Heaven is translated as shmim in Hebrew. But, what does come to mind when we first hear the word, ‘heaven’? Usually, we think about a place with clouds and angels. According to the dictionary, it is a place where God lives and dwells. It is often regarded as being above the sky.
Shmim Or Heaven
But, in the Hebrew Bible, heaven first appeared in the first verse of the Book. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”
The word heaven, in Hebrew, is ‘shmim.’ It is spelled as hey, sheen, mem, yood, and mem.
Every letter corresponds to a picture with a pictographic meaning in the Hebrew alphabet.
‘Hey’ is a picture of hands lifted. It means paying attention to what follows, revealing, unfolding, and looking upon.
‘Sheen’ is a picture of teeth or mouth, which means consuming, pressing, and destroying. It is also the only letter in which God identifies Himself.
‘Mem’ has a picture of water. It can refer to the mighty waters like the ocean, massive as the waves of the sea and chaotic and destructive like a tsunami. It can also portray like a stream, peaceful and flowing rainwater that makes the desert bloom. Mem can also mean the word of God that brings life.
Lastly, ‘yood’ is a picture of a hand. It means to work, a mighty deed, or an accomplished purpose.
From the pictographic meanings, we can get three messages. The first message is found in the first letter, ‘hey.’ It reminds us to be observant and to look up with understanding.
Second, the letter ‘sheen’ refers to God Almighty.
The third message is contained in the letters, mem yood mem: Water is separated by God’s mighty hand from the water.
The summary from the messages is clear: Behold God Almighty separating the waters.
So, the heaven in Genesis 1:1 is the waters God is hovering upon and he separated to create the heaven and the earth.
Reference: Living Word