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Water Vapour in the SKy


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I am reading a (secular) book and it is talking about creation as depicted in Genesis. At one point it mentioned the term "firmament" ("raqiya") and gave its meaning (something that is hammered out, like a bronze tin or similar). I double checked this online and one of the first hits that came up was the following: 

 

www.ancient-hebrew.org/definition/firmament.htm

 

Granted I haven't clarified the "source" of the site, but I was interested in this particular part:

 

"There are some scientists who have speculated that before the flood there was a thick sheet of water surrounding the earth up in the atmosphere."

 

Do they? Could someone provide a link where I can study this more in depth please? 

 

What is really interesting is that in the Hebrew language the word "raqiya" (i.e. the firmament) means "atmosphere" and not something like beaten bronze/metal. You can find that here (in verse 6 below): 

 

www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen1.pdf

 

If "raqiya" is "atmosphere" I don't believe that Genesis teaches a sky dome as some say.

 

EDIT: But then, one of the first website I hit (I asked a similar question), was another Christian (or at least Judeo-Christian) site, that says "yes", raqiya does mean something solid. What's going on, is the Hebrew translated English online bible I provided in the second link above, wrong?

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According to Wikipedia, the word "firmament" translates shamayim (שָׁמַיִם) or rāqîaʿ (רָקִ֫יעַ), a word used in Biblical Hebrew. Shamayim is translated as "heaven". Rāqîa derives from the root raqqəʿ (רָקַע), meaning "to beat or spread out thinly", e.g., the process of making a dish by hammering thin a lump of metal.[5][6].  

 

No idea how they got “atmosphere” from that.  Actually I do have an idea: they thought ‘atmosphere’ would be less embarrassing than ‘solid dome’.  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmament

 

 

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If we are taking a literal interpretation of Genesis, then the general language, and especially the windows of the firmament opening to release water implies a cosmology such as this:

Hebrew_Cosmology.png

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I see you're still looking for something, anything, that might lend some validity to the mythology of a small group of Bronze Age tribesmen. The same ones who said bats are birds, snakes talk and plants came into existence on Day Three but the sun didn't show up until Day Four? I'm sure you'll find it if you close one eye and look hard enough with the other.

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23 hours ago, florduh said:

I see you're still looking for something, anything, that might lend some validity to the mythology of a small group of Bronze Age tribesmen. 

 

No I am not. 

 

EDIT: Sorry, my initial reply was terse of me. I am researching theist and no-theist claims and weighing up the evidence as I continue my journey. I'm trying to make sure I am doing the right thing. At least, trying to make sure as much as I possible can. 

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11 minutes ago, florduh said:

I see you're still looking for something, anything, that might lend some validity to the mythology of a small group of Bronze Age tribesmen. The same ones who said bats are birds, snakes talk and plants came into existence on Day Three but the sun didn't show up until Day Four? I'm sure you'll find it if you close one eye and look hard enough with the other.

 

I don't think Seajay is looking for any reasons to hang on, it is more he is trying to make sure he is not making a mistake if he ever decides to leave the faith. He reminds me of myself whenever I was going through the deconversion process, I wanted to make sure there was not some outlying information that might validate the general claims of Christianity. I did not want to step out and end up regretting it later.

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5 minutes ago, Hierophant said:

 

I don't think Seajay is looking for any reasons to hang on, it is more he is trying to make sure he is not making a mistake if he ever decides to leave the faith. He reminds me of myself whenever I was going through the deconversion process, I wanted to make sure there was not some outlying information that might validate the general claims of Christianity. I did not want to step out and end up regretting it later.

 

I don't think I could have said it better myself. And I have tried. 

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This is interesting, two schools of thought about why the term "firmament" was used for "raqiya"

 

Secular book I'm reading:

 

"Hebrew scholars translate their Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint or LXX version of the Hebrew Bible) and employ the Greek word stereoma, based on stereos, which means "firm/hard,  as the closest equivalent to the Hebrew word, raqia."

