We have already talked about God creating light. Now we turn our attention to the activity on the second day of Creation. On the second day, God created the separation between the waters in the atmosphere and the waters that we call the oceans. God then gives the expanse a name: the heavens, or sky. This is the second day.
In this article, we are going to consider the necessity of the divide and then we will consider the atmosphere that was created.
First, God created a division, or a divide, between the water in what I have called the atmosphere with those waters that make up the oceans. Much like the divide on Day One between light and darkness, so too we see here a proper division. It is as if at this moment gravity takes effect and there is a clear demarcation between water in the atmosphere (heavens, clouds) and water pressed to the surface of the planet (the oceans and seas). There are no tides yet for there is no land. This planet, as of right now on the second day of creation, is all water. And with this divide, we are already able to see what will become the cycle of water. Oceans and seas will evaporate into the atmosphere only to form rain clouds which in turn will release the water back to the surface of the planet. This system is already logged into this created pattern of the second day.
Another note before we move on. This is not the only time this planet will be covered by water. The Bible describes another moment in history where the earth is covered with water, the flood of Genesis 6-9. In this original creation week, we find the earth covered then to see it destroyed by water and revitalized after the waters subside bringing forth new land and vegetation.
Second, when God created the atmosphere, through His profound wisdom He created not only the opportunity for life to flourish, but the perfect environment of life. The necessity of a sustainable atmosphere is the second need for sustainable life on earth. We saw the first already, light, and now we see the second, a hospitable atmosphere.
This is what amazes me about God’s creation. The atmosphere is hospitable for life. Today many deny this concept with humanistic apocalyptic dooms day prophecies declaring global warming and if that does not fit the meteorological reality, then they say climate change (because we are the first to realize seasons change and so do temperatures!). As we will see with our look at the creation week, God created for life to be sustained. That does not mean He will not destroy, but rather we must realize the way everything was created is to sustain life.
To close this article, we will make three connections to the overall view of scripture. First, consider how this chapter begins, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1). This is the way the Bible begins. We may be seeing a distinction in the creation account or in verse 1 is just an overview or heading to the book. Either way, we must recognize the heavens of verse 1 and the heavens of verse 8 could be referring to two different parts of creation.
The Bible uses the term heavens in at least three ways. First, you have the word heaven for the supernatural reality of the creation. This is what Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, and John saw. This is the heavenly throne room of God. This is heaven. Then, the Bible speaks of the night sky as heaven. This is where the sun, moon, and stars populate. This too the Bible calls heaven. Finally, you have the sky or atmosphere where birds fly. This too the Bible calls heaven.
Genesis 1:1 gives to us not only an overview of the creation week, but we also see the creation itself. The heavens were created. We must not overlook supernature as a part of creation. There is only one being beyond all which was not created, God. Everything else falls under the category of heavens and earth, supernatural and natural.
Second, we find sky or atmosphere. We will see more in another article, but for now we recognize this heaven is the domain of the birds of the sky. But this is not all. The sun and moon govern this heaven. In other words, there is order to the sky. While birds, sun and moon are not present in creation at this time, what is clear is that all has been created to bring wonder and draw our attention back to God. Think about when a child looks up at a cloud and excitingly declares, “That one looks like a dog!” Here is the wonder and the beautiful imagination which God’s creation brings to man. May we get back to that childlike wonder of God’s creation.
We find a third category for heavens in the scriptures, what we call outer space. This is where we find the sun, moon, and the stars. While this distinction could be simply looked over, we must recognize there was an ancient cosmology which Moses and other biblical writers wrote and spoke against in their days. For instance, John speaks of Jesus holding the seven stars in his hand (Revelation 1:16). This curious statement points to an ancient cosmology that was to guide people to salvation. In certain Greek and Roman mythologies, there was salvation through a proper cosmology. Astrology finds some of its roots with this thought and pagan practices. Many people began to worship the sun, moon, and stars.
In conclusion, we will have more to consider with the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. What is important is the sky is a sort of a veil. We are not able to see past the heavens and into the glorious heavens of God. The creation of the oceans will continue to be subdivided on the next day of creation.