Dear Concerned Citizen,
Verses 6-8: Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from the waters that were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Worthy of note is that the phrase “and God saw that it was good” is not found in the account of day two. A close reading of the Text reveals that there is no specific object or item made and completed on this day. Hence while the making was in progress it would not be possible to say that “it was good.” This is the only day of the six days of Genesis that lacks a statement of goodness. On the sixth day we are told twice how wondrously good this world is. If all peoples would only open their eyes to this magnificence and munificence, we would get past the jealousy that has brought so much grief worldwide.
God used light to form stars and galaxies, in greater numbers than we can imagine! A great cloud of gases and stardust from ancient stars that had exploded eons and eons ago formed our star, the sun, all the materials for the earth and moon, and all the planets in our solar system. Great wisdom was at work as the earth was being formed perfectly for life. Recall that the word waters in these early days relates to the building blocks of the universe.
The moon’s gravity would keep the earth from tilting too much, and would help control ocean tides, mixing the waters of the earth. The tilt in the earth’s axis makes the seasons: summer when we tilt toward the sun, and winter when we tilt away from the sun. This helps spread the sun’s heat over both the northern and southern hemispheres. The other outer planets such as massive Jupiter and Saturn would shield the earth by “catching” destructive comets and asteroids. The earth itself was just the right distance from the sun; not close enough to be too hot, but not so far to be too cold. Just the right distance so that water could be liquid and not solid ice or gaseous steam. God knew that to have life, we need liquid water. Truly, the world is filled with wisdom.
The earth and the solar system have a long list of items that allow life to form. Among them are:
- being just the right distance from our star, the sun, for having liquid water. If we look at the distribution of planets, each planet is twice as far from the sun as the previous planet EXCEPT the earth. According to the pattern of planets, there should not be a planet between Venus and Mars. But Venus is too close to the sun and Mars too far for viable complex life. The earth slips in at exactly the right location for life, even though according to the pattern of planets there should not be a planet there
- being in a part of our galaxy, the milky way, where there is a high abundance of the elements needed for life, such as carbon and oxygen
- having the earth’s gravity just strong enough to hold an atmosphere of oxygen and nitrogen so we and all animals and even plants can breathe
- having a rotation of 24 hours so that the sun shines over all the earth’s surface frequently, so that the temperature is well distributed (unlike planet Venus where the same surface almost always faces the sun and its back is always in the shade)
- having enough water to form oceans but not so much that the entire surface of the earth would be flooded (having dry land lets technology develop. Notice that even smart aquatic animals such as dolphins or whales have never developed a technology)
- having enough oxygen in the atmosphere to allow for controlled fire (a crucial factor for the use of fuel for energy) but not so much oxygen that there are continual uncontrolled fires.
- having a molten iron core that rotates slowly. Iron being an electrical conductor, produces by its motion, a magnetic field. The force of this field not only sets the compass needle to point north. Far more significantly, the force of the magnetic field deflects much of the potentially lethal radiation originating from the sun, a significant fraction of which follow the lines of the magnetic field produced the northern lights in the polar region’s upper atmosphere
- locating the solar system in what can be termed a stellar desert. Our star, the sun, is located between the arms of the spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, within which we are located. Being between the arms locates us far from any other stars and therefore remote from potentially lethal radiation for among other causes, exploding stars, supernovae
- having giant planets in the solar system, such as Jupiter, located far from the sun. All the giant planets located to date around other stars are too close to the parent star to allow life supporting planets to form. The gravitational play between the parent star and the giant planet would tear apart any planet in the region. This is evidenced by the belt of asteroids between the planets Mars and Jupiter. The asteroids might have joined to form a planet had not the huge gravitational forces of Jupiter destroyed that option.
The list goes on and on. Just think of the other needs that the wonderful planet earth provides. What does the earth’s magnetic field do to help us live? And what causes that magnetic field to form?
Clarifying translation: God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters [the matter of the universe], and let it separate between water and water.” So God made the firmament, and separated between the waters which were beneath the expanse and the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. God called the firmament: “Heaven [The carpet of stars we see at night in the sky].” And there was evening [Erev: chaos] and there was morning [Boker: order, clarity], a second day.
Notice that the day is numbered a second day and not day two. This is a change in form of the numbering from cardinal or absolute, day one, to ordinal or comparative, a second day. When we get to discuss the age of our universe this change in number form will be very, very important.