The element of gas is created
The Supreme Being is creating the physical element of gas (air or sky) in this text. The first element created, discussed in the previous verses, was water. God created the physical element of water first, and then separated water to form the element (or state) of gas.
Scientific observation confirms that there are a number of elements (also called "states" in science). These include solids, liquids, gases, heat (thermal radiation) and light (electromagnetic radiation). These are the basic physical elements that can be seen with the physical eyes, all governed by time. There are also a couple of more subtle elements, but these basic five make up the gross structures of matter we see around us.
The primary difference between the liquid state and the gas state is the fact that in the liquid state, the attraction between molecules is greater and their distance apart is less. In the gas state, molecules move around more freely, with less density and further distance apart. Sometimes, such as in H2O and other molecule combinations, they can be a liquid at one temperature, and a gas at another temperature. The difference that creates the separation is a combination of heat and electromagnetic forces.
Most interpretations and translations of Genesis have concluded that this scripture is discussing only the planet earth, and the waters and sky of this planet. This is a very limited view and interpretation, that obviously does not take into context the rest of the universe.
This is not a major problem, however, because many complex things are laid out in simple language in ways people can understand. Consider for example, how an adult might explain their job to their child. They would likely break their job down into the simplest terms - terms that the child could relate to. They would not get into all the details about their job. They would just give the child a simplistic overview.
This has also occurred in Genesis. There are two combined effects: One, that Genesis gives an overview of creation in terms that the human mind of a certain era - not educated in the complexities of modern science - could relate to. Second, as the text has been passed down - first orally through many generations and then inscribe text - and subsequently translated into progressive languages over thousands of years, it has become further simplified. Because the ability to understand some of the complexities of science was not there, some of the language has been translated into terms someone of the planet earth with not much education could understand. This effort gives much of the language of Genesis its allegory nature.
In the example given above, if a father who was a doctor told the child that for his job he walks around and makes people feel better, is he telling a lie? No. He certainly may make people feel better, but his job as a doctor in a hospital is much more complex. In fact, he may not even "walk around" the hospital either. He might just walk from his treatment room to the reception area several times a day. So his description is not only a simplification of his job, but also contains some allegory.
Genesis explains that God formed the element (or state) of air or gas ("sky") from the element of liquid ("water"). It explains that the first element or state created was liquid, and liquid was "separated" to form the element of gas, which provided the expanse allowing for the various atmospheres of the planets - as most of the planets contain their own unique atmosphere filled with a type of gas. Sometimes the gas is primarily oxygen as on the planet earth, and sometimes the gas is made primarily of carbon dioxide as on the planet mars. Other planets have other atmospheres. The element (or state) of gas is also interspersed throughout nature.
Separated the water?
Also consider the phrase, "God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it." What does it mean by the water being above and below the sky? We can know from this that He separated gas from liquid. But what about the liquid that remained above?
This can only mean that there is a layer of fluid in the universe that lies above and beyond the various gases and liquids of the universe. This ties to the notion that the waters of creation also surround the physical universe in a fashion, and in those waters remains the "the Spirit of God", "hovering over the waters." (Gen. 1:2)
Have we ever seen these waters? Well, how big are our telescopes? Are they big enough to even reach the upper realms of the universe?
Actually, our telescopes - even the most fantastic mountain-top arrays and space-telescopes - are still very tiny. In fact, we have only recently realized, through these multi-billion dollar telescopes, that there are not hundreds, but billions of other galaxies in the universe, and our galaxy - the milky way - which contains thousands upon thousands of solar systems each containing a sun with planets circling around them, is but one galaxy. So we are finding that the physical universe is simply gigantic and beyond anything that humankind has ever even imagined.
It is as if we are ants at the bottom of California's Death Valley trying to figure out what is at the top of the Mount Everest. Just as the ants have little or no facility to see to the top of Mount Everest, we have no way to see to the reaches of the physical universe.
Furthermore, our minds cannot even comprehend the size and scope of the physical universe. It is so large, that our senses - even with our gigantic telescopes - just cannot gain a "scope" of it.
The ascending versus descending process
For most scientists and astrophysicists, having a large telescope or microscope means that we are advanced enough and observant enough to make big speculative theories about the structure, size and nature of the universe. This is simply ignorance combined with pride. Even with these expensive and supposedly advanced tools, the complexities of the universe still evade us. The universe keeps getting smaller and larger as we gain more instrumentation.
Rather than being so ignorantly proud, we should take the position of humility. We should realize that the complete physical universe is simply out of our range of perception. We should realize that perhaps we can learn something from a higher power.
There are two types of learning processes: One is called the ascending process. In this process, we utilize our powers of observation to learn things, and then we make hypotheses about what we cannot observe. As we can see from the hypotheses over the past 500 years of science, this process is plagued with errors. Leading scientists of the past have been so many theories about so many things that have been proven wrong. They have been proven wrong as technology has allowed for better microscopes, telescopes and other types of "scopes."
The progressive inventions of instruments have illustrated not that the scientific method requiring observation is dependable, but rather that it is grossly unreliable. It is wrought with error, because our senses (and their instruments) are by nature, limited. This is why scientists have to keep coming up with new theories: Their older theories were proven wrong.
