When astronauts go into orbit around the earth, they ascend high above the earth – above the clouds, above the atmosphere – into outer space.
When God created the atmosphere, or firmament, on the second day of creation, He did an unusual thing. He sandwiched the atmosphere with water. Our verses for today in Genesis 1:6-7 says, “Then 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 which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse…”
Now, we can understand the waters under the heavens. We are very aware of the great oceans and seas and lakes of the world. But waters above the heavens is something we are not used to.
The word “above” is a word that means “the upper part” – that which is above whatever else is there. Well, the text says that there was water above the firmament, so there was actually water above our atmosphere. It seems that there was a vapor canopy above the stratosphere, a watery, transparent mist engulfing the earth that allowed the sun, moon, and stars to be seen. According to Dr. Henry Morris, this would have provided “a global greenhouse, maintaining an essentially uniformly pleasant warm temperature all over the world.” Furthermore, a “vapor canopy would also be highly effective in filtering out ultraviolet radiations, cosmic rays, and other destructive energies from outer space.”
Well, after a thousand years that watery vapor fell to the earth as part of the great flood. That is why we don’t see it today. But once upon a time, there were waters above the heavens.
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Hey, God is going to restore this greenhouse canopy in the Kingdom Age (see Psalm 148:4, 6). Tell that to the environmentalists.