Genesis 1:6-8 (NKJV)
Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
When I started studying this lesson, I decided to look up the word Firmament. I’ve read about it in scripture but I’ve never actually defined the word. I figured it was something that had been formed from the word ‘firm’. The definitions were a little unclear, but putting two possible definitions together mean a firmament is a tangible sphere. I still had no clue what that really means.
When studying the Old Testament, looking up the Hebrew word is usually helpful. The Hebrew word for firmament is pronounced Raw-kee-ah. It means a solid extended surface or an expanse. The example given is the base or support for the water it will hold. Ahhhh...now we’re getting somewhere!
In terms of the scripture in Genesis 1:6-8, prior to there being a tangible surface, there was NO tangible surface on earth. To recap, there was NOTHING and God created a mass. There was no form, and God created form. There was no light, and God created light. Also notice that starting with Genesis 1:3, the descriptive word for God created became, “God said” instead of “God’s breath” initiating creation. When God spoke, creation happened. Now, there was no firmament until God created a tangible surface/expanse by speaking it into existence.
In Genesis 1:6-8 we learn, “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 were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.”
We know from these verses that there was water (Genesis 1:2) on the earth but it was formless and void. Today, we know the earth is primarily made up of water and that God created it so earth could sustain life. In verses 6-8, we learn that God took the water and divided it, gave it a base for the space above and a base for the space below. That is easy for me to imagine the surface below, but it’s more difficult for me to understand the base (expanse) above. For that, I needed to think about what elements support space. It turns out that space is not empty (which I was already sure about). It is “a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles, predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, neutrinos, dust, and cosmic rays.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_space). God placed those elements in space.
To have a better understanding of water on earth in the beginning, I remembered reading about the current search for water on Mars.
The story I read was about a NASA probe on Mars that is currently searching for elements on That planet. According to the story, a probe is primarily considering drilling for water on Mars. The story said the scientists believe if they can get to the ‘water’ they will have something to seriously work with on that planet. When I saw the story, did more research on this NASA project. They (scientists) agreed with scripture. In Genesis scripture makes it clear that water is life (https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8851/where-should-future-astronauts-land-on-mars-follow-the-water/). That’s not a big revelation but it speaks to scripture and science being in agreement.
I remembered reading about NASA and water on Mars several years ago, so I looked for that news release (https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid-water-flows-on-today-s-mars). Since NASA found evidence of water on Mars, if they can get to the water source, it might be a possible place where man can live. I believe God knows the answer to that question and science will look at the possibilities.
I think all of that is fascinating, and relevant to our creation story. Why? Because God created earth, the heavens, the universe, and all the planets. I also believe God created science. Science cannot exist outside of God and creation.
Sidebar: there is a funny t-shirt that says Satan created Math. I’m not a fan of math, so I’m not so sure that isn’t true, but one of my sons (who loves calculus) would disagree! Okay, enough silliness....
Genesis 1:6-8, the water above the earth and the water on the surface of the earth was called Day 2 in scripture.
Which brings up the timing of creation. In my lifetime, there’s been a big discussion and controversy about the timing of creation.
I don’t get that.
Whenever the question comes up, I tend to think, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
God created the heavens and the earth.
God created science on and in the heavens and the earth.
God could have done all of that in a second because He is God. As my dad used to say, “I’m pretty sure He’s God and He can do whatever He wants.”
The other possibility is that God’s creation process lasted for thousands or millions of years. How long it took is interesting, but it doesn’t change the fact that God did it. Remember, “He’s God and He can do it however He wants.”
Theology and Science are not at odds here.
God created everything in the universe, and God created you. That shows just how incredible and marvelous God IS!
Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
And that’s the whole truth!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Possibilities
Ask God to show you new possibilities in your life (or in how you think about life). Do you really believe ‘nothing is impossible with God’? Let God expand how you think.
In God, Deborah