Genesis 1:6-8 ESV
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
First of all, let’s be clear about what is written about here in Genesis 1:6-8: This passage is about God creating the natural heaven, i.e. the sky. More specifically, the atmosphere of the earth. This is not about the spiritual heaven where the souls of the faithful departed live in God’s immediate presence.
In the Genesis creation account, God separated the waters into the ocean and the atmosphere.
According to planetary scientists, planets have three primary sources to form atmospheres from:
1. Capture of nebular gases
2. Degassing during the accretion phase of planetary formation (accretion is when the gravity of a massive object attracts more matter to itself)
3. Degassing from tectonic activity (earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.)
Planetary scientists at MIT studied degassing during accretion on exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) from 1 to 30 times the mass of Earth. They divided these exoplanets into “Earths” which were closer to our planet’s size, and “super-Earths” which were larger.
They based their models on the oldest known meteorites in the solar system. These meteorites are similar to the material from which Earth formed. They used the range of water and carbon found in the meteorites and modeled how much of both components would be retained by the exoplanets when these meteorites hit them. Water and carbon are both necessary for life (among other things). They figured out that during accretion alone, water and carbon compounds made up 20% of the mass of “Earths”, and 5% of the mass of “super-Earths.” The result was deep oceans and thick atmospheres. You can read the study for yourself here.
Deep oceans and thick atmospheres are not good for life. Without land, there can be no land life (duh!). Even worse, nutrient-recycling processes necessary for life would be nonexistent. The greenhouse effect heat from thick, carbon-filled atmosphere would create a uninhabitable hell on Earth. In addition, lungs could not work is such a thick atmosphere, and sunlight could not get through for photosynthesis to work.
However, this is only the second day. God has four more days to work this out!