Genesis 1:6-10

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6 And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And 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. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

NET Bible

God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. It was so. God called the expanse “sky.” There was evening, and there was morning, a second day. God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land”[a] and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good.

[a] tn Heb “earth,” but here the term refers to the dry ground as opposed to the sea.

The waters above and below

For some readers it seems simply obvious that the Bible's references to waters above and below the earth (for example, Genesis 1:6-10 as cited on this page) are to be read literally, in conformity with ancient beliefs that the earth is founded on water; and for others it seems simply obvious that they are not[1]. Others, in the middle, are not so sure. Translations reflect this range of views. For example, see Genesis 1:6-9 in NRSV, KJV and NET translations quoted above.

A chain of references to the waters above the firmament and/or below the earth continues here →

See also The Firmament and Leviathan.

Bruce (talk) 23:31, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

Was this understood metaphorically in Bible times?

See F. F. Bruce, "At the right hand of God" for F.F. Bruce's account of how Paul would have understood "the three-decker universe".

  1. For example, the detailed and extraordinarily biased paper prepared for a Seventh Day Adventist conference, THE MYTH OF THE SOLID HEAVENLY DOME: ANOTHER LOOK AT THE HEBREW רקיע (RĀQÎA‘) by Randall W. Younker and Richard M. Davidson