And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.Genesis 1:6-8 ESV
The separation of the waters below (seas) and the waters above (the sky) is the only day of creation where God doesn’t declare that is was good. That is not to say that it wasn’t good, but perhaps (and this is my own conjecture) God foresaw man’s future constantly looking toward the horizon with discontent, always hoping for the next better thing.
The Hebrew word for sky that we translate as “heavens” is shamayim. It has also been translated as “canopy”, which is a sort of covering to protect from the elements. There is little historical clarity as to the best translation of the word shamayim, though it is most commonly translated as “sky” throughout Scripture. However, the image of a planetary canopy does make some sense from a visual and scientific perspective.
The sky is full of water vapor and gases from the seas and rivers and lakes of the world in a constant cycle of rain and evaporation. The matter there produces a sphere that protects the earth from various meteoric objects by causing them to burn up due to friction as they enter our atmosphere. Sometimes, but rarely, an object so large will enter our atmosphere that will make it to the ground without burning up completely, leaving the occasional crater.
It is also believed that the planet Jupiter is so positioned in the sky that due to its immense gravity, it also protects us from wayward objects that come into the earth’s orbital path, like comets and other large asteroids by keeping them within the asteroid belt beyond the planet Mars.
Within this canopy is a known region referred to as a “hole in the ozone.” While some theorize this is due to man’s irresponsible exploitation of natural resources, others have theorized that this “hole” really functions more as a global exhaust system, jettisoning waste into the reaches of space. As the air heats up, the hole gets larger and as it cools, it contracts, serving as a sort of two-way protection against the elements of nature, both internal and external.
The canopy of the sky also acts as a form of prism, separating colors and spreading the light approximately 180 degrees across the surface of the globe at any one time. The refraction of light projects blue for most of the day, but the lower angles in the morning and evening give way to longer wavelengths of purple, yellow, orange, and red, painting a visual tapestry of brilliant color across the day.
Day two of creation is a day of separation, but it is also a day of instituting God’s divine protection over His creation from the chaos and destruction that the universe at large might wrought. It is also a picture of God’s grace as an artist and protector of His creation as He conducts a masterpiece of beauty and enables us to see beyond what we can think possible. However, we must remember to temper our vision with contentment, recognizing that God has you right where He needs you and created you to be exactly who He desires you to be, preparing you for the next step in His divine Master plan.