Remember coloring as a little kid? If you were like my daughter, the entire page starting where the grass ends all the way to the top of the page is blue. That is the sky.
If you were like me, there was a green strip at the bottom of the page, a blue strip at the top of the page, and the white in between was, well, was air.
If you were God, the page would have blue at the bottom, blue at the top, and the white would be Heaven.
But is this Heaven, like the spiritual heaven? Is this heaven like space with no oxygen but lots of stars and whatnot?
John MacArthur says this:
On day two God separated that water in to two places. That's what it's saying here. He put an expanse in between and some water was above and some remained on the earth. So you have the water that was still on the earth and now some water that's separated and taken above. That's exactly what it is saying. And in between those two elements of water there is an expanse.
Now the word "expanse" is the Hebrew word raqia. It means, interesting word, it means expanse. It means spread out thinness....
The picture is of a thin area that God just cuts right through the waters that surround the earth....
Look at verse 8. God called this expanse what? Heaven. It's what we understand as heaven. It's what we understand as the space above us. Heaven is shamayim and it literally means the sky, or the skies. It refers to the universe and the space above us. So there was no heaven, there was no space as we know until the second day and God just cut all the way around that sphere and released some of that water and sent it up, creating between the waters above and water below space.
The Jewish writer Cassuto says, "From this we may infer that immediately after its formation the firmament occupied of its own accord the place appointed for it by the will of God which is the sight of the heavens as we know it." Literally created space. "Thus as soon as the firmament was established in the midst of the layer of water, it began to rise, arching like a vault." That's very graphic. God cuts that water and then it just begins to rise and it begins to expand until its going further and further, creating in between space. Cassuto says, "In its course...in the course it expands arching like a vault, in the course of its upward expansion it lifted at the same time the upper waters resting on top of it." It just took them right up. "This marked a considerable advance in the marshalling of the components of the universe. Above now stands the vault of heaven, surrounded by the upper waters. Beneath stretches the expanse of lower waters, that is the waters of the vast sea which still covers all the heavy undifferentiated matter on the earth. The universe..he writes..is beginning to take shape."I know that is a large quote. But really, I think it might be the clearest explanation of the creation of the area around us I have ever heard.
So now our universe has shape, and space, and a reason for rain - there is water above us!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 1:9-13