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The firmament theory (to the best of my knowledge) maintains (based on a specific interpretation of the Genesis account of creation) that the original earth possessed a water canopy consisting of vapor (the most common interpretation) or ice that surrounded the earth above the troposphere and potentially up through the stratosphere. The canopy is used to explain the long lifespans of pre-flood humanity, along with the source of all the water required to produce or explain a global flood. The theory seems to hinge on a specific translation of various words used in the original Hebrew text. I have not studied Hebrew, but my understanding is that the usage of the same words in other contexts in the Old Testament does not support the contention of those words having the specific and exclusive meaning that proponents of the firmament theory assign to them. The firmament theory also has implications (again, according to my understanding) that are contradicted by other specific statements in the Bible that could not be (or have been) true if the firmament theory were valid, such as the visibility of the stars (discussed in Genesis 1:14-18).
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