Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
What was it, and what did it do?
Though I won’t be dogmatic about the idea, the firmament seems to have been a barrier protecting the new planet. The margin translates “firmament” as “canopy”. Perhaps the firmament was the atmosphere humans would breathe in a few days. Yes, I do believe in a recent creation, there being no reason for the millions of years evolutionists claim other than to get rid of God. Early church fathers wondered why it took God so long to create – six whole days! After all, He could have done it all at once.
I have no idea what “the waters above the firmament” might have been. Perhaps they are a source of much of the water for Noah’s Flood. Among other things describing that event, Genesis 7:11 says, “and the windows of heaven were opened.” I think there’s more involved in that statement than the fact that “the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights,” v. 12.
Perhaps this whole series of “water, firmament (atmosphere), water” were themselves the protection for the new planet and that life which would inhabit it. Perhaps their effect would be like that of a greenhouse, providing optimal surroundings for the new creation.
Among other things, it would prevent potentially harmful rays from the Sun from reaching the Earth’s surface. This would facilitate the growth of both plant and animal and would explain the appearance of the dinosaurs. Just the other day, on a creation website, I saw a picture of a man standing next to the leg of a dinosaur. I don’t remember its name This man, probably about six feet tall, was next to the tibia and fibula and these lower leg bones were almost as tall as he, and very thick. It’s hard to imagine the animal they originally belonged to.
Dinosaurs are reptiles, which even now never stop growing. Imagine such a creature in a perfect environment, such as was before the Flood, with a greatly extended life. The same is true of plant life. This says nothing of the abundant oxygen produced by a plant life that makes what we have look microscopic in comparison.
It must indeed have been a paradise.