Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (Genesis 1:6-8)
The second day appears to be about the formation of waters in the seas and the waters in the heavens –but they were already present in the beginning. This day is actually about another separation –the expanse– created between those waters.
Before the expansion took place, the waters were joined together –describing when God lived with man. Then there was the fall and He distanced Himself from them. The waters below foreshadow life without God –they’re a place for the condemned. The waters above hint about where He dwells –they’re a place for the living. Naming it “the expanse” demonstrates the magnitude of the separation between those two.
Above all, this separation illustrates what happened when the Father took the Holy Spirit from His Beloved Son –while He was on the cross –as the sin of the world was heaped upon Him –as He was punished and died for us. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Matthew 27:46, Psalm 22:1)
That separation (the expanse) was the subject of Jesus’ parable in . There He was speaking about His own death and resurrection through the story of a rich man and Lazarus. It talks about a great chasm between two spiritual realms where some live with God and some without.
God designed everything in this creation to show us that we need Him for eternal life. The waters below –the seas– picture an existence without God –but their very makeup alludes to His work to save us.
A seemingly trivial fact about the them is that they are made up of salt water. The word salt is derived from the same word as saline –and salvation. It conveys the notion of healing, preserving or just saving something for later. That’s something that salt naturally does. For example, an early method of preserving or curing meat was by packing it with salt or injecting it with salt water. It lasts for months without refrigeration. Another use of salt water is as an intravenous (IV) fluid to stabilize medical patients. And another is for healing mouth sores. Without salt and with too much of it, we dehydrate and die –with the right amount, we live.
Salt has another virtue when it’s in the sea. It makes the water buoyant so that whatever is in it is lifted up. It’s just one more clue about God’s efforts to lift us out of our lost, dying condition.
The waters above –the rains and snows– are a picture of where life is. Those waters come down from heaven to bring life –and then they return. Here’s what Isaiah says.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
God sends down eternal life –and those of us who receive it, go up to Him when His purpose for us here is finished. Until then we are here as His ambassadors to those who need to know about Jesus.
The fiercest storms on earth occur at sea. Those typhoons and hurricanes are tremendous winds that cause huge waves. The storms are a picture too. The word for wind is the same one used to describe what God did when He breathed life into Adam –and it’s also the word for spirit.
Like the winds that sometimes bring destruction, the Holy Spirit shakes people’s worldly security so that they turn to God –instead of remaining independent. That’s evident in the familiar stories found inand .
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
In John chapter three Jesus was talking to Nicodemus and He likened the Holy Spirit to the wind.
Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8)
Curiously, the description of the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21 says that there will be no sea.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1)
The only life on the new earth will be eternal life. No one will need to be buoyed up and no one will need storms to turn them to God. They will already be saved.