In Genesis 1:6 what does "expanse" mean?


Genesis 1:6

ESV - 6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.

Clarify Share Report Asked September 30 2013 Stringio Rita Gerard

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B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
It is true that "expanse" in this context means a "space" or type of arc in the sky. One definition of "firmament" is:

the heavens or the sky, esp. When regarded as a tangible thing.
synonyms: the sky, heaven.

Something important to note about this passage is that it was at this time that God created a separation between the waters that would eventually cover the surface of the earth (the dry land was still not created at this point) and the waters in the heavens. God was setting in motion the water cycle, which is inextricably tied to life on earth. Like parents expecting the arrival of a child, this was part of the process of God preparing Earth for His children; He intentionally and meticulously prepared every bio system and created them so that they would work together to sustain human life and the life systems that they would need for survival, procreation, and to fulfill their heavenly calling of tending to His creation, bringing God glory.

October 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Donald La Valley
Taking into account the former, 1:5 "there was evening and there was morning" and the latter 1:8 "God called the expanse heaven" Job defined "expanse" as a circle on the surface of the waters, At the boundary of light and darkness. Or from the People's Study Bible "the boundary for the ocean and a boundary for the day and night"

October 02 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Lostnsavd lostnsavd *
Dear Friend,

The King James uses the word "firmament" in the midst of the waters..."

I use the King James Version Bible to do "word searches" using a Strong's Concordance, Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). This word expanse can also mean "to hammer, or to pound, stretch. See H7554.

The word "firmament" is the Hebrew word H7549 râqı̂ya‛
From H7554; properly an expanse, that is, the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky: - firmament.

Hope that helps.

Tender blessings,

September 30 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Doktor D W Supporter
Expanse = sky; space

Then God said, Let there be a (space; sky) between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.

September 30 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Stephen Davis
The "firmament" is a reference to the cosmos. 

If you look at the following verses:

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; (Genesis 1:14 NKJV)

The stars, sun and moon are placed IN the firmament of the heavens, not beyond it or outside it, but within it.

Also if we take the word "Heaven" it is the Hebrew Shamayim. It's a composite word, literally meaning "There, are waters" there is an intricate connection between Heaven and water. It is a place where waters exist.

We learn that this expanse separates the Waters Above from the Waters Beneath. The waters beneath are earth, the waters above are the boundary between the Third Heaven and the universe.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! (Psalms 148:1-4 NKJV)

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. You who laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever, You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; They went down into the valleys, To the place which You founded for them. (Psalms 104:1-8 NKJV)

So there are waters above the heavens and God lays the beams of His upper chambers within these waters.

January 07 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
In Genesis 1, there are several mentions of the ‘expanse.’ In Hebrew ‘expanse’ is ‘raqia,’ which is used for hammering metal into sheets to make threads, Exodus 39:3, or into plates, Jeremiah 10:9, as used to cover the altar, Numbers 16:38, 39. Some versions have ‘firmament’ instead of ‘expanse’ as to suggest the concept of a dome, as it seems to look like. 

It helps to note that ‘expanse’ is used in two different ways. In Genesis 1:14, 15, 17, 20, it is found with “the expanse of the heavens.” This specifically refers to skies and space. That is where the lights are, that is, the sun, moon, planets and stars for signs and for seasons. It is also the place where birds fly above the earth across it. Ezekiel 1:22-26,10:1 mention ‘expanse’ and ‘expanse over their heads,’ also ‘raqia,’ which refers to the skies or heavens. Psalm 19:1 and Daniel 12:3 translates ‘raqia’ as ‘sky above’ and Psalm 150:1 translates it ‘heavens.’ 

However, in Genesis 1:6-8, ‘expanse’ refers to something entirely different. It does not refer to the skies or space and there is no connection to the words ‘of the heavens.’

In Genesis 1:7, the waters were divided with the ‘expanse’ or ‘firmament’ between them, above and below it. The waters (under the heavens) that were above the expanse were separated into continents and oceans, or, put another way, earth/land and seas, Genesis 1:9. The expanse was some kind of massive solid formation over a huge reservoir of water. The ‘foundations’ in Job 38:4-6, and ‘pillars’ in Psalm 75:3, seem to portray this concept of a subterranean watery chamber. Genesis 1:6-10 can be visualized as shown here:

– Sky, space, expanse or firmament of the heavens – 
– Waters separated into continents and oceans – 
– Expanse or firmament or foundation of earth – 
– Waters below the expanse or firmament –

The statement of Genesis 1:8, “And God called the expanse Heaven,” is unclear and confusing. It seems to mean the space above the earth, but it is located below the upper waters that were separated into land and oceans. In this verse, ‘Heaven,’ Hebrew ‘shamayim,’ may mean something else. Solomon Yitzchaki (1040-1105), a rabbi in France, proposed in his ‘Rashi Commentary’ that a change in the vowels allowed for a compound of the words ‘fire’ (‘esh’) and ‘water’ (‘mayim’). It could then be translated “fire in waters” which makes better sense of the molten subterranean nature of the core of the earth. 

The glowing pillars in the chambers of the earth would heat the land mass and oceans causing a mist that would water the earth, Genesis 2:5, 6. Then at the time of the flood, the explosive burst of the fountains of the great deep breaking up and the windows of the heavens opening caused the first rains on the earth, Genesis 7:11. 

Thus, there are two types of ‘expanse.’ There is the skies/space concept, Genesis 1:14-20. Then, there is the foundational rockbed under the land and sea, Genesis 1:6-8.

March 24 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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