Critics of the KJB reading of "firmament" in Genesis 1:6-8
At one of the Bible clubs I belong to a Christian man who himself does not believe that any Bible in any language is the complete and infallible words of God writes: "Genesis 1:6-8; KJV and NKJV "Then God said, Let there be a FIRMAMENT in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters".
The Hebrew word raqia is translated 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. This in turn was translated into English. Firmament poses the problem that the ancient Hebrews believed in a solid dome with the stars embedded in the dome which reflects erroneous cosmology, therefore making the Bible not the inspired Word of God.
So what does the Hebrew word mean? The Hebrew noun raqia is derived from the verb raqa, which means "to spread abroad, stamp or stretch"
Genesis 1:6-9, NASB says "Then God said, Let there be and EXPANSE in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
So other versions of the Bible translates raqia as "expanse". (End of Bible corrector's comments)
First of all, it is more than a little silly to say that the word "firmament" is found in the King James Bible because the ancient Hebrews believed there was a solid dome. Is this why so many modern versions as well still use the word "firmament"? Were they also of the opinion that the expanse of the heavens is solid? Maybe the problem lies more with this bible agnostic's faulty definition of the word "firmament", than with the King James Bible.
In fact, the true Bible - the Authorized King James Holy Bible - often has its own built in dictionary. In verse 8 of this same chapter we read: "And God called the FIRMAMENT HEAVEN." And had he just read a little bit further he might have noticed what it says in verse 20 and where the birds fly. There we read: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the fowl that may fly above the earth IN THE OPEN FIRMAMENT OF HEAVEN."
Look at any number of modern day dictionaries and you will easily see that the word "firmament" simply means "The vault or expanse of the heavens; the sky." - American Heritage Dictionary.
The 1828 Noah-Webster Dictionary defines "firmament" as "The region of the air; the sky or heavens. In scripture, the word denotes an EXPANSE, a wide extent" If you look in the same dictionary for the word "expanse", you get, "A spreading; extend; a wide extent of SPACE or BODY".
Cambridge Dictionary - firmament = the sky.
Wordsmyth English Dictionary - firmament = the entire arch of the sky; the heavens.
Macmillan English Dictionary - firmament = the sky and its features.
Collins English Dictionary - firmament = the sky or the heavens.
In other words, "firmament" simply means "expanse". It can either be a free expanse ("space") or a solid expanse ("body"). That means that "the firmament of the heaven" doesn't have to be solid, it can mean the free spatial expanse of "the heaven".
You will find the same definition in the Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary 11th edition, Collins Dictionary, Wordsmyth English Dictionary, and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Some modern versions have changed this good English word for a variety of others. The NASB, NET, Holman, ESV and NIV 1984 edition have "expanse". And "expanse" is defined as: "A wide and open extent, as of SURFACE, LAND, or sky." Oops. Looks like an "expanse" can also refer to something solid, huh. There is nothing wrong with "expanse" when understood correctly, but neither is there anything wrong with the perfectly good and accurate English word "firmament".
Versions like the 2011 NIV revised edition, the TNIV 2005, the Revised English Bible 1989 and the New English Bible 1970 all have "VAULT". Do we think of a bank vault when we see this word? Isn't a vault something solid too?
The NRSV 1989, Comtemporary English Version 1995, and Complete Jewish Bible have DOME. The Lexham Bible has "A VAULTED DOME". Don't we run into the same idea here of something solid? New version proponents just keep stumbling over themselves in a vain attempt to overthrow the Book of books, the Authorized King James Holy Bible.
The firmament is the great arch, vault or expanse over our heads in which earth's atmosphere is placed and in which the sun, moon and stars give forth their light. Firmament is not even archaic and it certainly is not misleading if you simply learn what the English word means.
The reason it is called "the firmament" is not that the heavens are themselves "firm" or solid but may well be because the firmament is firmly fixed and settled between the waters which are under the firmament from the waters which are above the firmament (Genesis 1:7).
See this site that explains the three heavens, the firmament and the throne of God -
Every direction from earth is "above" and it seems that God's throne is in the north - See Isaiah 14:13 and Psalm 48:2 - "the sides of the north"
Firmament is also the reading found in Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Charles Thompson Translation 1808, Julia Smith Translation 1855, the Revised Version 1881, the ASV 1901, Revised Standard Version 1952, the 1917 Jewish Publication Society bible, the 1936 Hebrew Publishing Company version, the Basic Bible 1949 Douay 1950, Revised Standard Version 1946-1971, The Amplified bible 1987, Lamsa's translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the NKJV 1982, The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, God's First Truth 1999, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, the Updated Bible Version 2004, A Conservative Version 2005, Complete Apostle's Bible 2005, the Mebust Bible 2007, Bond Slave Version 2009, Catholic Public Domain Version 2009, English Jubilee Bible 2020, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011, Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, the Revised Douai-Rheims Version 2012 and the 2012 Natural Israelite Bible - Genesis 1:7 - "Thus Yahweh made THE FIRMAMENT, and divided the waters which were under THE FIRMAMENT from the waters which were above THE FIRMAMENT, and it was so."
The Ancient Hebrew Bible 1907 - And God said: ---Let there be a FIRMAMENT in the midst of the waters?
Lamsa's 1933 Translation of the Syriac Peshitta - And God said, Let there be a FIRMAMENT in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
The Jewish Virtual Library Tanach Full Text 1994 - And G-d said: 'Let there be A FIRMAMENT...
Even the NIV Spanish bible 1999 (Nueva Versión Internacional) reads like the King James Bible with: Y dijo Dios: ¡Que exista EL FIRMAMENTO en medio de las aguas, y que las separe.!
Likewise the 1991 Italian Diodati has UN FIRMAMENTO as well as the recently updated Portugues Almeida Bible - UM FIRMAMENTO, and the 2010 Spanish Reina Valera Gómez bible - Y dijo Dios: Haya UN FIRMAMENTO en medio de las aguas, y separe las aguas de las aguas.
Jerome's Latin Vulgate 405 A.D., Clementine Vulgate 1592 and the Nova Vulgata 1979 - Dixit quoque Deus: Fiat FIRMAMENTUM in medio aquarum: et dividat aquas ab aquis.
Don't let the Bible Agnostics fool you with their "deep insights" and personal opinions as they go about trying to "correct" what God got right when He brought forth the King James Bible. These self appointed Bible correctors have no final written authority and no infallible Bible in any language. They just like for you to hear them talk about how they think their own peculiar bible version should read if they were to write one themselves.
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25
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