Have you ever gone out away from the city on a dark, cloudless night and looked up into the sky at the stars? Wow! The heavens are absolutely breath-taking. “Heavens” – that’s our word for today.
In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That is the first statement of the Bible, and a powerful statement it is! It sets the tone for everything else the Bible has to say, for if God created the heavens and the earth, then everything else in the Bible makes sense.
Actually, the phrase, “the heavens and the earth,” is thought by some to be a “merism” – which is a means of expressing totality through two contrasting parts. These people would then translate this verse, “In the beginning God created the universe.” But there may be a more specific idea in the word “heavens.”
“Heavens” is the Hebrew word “shamayim,” which has reference to that which is lofty – thus, the sky or the heavens. There is a possibility that this word represents a compound of the word, sham (“there”) and mayim (“waters”), thus reflecting the primeval association of water with the upper reaches of the atmosphere.
Well, what we know is that “heavens” doesn’t include the son and moon and stars, for they were not created until the fourth day. So, as Dr. Henry Morris suggests, it seems that the essential meaning of the word “heavens” corresponds to our modern term, “space.” In other words, on the first day of creation God created atmospheric “space,” or as we would say, He created “outer space.” Therefore, “heavens” refers to the components of space in the space-mass-time universe.
“In the beginning God created the heavens…” He created space. Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Hey – We take space for granted, but it is an essential component of life.