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Thread: What is the Firmament in Genesis 1?

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    TOL Legend genuineoriginal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    It's not difficult to find Biblical uses of the word that obviously mean "abode of God" and not "skies."
    It seems that using "Heaven" as "abode of God" started around Genesis 24, but before then "heaven" merely meant "sky".
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    It seems that using "Heaven" as "abode of God" started around Genesis 24, but before then "heaven" merely meant "sky".
    Or the v8 instance meant "abode of God."



    It certainly makes sense that the place God planned to live with man would be one of His as abodes, while it doesn't make sense that a separator of the ocean would be referring to the sky.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
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    Super Moderator JudgeRightly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    It seems that using "Heaven" as "abode of God" started around Genesis 24, but before then "heaven" merely meant "sky".
    (Will get to your post above, just wanted to address the issue with this assumption)

    Sorry, but you seem to be forgetting that Genesis wasn't written over a period of about 2200+ years, but within one lifetime, Moses', somewhere around the 1400s B.C, and more importantly, written by God.

    The fact that it means AT ALL "God's abode" means that you can't just dismiss it as a possible meaning for the verse in Genesis 1. The Hebrew is consistent throughout the Bible (either because Hebrew didn't change much from the time of Joseph to when it was translated into the Septuagint, or because the Septuagint itself standardized the meanings of the words, or for some other reason... )

    What we DO know, is that words have various meanings, especially in certain contexts. The context of the word "Heaven" in Genesis 1 seems to refer to "God's abode" more than it does the sky.

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    Toxic Adaptive Ninja Turtle Stripe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    What we DO know, is that words have various meanings, especially in certain contexts. The context of the word "Heaven" in Genesis 1[v8] seems to refer to "God's abode" more than it does the sky.
    You mean the use in verse 8, right?
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
    E≈mc2
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    "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    Not the original meaning.

    Then you would agree that Heaven (capital 'H') only means something different because tradition has changed the original meaning from "sky" to "the abode of God".
    I can't say whether the translators did their job perfectly, and that that's exactly what "Heaven" was referring to, but I'm certainly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it means "God's abode."

    And even if not that, one needs to remember that verse 8, and the rest of Genesis 1, for that matter, is describing the earth BEFORE the Fall of Man, not after, and that the earth would have been a place suitable for God, a paradise, if you will.

    Literally what we would imagine "Heaven on Earth" to be like.

    I'd also like to point out that before the Fall, God walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, which means He was there in some way, more specifically than calling the universe God's abode, because God is omnipresent (and by this I don't mean the classical greek meaning of the word, but rather that God can be anywhere He wants to be, even in multiple places at once).

    That would be nice if it was true, but the meanings of words change over time because of how the word is used in literature and speech.
    Right, I don't disagree with that at all.

    I understand that, which is why I quoted research into what the original meaning was.

    It would only be an appeal to authority if the only thing I was using was what the Rabbis say.
    I am using what the Rabbis say to supplement other citations to strengthen my argument, which is not an appeal to authority.
    Very true.

    As it so happens, I don't think their reasoning is invalid, just that some of the initial assumptions they make are incorrect.

    It sounds like you threw out all of the historical information in the article because the author did not share your beliefs about the scientific opinions.

    The difference in opinion does not invalidate the historical information, which is the portion I shared.
    Fair point.

    You are attempting to substitute your own definition based on modern science for the original definition that was understood and used when Genesis was written.
    If modern science can bring to light the original meaning of the word, why should I avoid using it to attempt it?

    That is in contradiction to your claim, "I want to bring back the original meaning of the word".
    Not necessarily.

    See the kgov.com excerpt below, which includes a discussion on "God hung the earth on nothing."

    The original meaning of the word הָרָקִיעַ encompasses the idea that it is referring to the dome of the sky as the ancients understood it.
    I partially agree.

    Be careful, however, that you don't let that become a special pleading argument.

    There's more to it than just "the sky," GO.

