Author Topic: What Is The Firmament?  (Read 790 times)

Offline Ploughboy

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What Is The Firmament?
« on: December 10, 2018, 06:36:38 AM »
The following FB link below refutes the flat earth view of the firmament and provides a real explanation for the firmament.
https://www.facebook.com/AnsweringFlatEarthLies/posts/596053957516503?__tn__=K-R

For all other flat earth heresies debunked
https://www.facebook.com/pg/AnsweringFlatEarthLies/posts/?ref=page_internal
"The heauens are thine, the earth is thine: thou hast layed the foundation of the rounde world, and al that therin is."
~ Psalm 89:11, 1537 Matthew-Tyndale Bible

Online Solar

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Re: What Is The Firmament?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2018, 06:51:57 AM »
Faceplant? I haven't used that shit in ages, anyway, not since they started banning Conservatives.
If you can find another source, people here might discuss the issue, most of us deleted our Faceplant, or as some call it, Fascistbook accounts.
#WWG1WGA

Offline Ploughboy

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Re: What Is The Firmament?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2018, 11:17:14 AM »
🌎What Is The Firmament?

💭Contents:
🎯1. Definitions.
🎯2. Scripture Mentions More Than One Heaven.
🎯3. Is There A Sky Made Out Of Metal?
🎯4. St. John of Damascus (676 - 749 A.D) -- On The Heavens.
🎯5. Isaiah 40:22
🎯6. The Conclusion of the Matter
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🎯1. Definitions

The firmament has become an unhealthy obsession with flat earthers who simply are not interested in what the firmament actually means. So they have forcefully made up their own body of theology around the firmament which has become the beating heart of the flat earth movement. So here we will learn what the firmament is and why flat earthers are, once again, on the losing side of the debate.

The first mentioned of the firmament (H7549. רָקִיעַ râqîyaʻ), is found in Genesis 1:6 in the KJV,  which says:

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“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. “
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Before we go on any further we need to know the definition of “firmament”?

Firmament/Expanse from The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:
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"H7549. רָקִיעַ râqîyaʻ, raw-kee'-ah; from H7554; properly, an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky:—firmament.
(1) Raqiya means that which is fixed and steadfast, rather than that which is solid. (1a) The application to the heavenly bodies is simple and beautful: (b) they are not fickle and uncertain in their movements, but are regulated by a law that they cannot pass over. (2) It comes from raqa (7554) which means spread out. The firmament, then is that which is spread or stretched out--hence an expanse. Thus it is extended and fixed, or fixed space. (3) The interplanetary spaces are measured out by God, and though the stars are ever moving, they generally preserve fixed relative positions; their movements are not erratic, not in straight lines, but in orbits, and thus, though ever changing, they are always the same."
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Flat earthers try to assign such a literal meaning to the firmament as to claim Genesis 1:8 is speaking about a solid, hard, metal dome that cannot ever be penetrated by anything--not anything coming from space to earth, or anything from the earth leaving for space.  Flat earthers want us to literally believe the Bible is teaching us about a sky literally made out of metal or glass or some solid structure. But as you can see there is no dome. Though our Lord Jesus did say this about the fall of Lucifer:

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“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Lk.10:18).
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So Satan fell from heaven. But what is heaven?  Is Jesus speaking about Strong’s H8064  שָׁמַיִם shâmayim or Strong’s G3772 οὐρανός ? Jesus is in fact speaking about Strong’s G3772 which is so surprisingly well defined that you will have no problem following it.  Here is the Greek definition of οὐρανός, used in Luke 10:18 as “heaven,”

