Bible Question:

Is the color of ocean and sky blue because of the expanse, raqia, that God created?

Bible Answer:

Have you ever asked, “Why is the sky blue?” Some people have wondered if the Bible has the answer. That is, “Is the color of ocean and sky blue because of the expanse, raqia, that God created?” That is the question this article is about.

Is the Sky Blue Because of Raqia?

 

The Expanse, raqia, God Created

Genesis describes the creation of the earth, and also the creation of the universe in six days. God’s ceative acts began on day one and by day four He had created the universe. Its stars, the sun, and the moon that circle our planet are all provided for us and were created by God for our benefit. The earth was the starting point of God’s creation and the rest of the creation was provided to give us light during the day and night. The night lights are the moon and stars (Genesis 1:14-15). The night lights also provide for signs and seasons.

Yet, an amazing thing occurred on day two that did not hinder man from seeing the moon or stars. We are told that on day two He created an expanse, raqia, around the earth. This is described in Genesis 1:6.

Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” Genesis 1:6 (NASB)

The word that is translated as “expanse,” raqia, in this verse means,

“to stretch out, spread out, then beat or tread out.[1]

Harris, Archer and Waltke states that raqia literaly means, “an expansion of plates.”[2]

Some claim that raqia refers to a “solid structure.” But not according to Harris, Archer and Waltke, who state that raqia,

. . . may refer to a limited space, such as that of the canopy over the cherubim, under the throne in Ezekiel’s vision (1:22, 26). Or it may refer to the broad “expanse of heaven” (Dan 12:3, NASB), as it does in thirteen of its seventeen occurrences.[3]

That is, raqia refers to a space that existed between the waters that were above and below, according to verses 7-8.

God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Genesis 1:7-8 (NASB)

Raqia Was Transparent

If we read Genesis 1 carefully, we learn that the stars and moon could be seen through raqia (Genesis 1:14-17). Genesis 1:20 teaches that the birds can fly in raqia. That is, raqia was transparent.

Maybe the best example of raqia is found in Isaiah 40:22, where it is like gauze.

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
Isaiah 40:22 (NASB)

The word “curtain” is better translated as a “gauze.” That helps us understand that raqia does not refer to a stone vault or some solid dome. This means that raqia was not solid.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, we have learned that raqia was transparent in Genesis 1. The birds could fly in it and the moon and stars could be seen through it. Also, according to Genesis 1 raqia apparently separated airborne water that was above from water that was below at the time of the creation.

Today, when we look up at the sky, we see blue. But it is not blue because of raqia. It is blue because most of the sun’s light rays are scattered when they enter the earth’s atmosphere. The blue and violet rays are more easily absorbed because their rays have shorter wavelengths of light. Upon being absorbed they are scattered everywhere and our eyes see the scattered light rays. The sky does not appear as a mixture of blue and violet because our eyes are more sensitive to the blue light rays. This is why our eyes see the sky as blue during the daytime.

 

References:

1. Keil and Delitzsch. Genesis. Commentary on the Old Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. March 2006. p. 32.
2. J.B.P. raqia. Harris, Archer Jr., & Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press. 1980. vol. 2. pp. 862.
3. Ibid.

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