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The firmament in the Bible

In order to understand some of the fundamental properties of the firmament (beyond its density,) we need to look at how the firmament was created. The Bible does give us some insight into the creation process. According to Romans 1:20, the basic building block or cohesive unit of the universe is power. So, according to the Bible, power is more fundamental in the physical realm than is either mass or energy. This observation gives us some interesting insights into the creation in general and the firmament in particular.

Power is defined as the amount of work done per unit time. Work has the same units as energy since one way of looking at work is to perceive it as expended energy. The power, P, is related to the energy, E expended to do the work and the time, t, it took to expend the energy, by:

P = E / t.

The Bible also teaches us that time is something in process or something to be processed (Genesis 4:3, 38:12, Exodus 2:23, Judges 11:4, 2 Chronicles 21:19), and not just a sequence of events. The purpose of creation is stated in Romans 9:22 and 23 as:

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory...?

From that it is clear that the purpose of the process of time is the revelation of said wrath and power, and to make known his merciful salvation and the granting of eternal life through the faith of Jesus Christ. Since process of time is ultimately directed to the final judgment, it involves accounting. Thus, the inverse of time, which relates to frequency (counts per unit of time), will occasionally shed more light on the physics of a situation than does time itself.

Take power as an example. Unitwise, energy is typically decomposed into units of mass <m>, length <l>, and time <t> (for example, grams, centimeters and seconds). This is written as:

<E> = <m> <l>2 <t>-2. (Eqn.1)

Hence, the unit of energy, erg, is actually gm-cm2/sec2 or, alternatively, gm cm2 sec-2. The units of power are then:

<P> = <m> <l>2 <t>-3 (Eqn. 2)

which reveals more when written in terms of "frequency" (n=1/t):

<P> = <m> <l>2 <n>3. (Eqn. 3)

Let us now assume that power is conserved, that in upholding his creation (Hebrews 1:3), God manifests a constant amount of power throughout created time and space. If that is true, then we can write dP = 0, and that implies, upon taking the partial derivative of equation (3) and dropping the angle brackets (unit notation), that:

dP=l^2 n^2 dm + 2mln^3 dl + 3ml^2 n^2 dn = 0.  (4)

Applying the first law of thermodynamics, (conservation of energy -- that energy can neither be created nor destroyed by natural processes) to equation (1) yields:

dE = l^2 n^2 dm + 2mln^2 dl + 2ml^2 n dn = 0.

Subtracting equation (5) from (4) after dividing by n in (4), yields:

m l^2 n dn = 0

which means dn = 0. Since dn = -dt/t2, then under the assumptions of conservation of energy and conservation of power, process of time is either smooth (dt=0), or else time, t, is infinite ("with eternity's values in view ..."). The former case must hold for the created firmament, the latter for the true plenum, God. The former is a statement of the requirement that the material, atomic constituents of the universe must not be able to tell that the firmament is finite. Equation (6) tells us that as long as time processes smoothly, the uncertainty requirement will be satisfied. If time were to stop, or the true age of the firmament would be perceived by the material universe, then all motion within the universe would abruptly cease. Since process of time would also stop, one would not be amiss to claim that the universe would cease to exist, certainly as we know it. (That is, the unit of time would become infinite.)

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Last modified on 19 July, 2000 / GDB