The Firmament:
The "Firm" Sky

The Firmament

raqiya:

1.) extended surface (solid), expanse, firmament

    1a) expanse (flat as a base, support)

    1b) firmament (vault of heaven supporting waters above)

        1b1) considered by Hebrews as solid and supporting ‘waters’ above

– from the Online Bible Hebrew Lexicon

Notice that everything about "the firmament" (the sky) in the definition given by the Online Bible's Hebrew lexicon says that it is solid.

That's a shocking statement. The Bible teaches that the sky is solid. But think about this for a moment.

This is a web site on evolution, directed at Christians from a Christian. So any creationist that opposes evolution (as contrasted to myself, a creationist that agrees with evolution) is going to be on guard. My words are particularly harsh and difficult to deal with.

What Kind of Christian am I?

When I say I'm a Christian, let me tell you what I mean.

I mean that I believe the Bible is inspired. I believe that Jesus Christ has called us all to repent, forsake everyone and everything for the sake of his kingdom (Luke 14:26-33), follow his Spirit, and obey his commands … literally.

I'm one of the main teachers in a Christian community of 250 people who have devoted themselves to living out the life of Christ, together, here on earth, in obedience to the Scriptures. I live my life in hope of the kingdom of God and eternal life.

I just think that God doesn't want me to pretend the Bible says things that it doesn't. Deceit, ignorance, and intellectual dishonesty are of no benefit to God.

Somebody, however, wrote that definition for the lexicon. In this case, it was James Strong, the creator of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.

James Strong was professor of exegetical theology at Drew Theological Seminary (a United Methodist institution) when he published his concordance in 1890, at the ripe age of 68. Since Strong's Concordance is extremely popular among all denominations of Christians, it is apparent that this definition is not so offensive when he says it.

When I say it, however, I'm going to ask you to go to the logical conclusion … 

No Christian Today Embraces
a Literal Interpretation of the Bible

No one believes the sky is solid. No one believes it supports waters.

Why not?

We don't believe it because science says it isn't so.

Even you, Mr. young-earth-literal-King-James-Only fundamentalist. You believe the sky is not solid …

… against the Bible …

because science says so!

Let's just let that sit a while, why don't we?

Take heart. When I was finding out these things, I had no one to help me. It was atheists assaulting me with these obvious truths, and they wanted me to quit believing.

Fortunately, I've had way too much experience with Jesus to do that (link opens in new window). It's impossible for me to quit believing.

So catch your breath first. I understand.

But once you do, I'll need to tell you that … 

The Bible States the Firmament (Sky) Is Solid ...
... Several Times

The most notable one is in Job 37:18:

Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass? (Job 37:18, King James Version, italics indicate words not in original Hebrew)

Is Job 37:18 Really
Scientific Error?

What's amazing is that I was once told that this reference in Job doesn't count as the Bible being scientifically accurate because it's not God directly speaking.

Strangely enough, that very same person had been willing to quote Job 26:7—where Job is speaking—as proof of the scientific accuracy of the Bible. You can't have it both ways!

If we're going to quote Job 26:7, then we need to be prepared to acknowledge Job 37:18.

(Job 27:6 says the earth is hung on nothing, which is fascinating.)

I wanted to give it to you in the original, authorized King James Version first. Here's an updated translation (by me), which you can verify in whatever modern version you might prefer.

Have you spread out the sky with [God], which is as hard as a molded, metal mirror?

Boy, if we thought the word "firmament" indicated a hard sky, it doesn't get any clearer than this!

Finally, If the Firmament is Solid...
...what does it rest on?

The pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he has set the world upon them.

(1 Sam. 2:8)

[God] shakes the earth out of her place, and its pillars tremble.

(Job 9:6)

The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

(Job 26:11)

If the firmament is a solid vault, as it was in Hebrew thinking, then it needed something to rest on. Either the earth or the firmament were seen to rest on pillars, and—as you can see in these verses—the Bible says it rests on pillars three times.

I am not here to shake your faith! If I don't tell you these things, someone else will. There is absolutely no reason that the Bible should be scientifically accurate. Scientific accuracy has nothing whatsoever to do with inspiration.

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