From Genesis 1: 6 we see that God is about to speak into existence the expanse or as some translations say the firmament. We would say the sky or atmosphere. The important concept for us to grasp in this verse is that God is “speaking” into existence the Hebrew word רָקִיעַ “rakeeah” or the expanse. This Hebrew word means to spread out or stretch. Some other places in Scripture where this same expression is used are:
- 1. Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens.
- 2. Psalm 104:2 The heavens are stretched out like a tent curtain.
- 3. Isaiah 40: 22 God stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
- 4. Jeremiah 10: 12 The Lord has stretched out the heavens.
- 5. Zechariah 12:1 God stretched out the heavens.
These usages of the Hebrew word for stretch (rakeeah) are not quaint poetic hyperbole or exaggerations. They mean to express the properties of the heavens that we cannot see or fully understand. Space is not an empty vacuum. We have difficulty defining space and understanding the concept of the property of space. Scripture gives us some insight as to some of its properties.
- 1. Space can be torn (Isaiah 64: 1);
- 2. It can be worn out like a garment (Psalm 102: 25),
- 3. It can be shaken (Hebrews 12:26; Haggai 2:6; Isaiah 13:13).
- 4. It can be burnt up (II Peter 3:12).
- 5. It can be split apart like a scroll (Revelation 6:14);
- 6. It can be rolled up like a mantle (Hebrews 1:12) or scroll (Isaiah 34: 4).
Clearly God has given us multiple characteristics of what we cannot see. Nachmonides a Jewish rabbi from Spain in the 13th century taught that there are ten dimensions. Four are knowable such as the three spatial (height, width, and depth) as well as time. The other six are “curled” into the four. We will see them all when we are released from these bodies at death or if the Lord comes for us first.
II Corinthians 4: 18 while we look not at the things, which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things, which are, seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In other words our hearts and expectations should be on eternity because we will not stay here very long. We must have the heavenly view of life of which Christ spoke (Matthew 18: 8; 19: 17; Mark 9: 43, 45).