After God creates time, or names day and night, he moves on to deal with space. When I say “space” I don’t mean outer space but just the existence of “room” like in “give me space.” Isn’t this what “separation” is really all about? Genesis 1:6 says, “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’” Most of you KJV (King James Version) readers are more familiar with the word “firmament.” But I have to agree with Haines. He says, “…firmament is a most unfortunate mistranslation. Firmament means ‘something firm’ and seems to imply a sky something like a solid vault in which the sun, moon, and stars are fixed like light bulbs. The error had its beginning in the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek which was made in the third century B.C. and which we call the Septuagint. The ancient Greeks conceived of the sky as a solid crystalline sphere. It was their false science which determined the Greek word used in this verse. The error was copied by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate and in turn by the translators of the King James Version.”[1]

When we look at how the word is used in other passages it seems that the idea is more of distance between things or “space” as I mentioned. Look at Isaiah 42:5 for one example. It says, “Thus says God, the Lord,  who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to.” But whether it is a solid substance of simply “space” whatever it was it held water.

Henry Morris had some pretty good ideas as to what this might mean to us. This “separation” of the waters above from the waters below might serve as a global greenhouse, maintaining an essentially uniformly pleasant temperature all over the world. There would be no danger of global warming because there would not be great temperature variations, there would be no significant winds, and the water-rain cycle could not form. There would be no rain as we know it today. This could produce lush, tropical-like vegetation, all over the world, fed not by rain, but by a rich evaporation and condensation cycle, resulting in heavy dew or ground-fog. The vapor blanket would filter out ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, and other destructive energies bombarding the planet. These are known to be the cause of mutations, which decrease human longevity. Human and animal life spans would be much higher than they are today which was the case in Genesis. Now in the not so exciting side is that a vapor blanket would provide the necessary reservoir for a potential worldwide flood.[2] Watch out!!

[1] Lee Haines, “The Book of Genesis,” in Genesis-Deuteronomy, vol. 1:1, The Wesleyan Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), 26.

[2] David Guzik, Genesis, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Ge 1:6–8.