The other process of learning is the descending process. In this process, we learn from information descending from a higher intelligence. In this process, we do not rely upon our senses for the complete scope of things. Rather, we utilize our intelligence to try to understand the information that is handed down to us. This comes through scripture, and through God's representatives.
This does not mean that we cannot apply science. Surely science has its place, and we can use our science to advance our means of communicating and understanding each other. But if we are truly scientific, we will clearly understand the limitations of the senses and their extensions (our telescopes and microscopes), and focus our research on truly understanding who we are, where we come from, what our purpose in life is, and who God is.
The design of creation
We can see organization and design when we see the scientific equations of physicists, including Newton's laws and Einstein's theories. These equations - representing two seemingly disconnected calculations bridged by an equal sign - provide proof that there is symmetry and orchestration within the physical world. And scientists still accept most of these equations because they have been applied over and over to different events occurring at different times. The fact that the events occurring within the universe fit formulas and equations illustrates design. And design indicates intelligence.
Logically, such design could not be the result of accidental randomness. This is why both Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, with their great knowledge of science, accepted the existence of a Supreme Being who ultimately designed the physical universe. They saw His design within their equations and formulas.
"What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of "humility." This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism." (Albert Einstein)
"I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts. The rest are details." (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p.202)
"And from true lordship it follows that the true God is living, intelligent, and powerful; from the other perfections, that He is supreme, or supremely perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, He endures from eternity to eternity; and He is present from infinity to infinity; He rules all things, and He knows all things that happen or can happen." (Sir Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), 3rd edition (1726), trans. I. B. Cohen and Anne Whitman (1999), General Scholium, 941.)
These two scientists, from whom much of modern science has been built upon, saw the Supreme Being within nature and its natural laws. They saw design that could not be accidental. They saw a designer within the programming inherent within the physical world.
Those scientists who reject God have no scientific basis for it. They are simply wanting to find a reason to reject God. Their scientific journals dismiss the concept of a Creator not because it is not scientific, but because they each chose to reject God on a personal basis.
It is certainly scientific to accept an ultimate designer for the physical world. To accept a hypothesis that all this design magically appeared from nothing and with no ultimate cause is completely unscientific. It is unscientific to suppose that energy, light and the symmetry inherent in water and the other elements all arose from nothing.
Science is based on observation and hypothesis. Most of today's science is thus speculative. No, we cannot readily see God with these physical senses, unless He appears before them. But a lack of observation has never prevented modern scientists from speculating and hypothesizing about so many other things that have never been seen - nor could ever be seen. Much of quantum physics is not observable, for example.
In quantum physics, scientists make hypotheses and formulations based not upon seeing quarks or antimatter, but upon trying to provide an explanation for something they cannot otherwise explain. They see outward physical events, and create explanations based on the notion that there is no ultimate intelligence behind them. It is not as if they see any quarks or antimatter.
The irony of quantum physics is that these same scientists who reject God's existence have contrived a speculative element they call the "God Particle." This particle, also called Higgs boson, is supposedly the molecule persistent everywhere that provides the key to understanding the universe.
So these scientists will accept an unseen theoretical "God particle" but reject the existence of God? This is lunacy.
The very fact that we see so much organization and design within the physical universe illustrate intelligence. To refuse this notion yet accept intelligence among sub-atomic elements is unscientific.
It is not as if cosmologists are seeing all those things they have hypothesized - such as the "strings" of the "string theory" and the "things" of the "theory of everything." These are all imaginative speculative hypotheses that attempt to explain how the universe arose from nothing.
Scripture provides another type of science: The science of reliance upon a higher authority. This is the science of humility. This is also the science of understanding God’s existence through personal relationships.
Love reveals the existence of God
Thousands of years of scientific observation tells us that each of us needs love. Each of us needs relationships. Each of us needs to depend upon someone. Each of us needs the fulfillment of loving and caring for someone. Even these modern scientists who deny God's existence go home to their families and/or pets and seek loving relationships. This is the Truth of our existence. Within these physical bodies are personalities who seek to love and be loved.
And since none of us are ultimately satisfied by the love we exchange with our families, pets, audiences and others - evidenced by suicides and depression among even those who are famous or have large families - we each need a loving relationship with someone else - a Supreme Being.
And since we are all searching for that "soulmate," that ultimate person who we can depend upon, someone who will always be there for us, and someone who will love us no matter what - things no human could satisfy - we each are looking for a spiritual relationship with the ultimate person - the Supreme Being.
These are all ultimate truths that cannot be denied scientifically. They have been established by thousands of years of human experience. We know them to be true because we see them within our selves and among others. These are scientific truths that we do not need a Harvard professor to tell us about. These are truths we can see plainly within our lives.
Each of us is looking for that ultimate loving relationship because each of us was created by the Supreme Being for the purpose of exchanging a loving relationship with Him. We were created as one of God's servitors. This is why we feel better when we help others than when we hurt others. We are ultimately caregivers. This is our natural position, but because love also requires freedom, we were granted the freedom to love God or not.
The purpose for the physical universe is to house those of us who chose not to love God. This is that place where some of us could virtually be away from Him. This is the reason we cannot see God with the eyes of these temporary physical bodies. And this is the reason scientists create speculative theories that allow us to ignore the Supreme Being.
The greatest scientist is one who spends his or her life focused upon these core questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Who is God? These are the truly scientific questions in life. The other issues are simply, as Einstein put it, "details."