According to the scriptures, the firmament is hard, it holds water back, it stretches well above the earth, and it touches the earth. The stars, the moon, and the sun are within the firmament, and lastly God’s throne sits on top of the firmament. That’s a lot to digest, and I want you to see that these statements come directly from the Bible, not from me, and not from any conspiracy theorists. There’s no conspiracy here—just the Word of God. What you do with these Biblical truths is up to you, so let’s go through them.
The Firmament Separated Solid Water
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. Genesis 1:6-8 (KJV)
I want to show you how uncomplicated Bible interpretation can be . There are many times when it helps to know the historical context, which can include secular history or cultural history or religious tradition, and there are times when it can help tremendously to know the Hebrew or Greek, but I want you to see another very important concept in Bible interpretation.
This is actually a part of what theologians would call hermeneutics and exegesis. This interpretation, as you will see, includes taking the literal meaning of the words, interpreting consistent with the rest of the Bible, and it does not involve forcing any extraneous world views into the interpretation. It also includes good old fashioned common sense. This is why this is within the rules of good Bible interpretation. We’ll take this one step at a time, and you’ll see how you can do this yourself.
Starting in Genesis 1:6, God created what he called a firmament (from nothing), and he placed it in the midst of the waters. At this point we don’t know much about the firmament, except that it is in the midst or middle of “the waters.” What is water? We all know what water is, because we drink it, we cook with it, we make coffee with it, we bath in it, we wash our dishes with water, and we water our flowers and plants with water. We also see water when we look across a lake or an ocean. Pretty blue may come to mind, or images of speed boats or sail boats on water may come to mind.
Water is solid. Otherwise we call non-solid forms of water what they are, like steam, moisture, and rain. H2O comes in three forms or states: liquid, gas, and solid. When it rains on us, we don’t say, I’m in the midst of the waters. We say, “It’s raining.” Depending on how much rain is coming down, we might say, “It’s drizzling,” or “It’s pouring.”
When water freezes on the sidewalk, we don’t say we are walking on the waters. We say, “it’s frozen,” or “There’s ice on the sidewalk. Be careful.”
When your dog is thirsty, you don’t say you’re going to give him moisture. You say, “Are you thirsty boy? Would you like some water?” And what are we picturing in our minds? Solid water we pour into a bowl.
If you go down to the deep south, like Alabama, in the midst of a hot summer, you’re likely to say it is hot and humid. You don’t say, “I’m walking in the hot water.” If you go into a hot steam bath, you don’t say you are in the midst of the waters. You say, “I’m in a hot sauna, and it is really humid in here.”
When you are riding in a commercial plane and flying through clouds, do you look out the little window and say, “Oh look, we’re flying through the waters.” Of course, not. You would get some strange looks. You probably say something like, “We’re flying through thick clouds.”
So literally the verse says that God created a firmament in water, smack dab in the middle or midst of solid water. At this point, there is no basis from these verses, or anywhere else in the scriptures, that would support the proposition that the firmament was put in anything other than solid water. You can speculate or hypothesize all you want, but you would be outside the literal meaning of the words, and if you are a person who strongly believes in hermeneutics and an exegetical approach to careful Biblical interpretation, you must stick with the Bible and not go off into left field on your own.
As if God didn’t make it clear enough that he placed the firmament in solid water, he goes on to say that the firmament is to divide the “waters from the waters.” The verse does not say the firmament would divide the clouds, or that it would divide the moisture. It literally says it will divide the waters as though you are slicing water with a dividing wall.
God wanted to emphasize what was actually going to happen, and the way he did that was to restate what was happening by making it abundantly clear that the firmament “divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.”
Now you would not talk about dividing the waters which are under something from the waters which are above it, if what you were really referring to was not solid water but mist, or fog, or clouds with moisture. You would only logically and by the plain meaning of the words, say that the firmament divides the waters that are below from the waters that are above when the water you are talking about is solid water.
The Firmament is Solid
Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass? Job 37:18 (KJV)
In the Hebrew these words mean precisely what they have been translated into in English. Strong means strong, and molten looking glass has the meaning of being hard, like molten glass. While this verse alone would not be conclusive by any means, we study this verse in the context of all these other verses for consistency and logical meaning.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Psalms 148:4 (KJV)
This verse states that there are waters above the heavens, again alluding to the division of water by the firmament with water being both above and below the firmament. It is a rather curious thing, however, to think of the waters as praising God.
The focus of these verses in Psalms is apparently how God is The Creator of everything, and therefore all of creation praises the creator, even the “waters that be above the heavens.” It’s not thought by anyone that the creation is animated in praise like a human with a voice, but that the praise is more likely an expression of the fact that God created everything, that everything is sustained by God every moment, and that if God ceased to exist, everything in his creation would cease to exist. God sustains all life, including all of his earthly creation. In that sense, his creation praises him.
