Raqia / Firmaments : Floors of Heaven vs Outer Space?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #21

Is it really? I see no reason to think this. It is perfectly possible for it not to be given how birds are explicitly mentioned as ‘flying in the heavens’ (the name for the firmament) elsewhere.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #22

Never said it did, I just said it’s equivocal, I think we’re even here.

(George Brooks) #23

For symmetry, it should be mentioned each time Day 5 mentions fish in the water.

But it doesn’t happen.

What happens is every time fish are mentioned, birds are mentioned. Yes. Very nice.

But every time Day 5 mentions water, the symmetry is thrown to the wind because Day 5 compares the waters


  1. the firmament as sky
  2. to nothing… birds are mentioned with nothing else, and
  3. the Earth.

The symmetry is on birds - - not on the firmament as sky.

(George Brooks) #24

I agree. We are even here. So, I hope this means you can stop saying

. . . -in- the sky,

when your English interpretation is just as equally speculative as my saying over, near or around - - and I have more choices to rely upon. You have just in.

(George Brooks) #25

Yep… that’s the one. That’s it.

and all the other time, the sky is ignored or contradicted.

Day 2 is about Waters and the Sky.

Day 3 is about Earth.

Day 5 is about fish and birds… and birds and the Earth.

Well, dang, how did that word get in there?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #26

The waters below, ‘and’ the firmament (or the clouds) are both mentioned on day 2, which is parallel to day 5.

(George Brooks) #27

Oh boy.

Look: Day 2 mentions waters below and the waters above… and the firmament.
So, what can we look for to decide whether the firmament is something firm, or something

       You say that the Impressive Symmetry or Parallelism of Day 5 to Day 2 is what
        convinces you that Day 2 must make the firmament airy.

But in THREE parallels of FISH to BIRDS …
we only get One Parallel of Water to Air.
The 2nd one has Water to ____________ (blank/Nada/Nothing); and
The 3rd one has Water to Earth.

You aren’t even batting .500, Reggie! You are batting .333!
This isn’t parallelism of water to air … it’s parallelism of Fish to Birds.
With Water to Air, it’s purely random…

(RiderOnTheClouds) #28

I don’t even know why that matters, birds are still ‘associated’, with the sky.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #29

Tell me what you think of these articles:


(George Brooks) #30


You really should remember the “why” of how your arguments are supposed to work:

The point you were raising is that in the poetry of Day 2 vs. Day 5, you said it was about parallelism between the Waters and the Sky (which I should remind you that the poetry of Day 2 is where it explicitly states that the waters were divided up - - some below and some above the firmament) - - with Day 5 explicitly stating the “where” for finding the Fish and the Birds.

This is where you keep repeating the "birds in the firmament (aka Sky) interpretation. If the text simply says “there were Birds” … what would that prove? Yes, we are pretty sure Birds are in the sky. Absolutely. But you were trying to insist that the firmament cannot be solid, if the birds are said to be flying IN it.

Then, by your own admission, you pointed out that the birds could have been flying across the face of the firmament, and I added, as well as (of course): near the firmament, under the firmament, around the firmament, and so on.

Everything was based on your describing the compelling nature of the parallelism of where the fish were to be found, and where the birds were to be found.

But when we look at the three (3) sections of Day 5 that deal with such matters, what we see is that fish and water are mentioned three times, while birds and the " something/something firmament" is mentioned once, while the 2nd time the writer doesn’t even want to mention at all where the birds are to be found; and in the third and final mention of the birds, the writer avoids the sky completely and says the birds are to be found on “the Earth”.

I trust this ends your love affair with the power of compelling poetry in regards to the firmament. There is just One verse that connects birds to the firmament – and the only reason you fixated on the “in” the firmament translation is because that’s how King James translators preferred to interpret that part of the Hebrew. Not so other teams of translators.

(George Brooks) #31


I’m reading through the article as you request. Generally speaking, I would like to point out that I agree with @Jon_Garvey that the use of the term “dome” is not advised.

So… other than that… I will get back to you on the article.

(George Brooks) #32

In the meantime, @Reggie_O_Donoghue, I would ask you to refresh yourself with the associated meanings of the term to which Creationists like to refer: “expanse”… or “stretched out”.

On one Creationist page, we actually find this very handy description:

רָקִיעַ raqiya` raw-kee’-ah
from 7554; properly, an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky:—firmament.

רָקַע raqa` raw-kah’
a primitive root; to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); by implication, to overlay (with thin sheets of metal):—beat, make broad, spread abroad (forth, over, out, into plates), stamp, stretch.

If you look at the original root, everything about it seems to connect with hammers:

pounding a lump of gold to stretch it out;
pounding thin sheets of gold to overlay an expanse;
pounding to stretch metal across an ordinary space of unadorned material.

As you know, craftsmen can apply gold leaf to flat surfaces, domed surfaces, and variable surfaces found in the complex topology of statues:

Behold the “expanse” of gold hammered onto a four-story Athena, in a full-sized replica of the Parthenon, right here in America - - Nashville, Tennessee!

(George Brooks) #33

External view of the Nashville, TN full-sized replica of the Parthenon, with gold-covered four-story Athena safely inside… truly a wonder of ancient Greek civilization, and now a little appreciated American treasure.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #34

I will say, the The Raqia of Ezekiel 1 and the divine beings alongside it, seem too similar to Babylonian ideas about the jasper heavens to be mere coincidence.

(George Brooks) #35

Yes, @Reggie_O_Donoghue, I found that quite compelling too. It’s by far a better fit than anything we find on the Egpytian view of the celestial architecture.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #36

Okay, so I did some research, according to BibleHub, the cognates to ‘Raqa’ in other Semitic languages (namely Phoenician, Syriac and Arabic) all have a like to something solid, more so than expanding something.


(George Brooks) #37

… that’s good to get that confirmation, @Reggie_O_Donoghue!

Plus, the fact that work in precious metals becomes the very hall mark of “hammering metal out into an expanse”. Which makes the connotations of Raqa doubly meanginful – in that it can be applied to one meaning or another, as well as to both simultaneously.

Whereas the idea that the meaning of “expanse” and “expanding” is hard to explain being applicable to uses of the word that involve “pounding” or “hammering”.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #38

[רָקַע] verb beat, stamp, beat out, spread out (Late Hebrew id.; Hiphil, Aramaic רְקַע Aphel, both spread out, and derivatives; Syriac press down (Luke 6:38 ᵑ6), spread out, also consolidate; Arabic patch, put on a patch, repair, compare Christian-Palestinian Aramaic patch, swaddling-bands, SchwIdioticon 90; Phoenician מרקע platter, or bowl, of gold CISi. 90, 1); —

(RiderOnTheClouds) #39

I don’t think the NIV translation of Raqia as ‘vault’, or ‘dome’ in the NRSV is accurate, I don’t see how you could get a ‘dome’ from the word ‘raqa’. But firmament, plate, or even expanse is good enough.

(George Brooks) #40


I have to agree. I’ve thought @Jon_Garvey made a good case for avoiding “dome” for sure!

“Vault” is a little closer to the gray area… but it depends on how clear the writer makes his intention of “vault” to be. In my experience with the term “vaulted ceiling”, marketing houses to Americans, a “vaulted ceiling” is not necessarily a “curved ceiling”… (though Dictionary.com puts “curved ceiling” as the number one definition.

But certainly marketing people use the term “vaulted” to mean “high” or “deep” ceiling. But when it starts getting complex like this, it is usually a good idea to avoid the term and replace it with a less troublesome one!

I’ve been very careful to avoid “dome” or “vault” ever since my last big discussion with Jon!