And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the firmament and separated 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. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day (Gen. 1: 6-8).
I just wanted rather quickly for now comment on this verse. First concerning the word ‘firmament’. The english word ‘firmament’ comes from the latin ‘firmamentum’ (I believe this is the latin word) which St Jerome translated if I’m not mistaken from the greek word ‘stereoma’ from the LXX or Septuagint. The greek ‘stereoma’ may connote a firm or solid like structure of sorts. What I really want to get to is the word from the hebrew Old Testament translated as firmament. This hebrew word is transliterated ‘raqia’. It occurs 17 times in the Old Testament. It is said to derive from the hebrew verb ‘raqa’ which occurs 11 times in the Old Testament.
From Strong’s Concordance, the verb ‘raqa’ is a primitive root meaning (1) to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); (2) by analogy, to expand (by hammering); (3) by implication, to overlay (with thin sheets of metal). In the KJV of the Bible, ‘raqa’ is translated to ‘spread’ (6x); stamp (2x); stretch (1x); beat (1x); made broad (1x). Other translations of the Bible may have slight variations such as the word ‘stretch’ being used more than 1x in place of ‘spread.’ For example, Job 37:18 reads ‘Can you, with Him, spread/stretch [raqa] out the heavens?’
A number of protestant bibles translate ‘raqia’ in Genesis 1 as ‘expanse,’ apparently taking from the root ‘raqa’ to expand, spread or stretch out (such as by hammering a sheet of metal or something of the sort used in some contexts in the Old Testament). This is quite interesting concerning the idea of the expansion of space in modern astronomy. If the expansion of the heavens or space is a real phenomenon, than it is possible it appears that the making of the raqia or firmament in verses 6-8 could be applied to this phenomenon. As far as the firmament separating the waters from the waters, I have already mentioned that I believe the earth and waters of verses 1 and 2 can represent the baryonic elements with the waters roughly representing the lighter non-solid like elements such as hydrogen and helium of which these two elements it is said make up about 98% of the observable elements in the universe with oxygen and carbon of the remaining elements making up the greater quantity of these. Hydrogen and oxygen are what water is formed out of.