Dr. Richard S. Hess

Old Testament Questions from the desk of Dr. Richard S. Hess

What is the raqia’ (dome/firmament/sky) of Genesis 1:17?

I am not sure we know enough about the firmament to assume that it needed to be something solid.  Of those who first read or heard this account from Genesis 1, I suspect many who looked from earth saw what we see, a kind of dome from horizon to horizon. However, in no place is a specific texture to this raqia’ described in the Bible.

Some may have assumed something not unlike the atmosphere that the part of the sky that reached down to earth resembled.  In Psalm 19:1 the “heavens”and the raqia’ are in parallel. In Psalm 150:1 the raqia’ is where God’s sanctuary or holy place is.  Of the variety of possible understandings, the biblical text describes more than a solid dome with some lights “stuck” in it.

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