This is perhaps not such an unusual thought if one considers the likelihood that the volume of water above the heavens must be so massive, so voluminous, so incredible, that it is worthy of noting how powerful and great the creator must be, the one who not only created all that water, but holds it in place.
If you’ve ever explored nature on a hike or viewed one of the great wonders of the world, you cannot help but sigh or stand in awe when you first step into the presence of greatness. For example, the first time you see the Grand Canyon, or the first time you stand on the precipice of Niagara Falls are times when you feel a sense of awe. For those of us who are Christians, these are times when we feel the presence of the Almighty Creator, and we stand in praise of him.
Imagine a body of water so massive that it makes the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls look like a child’s playground! The flood of Noah’s time brought so much water, it not only filled the Grand Canyon, it filled every valley on earth and covered every mountain. I think if you and I saw that volume of water, we would stand in awe of God and his creation. We might even suggest that the water itself would praise God.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalms 19:1 (KJV)
This verse (Psalm 19:1) is a beautiful verse, and there’s more theological content here than a casual reading would reveal. First, this verse includes mention of the biggest goal of all creation—to glorify God. What is most important to God? His own glory. There’s a famous Westminster Catechism that goes like this:
What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
Throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament you’ll see this theme, that God will be glorified. This is an immutable law. God will be glorified. And this verse is reminding us that creation glorifies God and that “the firmament sheweth his handywork.”
If the firmament was an invisible curtain of some kind that divided moisture in the clouds, it would be unimpressive and make no sense to say that “the firmament sheweth his handywork.” The firmament must be quite impressive to display God’s handywork, and anything that declares the glory of God must be incredibly impressive, perhaps gigantic, and must have a huge impact on the earth and God’s creation of the earth.
There’s a verse that talks about the water from these heavens being released onto the earth, but this is a verse very few people have noticed. It goes unnoticed, because the full context of the verse is not in our heads when we read it, and so we fly right past it. Let me help you with that context.
Have you ever wondered where all the water that flooded the whole earth came from? I’m about to show you, and this doesn’t come from me guessing or from me speculating. It comes directly from the Word of God.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. Genesis 7:11 (KJV)
“The windows of heaven were opened” is an extraordinary statement, but most of us have missed the significance of this little phrase our whole lives. We glossed over it because we thought it was just a bit of poetry. There is a lot of poetry in the Psalms and elsewhere, but even that poetry uses words with real meaning. I challenge you to find any verse in the Bible that uses words that mean nothing or have no purpose. All we have to do is remember who the author of the Bible is, and we instantly recall that God doesn’t use words with no significance.
Think about the volume of water required to flood the entire earth, fill every valley, and cover the tops of Mount Everest, Mount Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) and every other mountain on the face of the earth. Where would all that water come from? Since we’ve never had the answer, we typically just blow that question off, and we have said things like, “Well, God can do whatever he wants,” or “God brought all the water out of the earth,” or “God just made it rain a lot.”
There’s no question that God has power to do anything, but let’s face it, he is the one who created the heavens and the earth, and he is the one who engineered all the laws of physics, geography, climatology, and everything else. Since he had a plan to flood the entire earth, why wouldn’t he just do it based on his creation with the existing infrastructure he already had in place? In other words, we don’t have to make things up to explain how God did something. Why not just read the scriptures literally and base it on what he told us he created.
Genesis 7:11 says “the windows of heaven were opened” pouring water upon the earth and flooding the entire earth. Most of us assumed the idea of opening “windows of heaven” was poetic, but if we take the verses literally, God opened windows that let the water above the firmament pour onto the earth causing the great flood. It makes more sense than saying that God caused it to rain hard. The volume of water it would take to cover the entire earth would be far beyond what rain could do, and it would take massive quantities of water pouring onto the earth in volumes so large, we cannot comprehend such downpours.
The verse actually stated two causes for all the water that flooded the earth. Besides water pouring through the open windows in the firmament, the fountains of the deep were broken up, so water came from below and above.
Notice that in this interpretation of the scriptures, we don’t have to make anything up, like you do with all other theories about the flood. We simply take the Word of God literally, and it says God opened up windows that let the water through, and since he had already explained to us that he created a firmament that was solid and that it separated the waters below (in the oceans) from the waters above the firmament, we don’t have to make up any theory. We just take the Bible literally.
The Bible says the waters above the firmament were released upon the earth because God opened the windows in the firmament. Wow! Is that not amazing when you see it in this verse?
In this next verse, we see God poured water “out upon the face of the earth.” This would be consistent with water coming from above in large quantities.
It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name. Amos 9:6 (KJV)
The importance to God of the waters that are above is seen in this verse:
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. Psalms 148:4-6 (KJV)
When you notice all the praise that is due God throughout the scriptures, and when you read about it in the prayers of the great Believers in the Old Testament and the New Testament, you begin to get a sense of the importance of praising our Creator. He is truly great and awesome and worthy of all our praise and adoration and worship.
