Every Christian is familiar with the beautiful creation story accounted for in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. God created the world, including man, in six days and rested on the last day. The scripture in the book of Genesis gives a detailed account of how God created the world; this includes what he spoke and commanded to be. Each day was set aside for a different kind of creation. So, what did God create on the second day?
The scripture notes that God created the expanse (sky) on the second day. The second day of creation was a continuation of the first day as God created waters on the first day and separated them on the second day with the expanse, referred to as the “firmament” or “vault” in other versions of the Bible.
So, how did the second day of creation begin? What was the meaning of separating water from water? What did the waters above reference? Was the second day of creation a preparation for the fifth day? Stick around to get more information and answers to these questions and more.
How did the second day of creation begin?
The second day of creation is accounted for in Genesis 1:6-8 and begins with God creating the firmament. Genesis 1:6-8 says, “And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, 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.” Other versions of the Bible refer to the filament as an expanse or vault. The word expanse in Hebrew is ‘raqia,’ and means an extended surface.
God is clear in verse 6 of Genesis that He created the firmament or expanse to separate the waters below from those above. We see the story of creation beginning with the Spirit of God hovering over un-fashioned waters. Genesis 1:2. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Though the spirit of God was hovering through “the face of the waters” when creation began, it was not until the second day of creation that God separated the waters with an expanse. On the first day of creation, God created light. Genesis 1:3-5 says, “And God said, let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And called the light day and the darkness night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
What was the meaning of separating waters?
Scholars unanimously agree that when God separated “waters above from waters below,” “waters below” are the seas, oceans, and any other water body that covers the earth. They do not seem to agree with what God meant when he said “waters above.” God created firmament on the second day, allowed leaving creatures to breathe the air contained in it, and organized the waters on the earth’s surface and “waters above.” Therefore, it is clear that the waters below are earth water bodies, but there is no consensus when it comes to the waters above.
What did the waters above reference?
There are several theories and beliefs of what God meant when he mentioned the name waters above when creating the firmament on the second day. Some theologians and bible scholars argue that the water above refers to the clouds. A scholar of the book of Genesis, Kenneth Mathew, says, “In the Old Testament elsewhere, there is evidence that the Hebrews understood that clouds produced rains and thus, from a phenomenological perspective, ‘water’ can be described as belonging to the upper atmosphere.” Mathew supports his argument by citing the following verses;
Deuteronomy 28:12, “The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.”
Ecclesiastes 11:3 says, “If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.”
Judges 5:4 says, “Lord, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water.”
On the other hand, some scholars argue that the waters above refer to a canopy. Some people believe that the earth had a canopy and rings that almost resemble the rings surrounding Saturn. Henry Morris, who is among the scholars who believe that the waters above referred to a vapor canopy, argues by saying, “A vapor canopy seems more likely, however, both because of the inferred manner of its formation and because it would have to be transparent for the heavenly bodies to ‘give light upon the earth’ and to ‘be for signs, and seasons, and for days, and years.”
God created days and seasons on the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-17 says, “And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights, the greater to rule the day, and the less light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.” Therefore, those who say it was a canopy argue that it is transparent enough to give light as God instructed on the day of creation.
Henry Morris also notes, “Water vapor, even in vast amounts, is invisible, whereas clouds and fog, and so forth, are composed of minute droplets of liquid water and are therefore opaque.” Additionally, those who argue that the waters above referred to a vapor canopy site in the book of 2nd Peter 3:5-6. “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of the water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed as deluged with water perished.”
Was the second day of creation a preparation for the fifth day?
It is clear from the creation account that certain days corresponded with the creation of other days. And if this is anything to go by, the second day of creation was a preparation for the fifth day. As seen above, God created the firmament to separate the water above from the water below on the second day.
The fifth day of creation is accounted for in the book of Genesis 1:20-23, “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And evening and morning were the fifth day.”
Additionally, scholars believe that the first day of creation, where God created light, was a preparation for the fourth day. The first day of creation is accounted for in Genesis 1:3-5, “And God said, let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day and the darkness night. And evening and morning were the first day.” There is a relationship between the first and fourth days of creation. The book of Genesis 1:14 says that on the fourth day, “And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divided the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and seasons, and for years.”
Additionally, the third day of creation was a preparation for the last day of creation, day six. On the third day, God created vegetation and land, placing animals and people on the land on the sixth day of creation.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.