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible,

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“3772, οὐρανός [284x] ouranós, oo-ran-os'; perhaps from the same as G3735 (through the idea of elevation); the sky; by extension, heaven (as the abode of God); by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel (Christianity):—heaven [268x], air [10x], sky [5x], heavenly + 1537 [1x].
Ouranós, is used in the NT (1) of “the aerial heavens,” e.g., Mt.6:26; 8:20; Acts 10:12;  11:6 “air”; Jas.5:18; (2) “the sidereal” (i.e. the starry heavens), e.g., Mt.24:29, 35; Mk 13:25, 31; Heb 11:12, “sky”; Rev 6:14; 20:11; (3) they, (1) and (2), (3a) were created by the Son of God, Heb 1:10, as also (3b) by God the Father, Rev 10:6; (4) “the eternal dwelling place of God,” Mt 5:16; 12:50; Rev 3:12; 11:13; 16:11; 20:09. (5) From thence the Son of God descended to become incarnate, Jn 3:13; 6:38, 42. (6) He “passed through the heavens,” Eph 4:10, and was “made higher than the heavens,” Heb 7:26; (7) He “sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 1 Pet 1:12. (9) Since His ascension it is the sense of His present life and activity. e.g., Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24.
(10) From thence the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, 1 Pet 1:12. (11) It is the abode of the angels, e.g., Mt 18:10; 22:30; cf. Rev 3:5.  (12) Thither Paul was “caught up,” whether in the body or out of the body, he knew not, 2 Cor 12:2. (13) It is to be the eternal dwelling place of the saints in resurrection glory, 2 Cor 5:1. (14) From thence Christ will descend to the air (14a) to receive His saints at the Rapture, 1 Th 4:16; Phil 3:20, 21, and (14b) will subsequently come with His saints and with His holy angels at His second advent, Mt 24:30;  2 Th 1:17 (15) In the present life “heaven” is the region if the spiritual citizenship of believers, Phil 3:20 (16) The present “heavens,” with the earth. are to pass away, 2 Pet 3:10, “being on fire,” v 12 (see v 7); Rev 20:11, and (17) new “heavens” and earth are to be created, 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1 with is Isa 65:17 (18) In Lk 15:18, 21, “heavens” is used, by metonymy, for God.”
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So οὐρανός  means heaven (singular, as sky) and heavens (plural, as in the heavens beyond the earthly sky). Eph 4:10 says how Jesus ascended beyond the heavens:

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“He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”
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So Jesus left the earth while Lucifer entered it. This does not appear to be an impenetrable sky made of metal.

But is there more than one heaven/expanse?

Hebrew Definition of heaven/heavens defined in The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:

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"8064. [420x] Shamayin, shaw-mah'-yim; dual of an unused sing.
Shameh, shaw-mah'; from an unused root meaning to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the dual perb. alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve): -- heaven (39x), air [21x], astrologer + 1895 [1x].

Introduction: Sometimes it signifies the atmosphere immediately surrounding the earth, in which the fowls of the air fly. Sometimes it is used of the space in which the clouds are floating. In other places it refers to the vast expanse through which the starts are moving in their courses. It is opposed to sheowl (7585), the one being regarded as a place of exaltation, the other of degradation; the one being represented as the dwelling place of the Most High and the angels of God, the other as the abode of the dead. It includes all space that is not occupied by the terrestrial globe, and extends from the air we breathe and the winds we feel around us to the firmament or expanse that contains the innumerable stars. This is includes, and exceeds for where our intellect ceases to operate, and fails to find a limit to the extension of space, there faith comes in. And while before the eye of the body there is spread out an infinity of space, the possession of the super-material nature brings us into communion with a Being whose nature and condition cannot adequately be described by terms of locality or extension. The heavens and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. The countless stars are not only known and numbered by Him, but are called into existence and fixed in their courses by His will and wisdom. Where He is, there the true heaven is; and the glories of the firmament faintly shadow forth the ineffable bliss that those must realize who are brought into relationship with Him.
(1) Shamayim is the usual for the sky and the realm of the sky (1a) birds fly (Duet.4:17). (1b) This area, high above the ground below the stars and heavenly bodies, is often a locus of visions (1 Chr. 21:16). (2) This word represents an area farther removed from the earth's surface (2a) from which come such things as (2a1) frost (Job 38:29), (2a2) snow (Is 55:10), (2a3) fire (Gen 19:24), (2a4) dust (Deut 28:24), (2a5) hail (Josh 10:11), and (a26) rain (Gen 8:2). (2b) This realm is God's storehouse; God is (3a) the dispenser of the stores and Lord of the realm (Deut 28:12). (2c) This meaning of shamayim occurs in Gen 1:7-8. (3) Shamayim also represents the realm in which the sun, moon, and stars are located (Gen 1:14). (4) The phrase "heaven and earth" may denote the entire creation (Gen 1:1). (5) Heaven is the dwelling place of God (Ps 2:4; Deut 4:39; 26:15). (5a) Another expression representing the dwelling place of God is "the highest heaven" [literally, the heaven of heavens] (Deut 10:14). (5b) This does not indicate height, but also an absolute--i.e., God's abode is a unique realm not to be identified with a physical creation. Syn.: 7834. See TWOT--2407a; BDB--1029c, 116a."
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🎯2. Scripture Mentions More Than One Heaven.

