“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.”
The known world of today comes from three acts of separation, making it possible for humans and animals to live. As we know, the first separation occurred on the first day when God separated day and night, demonstrating the fundamental order of time and space. The second separation happens on the second day when God separated the sea and sky. Finally, the last separation in creation occurred on the third day when God separated water and land.
Note that God created the realm of the sea and sky on the Second Day. On this day, God distinguishes the above and below by calling forth the firmament, also referred to as horizon, vault, expansion, space, or canopy. The Hebrew word for firmament is rāqîaʿ (רָקִיעַ). In the ancient Near Eastern world, the dome or firmament was a divider between the heavens and the earth. The dome was considered to the Israelites a vault of heaven that supported the waters above, which appearance resembled a visible arch in the sky.
The Psalmist confirms that the dome or firmament is a divider. We see this in Psalms 148:4, where the Psalmist says, “Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens!” Here the waters are described as being above the heavens which in Hebrew the word is šāmayim, just as Genesis 1:6-8 describes the waters as above the rāqîaʿ (רָקִיעַ).
Verse 7 says that God made the firmament. The verb made in Hebrew is ʿāśâ (עָשָׂה) which refers to God or Elohim making or producing something new. Without the dome or without the firmament, there was no division, and this was a massive body of water. So when the author says that God made the dome, it demonstrates to the readers that various processes took place between God declaring these words and the dome coming into existence. First, the massive body of water was separated into two parts. Then, after the separation, one part was placed below the dome. The below part supplies water to the smaller bodies of water, such as the rivers, seas, lakes, etc. At the same time, the other part of the deep was placed above the dome. Here God separated the vapors to form the skies or heavens while the oceans were below.
If you remember the story of the great flood found in Genesis 7, it was God that allowed that “All the fountains of the great abyss burst forth, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” God purposedly returned the massive body of wáter to unite, bringing creation to its initial state of watery disorder.
In ancient Near East culture, many nations believed that planets were gods. For example, in Egypt, the sun god was Re or Ra, the moon god was Iah, and Horus was the lord of the sky. Another example in Greek mythology, the sun god is Helios. Most of these pagan nations named each planet as a god.
So when God says, “Let there be a dome or a firmament,” we see here clearly that God makes it clear that heaven is part of His creation. It is not divine like many pagan nations from ancient believed it was, nor the planets are gods, nor are the heavens a dwelling place of pagan gods. With this, I conclude with the words of King David found in Psalms 19:1, which says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Therefore, I encourage not to worship the created things but worship God, the creator of the heavens and all the planets.
Until next time, have a blessed day!