The Waters Above the Firmament: Christians will be judged too

Evolution isn’t the only problem for creation science. There are also some troublesome passages in Genesis relating to cosmology:

“And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.

God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:6-7

What are the “waters above the firmament”? For that matter, what is the firmament? It seems to mean the sky, and the idea seems to be that the firmament is something solid holding the stars in place, and that water was above the firmament, just as water surrounds the earth and is below it.

The problem is that this seems to have nothing to do with the astronomical system we know about and live in. Not only liberal Christians, but most Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians give this (and many other passages in scripture) figurative or metaphorical rather than literal interpretations.

Unfortunately, the first principle of the majority of American conservative Christians is that every word of the Bible is literally true, and as a result fundamentalists are forced to come up with some kind of explanation for “the waters above the firmament”. Even a century ago (or as far as that goes, 1400 years ago at the time of Cosmas Indicopleustes) this concept was pretty far-fetched, but when men walked on the moon in 1969 the idea became ludicrous. But the fundamentalists soldier on, retranslating the Hebrew, postulating massive changes for which there is no evidence, and finding signs of water on Mars. They might just as well try to prove that the earth is flat, too, while they’re at it, but they never seem go quite that far any more — God knows why.

(There’s also the theory that the waters above the firmament are sentient beings, though few fundamentalists seem to have involved themselves in this aspect fo the question either: “Let the waters that are above the heavens praise the name of the Lord” — Psalm 148:4; “Ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord.”– Deuteronomy 3:60).

And then there’s the seven-headed dragon rising from the sea. A lot of our fundamentalist friends not only believe that Armageddon is nigh, but they are praying that it will come soon, so that they can see their enemies (us) dying horrible deaths.

Many of the fundamentalists I have known have been kindly, decent people, but they were also terribly fearful people who live in a very small world, and the mandates of their belief essentially required them to reject most of science. It’s not just evolution — anything that goes against the literal word of the Bible must be rejected. Granted what we know about their approach to science, it’s not hard to understand how they could believe George W. Bush on WMD and al Qaeda. Essentially, they have made a principled rejection of all rational and critical thought, and for them Science is an enemy, an adversary of religion which must be resisted or destroyed.

Recently the odious George Will and the egregious twit David Brooks have been happily explaining to us that our failure to respect the deeply-held religious beliefs of a big chunk of the Republican core constituency proves that we are elitists. You have to give these guys credit for not bursting out laughing when they make these pronouncements. Brooks and Will are plump, prosperous scam artists who make their living suckering the Republican core constituency, among others, and nobody in the world has less respect for their victims than these two do.

All in all, while I recognize the political problem for the Democratic Party in trying to win elections when so many voters hold these irrational, cruel beliefs, it is hard for me to understand why why these voters should be respected. And (going a little further, and speaking a language that Christians can understand) it seems clear to me that the Armageddon Christians are doing harm, and that instead of relying on the mercy of Christ to rescue them from the consequences of their actions, they should stop and think.

For Christians will be judged too.

PS: This is double-posted from my other, less-political site, Idiocentrism, where you also will find a number of links to creation scientists, etc. While I actually think that Democrats should make overtures to moderate Christians, this whole debate has been given an obnoxious conservative Christian spin. The Armageddon Christians speak of their enemies as evil and of themselves as good, but they suffer from a desperate need for self-examination, and until they look at themselves, they are at risk of continuing to function as evildoers.