Maybe you’re right. The Raqia is the skin which holds back the waters.
You know… if you aspire to being a Karaite … maybe you should get a Karaite on the phone and start talking to one… it could save you years of trial and error.
One interesting Karaite trivia: You know how the Rabbinical teaching about the Sabbath involves someone lighting a candle? Well, that’s fairly counter-intuitive, right? To signal the arrival of the Sabbath (when you aren’t supposed to light any new flames) by lighting a candle!
This was adopted by the non-Karaites to demonstrate outwardly that they were not Karaites!; the latter would never light a candle to mark the arrival of the Sabbath!
With regard to the waters. God made the Raqia ‘in the midst’ of the waters, which presumably are the ‘deep’ in Genesis 1:2, so there is deep water above and below the expanse.
Now if the writer wished to say that the waters were clouds, or a ‘vapour canopy’, he could have just said the expanse was ‘above’ the waters, then had the waters move above the expanse in verse 7. In said the expanse was ‘between’ the deep.
One small thing. The sun is placed ‘in’ the Raqia, when it does not move as one with the stars. How do we explain this?
The stars moved in lock-step around the Pole Star, suggesting the discipline of a military unit - - the so-called Host of Heaven (Army of the Sky).
The 5 planets plus the sun and the moon did not follow these locked courses… which is one of the reasons the ancients thought they were especially conscious and powerful. For the Sumerians, it was easy to believe Mars, or the Moon or the Sun were intelligent and divine.
The latter day Hebrew would have to strike that middle ground - - somehow explaining these objects in the sky as natural - - but not divine.
In terms of interpreting movement, frankly I think the rotation of the whole starry sky around the pole would have been the most challenging to interpret… if only because of the perfection of their circles…
The Ancient Hebrews did believe the stars were divine, even the circumpolar stars:
And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left;
Oh, I don’t doubt that at all. It figures relatively prominently in the Dead Sea texts as well.
The “righteous” were hopeful of ascending and becoming a light in the heaven… thus indicating that righteous ascended individuals emitted light from their bodies (just as Moses, Elijah and Jesus did at the “Transfiguration”.
So… why would anyone doubt that the “the Wanderers” (in Greek, “planetes”) were also conscious beings?
The point I’m trying to make was that it was embedded in the Raqia for some strange reason.
Is it a strange reason? Or is it strange that it is really the only reasonable thing to do?
“And 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. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth…”
The Hebrew word for “set” can also mean “assigned” or even “awarded”. Were these items “installed” like jewels in a crown? Or did he simply give these things (with the power to levitate) the realm of the firmament?
Clearly the Moon and the Sun couldn’t be “set” in the same way as the stars … because the stars moved the same way, all the time… and the moon and the sun moved independently of the stars, as well as independently of each other.
It would be centuries before anyone decided that each of the 5 planets, the moon and the sun had their own “solid crystalline sphere”, right?
So, I’m forced to believe that the Hebrew expectation was that the “Seven of Heaven” had their own power to move and their own power to choose direction.
So I think raqia is probably best translated as ‘solid expanse’. It is said to be ‘spread out’ over the heads of the Cherubim, yet it’s root word is constantly associated with pounding out.
You will be delighted to know that multiple time-keepers agree that you
are right on schedule…
Time for some more devil’s advocate:
- Could the Raqia merely be the space ‘between’ earth and the clouds?
- Could the waters above have evaporated into clouds ‘after’ they were initially separated?
I don’t see any difference between your prior use of the term “Expanse” and your new fancy: “between earth and the clouds”.
However, the question regarding “evaporation” seems to be answered by the lengthy discussion in 1 Enoch regarding the writer’s extensive descriptions and observations regarding where the firmament could be seen, and where the firmament could NOT be seen!
I sent it to Holding, to see what he thought
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So I wrote an blogpost where I set out my case for a solid Raqia, in response to an article by JP Holding (who I used to like until now) for AiG. I sent the blogpost to Holding, and in return he publicly mocked me on Theology web:
So I understand that I did something wrong here. Can anyone provide some constructive criticism of my post here:
What is wrong with it?
This matters because if the Hebrews did not think the sky is solid, then Genesis ‘is’ a work of science, and the TE/EC view of Genesi (as well as evolution as a whole) is jeopardised.
Reggie, I can’t help you with your specific comments at the moment because I don’t have time… But I think this sounds like a false dichotomy to me. Even if the firmament with some kind of fluid type of thing it doesn’t mean at all that Genesis is a work of science.
Let’s take a deep breath here it’s going to be OK!
I am curious though how you came to these conclusions where every single possible interpretation that someone (who acknowledges evolution as being well supported by evidence) of the early chapters of Genesis is therefore null and void.