Genesis 1:6-8 - The Second Day: Creation of the Firmament
As the second day dawned, the earth was still covered with water. It probably had the appearance of mud, with no dry land and no breathable atmosphere. Its entire surface was liquid elements, predominantly water, situated in a spherical shape and hung on nothing in space (Job 26:7).
Also covering the earth were heavy, thick clouds, fog, and mist, all of which engulfed the earth in pitch black darkness (Genesis 2:4-6, esp. Genesis 2:6). Now, the second day of creation takes place. Now God is ready to divide the waters & to create the physical laws that will cause the clouds, fog, and mist to leave the face of the earth and rise up and hang in the sky above the earth.
A. God’s Word created the firmament (atmosphere and air space) (v.6).
1. “The God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters…” (v.6).
a) God’s Word is powerful.
(1) Notice once again that God accomplished His work simply by speaking the word. Notice a few things that God’s word does…
(a) Isaiah 55:10-11 – God’s Word will accomplish what he sent it forth to do.
(b) Man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Deut.8:3)
(c) He has magnified His Word above His name (Ps.138:2)
(d) God’s word performs it work in those who believe (1Thess.2:13).
(e) Man is born again through God’s word (1Pet.1:23).
(2) He commanded the water to separate, and He placed an expanse, or a “firmament” between the water that remained on the earth and the water that rose above the expanse.
(3) The word “firmament” speaks of something that is spread out.
(a) It is derived from a verb that means “to hammer or to spread an overlay.”
(b) A verb form of the same word is used, for example, in (Exodus 39:3) to speak of the hammering of gold into thin sheets. Gold when hammered easily flattens and spreads out into a plate, and that is how gold plates were made to overlay the ark and other fixtures in the temple.
(c) So the firmament is the “atmosphere and air space.”
(4) So the imagery of Genesis 1:6 is that of a vast expanse, a protective layer that overlays the earth and divides the waters below (the sea of water that covered the earth) from the waters above (which could refer to atmospheric water, clouds, and water vapor).
b) Creation of the firmament shows the power & glory of God.
(1) Being able to observe the beauty of the heavens, man’s heart should be moved to worship and praise God…
The Psalmist says "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork." (Psalm 19:1, NKJV)
The heavens also "declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory." (Psalm 97:6, NKJV)
Listen to the praise we are to give: "Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!" (Psalm 150:1, NKJV)
Paul said "Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”" (Acts 14:17, NKJV)
Paul says in Romans 1 that "since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse," (Romans 1:20, NKJV)
!!!! c) Creation of the atmosphere is for man to sustain life.
(1) God knows that man must have an atmosphere in order to breathe and live upon the earth. Therefore, God created the atmosphere or air space to sustain life.
(2) The same is true spiritually: In the Scripture the Hebrew word for breath of God (pneuma) means the Spirit of God.
(3) God knows that man cannot live spiritually without the breath or Spirit of God, the very presence of the Holy Spirit. God has made this possible:
(a) Physically, man was taken out of the ground and our bodies are made up of about 15-16 different kinds of chemical elements which are what is in the ground.
(b) If we were to be boiled down into the separate chemical elements of which are bodies are made, we would be worth very little in terms of money, around $2.98.
(c) But even though man is physically dust, man is more than just dust. When man dies his spirit will go back to God. Why? Because of (Genesis 2:7) God breathed into Adams nostrils “the breath of life; and man became of living soul.”
(d) God gave man life which is physical and then He gave him life which is spiritual. Now man has been brought into a very special relationship with his creator.
(4) Since we eat to keep ourselves physically alive, we need to feed our spirit as well (2Tim.3:16).
(a) Inspired by God literally means, “Breathed out by God,” or simply, “God-breathed.” We need to continually allow God to breathe in us His words of life everyday
(b) The words of Jesus (John 5:24; 6:63-68; Matthew 4:4)
(c) The words of Paul (1 Thess.2:13; Romans 10:17),
B. God made the firmament (v.7).
1. “Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters…” (v.7).
a) God alone made the firmament.
(1) We see in (v.6) that God “said” let there be a firmament, and in (v.7) He made the firmament. We see that God alone created the atmosphere encircling the earth, it didn’t just happen by chance.
(a) God Himself spoke the physical laws into being
(b) God Himself made the laws that caused the clouds and fog to arise from the earth and hang in the sky above.
