God made the expanse and separated the waters

When I was reading this I found it very helpful to picture it. There’s the water, it gets separated by something called “the expanse” into “the water above” and “the water below”. Then God gathers the waters below into seas, and creates land. Now we know perfectly well what land and seas look like. But do we have a right understanding of this “expanse” and of the “waters above”?
The expanse here is called “Heaven”, but this isn’t the afterlife Heaven. The Hebrew word  used was “raqia”. It translates to “expanse, extended surface, vaulted support”. A support? What is it supporting? The waters above. This word is used only in Genesis, Psalms, Ezekiel, and Daniel. In Genesis, it is ONLY in chapter 1. In Psalms and Daniel, it is used poetically, and in Ezekiel it is part of a vision and is used to describe supporting structures. Nothing after Genesis 1 refers to this particular heavenly expanse. (You can check it out here and here, if you want to dig in.)
Now in modern life, we know about the earth’s atmosphere. Is it possible that this describes our atmosphere in a very simplistic way? Sure. But there’s also a theory that this expanse was a different kind of atmosphere necessary for the formation of life. Then that later there was an event where “the expanse” released “the waters above” onto the earth, forever changing the atmosphere into the one we know. (Because rain isn’t talked about until Noah.) Am I saying that’s for sure what happened? No! I have no idea. Believe either thing – I don’t care. We’ve gotten off on a tangent.
Now, what were we looking for in our study of Genesis? The character of God. What I see about the character of God here is:
  • He is orderly. He chooses for each thing to have it’s place.

Psalm 104:19 He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.

  • He is decisive. It doesn’t say He moved things around until He settled on this arrangement.

And He calls us to be decisive, too. Look at these verses:

  • He builds in support. The expanse didn’t just divide – it supported the water above.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

And we also know that this is His plan for marriage, families, and fellowship – that we would have our fellow Christians as support.

These traits are very much in line with what we saw earlier. We’ll see in our next few verses (next week) that the division of the land and sea also created a different, but very important, kind of support. It created support for living things.

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