And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. Genesis 1:6-8 NIV.
The early universe was jammed packed with highly energized particles. These particles consisted of protons, neutrons and electrons that possessed a great amount of energy in the form of momentum, or speed if you will. This momentum still exists in the universe; because energy never disappears it just gets redistributed. The momentum of these early objects was distributed to other objects as they slammed into each other, which produced energy in the form of photons, and objects that were moving at a slower pace, or, less energetic.
Over time some of the mass in the universe became gravitationally attracted, and because the momentum had decreased, the objects started to circle around each other. This is the beginning of the great galaxy forming clouds that began to organize the universe into what we see today.
These uncounted protons, neutrons and electrons through their gravitational attraction started to clump together, creating the first stars. The massive stars of the early universe plowed through the clouds of tiny objects scooping them up and adding them to their already massive sizes. The cores of these stars could not withstand the inward pressure and collapsed, creating an outward reaction in the form of an explosion. Supernovas were the spectacular end to the original stars, and this turned out to be a good thing for us, because these explosions spread the material that the stars collected throughout the cosmos. Supernovas also spread objects larger than protons; i.e., the elements of the periodic table that were created in the intense heat of the stellar caldron.
As a result the great clouds of gas and dust were full of the heavier elements that make life possible on our world. As more and smaller stars formed, these clouds of stuff begin to fall into a disk that orbits the equator of the star. This is called an accretion disk. The majority of objects in our solar system orbit the sun along an accretion disk and the same is true for our galaxy.
During the formation of our solar system, the accretion disk was similar to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Collections of rock and ice whizzed around waiting for a chance to smash into something (hopefully not us). In the midst of this spinning confusion, matter started to clump together and form the planets. As the planets got bigger, they collected more and more of the material orbiting in their vicinity. The accretion disk started to see lanes in it, like the Cassini Division in the rings of Saturn. The planets separated the disk of rocks and ice until the disk disappeared, leaving remnants for us to study; the Asteroid Belt, the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.
This brings us to our Bible passage. On the second day, God separated the waters to create the land for us to live on. This is consistent with our understanding of the formation of galaxies and solar systems. The Stars and planets form in clouds of material, and those clouds form accretion disks that separate and create lanes when the stars and planets plow through them to form the necessary structures that support life. The biblical story talks about water separating to form the land because Moses looked up in the sky and saw what looked like water, and looked down and saw water, and so his description is understandable. But it hides a greater truth…
God separated the material within the universe to form a wonderful place where we can exist.
“God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.”
God bless you,