(Image: Hebrew concept of universe)
Genesis 1:6 -7 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.
The Hebrew word translated as “firmament” means something stretched out, like an expanse or space. It appears to be referring to the sky above the earth as well as what we call outer space where the sun, moon, and stars are.
This firmament separates the waters on the earth from some other waters above the earth. Many people assume the waters above the firmament must be the clouds or the atmosphere of the earth in general, since earth’s atmosphere contains water in the form of vapor and the sky is blue like the color of water.
“At any moment, the atmosphere contains an astounding 37.5 million billion gallons of water, in the invisible vapor phase.”
While 37.5 million billion gallons is an enormous amount of water, I am not convinced that our atmosphere is the source of water above the firmament mentioned in Genesis 1:6-8.
First off, 37.5 million billion gallons of water in our atmosphere only amounts to about an inch of water covering the entire earth, both land and sea. When it says the firmament ‘divides’ the waters from the waters it seems we should expect a lot more than just an inch of water ABOVE the firmament, at least something comparable to the oceans below the firmament. Secondly most of the water in the atmosphere is in the form of vapor that cannot even be seen.
So can the atmosphere even be considered?
FIRMAMENT = HEAVEN (WHERE THE STARS ARE)
Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Another major issue with the earth’s clouds and atmosphere being the ‘waters above’ the firmament is that on 4th day 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 for 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” (Genesis 1:14-15).
The dilemma is that If the sun moon and stars are placed IN the firmament, and the waters are said to be above the firmament, then how could earth’s atmosphere which is BELOW the sun, moon, and stars be those waters?
I believe we have to look somewhere else for these waters. But where?
As strange as it may seem, the text appears to suggest that these waters are on the outer edge of the universe ABOVE the sun, moon, and stars. Interestingly this model, with an ocean above the stars, is how the ancient Hebrews viewed the universe (See the above illustration).
THE SCRIPTURES DECLARE THAT THERE ARE WATERS ABOVE HEAVEN
One verse in particular that seems to suggest that there is a water barrier placed at the ends of the universe (heaven) can be found in the book of Psalms:
Psalms 148:4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
Another possible witness to the idea of waters being held somewhere other than earth’s atmosphere can be found in the account of Noah’s flood. There were three sources of water used to flood the earth as described in this verse from the book of Genesis.
Genesis 8:2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
1. Fountains of the deep
2. Windows of heaven
Everyone knows that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, but few take notice of the other flood waters coming from the “fountains of the deep” and the “windows of heaven”. There was water coming from the clouds, water coming out of the earth, and water coming out of the windows of heaven.
What are the windows of heaven and where is this water held that came out from them?
Well, the only other water source we know of that exists in heaven or above the heavens is that body of water mentioned in Genesis 1:6-8 that were said to be above the firmament.
SEA OF GLASS IN HEAVEN
It’s also interesting to note that there are at least a couple verses that mention a “sea” before God’s throne. When the apostle John was taken up into Heaven he said, “before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto a crystal” (Revelation 4:6). Later on John again sees a sign in heaven involving a sea. He says, “I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Revelation 15:2).
Could it be that this sea before God’s throne is the same water that was said to be above the firmament?
Do the waters above the firmament of heaven make up the floor of the 3rd Heaven that the Apostle Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 ?
Watch our video: Genesis 1:6-8 | Is There An Ocean At the Edge of The Universe?