this separation that God worked in His creation, we can more so appreciate the reconciliation He brought about in doing so by justifying us in Jesus, instilling a supernatural order of things to come, and hold dear the fact that His providence will provide all that we’ll ever truly need. We can trust in Him who decrees what is meant to be on either side, in or out of bounds, and be assured that even if we royally mess up in our attempts to organize this life in a manner pleasing to Him, there is the grace and truth of the gospel that simply won’t allow us to be separated from Him. That, my friends, is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding [and] will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).