A Solid Dome above the Earth? Job 37:18

A Solid Dome above the Earth? Job 37:18

Question

Science and the Bible seem to disagree, as in Job 37:18 where Job states there is a solid dome above the earth. Doesn't this defy common sense?

Answer

Job 37:18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

Just as Genesis does, the book of Job is speaking metaphorically, for example, windows in the heavens (Gen. 7:11). We do the same today: Dentists are at times called "smile stylists". Curtain rods, rings, tie-backs are called "jewelry for windows". A designated driver may be called "the life of the party."

The picture being painted in the book of Job is that the sky is solid but thin, like a piece of metal being hammered out (Exod. 39:3; Num. 16:38-39; Isa. 40:19; Jer. 10:9). God stretches out the heavens like a tent (Psa. 104:2). Metaphorically speaking, the heavens are being viewed as hammered out at creation (i.e., a spreading out of the sky or an expanse - Gen. 1:7-8) and/or clouds daily changing their shapes or reforming (Job 36:28-29; cf. Gen. 9:13-16; Judg. 5:4; 2 Sam. 22:12; Job 20:6; 22:14; 26:8-9; 35:5; 37:11-16; 38:9, 34, 37; Psa. 18:9-11).

However, "solid" in the book of Job does not mean impenetrable. Above the firmament are storehouses for rain (Job 36:27-28) and snow and hail (Job 38:22), and there is a place above it for the sun, moon, and the stars (Job 9:7; 22:12; 30:28; 31:26; 37:21; cf. Gen. 1:14-17).

Job's metaphoric picture says the skies are "hard as a mirror of cast bronze." Glass mirrors were not known until Roman times. In the day and age of Job, mirrors were cast from hardened bronze (copper hardened by the addition of tin). So, metaphorically, God's skies are durable and strong (chazaq).

When the Bible is properly interpreted and science correctly analyzes all the facts of creation, they agree as they have only one author - God.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).