Genesis (Part 5)

The second day of creation.

Genesis Chapter 1: 6-8

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 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. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 

The word “expanse” comes from the Hebrew word, raqiya` – meaning  properly, an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky:—firmament.

What does firmament mean? It means “the heavens or the sky, especially when regarded as a tangible thing.”

Looking at verse six, then, we see the creation of a sky with water both above and below. Water, here, comes from the Hebrew word mayim. While it *can* mean urine, it is most commonly translated as water.

So in verse six and seven, it can be understood that God separated water to make the sky, leaving some water above and some below. Does this mean that God left oceans of water in the atmosphere? Or should we interpret this to mean that water vapor was understood to exist in the upper atmosphere after the second day of creation? That seems to be up to the interpretation of the reader. However, the story of the Flood, which we will come back to soon, will return us to a debate over the meaning here.

If the word mayim is familiar, you may be thinking of actress Mayim Bialik. Perhaps someone named Mayim, who also starred on “The Big Bang Theory,” has thoughts on the creation account in Genesis?

I encourage anyone reading this to do a search for Mayim Bialik’s thoughts on science and religion. She majored in neuroscience, with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies, at UCLA. She’s obviously smart, an excellent communicator, and her expertise is on point to what we’re studying here!

But what about verse 8? “God called the expanse Heaven.”

The word for Heaven here, in the Hebrew, is shamayim. Strong’s Definition is שָׁמַיִם shâmayim, shaw-mah’-yim; dual of an unused singular שָׁמֶה shâmeh; from an unused root meaning to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the dual perhaps alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve):—air, × astrologer, heaven(-s).

God called the raqiya shamayim. He called the expanse, sky.

Our second day of Creation concludes as the first one did. “And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

4 thoughts on “Genesis (Part 5)

  1. Dusty, concerning this passage: “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 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.” I see that you can attribute this to water vapor, but some believe it is taught in the bible that the Earth was flat. See this image as it is the first to come up in Google images when searching for “the earth as described in the bible”:

    I’ve heard the apocryphal book of Enoch describes this more. While I know this is a very controversial subject and it is def. not my intent to stir up debate or argument, but rather to point out also that someone once told me the Bible is “for your heart, and not the mind”, I can’t help but think this could be some what of a cover up for potential inaccuracies here, but this is just a side thought as my brain. And another voice in my head tells me that physics on the scale of the whole earth may not be so easily understood as we first think…Thoughts?

    1. Hey, thanks for commenting! I really appreciate you doing so.

      Your comment here hits on something really big. It’s a true challenge to figure out how much weight to give The Book of Enoch when interpreting the Bible. We know that 1st century Jews and Christians read the book. The Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that Jews were reading the book as far back as a couple hundred years before Christ, if not earlier. The Book of Jude appears to quote it and both Paul and Jesus seemingly make references to it. If Jesus was teaching from that book, then it makes a huge difference to Christians, in my opinion. To that end, The Book of Enoch is canon in the Orthodox Tewahedo church of Ethiopia.

      All of that said, I cannot speak as to teaching in the Book of Enoch off the top of my head (I own a copy and have read through it, but I have not done a thorough study like I am attempting to do now with Genesis.) I can give some of my insight about flat earth in the Bible having looked into this a little bit before.

      Revelation talks about “the four corners of the earth.” Several passages in the old testament make reference to “pillars” of the earth. Several others refer to “the ends of the earth.” I’m pretty open-minded generally but I do not find that language to be conclusive and overt teaching that the earth indeed is flat. I think all of that language could be interpreted as either literal or metaphorical. Hebrew is filled with metaphor. But a lot of what historians used to classify as Biblical metaphor has subsequently been learned to be (potentially) literal.

      That said? Maybe Enoch is more clear. If so, then we are left with the discussion of how much weight to give to the book.

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