The firmament is the sky. It is debated on whether the term can be interpreted to mean expanse or whether it should be translated to mean a solid dome. Many modern translations translate the Hebrew word as "expanse," but the King James Bible translates the word as firmament. According to Genesis in the KJV version, God created the firmament to separate the "waters above" the earth from those below: "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." The word is anglicized from Latin firmamentum, which appears in the Vulgate. This, in turn, is a Latinization of the Greek stereōma, used in the Septuagint.
Augustine wrote that too much learning had been expended speculating on the nature of the firmament. John Calvin proposed that firmament be interpreted as clouds. But he did not commit himself to this explanation: "As it became a theologian, [Moses] had to respect us rather than the stars."
- Is the raqiya‘ (‘firmament’) a solid dome? Equivocal language in the cosmology of Genesis 1 and the Old Testament: a response to Paul H. Seely by James Patrick Holding
- Genesis 1:6
- "The Firmament and the Water Above", Westminster Theological Journal, 53 (1991), 232–233.
- Grant, Edward, Planets, stars, and orbs: the medieval cosmos, 1200-1687. p. 335.
- Calvin, comment on verse 1:15.