    Going back to Strong's definition for a moment:


    Strong's h7549

    - Lexical: רָקִיעַ
    - Transliteration: raqia
    - Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
    - Phonetic Spelling: raw-kee'-ah
    - Definition: an extended surface, expanse.
    - Origin: From raqa'; properly, an expanse, i.e. The firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky.
    - Usage: firmament.
    - Translated as (count): the firmament (8), in the firmament (3), of the firmament (3), a firmament (1), from above the firmament (1), in firmament (1).



    The underlined meaning above is what I want to expand on (no pun intended).


    Raqia is the noun from the verb raqa meaning being hammered or spread out, as in working metal into a thin sheet or plate. "They beat (raqa) the gold into thin sheets" (Exodus 39:3). "The goldsmith overspreads (raqa) it with gold" (Isaiah 40:19; i.e., gold-plated). Similarly, God overspread the waters of the earth with the plates of the earth's crust, i.e., the firmament, what Walt Brown calls hydroplates. For "God made the firmament (raqia), and divided the waters which were under the firmament (raqia, the crustal plates) from the waters which were above the firmament" (Genesis 1:7).

    Please review again the verses listed below. For not only did God create "the sea and the fountains" (Rev. 14:7), if this understanding of raqia is is the Bible's actual meaning, then we would expect also to read that initially the surface of the earth was covered only with water, and that then God made the earth's crust above the water:

    - "In the beginning God created... the earth. ...darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Gen. 1:1-2
    - God "laid out the earth above the waters" Ps. 136:6
    - "by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water" 2 Pet. 3:5
    - "Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." Gen. 1:7
    - "The earth is the Lord’s... For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters." Ps. 24:1-2

    When the Bible specifically links raqa to the earth (as in the passages below), and because words typically have multiple meanings, it is extreme to insist that raqia cannot refer to anything but the heavens. Genesis was written back when pagans wondered what held up the earth. Perhaps it rested on the back of a tortoise, or on a pillar, or was held up by Atlas. Yet the most ancient Scripture teaches that God, "hangs the earth on nothing" (Job 26:7), which is visually consistent with modern astronomical observation. For just as the firmament of the earth holds up the mountains, so too, the firmament "of the heavens" is strong enough to hold the earth.


    - https://kgov.com/firmament

    What we now understand about why the sky arches over the Earth is meaningless in interpreting the text.
    Not necessarily.

    Remember, the ancients were geniuses compared to modern humans.

    What we now understand about why the sky is blue is meaningless in interpreting the text because it is ignoring the original meaning.
    Then why did you bring up the color of the sky in the first place? Just wondering...

    The article I used is written as a scholarly article and the author of the article provided citations to show where the information presented comes from.
    That's all well and good, but if the source is incorrect, then the article that quotes it as fact is also incorrect, or at least, misinformed.


    This barrier is dome shaped, since we see the heavens above curving into the horizon and meeting the flat earth.
    This understanding is so ubiquitous that some anthropologists consider it a “general human belief.”[3]
    [3]Gudmund Hatt, Asiatic Influences in American Folklore (Copenhagen, 1949), 50, quoted in, Paul H. Seely: “The Firmament and the Water above Part I: The Meaning of Raqiaʿ in Gen 1:6-8,” Westminster Theological Journal 53 (Fall 1991), 227-240 [231].


    * A Solid Dome Sky Belief Widespread Yet Not Intuitive: As Wikipedia reports, "The notion of the sky as a solid object (rather than just an atmospheric expanse) was widespread among both ancient civilizations and primitive cultures, including ancient Greece, Egypt, China, India, native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and also early Christians. It is probably a universal human trait to perceive the sky as a solid dome." Retrieved 8-27-11. However, with the many varied movements in the heavens of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, comets, and meteorites, it's not intuitive that so much of the whole world would end up believing that the Earth had a solid-domed sky. Except, of course, if the ancients who populated the world after the global flood were misunderstanding the raqia of Day Two as referring to the heavens instead of to the crust of the earth.


