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Genesis 1:1-2 accounts what was before God gave form to the Earth, and that is water:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1:1-2

Now that might be interpreted as a metaphor for "vastness", maybe, but other verses in Genesis also seem to assert the same thing:

6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
Genesis 1:6-8

In those verses it is described how God separates water. The separation is called "sky" (this will be relevant later, that's why I made it bold). It also says there is water both under the sky (on Earth) and also above the sky (in space?).

Furthermore, in the account of Noah's Flood, it is described how God opened up the "sky" (among other means of flooding the planet).

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Genesis 7:11-12

The question:
Obviously it makes no sense to say the universe is full of water. What does the word mean then, in those passages? What is it used as a metaphor for?

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The first sentence is wrong - you assert that water existed "before God created everything", but that's not what the Bible verse says. The verse has God creating the heavens and earth, and THEN talks about the earth and water. –  Waggers Sep 28 '11 at 13:30
    
@Waggers You're right, sorry. I misread. –  Paul Sep 28 '11 at 13:31
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If you were attempting to explain the big bang to someone living in 6th century BC, how would you do it? Calling everything "water" seems like a logical starting point. –  Richard Sep 28 '11 at 13:33
    
@Richard It also seems to me like the people of those times used simple words to describe things they did not yet understand. I'm curious to see what people that interpret Genesis literally think. :) –  Paul Sep 28 '11 at 13:36
    
People, when you downvote, it is customary to leave a comment. So, why the downvote? –  Paul Sep 28 '11 at 14:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

See my answer to the question about the firmament. Calling it a "vault" is a bad translation of the Hebrew word, which connotes something thin and stretched out to cover a wide area. God placed an expanse between the waters that were on the Earth (rivers, oceans, lakes, etc) and the waters that were above the earth (clouds).

When the Flood came, all we know is that all the water that was necessary to do the job was employed to flood the Earth. we aren't told where it came from. I've heard speculation that, as this was a miraculous and unique event, God could have brought in extra water that doesn't ordinarily belong to Earth and then sent it away again. But that's just speculation, and we don't really have any way of knowing for sure.

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Massive 'ocean' discovered towards Earth's core Posted by Bernard Alvarez on June 21, 2014 at 11:06am

[separating the water from the water]. So what is a near Hebrew word for 'sky' that may have been erroneously mistranslated?

6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault

Read more: http://thegic.org/profiles/blogs/massive-ocean-discovered-towards-earth-s-core#ixzz35TJGsLpl

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There is a very good explanation of where most of the water came for the flood in this link Explanation of Noah's flood This explanation would give plenty of water to flood the earth.

I do not believe the universe is made of water,but there is evidence of vast amounts of water out there in this link.water on the edge of universe

There are lots of very good material to give a good explanation of the world.And I do not believe God is the author of confusion. Satan is!

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