The Second Day of Creation
God continued to shape the original elements from Day One into a environment that would be habitable for the life that He would create. In Genesis 1:6, God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse and it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven and there was evening and there was morning, a second day."
So, on day one, God separated light from darkness. Day two, God separated Heaven from Earth. On day three, as we shall see, God separated water on Earth from dry land. So on days one, two, and three, there is a series of separations. Before God can create life He has to separate light from darkness, and create the continuum of light and dark that the Earth will have in the 24-hour solar day. He has to separate the Heaven from the Earth, which He does on day two. Then He has to separate the water that is now completely engulfing on day one, from the dry land so there's a place for the fish in the sea and the land life on dry land. Thus the Universe is made ready for life in the first three days...a very reasonable approach...light from dark, Heaven from Earth, dry land from water.
As day two began, when the dawning of the day came, the Universe was light and dark, the Earth was an undifferentiated mass of elements completely engulfed in water. But then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters." On day one the Earth was covered all with water. On day two God separated that water into two places. 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. And in between those two elements of water there is an “expanse.”
Now, the word "expanse" is the Hebrew word raqia. It means “expanse”…. a “spread out thinness.” And, looking in the Old Testament to find its usage, in Exodus 39:3 when they were making things for the worship of God in the tabernacle, it says they got gold and they hammered out sheets of gold. They flattened it out and spread it out and hammered it into thinness (By the way, gold is so elastic that one troy ounce can be hammered into a sheet of gold leaf that covers 250 square feet or be pulled into a 50-mile long strand of wire.) The same word is used of the hammered out gold as the word “expanse” in Genesis 1:6. The picture is of God just cutting right through the waters that surround the Earth. All the way around the Earth is this water and God just cuts as if you would go in there with a knife and just cut all the way through that sphere of the undifferentiated mass of elements of the Earth, separating it into two parts. There's still the part that's spherical and the water surrounding it, but now there's water above it, separated by this expanse. Expanse is intended to convey the idea of ...space.
Just 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 of today 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.
But what the Bible says is completely reasonable. God took the waters way up...way up. Left some still engulfing the Earth and in between created the separator between the waters which was the expanse we call Heaven, space…..the vast space of the Universe. Verse 7 basically reiterates, "And God made the expanse and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse and it was so." And again he repeats the same thing again, just to be sure you get it. There's an expanse and God separated it. The waters went up, some of the waters stayed below, He created space in between.
The creative power of God going on here is of proportions that are just absolutely beyond our capacity to understand. And I want you...I say that in reference to verse 7 because the word used there, God made the expanse. Some people want to argue that God isn’t “creating” here because this isn't the Hebrew word “bara,” this is another Hebrew word, “asah”that means “made,” not “created.” A lot of times Bible teachers will make distinctions that they shouldn't make because all languages have synonyms and even words that have shades of variation can be used in a synonym fashion. And the question here is...does the word "made" change the actual action of God? And the answer is no. It does not signify any different activity on God's part than creating out of nothing. In fact, over in Genesis 2:3 the verse ends, God rested the seventh day, blessed it and sanctified it. Rested from all His work which God had created and made. And there you have those two words bara and asahbasically presented as synonyms. And I think that's a wonderful note that the Spirit of God has placed there so we wouldn't worry about whether there was some distinction.
The word bara is the defining word. And here in this context it means to create something out of nothing, or to put it another way, to do something that transcends normal ability, to do something that can't be done. That's bara in this text. And made is just a synonym to use another word referring to the same thing. Now bara can be used simply for something normal. It's used in Isaiah 54:16, "Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire and coals and brings out a weapon." Isaiah 57:19, says, "Creating the praise of the lips." Those things are more normal. They don't necessarily speak of the same power of creation exhibited in Genesis. So bara doesn't always mean creating in the sense of ex nihilo, divine fiat creation, but in this context that is distinctively what it means. And the word "made" is just another word to affirm the same thing. We could say it is a synonym. And by the way, in Exodus, for you scholars, Exodus 34:10, asah is used as a synonym for bara in Exodus 34:10. So they are used in synonym fashion.
We could say it this way...in the Genesis context this word asah is used to specify the kind of bara, the kind of creation of which the verse speaks. God is creating and in this creating He makes something that never existed. He is creating but in the creating, as verse 1 indicates, the broad picture, He is making things expressed by the use of the other word. So in verse 7 He made the expanse. It was still creation, but it was a component of creation, it was the making of something that never before existed.
Now, the separation of water above the sky and below has led to much discussion and speculation, but the fact is we don’t know. It could be that clear out at the end of infinite space there is water. We know that there is water in the air, that we know, we feel the rain. There may be some other feature that we don't know about way at the very end of the limitless vault of Heavenly space. There are also many people who believe that there was created around the Earth a canopy of water. This is the view of Whitcomb and Morris, that the waters above the expanse, the waters above Heaven, were like a vapor that just engulfed the whole Earth and created a kind of a hothouse environment. And they suggest that’s why animals and plants lived so long. People lived long enough to become like Methuselah, 900 plus years old, because they were shielded from ultraviolet light because of this water canopy. And then at the flood, that canopy burst loose and drowned the Earth, along with the tectonic cataclysm that occurred underneath the Earth that broke up the basic elements of the Earth and created the post-flood environment. But we just can't know for certain.
Is that really the way it was? Well it doesn't say that in Genesis. The text of Genesis doesn't specify a canopy, but it does say there were waters above and waters below. There have been scientists, good creation scientists who have said this canopy doesn't fly.
At the end of verse 7, the Scripture says, "And it was so." Is that just a sort of editorial comment? No, it serves a very necessary purpose, very critical statement. There is no such comment in verse 3. God said, "Let there be light, and there was light"...it doesn't say, "And it was so." I'll tell you why. That little phrase used here in verse 9, verse 11, and verse 15 and verse 24 is used to affirm something that is fixed, something that doesn't change, something that has remained for all time. You can't say that after verse 3, "Let there be light and there was light," cause there's light and darkness, light and darkness, light and darkness, it's not fixed. But when you say God created the Heavens, that's fixed. "And it was so" lends itself to the understanding of the firm and fixed and unchanging nature of that element of creation. In verse 8, "God called the expanse Heaven."
And by the way, He doesn't say it was good yet. He didn't say it on day one, He didn't say it on day two. He won't say it until verse 10 when the Earth is habitable, then He'll say it was good...only after it was finally shaped into its habitable condition.
And verse 8 ends, "God calls the expanse Heaven and there was evening and there was morning, the second day." He did it in a day...created the firmament, the expanse, the Heavens, the sky. We're ready for day three.
Psalm 104, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, O Lord, my God, Thou art very great. Thou art clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, stretching out Heaven like a tent curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters. He makes the clouds His chariot. He walks upon the wings of the wind. He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers." Here is the psalmist's praiseful recollection of God stretching out Heaven, of God taking the water to the upper chambers and he praises God saying, "Bless the Lord, O my soul." And in verse 5 he says, "He established the Earth upon its foundation so that it will not totter forever and ever. Thou dost cover it with the deep as with a garment."
Thanks to http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/90-213.htm and © 1997 Grace to You, John MacArthur, Creation Day Two.
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