 

Christian website (which I only read because I wanted to make sure the secular version was accurate):

 

"But which is the correct term to use? Where did the word firmament come from? The Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures produced by Jewish scholars in the third century BC at the request of the Egyptian pharaoh) translates raqia into the Greek word stereoma, which connotes a solid structure. Apparently, the translators of the Septuagint were influenced by the Egyptian view of cosmology, which embraced the notion of the heavens being a stone vault (after all, they were doing their translation work in Egypt!). Later, this Greek connotation influenced Jerome to the extent that, when he produced his Latin Vulgate around AD 400, he used the Latin word firmamentum (meaning a strong or steadfast support). The King James translators merely transliterated this Latin word—and thus was born the firmament."

 

So, the secular suggests stereoma because that meant a solid surface, and thus, was the closest equivalent to the Hebrew "raqia" (which by logic, would suggest that too meant a solid surface), and the Christian suggests it was used because they were influenced by Egypt's view of cosmology. And that influenced Jerome that he chose firmamentum (which means strong/steadfast). KJV transliterated it into firmament. Sure, but, the initial choice of stereoma was used because it most resembled what raqia meant, a solid surface. I see no issue with the secular proposal. 

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2 hours ago, SeaJay said:

I am reading a (secular) book and it is talking about creation as depicted in Genesis. At one point it mentioned the term "firmament" ("raqiya") and gave its meaning (something that is hammered out, like a bronze tin or similar). I double checked this online and one of the first hits that came up was the following: 

 

www.ancient-hebrew.org/definition/firmament.htm

 

Granted I haven't clarified the "source" of the site, but I was interested in this particular part:

 

"There are some scientists who have speculated that before the flood there was a thick sheet of water surrounding the earth up in the atmosphere."

 

Do they? Could someone provide a link where I can study this more in depth please? 

 

What is really interesting is that in the Hebrew language the word "raqiya" (i.e. the firmament) means "atmosphere" and not something like beaten bronze/metal. You can find that here (in verse 6 below): 

 

www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen1.pdf

 

If "raqiya" is "atmosphere" I don't believe that Genesis teaches a sky dome as some say.

 

EDIT: But then, one of the first website I hit (I asked a similar question), was another Christian (or at least Judeo-Christian) site, that says "yes", raqiya does mean something solid. What's going on, is the Hebrew translated English online bible I provided in the second link above, wrong?

     The Jewish version (Chabad) translate it "expanse."  In Genesis 1:20 and Ezekiel 1:22 they also translate it "expanse."  I don't know if I'd equate this with "atmosphere."  It seems different to "firmament" as well.  An expanse can be pretty much anything that is "spread out" over a large area.  It could be something like land, air or sea.

 

     Josephus claims that there was a sort of crystalline dome(?) placed around the earth at creation.  He claims that his knowledge of Greek was limited (as it was frowned upon in his society at the time so he learned other languages later on) so the assumption would be he gathered this from his reading of the texts as a priests as well as whatever traditions may have been floating about.  It was probably influenced by whatever ideas about cosmology were in existence but when they came to exist and how they came to influence him aren't something we will probably get to know.  What we can learn from this is people are taking our own knowledge of cosmology and doing this same thing.

 

          mwc

 

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17 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

Apparently, the translators of the Septuagint were influenced by the Egyptian view of cosmology, which embraced the notion of the heavens being a stone vault (after all, they were doing their translation work in Egypt!

 

Oh, apparently this happened. Whether or not this is true is unknowable, but it stinks of apologetics trying to reconcile the Bible with modern day cosmology. I would ask these series of questions:

 

1. When did the Egyptians stop believing the earth had a dome on it?

2. Is there any reason at all to believe that Ptolemy II told the translators to incorporate Egyptian beliefs, even if they held to a certain cosmology at the time of the translation?

3. Since when did writing in a geographical location insinuate incorporation of local beliefs and customs?

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3 hours ago, SeaJay said:

"There are some scientists who have speculated (emphasis added) that before the flood there was a thick sheet of water surrounding the earth up in the atmosphere."

