Date: Mon Jun 23 2003 - 21:17:17 EDT
Regarding the firmament mentioned in Gen 1, Gary wrote,
I was going to suggest that perhaps this isn't a physical barrier at all,
but a pre-
> scientific way of stating that the universe we live in is closed. I'm not
> sure what the current consenus
> on that is... But then someone mentioned the waters above the firmament,
> thus putting a finger on the one weak spot... Drat, and double drat.... :-)
All of the evidence which exists agrees that the firmament is a solid object.
That evidence in a nutshell is:
1. All peoples everywhere on earth until touched by modern science have
believed the sky was literally solid.
2. The peoples of the ancient Near East in particular the dominant cultures
of Egypt and Mesopotamia believed the sky was solid.
3. The firmament in Gen 1 is called "heavens" shamayim; this is cognate with
the Akkadian shama'u which is spoken of in Akkadian documents as made of rock.
4. The only passage in Scripture which indicates the nature of a raqia' , a
firmament, is Ezek 1:22-26; and every commentary which has a comment on that
issue has said the firmament was solid. (I checked 33 of them.)
5. If one says the firmament is atmosphere, one must conclude that the sun,
moon and stars (Gen 1:15, 17) are in the atmosphere!
6. There is NO objective evidence for defining raqia' (firmament) as
Since there is such an abundance of data showing that the firmament is
something solid and absolutely no data showing that it is not solid, the concordist
(and creation science) interpretation of it as non-solid is resting solely
upon a subjective conviction That conviction is apparently the belief that the
doctrine of the scientific inerrancy of Scripture should take precedence over
the Word of God.
You have correctly and with admirable honesty recognized that if the
firmament is the edge as it were of outer space, having water above it (as Scripture
describes) does not work out scientifically. The water of the _tehom_ (Gen 1:2,
6-8), which is a sea not clouds, and is above the firmament is an integral
part of ancient Near Eastern cosmology and was understood by both Jews and
Christians until quite late in history as being literally a sea above the sun, moon
and stars (which were under the firmament.)
For documentation of the above, see Paul H. Seely, "The firmament and the
water above, Part I: The Meaning of raqia' in Gen 1:6-8," Westminster Theological
Journal 53 (1991) 227-240 and "The firmament and the water above, Part II:
The Meaning of 'The Water above the Firmament" in Gen 1:6-8," Westminster
Theological Journal 54 (1992) 31-46
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Mon Jun 23 2003 - 21:18:20 EDT