[Originally published as Neither Good nor Bad]
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 1:7–8
Recently Greg, a volunteer at the ICR Discovery Center, pointed out to me something I had not stopped to consider before.
At the end of every day of creation, God assessed His work,
“And God saw … that it was good.”
- Genesis 1:4 is God’s assessment of the first day, specifically the light.
- In Genesis 1:10, 12, God gives approval of the third day’s work in separating the water from the land and bringing forth plant life.
- In Genesis 1:18, God is satisfied with His creation of the heavenly bodies on day four.
- On the fifth day, God gave His approval of the ocean creatures and the creatures that fly.
- He certified the “beasts of the field” created on the sixth day, and after He crowned His creation by creating man “in Our Image and after Our Likeness” on the sixth day,
- He declared His entire creation “very good” in Genesis 1:31.
However, the second day received no such assessment. Greg asked, “Why is that? Why did God have nothing to say about the second day?”
This is a good question and I had to take some time to think about that. I consulted several commentaries on Genesis 1:6-8 and none made note of the absence of God’s evaluation of the second day. Not even The Henry Morris Study Bible had anything to say. Therefore I am left to puzzle this out on my own.
The best place to start is at the beginning
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” Genesis 1:1 [emphasis added].
The Hebrew word translated “the earth” is ha’erets, and it can refer to earth as the planet, earth as land (either a parcel of land or as a country), or earth as ground (soil). Within the context of the first verse, the last option, ground (soil), probably fits best.
In the first verse, God creates all the elements that comprise the universe: time, space, and matter/energy (the earth). Matter/energy occupies time and space. We call this the time-space continuum. So “earth” is the “stuff” from which all else is made.
Genesis 1:2 informs us that all this “stuff” was “without form and void” (not that it “became without form and void” as Gap Theorists speculate). It also says that “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Then, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
The Hebrew word translated “moved” is râchaph and it means to “flutter, move or shake.” I interpret this to mean that the Spirit of God hovered over the entire glob of the mass of matter to energize all the ‘erets God had created.
Part of that energy existed as light.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:3–5
When we arrive at the second day we have is a massive blob of matter and energy within the time-space continuum. It is void and without form; it has yet to be “shaped” into anything.
On the second day, God gets to work molding all the stuff of creation. “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” (Genesis 1:6). The Hebrew word for “firmament” is râqı̂ya‛ meaning an “expanse” or the “visible arch of the sky” or an “extended surface (solid).” The term seems to describe some sort of solid shell around this massive “earth” blob that fills the space of the universe—thus, the “firm” in firmament.
God installed this firmament “shell” between the waters to cause a separation from the waters from which He will form “planet earth” from the waters that will occupy the rest of space. From the waters “which are above the firmament” God will create “the stars also.”
I see this as the beginning of God “[stretching] out the heavens as a curtain, and [spreading] them out as a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:22).
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 1:7–8
What God has at this point is a watery blob in the midst of a greater watery blob separated by the “firmament.” He still has more work to do to form planet earth. Perhaps this is why God made no assessment of His work at this point.
He was not done with this part yet. It was neither good nor bad; it was incomplete. The finished product comes on day three where God brings the landmasses out of the water and causes the ground to bring forth vegetation, at which point God declares it “good.”