Firmament as Dimension
Dan.Wagner at datastream.net
Wed Jan 10 15:34:21 EST 2001
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Rea [mailto:cctr114 at it.canterbury.ac.nz]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 15:09
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Firmament as Dimension
> >Can the Hebrew word raqia (7549 NAS Hebrew-Aramaic Dict. for
> >in Gen 1 take the meaning of the modern scientific concept of
> >dimension? Verse 16 would seem to express a possibily of this. This
> >would open endless possibilities to the Genesis account.
> > "Central to this revolutionary perspective on the universe is the
> >realization that higher-dimensional geometry may be the
> ultimate source
> >of unity in the universe. This idea has fueled the hope that the
> >physical laws of the universe, whose consequences fill entire library
> >walls with books densely packed with tables and graphs, may
> one day be
> >explained by a single equation. 15)" Hyperspace by Michio Kaku
> The simple answer to your questions is a catagoric, 100% NO!
I'd agree. We can't import modern concepts anachronistically into a
> The firmament was thought to be a solid dome. Some rabbical
> writings tell us (if I remember correctly) it was four fingers
> thick. In its verbal form the same root means to hammer out.
> If you would like can hunt out some verses, I think from Job,
> which suggest that the Hebrews thought the firmament was hammered
> out by God when the made it.
I disagree. The rabbinical writings are very late and these speculations
about the meaning as of solid metal are tenuous. The idea of open expanse
seems to work best, at least in some contexts such as Gen. 1.
Also, the blessing/cursing passages talk about God making the heavens like
brass if the people apostatize... true, but the *earth* (surface) would also
be made like iron. So clearly it's a metaphor (no rain, no crops growing),
and clearly if it has to be *made* into metal by a curse from God, then it's
not metal right now until He brings that curse (therefore, the heavens still
rain, and the earth still grows crops).
> If you started talking to an ancient Hebrew about a Kaluza-Klein
> type models of the Universe and collapsed higher dimension
> he/she would
> have no idea what you were talking about. Most moderns wouldn't
> either! They didn't have calculus of any sort let alone differential
> geometry and non-Euclidean spaces. Theories of the Universe using
> more than 4 dimensions are very recent, trying to suggest that
> the ancient Hebrews had such theories and somehow they got lost
> is never going to be taken seriously.
> Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury University \_
> E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz
> </ New
> Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax 64-3-364-2332
> /) Zealand
> Unix Systems Administrator (/'
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