Genesis 1:6-8

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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.

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.

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.

The waters above and below

For some readers it seems simply obvious that the Bible's references to waters above and below the earth 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. Others, in the middle, are not so sure. Translations reflect this range of views. For example, Genesis 1:6-9 in a range of 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.

Referenced by brother David Burke here: Historical Interpretation of Genesis Creation

Was it 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".

In Ron Abel's "Wrested Scriptures"