Genesis 1:6-7 – Waters & Firmament

The Word of God is so much deeper than we imagine upon a casual reading.  There are often profound meanings that are easy to miss without further study.  For instance, in the reading of Genesis 1-2, the verses of Genesis 1:6-7 caught my eye.

Variously in different Bible translations, God says, “Let there be [an expanse – ESV & NASB] [a firmament – KJV] or [a vault – NIV]…”that is in the midst of the water or between the waters that are part of the darkness and void” (v2).  In the Hebrew, waters can mean exactly what we expect; however, they also have the meaning of danger and violence.  In reading the text, don’t some questions come to mind?  In its initial formation, what were the waters?  Where did they come from?  Seemingly, they were just there.

But then God divides these waters.  In the midst of them, i.e. in between them, He creates an expanse, a firmament, or a vault.  In this separated place are the heavens, or the sky as we know it, i.e. the place where the stars reside.

So think about this.  There is water below and water above the sky, i.e. the heavens.  How does that work?  How do the heavens keep these waters apart?  Where are the waters above the sky?

Here’s a thought.  If we think about this in-between space as a vault, maybe we can make sense of another term that we see elsewhere in the Bible.  In Jeremiah 10:13 and Jeremiah 51:16 the prophet says that God brings rain from the storehouses, or treasuries of heaven, in a time of war.  He unleashes rain and hail to destroy His enemies, bringing them danger and violence.  Look at what these two verses in Jeremiah say about this: “there is a multitude of waters in the heavens” (KJV).

What an interesting statement when we examine this in light of that place between the waters, where one definition is that it’s a vault.  Perhaps the storehouses of heaven are effectively this vault in the sky where God keeps the waters for His purposes at His chosen times.

There is so much more in God’s Word.  He gave it to us so that we might understand Him and His ways more.  Read His Word daily and use this opportunity to grow closer to Him.

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