    [kgov.com/firmament]

    There is nothing in the verse to support your interpretation that there are fountains of water coming up from beneath the surface of the earth.
    Which is why I'm not using JUST that verse. I'm also using these verses, along with others:


    - "In the beginning God created... the earth. ...darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Gen. 1:1-2
    - God "laid out the earth above the waters" Ps. 136:6
    - "by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water" 2 Pet. 3:5
    - "Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." Gen. 1:7
    - "The earth is the Lord’s... For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters." Ps. 24:1-2



    You are using your conclusion to prove your conclusion, that is circular reasoning.
    No.

    I'm simply letting scripture be my foundation, and my conclusion is a result of that.

    Genesis 7:11
    11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.


    You said floodgates above, yet that word is not in the text, nor is the idea of floodgates being opened in the text; I was simply trying to correct that mistake.

    The fountains of the great deep is referring to large amounts of water rising up from the seas
    Sorry, but there's currently nowhere near enough water on the earth to cover the earth.

    In addition, the Bible uses the term "Seas."

    There's a reason for that, and no, it doesn't refer to what we today (post-flood) call oceans.

    It refers to actual seas (similar to the Mediterranean), that would have looked like this:



    (Second image, seas not to scale, nor is placement or quantity accurate)

    This argument is supported by Genesis 1:9-10, which likely describes the settling of the continental crust, from this:


    To this:

    (Credit to Bryan Nickel for all of these images.)

    In other words, my position explains both how the earth was created, AND where the floodwaters not only came from, but also where all the water went from the Fountains of the Deep.

    and the windows of heaven is referring to large amounts of water coming from the sky.
    No argument there, though the original source of the water is what is in dispute.
    Last edited by JudgeRightly; September 12th, 2019 at 01:13 PM.

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    Super Moderator JudgeRightly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    You mean the use in verse 8, right?
    Yes, thank you for the correction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    It certainly makes sense that the place God planned to live with man would be one of His as abodes
    According to scripture, that will eventually be the place called "earth" but Genesis 1 shows a distinct difference between "earth" and "heaven".
    Until the events of Revelation 21, the abode of God is in the sky (heaven).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    while it doesn't make sense that a separator of the ocean would be referring to the sky.
    It doesn't make sense to a modern person who is trying to interpret everything through modern knowledge.
    But, Genesis was not written to an audience of 21st Century American Christians, it was written to a nation of middle easterners during the bronze age.
    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    Sorry, but you seem to be forgetting that Genesis wasn't written over a period of about 2200+ years, but within one lifetime, Moses', somewhere around the 1400s B.C,
    Nope, but Stripe seems to be forgetting that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    Or the v8 instance meant "abode of God."
    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    The context of the word "Heaven" in Genesis 1 seems to refer to "God's abode" more than it does the sky.
    The only way the two of you would assume that the word "heaven" in Genesis 1:8 refers to "God's abode" is if you take the modern meanings and retrofit them into the verse instead of accepting what the words meant when written.

    Genesis 1:8 CJB
    8 and God called the dome Sky. So there was evening, and there was morning, a second day.



    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    The fact that it means AT ALL "God's abode" means that you can't just dismiss it as a possible meaning for the verse in Genesis 1.
    The way the word is used in Genesis 1 shows that the word "heaven" cannot possibly mean "God's abode" in the creation story.
    Last edited by genuineoriginal; September 12th, 2019 at 01:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    There's more to it than just "the sky," GO.
    Actually, there is not more to it than just "the sky".

    Genesis 1:8 EXB
    8 God ·named [called] the ·air [L firmament/dome/expanse] “·sky [heaven].” Evening passed, and morning came [1:5]. This was the second day.


    Genesis 1 is about God creating things and giving them names.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    why did you bring up the color of the sky in the first place? Just wondering...
    I thought it would be obvious.

    The Firmament of Genesis 1 is Solid but That’s Not the Point

    One of those issue concerns the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8), where God made the “expanse” or the “firmament.” The Hebrew word for this is raqia (pronounced ra-KEE-ah). Biblical scholars understand the raqia to be a solid dome-like structure. It separates the water into two parts, so that there is water above the raqia and water below it (v. 7). The waters above are kept at bay so the world can become inhabitable. On the third day (vv. 9-10), the water below the raqia is “gathered to one place” to form the sea and allow the dry land to appear.