 

Which scientist? What do they mean by speculated, i.e., sounds like something pulled out of someone's backside. I hate whenever a claim like this is made but no source is provided.

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7 minutes ago, Hierophant said:

 

Which scientist? What do they mean by speculated, i.e., sounds like something pulled out of someone's backside. I hate whenever a claim like this is made but no source is provided.

My thoughts exactly. It's all very, wishy-washy. 

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11 minutes ago, Hierophant said:

 

Oh, apparently this happened. Whether or not this is true is unknowable, but it stinks of apologetics trying to reconcile the Bible with modern day cosmology. I would ask these series of questions:

 

1. When did the Egyptians stop believing the earth had a dome on it?

2. Is there any reason at all to believe that Ptolemy II told the translators to incorporate Egyptian beliefs, even if they held to a certain cosmology at the time of the translation?

3. Since when did writing in a geographical location insinuate incorporation of local beliefs and customs?

Not sure what you mean by #1

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7 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

Not sure what you mean by #1

 

The Christian website insinuated the translators reworked Genesis under Egyptian influence of a hard dome over the earth. What I am getting at is what year did they do the translation and did the Egyptians still believe in a domed earth at that time? For example, say Egyptians, by and large, bought into a round earth CIRCA 1,000 BCE, but the translation did not happen until 3rd Century BCE. By the time the translation happened, generally speaking, Egyptians did not hold to an domed earth anymore, so it would not really make sense that they were "influenced" by Egyptian cosmology.

 

I am not really sure why that Christian website stated what it did, I am trying to figure out their though process....which is probably no more than making stuff up.

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2 minutes ago, Hierophant said:

 

The Christian website insinuated the translators reworked Genesis under Egyptian influence of a hard dome over the earth. What I am getting at is what year did they do the translation and did the Egyptians still believe in a domed earth at that time? For example, say Egyptians, by and large, bought into a round earth CIRCA 1,000 BCE, but the translation did not happen until 3rd Century BCE. By the time the translation happened, generally speaking, Egyptians did not hold to an domed earth anymore, so it would not really make sense that they were "influenced" by Egyptian cosmology.

 

Of course. Good point. Thanks for clarifying. 

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     Well, people have already reacted to my post so I'll just follow-up here.

 

     I probably should have give some reasons why a solid surface of some sort might be preferred.

 

     Genesis describes the whole thing being separated into layers.  There's a layer on the bottom that is water/land, the layer we're talking about here, and another layer of water above that.  So a sandwich with water as a bread and "something" as the meat.  What is that "something?"  They had no idea that there was no air in space so to say there was "atmosphere" in space isn't entirely inaccurate.  But is it accurate?  The same for "expanse?"

 

     What I'm saying is we're told that in this "sandwich" not only is this the area where birds fly about (so an "atmosphere") but it's also where the sun, moon and stars are placed (not really the same place but they didn't know this).  We're also told it's called the "sky" or "heaven."  So inside this area is the "sky."  Above this area is water.  Which means beyond the sun, moon and stars is a lot of water but since they didn't know about modern physics it could not orbit it had to rest on something.  What would that something be?

 

     Looking at the Flood story we're told that there are "windows" of some sort that allow the water through.  This further indicated the water is resting on a surface and that it flows downward unless restrained.  This is fully expected of water.  They knew it flowed downhill just as we do.  Even ignoring this later chapter the separated waters in Genesis 1 need to rest somewhere.  We can't have them "float" about.

 

     Likewise they would not have been able to conceive of the various astronomical objects simply "floating" in space.  They would need them to be attached by some means to something (ie. hanging lights, fixed, something/someone unseen repositioning them, etc.).  There are non-canonical stories of angels moving the stars about.  The author of Genesis here didn't seem to concern themselves with this level of detail.  It's more about that it was as opposed to how it was.

 

          mwc

 

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And apparently there were other storied in the ANE that were quite similar. 

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SeaJay,

 

"There are some scientists who have speculated that before the flood there was a thick sheet of water surrounding the earth up in the atmosphere."

