What is the Expanse?

No not the sci-fi series on Syfy and Amazon Prime Video that is based on the books by James S.A. Corey. But the matter created on day 2 in the Genesis account.

In Genesis 1:6 (NASB20) we read:

Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”

Depending on your translation the Hebrew word rāqîa may be translated as “expanse” (NASB, NET, ESV, Holman), “firmament” (KJV, NKJV) or “vault” (NIV). The NLT translates the word as “space”.

In order to understand what the expanse is we will read through the rest of the Genesis account. Examining the account and listing out what the text says about the entity that was created on day two flushes out both its description and function.

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Screwtape takes on a new student & tackles science

My budding student RotRing,

You may be wondering how I am still employed in the field of educating young tempters after that dismal failure Wormwood. It is with some relish that I can report that the failures of a nephew are not visited upon the uncle. At least not too harshly. You may further find yourself thinking that you are in the very unfortunate position of having someone like myself as your guide, as you seek to become more proficient at keeping patients away from our Enemy. Just remember that the student does not surpass his teacher and that the gap between you and myself is quite vast. I have, as I am sure you have heard, enjoyed a fair bit of success in the realm of tempting. You’ll have plenty of room to learn and grow.

Now RotRing, I note from your latest report that you are wondering about some advice I gave some time ago, to that dreadful nephew of mine, regarding the use of science. At that time I wrote that tempters should ‘not attempt to use science as a defence against Christianity’ as it would ‘encourage patients to think about realities they can’t touch and see’.  Each age has a distinctive set of characteristics -as you, I am sure, remember from your studies – and we must be mindful of them so that we can better craft strategies for dealing with your patient.

In this age, in which your patient is living, there is a great deal of thinking about science. This could have been a disaster for us, but without much effort on our part things have  managed to turn in our favor on this matter. When I gave Wormwood the advice about science, I also reminded him that they ‘find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes’. This is still true. Science has now made many ‘unfamiliar’ things far more ‘familiar’ to your patient. Continue reading