The mystery of the identity of a Firmament!

Let’s first look at a very brief history of the controversy and our present state of view and understanding of the firmament.

(If you were linked to this page of the site first, please see intro and first resolve before continuing here) - A brief history...  
 

I suggest a well researched document entitled ‘Report on the firmament’ by Douglas E. Cox (Google), a fabulous work that is not intended to agree or support this introduced reason of truth but to merely point out the current controversy and different theories argued throughout the centuries in search for the identity of the firmament.

Theories by such minds as John Milton (1608-1674) made the Ptolemaic system of concentric planetary spheres and a stationary earth the cosmological setting for his Paradise Lost (1667).

Thomas Burnet (1635-1715) in the first edition of his sacred theory of the Earth seems to have advanced the suggestion that the firmament was the earth crust itself, which separated the waters of the abyss from those on the surface;

Alexander Alcott (1725-1779) published A Treatise on the Deluge in 1761.

John Whitcomb and Henry Morris’s canopy theory found in the book The Genesis Flood.

Patrick Cockburn and Immanuel Kant, to name a few of the theories that are in this report.

 

The introduction of the report by Mr. Cox reads: This report examines the question of the identity of the firmament in the Bible, made on the second day of Creation Week, as described in the first chapter of genesis.

This is one of the greatest mysteries of all time. Various explanations have been supported; the problem has vexed theologians and philosophers for centuries.

Most creationists and conservative Christians interpret the scriptures which refer to the firmament literally; it represents some real part of the universe.

The firmament, or expanse has been identified with the atmosphere, or distant space, the firmament is associated with a structure of some sort, called a canopy, perhaps consisting of water vapor, or a shell of ice, or rings which once surrounded the earth, which no longer exists. The present study supports the thesis that the firmament of the Bible does not refer to something in the sky at all, but is found within the earth. This concept is explained in this report.

On the other hand, most secular scholars, liberal Christians, and skeptics suppose that the firmament of scripture is simply a relic of a pre-scientific culture. Critical scholars have translated the Hebrew “raqia”, which is rendered “firmament” in the KJV of Genesis 1:6 and as “dome” or “vault” in the modern Bibles. This concept has been prominently featured in the New American Bible, the New English Bible, the Jerusalem Bible, and others. These scholars apparently consider this to be the most accurate rendering of the original, and it is probably the most widely held view about the firmament today”.

Under a section of the report called Waters Above the Heavens? The identification of the firmament with all of space has been proposed by some modern creationists, but the waters above the heaven remain a problem. Herald Armstrong, physics professor at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, and editor of the Creation Research Society Quarterly, wrote:
“The thoughts to be offered here are not at all put forward dogmatically; they are intended merely as a starting-point for further consideration and discussion. Many wise and devout men have considered these matters;

It would be presumption to suppose that my thoughts are better than theirs, but there may be, I hope, something helpful in these remarks… So at this stage there was the earth, still in a formless state, although likely spherical in outline. It likely included much more water than there is now, and was much larger than the present earth… Next God raised a large part of the water, leaving a space was the firmament-the heavens. In a number of places in Scripture it is said that God stretched out the heavens; I suggest that this is the way in which they were stretched out. Moreover, the root idea behind the Hebrew word which is commonly translated “firmament” seems to be stretching or spreading out. In the spreading out some air was provided for the lower part of the heavens… On the fourth day the heavenly bodies were created. Genesis 1:4 says that they were in the firmament; while the waters which were raised were above the firmament. Thus it would seem, if Genesis is taken at all seriously, the waters above the firmament are not the clouds, nor are they the water vapor normally present in the atmosphere, nor are they a canopy of water in some state no more than a few hundred miles above the surface of the Earth. They are at a great distance, beyond the stars. The water there may not necessarily be in the liquid state now”.

Cox goes on to say; as with the other canopy theories, there are immense problems with this interpretation, since the transport of water from the vicinity of the earth to the boundary of the universe or of space seems incredibly inefficient, when God could have just created matter anywhere he wished. The reality of these waters is beyond any possibility of detection, unless the expanding shell of upper waters can be detected in transit – but then, how could light from stars more than a few thousand light years distant still be visible?

The remoteness of these upper waters raises the question why any mention of them would be included in the first chapter of Genesis. Then there is the difficulty posed by the vast distance these waters would have to be transported in a single day.

Cox goes on to ask… How could the space of the entire universe, along with the earth’s atmosphere, have been formed “in the midst of the waters?”

Now this is critical, stated here by Cox at the close of this section to his report Water above the Firmament? He states; Paul’s statement, “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” in Romans 1:18-20 seems to indicate the things God created were intended to reveal God’s nature and power to mankind, which would include the firmament along with the waters both above and below… The firmament is something which can be seen clearly, and its existence has been made known to men. The firmament, according to Psalm 19:1 continues to rank, along with the heavens, as a means for revealing God’s handiwork. It cannot be identified with space or the atmosphere.

 

Joseph Dillow states; Although there is not a statement to this effect in the Bible, a vapor form (i.e., superheated invisible steam) is the only form in which such a vast canopy could be maintained without appeal of special miracle.