 

From the quote you posted, shown above, I can realize that there is no validity in it. No PhD scientist in geology would believe or even speculate as to the flood of the bible being possible, or to the possibility that a thick sheet of water could have surrounded the entire Earth within the existence of humankind. As you probably realize, the flood of the Bible  would have happened less than twelve thousand years ago. In geologic studies of the Earth there has probably never been a time when a thick sheet of water surrounded the Earth, at least not in the last 50 million years. When above the Earth, water is in the form of water vapor which forms into clouds. With or without a surrounding atmosphere of gases, water above the surface of the Earth spreads out as a gas and cannot stay together as a liquid. Very thick clouds can create a lot of rain, but PhD scientists in these related fields believe the flood of the bible is just a fantasy which might have had its basis in the pre-history floods of Mesopotamia. Such a world-wide flood was originally  written in the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh before the old Testament was written.

 

Of course religious people could say that God can do anything including removing the evidence for any such occurrences.  But if you believe there is any credible scientist that believes in the possibility of the above quote, post the link to such speculation.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_flood_narrative

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_myth

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh_flood_myth

 

 

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3 hours ago, pantheory said:

Of course religious people could say that God can do anything including removing the evidence for any such occurrences.  But if you believe there is any credible scientist that believes in the possibility of the above quote, post the link to such speculation.

It's funny how they'll doubt everything scientists say that's not convenient to them, boldly declare God can make anything happen without need for scientific explanation, and then turn around and needily refer to an unspecified community of so-called scientists for "validation". Everything they say and do is willy-nilly, self-serving, and insufferably needy for validation.

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On 7/4/2020 at 7:34 AM, TABA said:

 

No idea how they got “atmosphere” from that.  

 

If you read  Genesis 1:20 then it would be obvious why  the term 'firmament' is associated with the atmosphere. 

 

22 hours ago, mwc said:

   Likewise they would not have been able to conceive of the various astronomical objects simply "floating" in space. 

 

Oh okay, as long as you say so....

 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothingJob 26:7

 

20 hours ago, pantheory said:

When above the Earth, water is in the form of water vapor which forms into clouds.

 

So why does NASA claim on it's website that "a cloud is made of water drops or ice crystals floating in the sky."?  

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2 hours ago, Justus said:

So why does NASA claim on it's website that "a cloud is made of water drops or ice crystals floating in the sky."?  

 

Jesus, could you help us with this one? Please post your answer in this thread if you would. 

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1 hour ago, Justus said:

 

If you read  Genesis 1:20 then it would be obvious why  the term 'firmament' is associated with the atmosphere. 

     I did.  It's not clear for a modern reader.  Two sorts of things are placed here one being birds and the other being celestial objects.  If it were just birds I would be fine with atmosphere.  In fact, if you look at my later post I stated that ancients thought that the atmosphere extended everywhere including to the stars so for an ancient reader this is not entirely incorrect.  Birds were thought to be able to fly to "space" (a misnomer here) or "heaven" where the stars were and visit the realm of the gods.  Again, for a modern reader, this is not the case and so unclear.

 

1 hour ago, Justus said:

 

Oh okay, as long as you say so....

 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothingJob 26:7

     Yep.  Saith Job.  I'm only considering Genesis.

 

     But since you brought it into the mix, what you're saying is that Job describes Earth floating in space but 4 verses later says "The pillars of the heavens trembled and are astonished from His rebuke."  I know, Heaven can have pillars, but this is the same thing as described in Genesis 1:8 (look at the underlying language).  So now it also has pillars.  My guess is they're holding up the roof.  The land (or earth) is the floor and it's hanging over nothing (like a lower floor would an empty room, perhaps an unfinished, undefined, area).

 

     mwc

 

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Other corollary stories that are based on the primitive cosmology are the Tower of Babel ("bab" is gate, "el" is god) which spooked god into scrambling their languages (babble), and when Jesus floated "up" to heaven above the clouds, the same place we fly airplanes and spacecraft. This is echoed in other primitive faiths like Islam where Mohammed flew to heaven on a flying horse. 

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