There are three heavens:

 1. The Atmospheric Heaven - The First Heaven

Genesis 1:6-8,

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“Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. “
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Genesis 6:7,
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“So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
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Matt.6:4, “
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Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
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James 5:18, NKJV:
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“And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
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James 5:18, MEV: “And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.”

Both NKJV and MEV both refer to the earthly heaven--the sky and atmosphere of the earth.

 2. The Celestial Heaven - The Second Heaven

Gen.1:14-17,
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“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons, and days, and years. 15 Let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 Then God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,”
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Deut.10:14:
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“Indeed, heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.”
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Nehemiah 9:6:
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“You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.”
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 3. Heaven As The Home Of God - The Third Heaven

I Kings 8:27:
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“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? See, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less can this house that I have built?”
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  II Cor. 12:2, 
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“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.”
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As anyone can clearly read, there is more than one heaven.
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🎯3. Is There A Sky Made Out Of Metal?

Flat earthers always cite from Elihu’s narrative in  Job 37:18,

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“With Him, have you spread out the skies,
Strong as a cast metal mirror?" (NKJV)
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Putting away the question of whether Elihu’s narration is relevant to us or not, it would be wise to see what is actually meant by a sky as strong as metal. 

The early church fathers also described the firmament as strong and solid. St.Ambrose, a prominent 4th century church father, says this about the firmament:

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  “But there is something which needs our consideration: there is the question of another word for heaven, ‘firmament,’ and there emerges an aspect and condition of more solid character, to which is added the person of a co-operating agent. For it is written: ‘God divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament” (St.Ambrose, "Hexameron" The Fathers Of The Church series translated by John J. Savage, p.52).
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St.Ambrose does not deny that God made the firmament of a solid nature. He, as well as some other church fathers,  agree the firmament is solid.  None of the early church fathers were scientists, but they did understand word definitions very well. It should also be noted that Bishop Ambrose was overwhelmingly convinced that the Bible taught globe earth. He also believed that the heavens (i.e., space) was so large that we will never fully understand it. So the flat earth view that the firmament is flat is not supported by any ancient Christian leaders.

Strong’s H2389 חָזָק châzâq from the word “strong” used in Job 37:18,

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“[56x] châzâq khaw-zawk’; from 2388; strong (usually in a bad sense, hard, bold, violent):--strong [26x], mighty [20x] sore [3x], stronger [2x], harder [1x], hottest [1x], impudent [1x], loud [1x], stiffhearted [1x].
châzâq as an adjective, means “strong; mighty; heavy; severe; firm; hard.” (1) First, the word means “firm” or “hard” in the sense that something is impenetrable.  (1a) In Eze 3:8-9 the prophet’s face is compared to rock;  (1b) God has made him determined to his task just as Israel is determined not to listen to him: “Behold, I have made they face [hard] against their faces, and thy forehead [hard] against their foreheads. As adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead. . . .” (1c) Job 37:18 uses chazaq of molten solidified metal. (2) Second, this word means “strong.” In its basic meaning it refers to physical strength. God’s hand (an anthropomorphism; cf. Deut 4:15, 19) as a symbol of His effecting His will among men is “strong”: “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand”  (Ex 3:19--the first biblical occurrence). (2a) This word modifies a noun, specifying that it is the opposite of weak, or unable to effect anything (Num 13:18). (2b) Isaiah speaks of God’s “sore and great and strong sword” (27:1). (2c) When Ezekiel wrote of “fat and strong” animals, he probably meant that they are well fed and healthy (34:16). (3) Third,  chazaq meabs “heavy.” (3a)  When applied to a battle or war, it describes the event(s) as severe (1 Sa 14:52). (3b) The word is also used to indicate (3b1) a severe sickness (1 Kin 17:17) and (3b2) famine (1 Kin 18:2).”
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So Strong’s H2389 חָזָק châzâq is applied to anything that is firm, strong, such as the prophet’s face and forehead, and, the firmament (the atmosphere of earth). We can very clearly see that châzâq is an expression which simply means “strong” with a slight exaggeration of emphasis. For example: Was the prophet’s face literally a rock? Was the prophet’s forehead really harder than flint? These are mere comparisons of the strong character of the prophet. Likewise we know the firmament is strong, seemingly impenetrable. We can tell just from reading Elihu’s narrative that the firmness of the firmament was something discussed but its actual nature was uncertain to mankind until the 20th century. The proof is right there in Elihu’s narrative, once again, in Job 37:18. I’ll quote from some older translations predating the 20th century.

