The Second Day
Before we delve into verses 6-8 of the first chapter of Genesis, here is something else very interesting about the creation record. On Days 1, 2, 3 and 4, God created an environment in which the creatures yet to be created (Days 5-6) would live. God gave us the events of creation in proper order. God prepared everything that would sustain life, then He created life! Again, Days 1-4 tell us of the environment that God created. Days 5-6 tell us of the inhabitants God placed into that environment. Reminds us of the New Testament verse in 1 Corinthians 14. Verse 40 says, “All things should be done decently and in order.” That’s God’s way.
Although verse six begins the second day, we are not told this until the end of verse eight. As we noted in the previous blog, the creative work of each day ends with the phrase, “…And there was evening and there was morning….” Therefore, verse five completes the first day and verse six starts the next day which is then completed in verse eight. On Day 1, God created light (verses 3-5). On Day 2 (verses 6-8), God creates the sea and the sky. Let’s take a look in the Book.
Verse six – “And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” What in the world does that mean!? To get the whole picture in perspective, please read verses seven and eight. “And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” No matter how many times you read those three verses (6-8), parts of them may continue to be confusing. This is one of those passages where God does not give us all of the detail we might think we need. But He gives us what He wants us to know.
Again, verse six reads, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” You recall in verse two that the whole earth was covered with water. And now in this verse He is dividing all of that water into two parts. He is dividing some of earth’s water from the rest of earth’s water. How is He dividing it? Why is He dividing it? The answers are in verse seven.
“And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were UNDER the expanse from the waters that were ABOVE the expanse. And it was so.” (EMPHASIS MINE.) The reader should not be picturing here a horizontal separation. Rather, the separation is vertical. God seems to have separated the water below the expanse and placed some of it above the expanse. Did He separate it by half? We do not know the answer. God chose not to reveal that to us.
Let’s summarize verses six and seven this way: God divided the existing water around the globe into two parts, and He placed one part above the sky and left the remaining part below the sky. “And it was so.”
Now on to verse eight, “And God called the expanse Heaven.” The word “heaven” here does not refer to the abode of God, though the word is capitalized. It is referring to the atmosphere above and surrounding the earth. The waters below the sky were divided from the waters above the sky. The waters above the sky did not have to be in the same form as the waters below the sky. Water comes in several forms. Water can be liquid. The ocean is a liquid form of water. Water can be frozen. We call it ice. Vapor is another form of water. Examples of water vapor include clouds, steam and fog. Regardless of the form, it is still water. I believe that God, in His perfect wisdom and divine will, placed a large vapor canopy above the sky (expanse). The canopy was not visible to the inhabitants of earth at the time. Adam did not look up and wonder what the water above the sky was for. He couldn’t see it. But it was there, above the sky, in the upper troposphere. The following information might shed some light on where this vapor canopy was located:
The earth’s surface is measured from sea level to six miles up.
The world’s tallest mountain is Mt. Everest in the Himalayas towering about six miles up.
Above the earth’s surface is the troposphere, which is six to twelve miles up.
The troposphere is where about 80% of weather occurs.
Above the troposphere is the stratosphere, which is about thirteen to thirty miles up.
The stratosphere contains about 90% of our ozone layer.
Above the stratosphere is the mesosphere, which is thirty to fifty miles up.
The mesosphere is what protects the earth from meteor showers.
It’s the coldest area of the earth, a whopping 120 degrees below zero!
Above the mesosphere is the thermosphere, which is 220-500 miles up.
The thermosphere is the location of the International Space Station.
Above the thermosphere is the exosphere, which is above 500 miles up.
The exosphere is considered to be outer or deep space.
Isn’t the Bible amazing? The more we learn about Scripture, the more Scripture we want to learn! Be sure to set aside time today to look in the Book!
Help us to believe it. Help us to live by it.
Lord, there are passages in the Scriptures where we can learn about Your power and Your wisdom.
We can learn from the Bible about the way You do things and how organized You are and how
You know precisely what You are doing and that You do what You do in the right order.
Help us to know and realize that You do the same in our lives.
You do Your work, and You touch our lives.
Help us to focus on You as You focus on and love us, always doing what is best for us, dear Father.
May we continue to know You better and to live our lives ever closer to You.
In the name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_nichols_dimes