    Ancient Israelites “saw” this barrier when they looked up. There were no telescopes, space exploration, or means of testing the atmosphere. They relied on what their senses told them. Even today, looking up at a clear sky in open country, the sky seems to “begin” at the horizons and reaches up far above. Ancient Israelites and others in that part of the world assumed the world was flat, and so it looked like the earth is covered by a dome, and the “blue sky” is the “water above” held back by the raqia.


    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    That's all well and good, but if the source is incorrect, then the article that quotes it as fact is also incorrect, or at least, misinformed.


    * A Solid Dome Sky Belief Widespread Yet Not Intuitive: As Wikipedia reports, "The notion of the sky as a solid object (rather than just an atmospheric expanse) was widespread among both ancient civilizations and primitive cultures, including ancient Greece, Egypt, China, India, native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and also early Christians. It is probably a universal human trait to perceive the sky as a solid dome." Retrieved 8-27-11. However, with the many varied movements in the heavens of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, comets, and meteorites, it's not intuitive that so much of the whole world would end up believing that the Earth had a solid-domed sky. Except, of course, if the ancients who populated the world after the global flood were misunderstanding the raqia of Day Two as referring to the heavens instead of to the crust of the earth.


    [kgov.com/firmament]
    Yes, the source kgov is incorrect, or at least, misinformed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    Which is why I'm not using JUST that verse. I'm also using these verses, along with others:


    - "In the beginning God created... the earth. ...darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Gen. 1:1-2
    - God "laid out the earth above the waters" Ps. 136:6
    - "by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water" 2 Pet. 3:5
    - "Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." Gen. 1:7
    - "The earth is the Lord’s... For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters." Ps. 24:1-2
    I am relying on these verses to show how to interpret it.

    Genesis 1:5/8/10
    5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
    8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
    10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.


    Those verses show a one to one relationship between two things.
    Light = Day
    Darkness = Night
    Firmament (dome)(air) = Heaven (sky)
    Dry Land = Earth
    Waters = Seas

    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    I'm simply letting scripture be my foundation, and my conclusion is a result of that.
    Not quite, you are letting what you have been taught lead you into specific interpretations of scripture that you are using to form a conclusion, which is circular reasoning.
    A prime example is (paraphrased) "Heaven is where God lives, therefore heaven means where God lives".

    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    You said floodgates above, yet that word is not in the text, nor is the idea of floodgates being opened in the text; I was simply trying to correct that mistake.
    I never said that word, but a source I quoted inside a box used the word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    According to scripture, that is the place called "earth".
    And?

    It doesn't make sense to a modern person who is trying to interpret everything through modern knowledge.
    But, Genesis was not written to an audience of 21st Century American Christians, it was written to a nation of middle easterners during the bronze age.

    Nope, but Stripe seems to be forgetting that.

    The only way the two of you would assume that the word "heaven" in Genesis 1:8 refers to "God's abode" is if you take the modern meanings and retrofit them into the verse instead of accepting what the words meant when written.

    Genesis 1:8 CJB
    8 and God called the dome Sky. So there was evening, and there was morning, a second day.
    I hate to make this kind of comment, but you're being a hypocrite:


    "The only way you would assume the word "heaven" in Genesis 1:8 refers only to the sky is if you only take the traditional meanings and apply them to the verse instead of accepting what the words meant when written and still mean.

    Genesis 1:8
    8 And God called the [surface that was pounded out] [Heaven]. ...




    Something else you seem to have missed...

    GO, on how many days did God see that what He had made was "good" or "very good"? Was it at the end of each day?

    The way the word is used in Genesis 1 shows that the word "heaven" cannot possibly mean "God's abode" in the creation story.
    Saying it doesn't make it so, GO.

    Not only is it possible, I even explained to you how it is:


    I can't say whether the translators did their job perfectly, and that that's exactly what "Heaven" was referring to, but I'm certainly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it means "God's abode."

    And even if not that, one needs to remember that verse 8, and the rest of Genesis 1, for that matter, is describing the earth BEFORE the Fall of Man, not after, and that the earth would have been a place suitable for God, a paradise, if you will.