The various canopy theories attempt to account for the plausibility of waters above the firmament, assumed to be the atmosphere, states the report.
                                                                                         
Gary L. Johnson wrote: “It appears that a miracle is necessary for any canopy model, either to hold the water up, or to get it down without destroying the earth.”

Strickling points out; “Since the two great lights were placed in the firmament, while the waters above the firmament were above it; if the waters above the firmament were a vapor canopy, the sun and moon would have been beneath the canopy. Hence, the waters above the firmament must have been something other than the earth-encompassing shroud of water vapor so often proposed”.

A detailed critique of the canopy concept presented by Walter Brown is a welcome exception Cox exclaims. In his “Hydro plate theory”, Brown assumes a water layer existed beneath the earth’s crust, which contributed to the waters of the flood when the “fountains of the great deep” were broken up. Brown examines Genesis 1:8, and apparently reaches similar conclusions to these presented in this report; he suggests as a possibility, that “something is mistranslated or inserted” in the first chapter of genesis. Brown wrote: Questions raised by genesis 1:8a

Why then, does Genesis 1:8a state, “And God called the expanse heaven”? Perhaps “heaven” is the proper translation for raqia, and the Septuagint and Vulgate translators incorrectly associated solidness with it. The similarities of raqia with baqia and raqa may be coincidences.

However, if raqia means “heaven,” was water placed above “heaven,” as Genesis 1:7 states? If raqia means the atmosphere in which birds fly (Genesis 1:20), then how could the sun, moon, and stars be placed in the atmosphere (genesis 1:14, 15, 17)?

Since the canopy was placed above the raqia, then were all heavenly bodies inside the canopy?

Either (1) we do not understand the true meaning of raqia, (2) we cannot be equally literal in understanding the highlighted prepositions above, or (3) something is mistranslated or inserted.

If raqia means “heaven,” why was it necessary to add the phrase “of the heaven”? (gen.1:14) That would be redundant. Why do other uses of raqia, which do not have this added phrase, obviously mean a solid expanse?

Finally, notice that Genesis 1:8a defines heaven after the word “heaven” was first used in genesis 1:1. Normally a word’s meaning is understood from the context of its first usage. Furthermore, Genesis 1:1 says that the heavens were created on the first day, while genesis 1:8 says that the thing called “heaven” was made on the second day. Genesis 1:8 seems inconsistent with many verses.

Brown as the report states finds that there are inconsistencies in the creation account, and the crux of the problem is the statement about God assigning the name “Heaven” to the raqia or firmament in verse 8.

It is this forced identification of the raqia with the heaven or sky that seems out of context, and inconsistent with the story of Creation, because, as Brown observes, the creation of the heavens had already been mentioned on verse 1.


Now to be clear, although these are just a few of the parties of this controversy shown here of this report by Cox, we may be able to agree or recognize that, we do not know what the firmament is… 

 

This is the dilemma regarding the account of the beginning of the creation, as we know it to date… 

Failure to understand or see the firmament has been detrimental for men of both sides of this dispute to perceive the historical accuracy of the account itself.

Thereby forcing us to conform to our own wisdom of theory and speculation…

Now as Mr. Cox referred to earlier; Romans 1:20 says “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made even his eternal power and godhead, so that man would be without excuse.”

This stands that the testimony of god, which is the record of the creation of the world, is so evident that man would be without excuse. It must be clearly seen without contradicting what is understood...  

 

Our error, as indicated in the introduction, is the beginning visual premise of the planet. As stated by Professor Armstrong in the ‘Report on the firmament’, He observes; “So at this stage there was the earth, still in a formless state, although likely spherical in outline”... 

The planet cannot be 'without' its form, yet still round or spherical. The 'current' planet or any other planet known 'with' its form, is spherical in outline. 

 

This flawed or inaccurate model (shown in introduction) cannot correspond to the starting premise of the genesis account clearly illustrated in the controversy and confusion of the ‘Report’ by Cox… 

 

The newly accepted scientific ‘impact theory’ implicates an intervening event divided the single planet into two orbiting masses… As submitted earlier however, this ‘dividing event’ is testified verbatim in the literal account, identified by name 

as a ‘firmament’…

 

A firmament being an intervening event that changed the condition of a formless and void planet, 'resulting' in a life inhabiting environment, including a subsequent life sustaining orbiting 'lesser mass', divided apart from the greater mass; as they were together and entirely covered in water… 

To envision a more accurate corresponding model of the account before this dividing event, merely reverse the divide and rejoin the 'current resulting condition' together again as one and cover them under water.  

Question: how would you 'refer' to this huge mass of rock without its form 'covered in water' not understood by name as 'planet or earth' as of yet contextually in the account?

