|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:6-13 The earth was emptiness, but by a word spoken, it became full of God's riches, and his they are still. Though the use of them is allowed to man, they are from God, and to his service and honour they must be used. The earth, at his command, brings forth grass, herbs, and fruits. God must have the glory of all the benefit we receive from the produce of the earth. If we have, through grace, an interest in Him who is the Fountain, we may rejoice in him when the streams of temporal mercies are dried up.
Verse 7. - And God made the firmament. How the present atmosphere was evolved from the chaotic mass of waters the Mosaic narrative does not reveal. The primary intention of that record being not to teach science, but to discover religious truth, the thing of paramount importance to be communicated was that the firmament was of God's construction. This, of course, does not prevent us from believing that the elimination of those gases (twenty-one parts of oxygen and seventy-nine of nitrogen, with a small proportion of carbonic acid gas and aqueous vapor) which compose our atmosphere was not effected by natural means; and how far it may have been assisted by the action of the light upon the condensing mass of the globe is a problem in the solution of which science may legitimately take an interest. And divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. The upper waters are not the material of the stars (Delitzsch, Wordsworth), although Jupiter is of the same density as water, and Saturn only half its density; but the waters floating about in the higher spaces of the air. The under waters are not the lower atmospheric vapors, but the oceanic and terrestrial waters. How the waters are collected in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, Scripture, no less than science, explains to be by means of evaporation (Genesis 2:6; Job 36:27; Job 37:16). These latter passages suggest that the clouds are balanced, suspended, upheld by the buoyancy of the air in exact accordance with scientific principles. And it was so. Six times these words occur in the creation record. Sublimely suggestive of the resistless energy of the Divine word, which speaks, and it is done, commands, and it standeth fast, they likewise remind us of the sweet submissiveness of the creature to the all-wise Creator's will, and, perhaps, are designed as well to intimate the fixed and permanent character of those arrangements to which they are attached.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And God made the firmament,.... By a word speaking, commanding it into being, producing it out of the chaos, and spreading it in that vast space between the heaven of heavens and our earth (z),
And divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; the lower part of it, the atmosphere above, which are the clouds full of water, from whence rain descends upon the earth; and which divided between them and those that were left on the earth, and so under it, not yet gathered into one place; as it now does between the clouds of heaven and the waters of the sea. Though Mr. Gregory (a) is of opinion, that an abyss of waters above the most supreme orb is here meant; or a great deep between the heavens and the heaven of heavens, where, as in storehouses, the depth is laid up; and God has his treasures of snow, hail, and rain, and from whence he brought out the waters which drowned the world at the universal deluge. Others suppose the waters above to be the crystalline heaven, which for its clearness resembles water; and which Milton (b) calls the "crystalline ocean",
And it was so: the firmament was accordingly made, and answered this purpose, to divide the waters below it from those above it; or "it was firm" (c), stable and durable; and so it has continued.
(z) ------and God made The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Transparent, elemental air, diffused In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round.------ Milton, Paradise Lost, B. 7. l. 263, &c. (a) Notes and Observations, &c. c. 23. p. 110, &c. (b) Ibid. l. 291. (c) "et factum est firmum", Fagius & Nachmanides in ib.
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