Here in Psalms 148 is a reminder again in the words to praise him and “ye waters that be above the heavens, let them praise the name of the Lord.” Can you imagine the volume of water that must be “above the heavens” in order for this to even be mentioned as a cause to praise God?
The Sun and Moon and Stars Within The Firmament
Here’s a shocker for you. According to the scriptures the sun, the moon, and the stars are within the firmament. This is not my interpretation. This is literally what these verses say. Let’s look at them closely.
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. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. Genesis 1:16-17 (KJV)
I’m aware that theologians might want to debate whether the original Hebrew uses the word “within” or “in” the firmament, and whether that indicates the stars are below the firmament or in a firmament that is not solid. I used the word “within” because it seems apparent that the stars are below the firmament or “within” the earth’s side of the firmament. But this is based on all the other verses, and one of the rules of interpretation is the negative—don’t strain to interpret a verse in a way that contradicts other verses.
I don’t know what you’re going to do with the idea that the sun, the moon, and the stars are within the firmament (aka “the expanse”). That just blows any Copernican and NASA theories to smitherines, and I’m comfortable leaving that on your coffee table for you to meditate on without saying more.
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. Revelation 6:12-13 (KJV)
As if you didn’t have verses beating you up on the lack of Biblical support for a heliocentric model of the Universe, Revelation 6:12-13 brings more difficult truths into the picture. At the end when God’s judgment is being administered on the earth, this verse states that “the stars of heaven fell unto the earth.”
I don’t know how someone could turn this verse into an allegory or some sort of poetic expression of the end of the earth. It says the stars will fall to the earth. God didn’t say “the meteors fell to earth,” or “junk from outer space fell to earth.” He literally said the stars will fall to earth.
Since you first fell out of your baby crib, you have been told constantly and by every authority you respect, that the stars are massive and extend billions of light years from the earth. Here’s what you’ve had fed into your brain so many times, it has become part of your brain’s neurological network of memories and associations:
Compared to Earth, the Sun is enormous! It contains 99.86% of all of the mass of the entire Solar System. The Sun is 868,400 miles (1,391,000 kilometers) across. This is about 109 times the diameter of Earth. The Sun weighs about 333,000 times as much as Earth. It is so large that about 1,300,000 planet Earths can fit inside of it. Earth is about the size of an average sunspot! [Source: Cool Cosmos]
That’s not how the Bible describes the sun. Not even close. Pause to consider the bold statements made in this scientific journal. They somehow claim to know that the sun is 99.86% of all the mass of the entire solar system? Really? And how do they know that? And notice how accurate they are. They got it down to not just 99% but 99.86%. Are you serious? Do they really expect us to believe they have any evidence or scientific proof of any of this? Yes, they do expect you to believe it. The more amazing thing is that we, like sheep to the slaughter, believe this nonsense without ever questioning it.
If the Bible is accurate, and I submit it is, then when the prophecy in Revelation is fulfilled and the stars fall to the earth, the sun alone would obliterate the earth because the sun weighs, according to scientists, 333,000 times as much as the earth. But the Bible doesn’t say the sun obliterates the earth. On the contrary, the earth survives and has a big future planned by God.
Hmm. If we are to believe God’s Word, we are going to have to rethink our Universe, the earth and its relation to the stars.
God’s Throne Sits On The Firmament
And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. Ezekiel 1:26 (KJV)
This is a description of the firmament above the Angels’ heads, and on this firmament is situated the throne of God. In later verses we are told that the “man above upon it” is God. So picture this. We have a solid firmament above us, which separates the water, and on which sits the throne of God. That’s an amazing description, wouldn’t you agree?
In Isaiah we see another statement that God’s throne is situated on this same firmament:
Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Isaiah 66:1
Remember, the firmament is also called heaven, so God’s throne is on the heaven or the firmament, and beneath it is the earth.
Where is Heaven Located?
The question of where Heaven is located requires that we understand more about the firmament. The Bible tells us there are three Heavens, and the Apostle Paul affirmed that. One Heaven is the expanse above the earth, or the space we live in and where the birds fly. It is the space above us as we walk the earth.
The second Heaven is the firmament above us and below God’s throne. As you’ll see below in the verses that describe this firmament, it appears to be a hard substance since it was used by God to actually separate water from water, and to keep the water separated.
The third Heaven is above the firmament (also called the vault) above the earth, and this is where God sits on his throne overlooking the earth. These concepts are repeated in many verses, and here’s a verse again reminding us that the firmament is the vault, and a vault is also a hardened substance.
Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see, and he walks on the vault of Heaven. Job 22:14 (ESV)
The firmament is just part of the total creation story that argues vociferously against a heliocentric view of the Universe and against a spherical earth.
I don’t pretend to know things I don’t, but this I will say with great conviction: I believe the Word of God above all worldly geniuses and scientists. I’ll listen to anyone, and I can learn from anyone, but there is one, and only one, in whom my trust is absolute, and that one is God Almighty.