Answer: 'It' was referred to as "the waters"…

 

A purposeful firmament made, divided it (the waters) apart, one under this firmament or divide FROM the one above. This firmament or divide or space in the midst or middle of the two was 'then' called ‘Heaven’… 

 

The now subsequent ‘dry’ that appeared as a result of this divide, referred to as 'the waters' located ‘under’ the ‘firmament of heaven’ as it were; is a huge now rotating planet size mass of rock that was forever since then called Earth… 

Where, is the referred to as 'the waters' located 'above' the firmament of the heaven, that is 'identical' in its chemical make up having been divided FROM 'the waters' that is now declared 'planet earth' located under?

 

                                                                             A Mystery… 
 

Before a firmament was made, there were only two primary elements accounted for according to our documented testament of the account…  1) The Sun… and 2) this huge formless and void element of rock with water all over it…

After God made a Firmament in the midst of the waters and divided it into two, above and under… There are now four primary elements referred to in the account.

1+2=4?... 1) The Sun, 2) the waters under the firmament of the heaven, 3) the waters above the firmament of the heaven and 4) the lesser light that would rule along with the stars also over the night;

                                                                   Which is not a light at all…
           
But a huge gigantic size lesser mass element of rock that is merely reflecting light - from the one and only greater source of light He declared and named day before a firmament or divide was made… 

Where is this lesser mass, now 'set' in its gravitational orbit above the earth, from?

                                                   The revelation to both of these mysteries is this:

Two of these four primary elements of testimony now above earth, are one and the same: 

The lesser light and the waters above 
 

That was divided from the waters under the firmament of the heaven now called earth, when they were together and referred to as “the waters” before they were named…

By understanding the earth and the lesser light as the waters under and the waters above and clearly seeing the firmament He 'called' heaven as the space observed in the midst of the two, relevant only from 'earth's' view point, puts all relative inquiry into perspective regarding the account in chapter 1…

 

It brings light to the question as to where the lesser light comes from regarding the account and scientifically, where the man named “moon” comes from, since they are all one and the same, the waters above, the lesser light and the moon…


How can we prove or validate such a dividing event to have literally happened?  


All that must have been proven by science is to implicate the earth and the lesser light were once together and entirely submerged under water by somehow testing the elements of the moon itself. 


Finding the chemical makeup of its rock identical to that of earth and also discovering ocean water within the moon’s interior basalt - To bear record of the ancient testament of an event that no one on the planet should have or could have possibly known after the fact… 

(See ref. 15, 18, 19) 

And as they were divided apart the lesser mass was held by the greater mass’s gravitational pull, creating a necessary life sustaining orbit around the mass called earth…


Conclusion


This reason of truth, in our midst for thousands of years now, clears up all relative inquiry in question proposed by Dr. Brown and others viewed in the "Report on the firmament", plus a few more... 

 

There was no 'violent spinning' to loose or shake apart this union (G. Darwin-1896). The divide of this formless mass of rock covered in water was deliberately purposeful (well after the solidity of its surface and covering of water). This is the only natural way the oxygen isotope ratio of the now 236,000 miles of divided rock could be 'identical', unlike any other celestial body in our known galaxy. ('The universe' the day the moon was gone). 

 

Impossible if the divide of the mass was in its molten state as suggested in the "impact theory", due to the absence of ocean water covering the mass. The oxygen isotope ratio in the rock itself could have only been 'identical in measure' with the existence of ocean water… The same ancient water in fact, that helped to protect the surface of the covered formless planet from the radiant sun . Once purposefully divided to form, the now rotating larger mass created even more protection with its own atmosphere, resulting in the lone unprotected lesser mass to now disproportionately receive the brunt of the radiant baking sun… (Dr. Alan Smale - Director at NASA/GSFC - Three issues of any 'moon theory' that must naturally be explained).

 

Furthermore, once the lesser mass was set in its gravitational orbit, science could conclude that eventually the 'H2O' covering the lesser mass itself (the waters above as it were) would be drawn by the gravitational pull of the greater mass back to earth, causing a prevailing theorized greenhouse effect and a 'predicted' flood as it were. Now with subsequent provision to the detached earth established, the flooding waters have an ability to recede… (Alberto E. Saal, presence of water Moon's interior)

This can now clear up the vision of your understanding as you look at the conditions that were before and after a firmament was made by God in the account of the creation of the world which are now clearly seen being understood by the things that are made... It does not contradict science or your God given reason and logic. It's inexcusable... 

Science affirms, well after the big bang's universe, something else happen to the planet dividing it in two, creating an environment for life and its inhabitants... 

This dividing event, the Genesis account is proclaiming God to have made and created, identified by name. 

 

Until or unless a firmament was made in the midst of the waters, this huge submerged mass of rock would still be without its form and void, suspended in space and life as we know it here on this one and only rock He called earth, would not be possible, regardless of the irrelevant probabilities as to the origin of the universe, negating its theological implications accusing the account of genesis 1 to be false. 

 

Restoring the validity and thus the authority of the literal account of the creation of the heaven and the earth itself… As testified by the 'only Creator' who could have 'known' and declared it to be so, millenniums before the development and technology of modern Science could prove such an event of creation to be literally accurate and thus establishing the truth of His very WORD… 
 

Now, lets consider 'said word' and the third issue of resolve...