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
Meaning of Genesis 1:6
The importance of Genesis 1:6 can only be understood with the context, especially verses from Genesis 1:1 to 1:5. The verse ‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters’ is the 2nd day of creation after God created light for day by separating the darkness for the night. As the earth was filled with water, in Genesis 1:6, God created a solid mass to separate the waters. Hence Genesis 1:6 confirms that there is water in the core of the earth, that is either side of the ocean floors. A firmament means a vast solid ground or a type of ceiling that divides into large water bodies to keep the water below trapped under the solid mass.
Interpretations of Genesis 1:6
The verse Genesis 1:6 is one of the most used verses when narrating a creation story along with Day 1 through Day 7 creation. A few interpretations of the verse are given below.
Interpretation #1 There is no water body under oceans
According to this version, the reader likely doesn’t take the creation story from the Bible as a fact and still has faith in Christianity. He or she believes that there is no water in the earth’s mantle, which is around 400 miles below the earth’s surface. This interpretation is also believed in a few denominations of Christianity, where the priest may accept a few stories as a fact and a few as a possible theory or imagination, which includes creation theory as well as water beneath the earth’s surface.
Interpretation #2 The waters of heaven are clouds
In this interpretation, the reader believes that God didn’t put a solid mass between to water bodies. Also, he or she is likely to follow the NLT translation ‘Then God said, ‘Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth’ instead of the original text from the KJV ‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ Hence, the reader believes that God separated the waters by separating them waters into forms. The waters of the heavens would mean clouds, and the waters of the earth would mean oceans and rivers. This version also confirms that there is no water in the earth’s mantle.
Interpretation #3 God followed a specific pattern for creation
In this interpretation, the verse Genesis 1:6 means that God followed a specific pattern for creation. The verse ‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ This was the 2nd day of creation, followed by the separation of land and seas. As a context, the first, second, and third were a preparation for the fourth, fifth, and sixth days, which was to make sure life was suitable for the plants, animals, and humans. Additionally, the reader also understands that the water above is the ocean and also that there is water under the ocean floor or the earth’s mantle. This fact is also one of the most significant scientific discoveries, which allows Christians to use it as evidence, proving that the Biblical creation theory is a fact.
Historical background of Genesis 1:6
The Book of Genesis was written by Moses approximately between the 13th and 15th centuries, followed by Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and most of Deuteronomy. The Book of Genesis, along with the following four books in the Old Testament, are also included in the Holy book of Judaism, The Book of Torah. The Hebrew term for Genesis is Bereshit which means the origin and the first word, respectively. Genesis chapter 1, which is written in a narrative style, explains the beginning of the creation story. Days 1, 2, and 3 are called days of Forming, and days 4, 5, and 6 are known as days of filling, with day 7 dedicated to rest. While verses 3 – 5 describe Day 1 creation, Genesis 1:6 explains the creation of day 2, where God separates waters by placing a solid mass between the water. The water above the solid mass is the ocean, and there is water under the mantle or the ocean floor.
Literary Devices of Genesis 1:6
A few literary devices in Genesis 1:6 are given below.
Theme – The major themes of Genesis 1:6 are structure, declaration, and preparation.
Assonance – The verse has good use of vowel sounds, with a few in quick successions. For example, the sound of /a/, the sound of /e/, the sound of /i/, and the sound of /au/ in ‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’
Consonance – The verse also has good use of consonant sounds, with a few in quick successions. The sound of /d/, the sound of /r/, the sound of /n/, the sound of /t/, and the sound of /s/ in ‘And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’
Anaphora – The word ‘waters’ is repeated thrice in verse Genesis 1:6 to emphasize the separation of waters in day two’s creation.