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And ELOHIM called the beaten surface “the heavens.” And there was evening, and there was morning, the second day.  (See comments below.)


Then THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS gave the vast, strong, thin, arched surface names that included “sky, space and heaven.” At this point there had been a transition from daylight to darkness, and a transition from darkness to daylight, and since it was ready to commence the next transition, it was obvious that another day, the second day, had elapsed.  (See comments below.)


Not only did God make a quantity of water out beyond the “heavens,” He placed the stars in the heavens, i.e. within the layer of sky or heavens that is between the two quantities of water. This passage is referring to liquid water because the ancients had words for ice and vapor, but neither of those are used here. This sounds strange at best, and science has yet to confirm this statement. Among biblical scholars and among Bible believing scientists there is much debate and little agreement about what this means. I am more inclined to believe God than the scientists. Science continues to expand its knowledge and scientist continue to change what they say; God’s version of the story has not changed. Our understanding of the details of what God did has grown and changed, but God’s telling of it has never changed. I believe a quantity of water is out there beyond the stars, encircling the universe, because God has stated it so clearly in His word. Many other things that God’s word has said about science or history, and were thought to be wrong, have been proven right; it is a bad idea to “bet against” God and His word.

The Hebrew word for “Heavens” (which is always plural), includes in it the word “waters” (which is always plural). What’s more, the ancient Egyptians believed that the earth, sun, moon and stars are a bubble inside a vast quantity of water. Inside our bubble, the sun rises every morning and sets in the evening. They thought there was water below us and water above us. Maybe ancient peoples knew something we have chosen to ignore – that the amount of water surrounding us is much greater than we ever imagined.

What’s more, in the mind of the ancient Hebrews, one of the key symbolic meanings of “waters” is the idea of “abundance.” It can refer to the abundance of almost anything; the context of the passage always determines what type of abundance is being spoken of. If our universe is only a bubble in a vast sea of water, the word water would be the perfect word-picture for the concept of abundance.


Many Scientists say that our universe is boundless, it has no outer limit or barrier, but some Creationists, such as Russel Humphreys, argue for a bounded universe, one which has a border, a limit. Only God is limitless. The limit or edge of our universe may be very far away, but I believe it does exist. And if the water surrounding our universe is more than just a layer of water, but rather a vast sea of water in which our entire universe is only a bubble, that would point to an amazingly powerful Creator God.

Secular scientists say that the matter/energy known to man are not nearly enough to make happen everything they see happening in outer space. Based on their model of the universe called the Big Bang, they say that all the energy available in the things they can see through their telescopes accounts for approximately 5% of the energy needed to make the universe function. Their model requires another 95% which they attribute to the untestable and unprovable realms of dark matter and dark energy. As a bare minimum, they are sure that there is “something else out there.” They refuse to accept the most believable option – that it is God Himself, or the other physical forces He has put in place – such as water, that are providing the rest of the energy needed to make the universe function.

Secular scientists are quick to say that a large quantity of liquid water out beyond our universe is similar to their dark matter and dark energy in that it is also “unprovable”. What they mean is that it has not been found yet. But they claim that dark matter and dark energy cannot be tested or proven, we just have to believe that they exist. I say that the presence of such water has one very significant advantage – we have something better than an eyewitness account; we have the record of the One who made it happen. We must choose which model is most believable.


Although the use of the word for “beaten surface” has given translators fits, it makes perfect sense if God were trying to communicate a layer of water out there that serves to hold things in place. While not being made of precious metal and not beaten with a hammer, such an indescribable amount of water would be vast and strong in its ability to hold things in place (gravity); vast and strong seem to be the two key aspects of this word that are in view in this passage.


The canopy model has been disproven by two facts that are clearly stated in this passage, first that the celestial bodies were placed in the heavens between the layers of water, and second, the celestial bodies are to serve as signs that we can see and interpret regarding the passage of time. That layer of water spoken of could not have encircled the earth alone, for the heavenly bodies were placed in the heavens which are between the layers of water. If there were a canopy (think cloud cover) they would not have been able to see those celestial bodies before the world-wide flood.