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Some Creationists have asserted that in the pre-flood world that there may have been some sort of water vapor canopy that perhaps doubled the air pressure and caused things to be much healthier than they are today (post-flood).

What is the biblical basis for this and what is the scientific evidence the proponents use to support this theory?

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I've made a slight edit so that this older question fits a bit better into site guidelines. References: Christianity.SE 's experts are Christians, not scientists and Are questions on a Creationist explanation for scientific observation on topic here?. There's also others if you search science on meta. – fredsbend Aug 1 at 5:09
I read a whole book on this theory and the scientific aspects of it. It was called "The Waters Above." Read the readers' comments here:… – Steve Aug 12 at 11:45

3 Answers 3

In Genesis 7:11, we read:

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.

The implication here is that water came from two directions - springs from the deep (i.e. underground water) and from above (the floodgates of heaven). Extending the metaphor ever so slightly, a floodgate is holding something back - according to the Institute for Creation Research, that is the canopy.

The Institute for Creation Research has published this paper to explain the physics behind it:

This study, however explains some of the problems. Amongst these problems:

  • A water canopy of more than about 40 feet would, by the pressure, boil itself away
  • A water canopy of more than a few inches would also block all the sunlight.

In the link, however, the paper argues that these problems are not insurmountable depending on the assumptions made about the canopy, but I'll admit, it gets a little stretched for my tastes.

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I hadn't heard this canopy theory. Is it related to the firmament? (I had thought of the flood passage as referring to holes in the solid firmament.) – James T May 1 '13 at 22:30
@JamesT I recall Kent Hovind being a big supporter of it. – fredsbend Aug 1 at 5:10

The idea of a canopy of water comes from Genesis 1:6-7 (KJV), which says,

"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so."

Read literally, it means that there is liquid water on the other side of the firmament (solid surface of some sort), which would--according to models that incorporate this theory--be emptied back onto the earth in the flood.

As mentioned, there are pretty significant scientific problems with this model, and I think most modern creationist models would tend to favor a "soft" firmament, which would mean that they consider the "firmament," which God calls heaven, the entire sky and outer space beyond. In this model, water and the celestial bodies aren't placed on a surface of the firmament, but are spread throughout the firmament.

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Water suspended in zero gravity would be frozen as ice crystals and would not be boiling, the freezing cold temperatures of space would help keep the water from doing such. Also, one thing we all know about water is that it is translucent! This canopy could have diffused the light somewhat making the natural light at ground level less intense, which would actually be beneficial. It would also stop heat from escaping through the atmosphere thereby keeping the earth's temperature a consistent moderate-warm.

Clearly in Genesis 2:5, it did not rain at all at one stage of the Earth's creation - but rather it was watered from underground reservoirs of water which 'came up out of the ground'. Genesis 2:5 - "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth and every herb of the field before it grew - for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. (6) Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land."

Many claim that this is not evidence of it still not raining in Noah's time and that is very true, but the verse in Genesis 9:13 attests that it still did not rain right up until the time of the flood. Genesis 9:13 - "I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (14) Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, (15) I will remember my covenant that is between me and you." Obviously for a rainbow to appear, there needs to be clouds of water in the sky which means that during Noah's time - there were no clouds in the sky! No rainbows occurred because all the water above the earth was suspended well above the sky/atmosphere itself.

Also we are told in Hebrews 11:7 - "But by faith, when Noah was warned about things that had never been seen, he built an Ark to save his family." Clearly things like rain and storms and such had not been seen whatsoever in Noah's time. The Bible clearly tells us about 'floodwaters in the heavens' (Genesis 7:11) that were there in Noah's time and that they 'opened' and the water came down causing the flood to happen. NO amount of clouds could drop enough water to flood the whole earth nor come anywhere close. Peter also mentions: (2 Peter3:5) "God made the heavens by the word of his command and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.

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Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please consider registering an account to fully take advantage of what this site has to offer. Also, be sure to check out the site tour and read how this site is a little different than other sites such as discussion boards. Your answer would be greatly improved if you added some references to support your position. – ThaddeusB Aug 1 at 4:07
Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Here are some meta posts about this site to help you learn how we do it here: What Christianity.StackExchange is (and more importantly, what it isn't) and How we are different than other sites Please also take the tour and see the help center. I hope to see you post again soon. [This is a generic welcome comment]. – fredsbend Aug 1 at 4:09

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