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“Thou perhaps hast made the heavens with him, which are most strong, as if they were of molten brass” (Douay Rheims Bible).
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“Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” (KJV).
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“Hast thou helped him to spreade oute the heauen, which is to loke vpon, as it were cast of cleare metall?” (1537 Matthew’s Bible).
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  “Hast thou helped him to spreade out the heauens which are strong and bright as a loking glasse” (1568 Bishop’s Bible).
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So we have:

1. “which are most strong, as if they were of molten brass”
2. “which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?”
3. “which is to loke vpon, as it were cast of cleare metall?”
4. “which are strong and bright as a loking glasse”

Elihu is expressing the clarity and strength of the firmament in general relationship to God’s handiwork of creation (e.g. Psalm 19:1). We see many expressions in the Bible from a human perspective which attempt to describe something. In Exodus 24:9-10 the Israelites see God (or what God reveals of Himself) and give this description:

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“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.”
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This is a similar description of the firmament but coming from a human perspective. What did not come from a strict human perspective is the actual account itself. The Israelites really did see God. But they gave their own description based on the knowledge and the vocabulary to express that knowledge.  If you saw God you would likewise provide a description which you would draw from the best of your knowledge in the vocabulary of that knowledge. Likewise the firmament is written in Genesis and Jews and Christians are trying to describe what it means based on what is written about it. The account is genuine but attempts to understand it are never flawless. With that said, the early church fathers understood what the word meant but did not fully grasp its nature in relation to our knowledge of modern science.

 Flavius Josephus (37-100 A.D. was a Jewish historian who wrote the Antiquity of the Jews in 70 A.D. He gives an account of the firmament without attempting to go into depth to explain it.

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“After this, on the second day, he placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts; and he determined it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline [firmament] round it, and put it together in a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving moisture and rain, and for affording the advantage of dews” (Antiquity 1:30).
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Josephus knew God created the firmament but he also knows he doesn’t have the knowledge to explain it in great depth so he provides only what he knew about it.
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🎯4. St. John of Damascus (676 - 749 A.D) -- On The Heavens

St.John of Damascus lived in the late 7th century up through the mid 8th century. He gave us the first Christian writing about Islam, which he called them by the name “Ishmaelites” from where their leader descended.  He described the Ishmaelites as being the forerunners of the Antichrist.
St.John was also an Eastern Church father; which, at this time in Christian history, there was no division between Eastern and Western Orthodoxy. There is still only one universal Christian Church at this point in time. He goes into greater depth in providing us the meaning of the heavens. He doesn’t deviate a bit from the Strong’s definition. Remember, you are not reading the words of a scientist. Nobody should expect any of these church fathers to know anything about science.

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“Now, since Scripture speaks of ‘heaven,’ the ‘heaven of heaven,’ and the ‘heavens of heavens,’ and says that the blessed Paul was caught up to the ‘third heaven,’ we say that in the creation of the universe we consider as heavens that which the pagan philosophers, making the teachings of Moses their own, call a starless sphere. And again, God called heaven the ‘firmament,’ which He ordered to be made in the midst of the water and so arranged that it was separated from the midst of the water above the firmament and from the midst of that which is below the firmament. Instructed by sacred Scripture, the divine Basil says that its substance is subtle--like smoke, as it were. Others say that it is watery, because it was made in the midst of the waters. And others say that it was made from the four elements. Still others say that it is a fifth body and distinct from the four elements” (St.John of Damascus “The Orthodox Faith: Book II,”  The Fathers Of The Church series translated by  Frederic H. Chase, Jr, p.211).
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There are three important things we can confirm here: (1) There is more than one heaven (2) the exact nature of the firmament was not fully understood and very well discussed. There was no dogmatic view concerning the exact nature of the firmament. But as for the spherical shape of the earth and its rotation, that had been very well understood from a simple reading and understanding of Hebrew words which even today are understood to mean a 3D circular earth--a globe. (3) Pagans did borrow from Moses (i.e., the Torah which is called the Books of Moses, who compiled the Torah of God).

