And God said, Let there be a firmament in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.…
The atmosphere constitutes a machinery which, in all its complicated and admirable adjustments, offers the most striking displays and convincing proofs of this. This vast and wonderful appendage of our globe has been made expressly to meet the nature and wants of the living creatures and growing vegetation that occupy its surface; and all these plants and animals have been created with distinct reference to the properties of the atmosphere. Throughout design and mutual adaptation are most manifest. The atmosphere has been composed of those elements, and composed of them in just the proportions that are essential to the health and nurture of all living creatures. The atmosphere has been made for lungs; and lungs have been made for the atmosphere, being elaborately constructed for its alternate admission and expulsion. And how beautiful that adjustment by which animals breathe of the oxygen of the air, and set carbonic acid free for the use of plants, while plants absorb carbonic acid, and set oxygen free for the benefit of animals! The atmosphere and the ear have also been formed one for the other. This organ is so constructed that its use depends entirely upon the elastic properties of the air. In like manner the atmosphere and the organs of speech have been formed in mutual adaptation. The whole mouth, the larynx, the tongue, the lips, have been made with inimitable skill to form air into words. Equally evident is the mutual adaptation of the atmosphere and the organs of smell, as the latter can effect their function only in connection with the former. In one word, all the parts of all animal organizations, even to the very pores of the skin, have been contrived with minute nicety in adaptation to the constituent elements and elastic properties of the atmosphere. Add to all the foregoing, its admirable qualities for disseminating h, at. evaporating moisture, equalizing climate, producing winds, forming clouds, and diffusing light — and we behold in the Firmament of heaven a concourse of vast contrivances, that constitute a sublime anthem to the Creator's praise! The various elements composing the atmosphere, its gases, and vapours, and electricity, are, indeed, as if instinct with life and reason. Animated by the solar beams, they are everywhere in busy and unerring activity, — sometimes acting singly, sometimes in combination, but always playing into each other's hands with a certainty and perfection which might almost be called intelligence, and which nothing short of Infinite Wisdom could have devised. Thus, by their manifold and beneficial operations, "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork."
(H. W. Morris, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.