(c) God created the laws of nature putting a circle of air and atmosphere around the earth.
b) God completes what He begins.
(1) God continued to exercise His power until the atmosphere and air space completely encircled the earth.
(a) In Genesis 1:6 “God said, “‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters.’” He only spoke the Word.
(b) In Genesis 1:7 “God made the firmament.” That is, God’s Word began to operate and carry out what God had said.
(c) Note the words, “And it was so” (Genesis 1:7). What God said was done. He commanded and it happened.
(d) The words “and it was so” are used 6 times in the creation account (Genesis 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30).
(2) His Words could not be resisted by Creation:
(a) The winds and sea obeyed Him (Matthew 8:27).
(b) The fish obeyed Him (Luke 5:9) even Jonahs fish.
(c) The demons obey Him (Matthew 8:28-34)
(d) Even sickness and disease (Matthew 4:24).
(e) But man does not obey (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
!!!! c) God will complete the work of salvation.
(1) Just as God completed creation, “God said”, “God made” and “it was so” God will complete the work He has started in us.
(a) God started a work of creation in those who believe (2 Corinthians 5:17).
(b) He will finish the work which He began (Philippians 1:6; 2:13)
Paul said that he is "not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2 Timothy 1:12, NASB95)
The power of God protects us "who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:5, NASB95)
The power of God is "able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy." (Jude 24, NASB95)
(2) Also, God did not create the atmosphere above the earth to make us feel distant, but to draw near to Him:
(a) Paul mentions this to the men of Athens (Acts 17:24-28).
(b) It is a good thing to draw near to God (Psalm 73:28).
(c) Draw near to Him and He gives us a promise (James 4:8).
d) God uses the firmament for several reasons:
(1) To reveal the glory and power and knowledge of God (Psalm 19:1-2).
(2) To water the earth and make things grow (Psalm 65:9-10; 104:13).
(3) To hold the snow and hail to use as an instrument of judgment (Job 38:22-23).
e) The waters below and above have an illustration (Deuteronomy 11:10-12):
(1) The watering of crops from the waters of the earth (by irrigation methods) are pictured as coming only from the earth. They are symbolic of worldly Egypt.
(2) The waters that come from the rain of heaven are pictured as coming from God. They are symbolic of heavenly or spiritual Canaan.
(3) The point is this:
(a) We are not to look to the world and its ways and provisions to sustain us and to give us life. We are to look to heaven and to God.
(b) It is He who cares and looks after us. God alone can give us life, both abundant and eternal life and the water from heaven that lasts forever.
To woman at the well, Jesus said to her "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water…” "but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (John 4:10, 14, NASB95)
In John 7 we read that "On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “ He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39, NASB95)
!! C. God named the firmament Heaven (v.8).
1. “God called the firmament heaven… evening and morning were the second day…” (v.8).
a) The atmospheric heavens.
(1) Verse 8 seems to refer primarily to the sky immediately above us—the atmospheric heavens.
(2) But the word firmament is also sometimes used to signify the solar heavens beyond earth’s atmosphere, as in verse 14.
(a) In 2 Corinthians 12, when Paul speaks of being “caught up to the third heaven,” he is referring to the earth’s atmosphere as the first heaven, the space beyond earth’s atmosphere as the second heaven, and the heaven where God dwells as the third heaven.
(b) The firmament described here—the overlay that divided the waters below from the waters above—is the first heaven.
(c) According to Genesis 1:1, the heavens of outer space had already been created. So the firmament described in verses 7–8 is the earth’s breathable atmosphere.
b) Difficult issues raised by this passage (v.6-7).
(1) One of the most difficult issues raised by this passage is the question of what “the waters which were above the firmament” refers to.
(a) A protective canopy that remained in place until the Flood of Noah’s time.
(i) This view suggests that the waters above the firmament were a transparent vapor or a layer of water molecules at the outer edge of the atmosphere that kept the earth in a kind of a hothouse environment.
(ii) This might explain why prior to the Flood it was common for humans to live more than nine hundred years.
(iii) The water canopy shielded people from the sun’s more harmful rays, regulated the climate at a perfect temperature, and provided other benefits that increased the longevity of life on earth. But at the Flood, according to this theory, that canopy fell and contributed to the deluge that drowned the earth.