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Some Creationists have asserted that in 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 biblical passages may suggest this and what is the scientific evidence in support of this theory?

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2 Answers 2

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

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 men 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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