Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In The Beginning, Chapter Four - Day Two

Day 2
Genesis 1:6-8 "Then God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day."

The second and third heavens were created at the very beginning - on day one. But day two saw the creation of the first heaven, the natural heaven. At first it was simply called the firmament, or expanse. But after its creation, God renamed it "Heaven."

Dividing Waters From Waters

We're told that the firmament was created between two bodies of water. One was called the waters under the firmament, the other was called the waters above the firmament. The waters under the firmament are the oceans - this is made clear in Genesis 1:9-10. In those verses, God gathered "the waters under the heavens" into one place and called them "sea". The waters above the firmament are still a mystery though. There are a couple of theories that try to explain the waters above the firmament of Heaven.

The first theory (we'll call it the cloud theory) says that the firmament is simply what we call the sky. When the Bible talks about the waters above firmament, it is only a reference to the water in the clouds. So this theory suggests that God established the water cycle on the second day.

The second theory is that the firmament is the earth's atmosphere. The waters above the firmament are explained as a layer of water or ice that surrounded the outside atmosphere of earth. Known as the "canopy theory" - this idea is said to explain the larger plant and animal life that existed at the beginning. This bubble of water or ice is said to have functioned like a greenhouse - increasing sunlight, warming the earth and producing much higher oxygen levels. This canopy is then said to have collapsed during Noah's flood.

While it is true that the earth had an amazing climate for the first 1,500 years of its history, inventing a canopy of water to explain this climate produces a problem. This canopy would amplify the sun's rays like a magnifying glass, producing much more heat. At the same time, the water would function as a barricade - holding in the heat that normally escapes into space. This would make the temperature of earth unbearably hot!

Another problem with the canopy theory is found in Psalm 148:4 - "Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens!" While the canopy theory claims that the waters above the firmament collapsed in Noah's flood, this verse is telling us that the waters above the heavens still exist today!

Actually, both explanations of the waters above the firmament (the canopy theory and the cloud theory) have a major biblical problem, and it's found in Genesis 1:14. "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven...'" God placed the sun, moon and stars inside the firmament! This means that the waters above the firmament are out beyond the farthest stars - and not at the edge of our atmosphere. So these waters couldn't be clouds (which are inside our atmosphere) or a canopy.

So what are the waters above the firmament? When read straightforward, it appears that there is water somewhere beyond the stars! What this means exactly, though, we can't be sure. Someday, we'll be able to ask the Creator Himself!

An Enormous Creation

When you think of the firmament as only the earth's atmosphere, you get the feeling that day two was an "off day" for God. Seriously....God took a whole day to create air? It doesn't seem like much, does it? But when you realize what the firmament really is - you can see the magnitude of what God did on the second day!

Yes, it's true that the earth's atmosphere was formed on the second day. This means that each of earth's four atmosphere levels were created and positioned to protect us. It also means that God mixed the perfect blend of gases in the air that we would be breathing. But there's so much more to God's creative act on the second day!

The firmament of the first heaven begins at ground level and extends to the edge of the universe. We're talking about distances so vast that you couldn't travel across them within a million lifetimes - even if you were traveling at the speed of light! All of this space was included in the creation of the firmament!

Although this empty space was going to be filled with incredible sights and breathtaking artistry; at the close of day two, it was still empty. It was a blank canvas, ready for the Master's touch!

Touching the Heavens

In Genesis 1:14 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens...’” - so the expanse of the heavens appears to be connected to the other heavens. Now let’s look in verse 20, “...let birds fly above the earth across the face of the heavens.” In the same way that earth has a “face” - i.e. the surface - the spirit world and Heaven itself have a face. The firmament apparently touches all three faces.

We see that the expanse of the natural heaven is the face of the other two! In other words, the expanse of the firmament not only touches the face of the earth, but it also touches the face of the spirit realm and even the face of Heaven itself! They are connected to each other!

The Second Day

Genesis 1:8 "So the evening and the morning were the second day."

For a second time, we see the biblical rule of interpreting the Hebrew word "yom". Whenever there is a time of day used in the same sentence as "yom" - then this word always means a 24-hour period of time. Also, if you ever see a number attached to "yom", it is always a literal day. Here in verse 8 we have both. Two times of day ("evening and morning") and a number ("the second day") clearly indicate, even insist, that day two was an actual day.

Think about this, in the same amount of time that we call a day, our Creator prepared the atmosphere of the earth, spread out the entire expanse of space, and then networked this natural expanse together with His Heavenly home and the spiritual climate of this world!

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