St.John continues to explain the heavens from Scripture:

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“So there is a heaven of heaven, which is the first heaven and is above the firmament. But now, because God also called the firmament ‘heaven,’ there are two heavens. However, it is customary for sacred Scripture to call the air heaven, too, because of its being seen above, as it says: ‘O all ye fowls of the heaven, bless the Lord,’ meaning the air, although the air is not heaven but the medium of passage for the fowls. Here we have the three heavens of which the divine Apostle spoke. Then, if you want to take the seven spheres as seven heavens, there will be nothing contrary to the Word of Truth. It is also customary in the Hebrew tongue to speak of heaven in the plural as ‘heavens.’ So, when Scripture meant to say ‘heaven of heaven,’ it said ‘heavens of heavens,’ which would mean precisely ‘heaven of heaven’--that which is over the firmament and the waters which are above the heavens, whether over the air and the firmament or over the seven spheres of the firmament, or over the firmament expressed in the plural as ‘heavens’ according to the Hebraic usage” (St.John of Damascus “The Orthodox Faith: Book II,”  The Fathers Of The Church series translated by  Frederic H. Chase, Jr, p.213).
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What St.John of Damascus is saying is something we already read in the Strong’s Concordance. It would be easier just to accept the Hebrew definition from the Strong’s. But since there is so much squabble about the nature of the firmament, and liberal scholars (i.e., pseudo-scholars) are trying hard to redefine Hebrew words so as to get a Democrat elected in 2020, it forces Christians like me to reexplain what has already been explained in the Strong’s.

So a clear reading of St.John’s explanation proves that Gen.1:17 is God placing the sun, moon and stars in the heavens--the second heavens beyond our early firmament. In other words: Space!

The real problem is that too many people don’t realize that the KJV is outdated. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying the KJV mistranslated Genesis chapter one. The people of the 17th century all understood that Gen.1:17 was God placing the sun, moon and stars in the heavens (i.e., the greater expanse of space). Though people here in the 21st century, in an age where illiteracy is the highest in centuries: there are words, expressions, even grammatical rules, that no longer carry the same meaning or grammatical rules of today’s 21st century English speaking people. This is why there are modern translations such as the MEV and NKJV. There is no difference in the meaning of verses in Genesis chapter one from the KJV, MEV, NKJV or RSV. The only thing that differs from the translations mentioned is the grammatical rules. There actually was not set standard of English back in the early 17th century. But today, we have set rules and we read literature and understand it from our modern grammar. So when people read:

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“And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth” (Gen.1:17, KJV),
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They are reading the 17th century grammar which means:

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“Then God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth” (Gen.1:17, MEV).
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Both translations mean the exact same thing as St.John of Damascus clearly pointed out.
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🎯5. Isaiah 40:22

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“It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”
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This is a verse we have read and discussed multiple times. But many are asking: What is the tent? This tent is our atmosphere. And like a tent, it keeps us safe from solar flares and objects from space. Our planet was not poorly made. God knew what He was doing.
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🎯6. The Conclusion of the Matter

So from all that is shared here about the firmament, how can we 21st century people understand it? The firmament/expanse of the earthly heaven is in no way like metal. Its much more solid than metal! This is true! Our earthly heaven is much more solid than iron or metal. This is scientifically proven, too. Indeed, when meteorites enter into our atmosphere what happens to them? They burn up! Yet are not meteorites a solid structure like large rocks we see on earth? Sure they are. And still they burn up into nothing. It takes a very large asteroid to make through the firmament to impact the earth.
But what about metal? Surely the firmament is much weaker than metal, right? Absolutely not! In  2003, space shuttle Columbia  blow up reentering our atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts on board. The metal of the space shuttle was not stronger than the firmament. It takes a great deal of knowledge to leave earth and reenter the atmosphere of the planet. This knowledge of physics was not know until the 20th century. If all precautions are not properly carried out, a space shuttle meets the same fate as a meteorite. In order to be an astronaut, a person must have a great deal of knowledge in physics before they can ever pilot any space craft. So the firmament is solid, yet its just flexible enough to allow a smart astronaut to and from space.

Is the firmament clear like glass? Just look at the photo attached to this article and you’ll see its like looking through a window. Though if you throw a rock from a space shuttle to earth the rock will not break the glass-like window of the firmament, but will burn up in mere seconds, never hitting anyone on earth or damaging someone’s car. So in conclusion the firmament is solid, strong, capable of keeping the earth safe from cosmic threats that would have wiped us out long ago had our atmosphere not been created so...strong.
"The heauens are thine, the earth is thine: thou hast layed the foundation of the rounde world, and al that therin is."
~ Psalm 89:11, 1537 Matthew-Tyndale Bible

 

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