In my post titled the first day, we saw how God first committed to restoring the earth and how he created light to confine the darkness to the night. Now we will look at the next few verses (Genesis 1:6-8).
A Linen Draped Highway
And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, 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. – Genesis 1:6-8
Here we see God creating a firmament (a sheet) to separate the waters into two layers, one above and one beneath. The word used in Hebrew conveys the idea of an expansion, a sheet, or a curtain drawn out. This sheet is pretty fascinating, because we know that it is called heaven and we see later from verse 14 that God placed the stars, the moon, and the sun inside this firmament. This heaven apparently occupies a very vast expanse of space since Psalm 104:2 describes how God stretches out the heavens like a curtain. A curtain is designed to separate two different compartments from one another. It is a barrier designed to control crossing from one domain to the next.
This passage describes that all the celestial bodies that we see with our amazing telescopes are all inside this firmament. If all the beauty of the celestial bodies revealed through astronomy is no more than a separating membrane, imagine what awe and glory is on the other side. There is another side. We know this because the Bible describes water on both sides of the heaven (see also Revelation 22:1). Secondly, the stars are in the separating membrane itself. The result is that we do not see the other side from here since we cannot see beyond the stars with our current technology.
Various commentaries have often described the waters above as being nothing more than the cloud filled atmosphere. I argue that it means more than this. For if this were all, God might very well have said that the water is in the firmament and not above it. The Bible is mostly silent on what is on the other side, but we do know from John 14:2-3 that there are mansions there because Christ said so. There are streets, lights, fruit- bearing trees, mountains (Psalm 48) and entire cities. If all these are there, why shouldn’t there be water also? In fact, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will be moved in its entirety down to the new earth (Revelation 21:10). Note that the passage says that the holy Jerusalem will descend from heaven, not be built here on earth. We also know that God is currently resident there (Psalm 33:13-14), and in the future, the firmament will be removed (or collapsed) and heaven and earth joined together as God comes to dwell among us. When that time comes, we will have no need of the celestial bodies like the sun, moon, stars, or night, because God will be our light (Revelation 21:25 and 22:5).
Recently, scientists saw a phenomenon at the edge of our observable universe where stars are being drawn in and “chewed up” at a specific spot in the sky. It is not a black hole where objects accelerate into it, but the rate of speed is constant. It challenges the big bang theory and raises fears about the universe’s survival. As one NASA scientist puts it, “It is giant on a scale where it’s not just that we can’t see what’s doing it; it’s that the entire makeup of the universe as we understand it can’t be right if this is happening.” Is it not amazing that all our science today, great as it is, cannot see through the entire cloak of darkness? All we study is the dynamic decorations in the firmament. We refer to it as an expanding universe, and it may very well be so. We search for aliens and they may truly exist. Just because God didn’t think it important enough to tell us about it doesn’t preclude their existence.
All we are told is that Christ is gone to prepare a place for us, the glory of which is something eyes have never seen, ears have never heard, and no heart has ever imagined possible. We may never really know what is going on out there, because God has cloaked it in darkness (Job 38:9). Just as the veil in the temple prevented the pilgrims from seeing into the Holy of Holies, so too does the darkness in the firmament prevent us physically peeking into the God’s throne room.
I believe that heaven is permeable to certain elements, and I illustrate this fact by using the examples of Christ’s ascension to heaven in Acts 1, the translation of Enoch in Genesis 5:24, and the resistance of the Prince of Persia in Daniel 10:12-13. In these three examples, we see spiritual bodies and glorified physical beings ascending through this curtain. I also believe that when we offer prayers to God, those prayers travel through an unseen path etched in this firmament carried by angelic hosts (see Judges 13:20). It is one of the ministries of angels that I believe the apostle Paul was referring to in Hebrews 1:14. They might get ambushed on the way by the hosts of darkness, but it is heartening to know that for every demon, there are two angels. We have numbers on our side (Revelation 12:4).
In Revelation 12:4-9, we see how Michael and his angels will finally drive the devil out of heaven and restrict him to the earth just before the end of the age. The angel of light (Lucifer), who wanted to ascend to the mount of God, is first cast down into the curtain (heaven), then to the earth, and finally into the lake of fire. Now that is what I call falling from grace.
Looking at our world today, are we really that much different from the devil in our ambitions? Through science, we are trying to break through the divine curtain in the heavens. We are searching for the end of the darkness in space to the place where the light begins. We are trying to ascend to the mountain of God, and yes, I did watch a documentary once where the commentary stated that through physics we could be god. That is why I believe the world will receive the wrath of God as described in the book of Revelation. Consider this: if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto Judgment (2 Peter 2:4), do you think He will spare man for doing the same thing?
Do not misunderstand me; I believe in science and its ability to improve the lives of people. But I also believe that our science is limited and unable to disprove the existence of God, contrary to what many scientists try to claim.
On a concluding note, it is important to understand that the Bible account in Genesis 1 is dedicated primarily to describing events that occur in and below the firmament. These are the only ones that should concern us in this life anyway. How we fare here and now will determine how we stand there in eternity.
Back to the beginning of Genesis.