In a previous article, we discussed the first day of Creation and how God used it to lay the foundations for His future masterpiece. However, there was still much to do before God could place the crowning jewel of His creation, humanity, onto the earth. At the end of day one, where we concluded the previous article, the earth was covered in water and there was not much in existence, other than a source of light. However, many foundations had been laid. On the second day, God builds upon those foundations to continue creating the majestic world He intended for man.
Genesis 1:6-8 tells us what occurs on the second day of creation. “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And 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. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” At first glance, it does not appear there is much here. The first day seems to have been far more active. However, once we begin to dig into the details of day two, we will find there is a great deal of background work going on.
The first thing that should jump out at everyone from the description of the second day of creation is the use of the word “firmament”. Firmament is not a word commonly used in modern English. The Hebrew word used is raqiya which roughly translated means the expanse or arch of the sky. Thus the firmament God created, which He later called the Heaven is the vastness of the atmosphere and potentially space as well. It separates the waters from the waters. More on that phrase in a moment. However, the space created by the formation of the firmament had to be filled by something. Even space itself is filled by a vacuum. Thus it is here that God likely created the air we find in the atmosphere, as well as the vacuum of space. If that is the case, then He must also have created the laws that govern the behaviors of gases. Air is, after all, a combination of gases. Therefore, the laws that govern them, Boyle’s Law for example, must have also been in place. This is on top of the laws of motion which had to be present as part of the laws of physics during day one.
This leads us to the phrase “divide the waters from the waters”. This phrase is leads to the first controversy within the creationist camp. Some interpret this to mean that there was a layer of water above the atmosphere, referred to as the canopy, while others reject this theory. Plain reading of the text would make the canopy theory seem likely. However, as always, comparing Scripture with Scripture is best. Without going into great detail, let me supply this verse. “Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.” Psalms 148:4 says. This clearly implies that there was still water above the heavens after the flood when the Psalm was written. If the waters had merely been above the atmosphere in a canopy, there would have been no water left for this Psalm to write about. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that somewhere, in the depths of space, there is a reservoir of water. While unobserved as yet, this is completely possible given our lack of firm knowledge about much of space. It does raise some questions regarding the flood but those are for another article.
In the final verse of the second day, God calls the firmament Heaven. From the context, it is clear that this is not the Heaven where He resides. Rather the term heaven in this context refers to atmosphere and space. The phrase “the heavens” is fairly common throughout the Scripture and usually refers to either the atmosphere or space, sometimes both. This is further indication that the heaven referred to in verse eight is a combination of the atmosphere and space.
The second day of creation was significantly less busy than the first, but important ground work was laid none the less. The expanse of the galaxy was created in space and the earth’s atmosphere was formed. The air we breathe likely was formed and the earth was prepared for the first scientifically alive organisms, which would come on the very next day. God’s master plan was moving along in perfect order.