    Literally what we would imagine "Heaven on Earth" to be like.

    I'd also like to point out that before the Fall, God walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, which means He was there in some way, more specifically than calling the universe God's abode, because God is omnipresent (and by this I don't mean the classical greek meaning of the word, but rather that God can be anywhere He wants to be, even in multiple places at once).


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    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    Saying it doesn't make it so, GO.
    Right back at you.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    I even explained to you how it is:


    I can't say whether the translators did their job perfectly, and that that's exactly what "Heaven" was referring to, but I'm certainly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it means "God's abode."
    You are willing to give the translators the benefit of the doubt by assuming that they are using a more modern meaning than the original meanings of the words?
    How very gracious of you.

    I am willing to give God the benefit of the doubt by assuming that when God called the air "Sky" He knew what He was doing.
    Of course, understanding that the "firmament" means "air" and "heaven" means "sky" is the only way to explain how the birds were flying around in the "air of the sky".

    Genesis 1:20
    20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.



    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    I hate to make this kind of comment, but you're being a hypocrite:


    "The only way you would assume the word "heaven" in Genesis 1:8 refers only to the sky is if you only take the traditional meanings and apply them to the verse instead of accepting what the words meant when written and still mean.

    Genesis 1:8
    8 And God called the [surface that was pounded out] [Heaven]. ...

    It is not being a hypocrite when I stick to the meaning that God explicitly gave to the word.

    Genesis 1:8 NIV
    8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

    Learn to read what is written.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    The way the word is used in Genesis 1 shows that the word "heaven" cannot possibly mean "God's abode" in the creation story.
    Not seeing it.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
    E≈mc2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    Not seeing it.
    You think God lived in the sky before there was any sky?
    Learn to read what is written.

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    Toxic Adaptive Ninja Turtle Stripe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    You think God lived in the sky before there was any sky?
    He created a firmament that separated water from water and called it Heaven.

    Not sure what your challenge is here.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
    E≈mc2
    "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

    "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
    -Bob B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    He created a firmament that separated water from water and called it Heaven.
    Yes, God created the sky (heaven) by creating an expanse of air.
    Since God did not live in the sky before He created the sky, the word "heaven" cannot possibly mean "God's abode" in the creation story.
    The word "heaven" only acquired the meaning "God's abode" after mankind started believing that God lived in the sky.
    Learn to read what is written.

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    Super Moderator JudgeRightly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuineoriginal View Post
    Yes, God created the sky (heaven)
    Question begging.

    by creating an expanse of air.
    No, he created a firmament in the midst of the waters, dividing the waters above from the waters below.

    It does not say "expanse of air."

    It says raqia, which means, in addition to the arch of the sky, "something pounded out," or, "an expanse."

    It says "in the midst of the waters." The word "midst" in the hebrew comes from an unused root that literally means "to divide in half."

    Did you notice Genesis 1:2?

    From 1:1 to verse 10, the word "waters" is used.

    GO, where was the Spirit of God in verse 2?

    Over the WATERS.

    Where did God create the firmament?

    In the midst of the, you guessed it, WATERS.

    What did the firmament divide?

    Yup. The WATERS.



    It divided the WATERS in half.

    God then called that firmament Heaven.

    Until that point, the only word used is firmament.

    Not once before that point does Moses use a modifier phrase with it. In fact, it's not until verse 14, on DAY 4, that God turns His attention towards, yup, "the firmament of the heavens."

    Clearly delineated from simply "the firmament."

    In fact, Moses doesn't use "the firmament" anymore except with the phrase "of the Heavens" throughout the rest of the chapter.

    Why make the distinction so many times if there's no difference between the two?

    Since God did not live in the sky before He created the sky,
    The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. - Genesis 1:2 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/...2&version=NKJV

    God was IN the sky before He created the firmament.

    the word "heaven" cannot possibly mean "God's abode" in the creation story.
    Saying it doesn't make it so, and you have been shown how it IS possible.

    The word "heaven" only acquired the meaning "God's abode" after mankind started believing that God lived in the sky.
    And when did God start living in the sky? Before or after He lived on Earth with Adam and Eve?

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