Psalm 148:4 Disproves Young-Earth Creationism

Young-earth creationism claims to take Genesis literally. It insists that the firmament mentioned there is not a solid dome, and that the “water above” the firmament were water vapors, a vapor canopy that provided the waters for the global flood.

day-3_4-picUnfortunately for this view, there is no evidence for it from the natural world. But young-earth creationists are notorious for ignoring scientific data, if they think that the Bible justifies their doing so.

But unfortunately for them, the Bible is also against them.

In Psalm 148:4, the author, writing in a time when it made sense to mention the people of Israel (v.14), referred to waters above the firmament.

Some translations try to obscure the meaning. But to no avail. Clearly this cannot be a post-flood water vapor canopy, since young-earth creationists claim that the post-flood world was radically different from the pre-flood world.

The most natural way to take it, of course, is as an indication of the view of the natural world that the psalmist had, which he or she shared with other ancient peoples, in which the sky was solid and there was water above it.

That’s what young-earth creationists would believe, if they took the Bible literally.

But they don’t, and they won’t.

Images in this post come from a blog post about the “expanse” on the blog “Letters to Creationists.”


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  • Jonathan Bernier

    Young-earth creationists have gone completely liberal. It’s all true or none of it is true. None of this cherry-picking nonsense. (In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic).

  • TomS

    Allow me to act as an imaginary Biblical literalist/inerrantist of early 20th century, before there was any human exploration of space. (Indeed, even rockets hadn’t reached very far, a few miles up.)
    You are using “remote science” – as distinct from “observational science”, the kind of science we can trust because it is about direct observation and repeatability – to claim that there is no firmament or waters above it. How do you know? Were you there?

    Now allow me to act as a 21st century one.
    We have “observational science” which shows us that there is no firmament. Anyone can see the pictures. Therefore we have good reason to reinterpret the Bible. (And, indeed, we see from the writings of the fathers that some questioned the cosmology as you present it, writing of an Aristotlean-Ptomelaic universe.) But we have only “remote science” (in the variety of being remote in time, “historical science”) about the distant past.

    • James Walker

      science makes no such distinction as “remote science” vs. “observational science”. this is made up language from the Y.E.C. crowd to mask their lies in the appearance of scientific reason.

      • David Evans

        Perhaps we could introduce the category of “remote history” to cover events for which there are no eyewitness accounts.

        • TomS

          What about events which were to big to be seen as a whole by any one person. Is World War II “remote” because it cannot be directly observed (or repeated!), but only inferred.

      • TomS

        I thought that it was clear i was speaking in the name of a fictional YEC.

        YECs do not have a category of “remote science”. They do have a category of “historical science”. I was suggesting that just as we cannot directly observe and repeat things that happened in the past, so too can we not directly observe and repeat things that are beyond our reach in space.
        If YECs were consistent (something that is never going to haooen, I predict), they would say that all kinds of “remote science”, as long as I can’t say “I was there”, are unreliable.
        Ironically, BTW, it is precisely “remote science” which shows the power and interest of real science. No one has ever directly seen the behavior of elections in a semiconductor. No one has ever “been there” to see the causes of earthquakes – nor repeated one.

        • James Walker

          it was probably clear to 99.99% of human beings. just not, for some reason, to me when I first read through it. 😉

          • PorlockJunior

            I must remember this text for the next time I mess up a simple reading. At least it won’t require a long memory.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Good catch!

  • Jimpithecus

    This article should be instructive for anyone that wishes to take the Bible completely literally.

  • ashleyhr

    I expect YECs will either ignore this or pretend that it describes the pre-flood world (like they do with Psalm 104 verse 8 – once they have the right translation of that – in claiming that that verse describes an event at the end of the flood and not during 6-day creation).

  • Nickolaus Pacione

    I had done a blog of my own disproving this with Hovind — this is a King James Only believe and I think you opened the door for Evolution to be backed up. This this information I need to debunk; Hovind and Hammy need to realize if they think dinosaurs and humans co-existed it will be more like Carnosaur than the Flinstones as I am painting some grisly pictures on that one. That belief is like summoning Cthulhu from H. P. Lovecraft — who will be eaten first. In other words you put the “F” two letters between the “K” ed and that’s what they have.

  • The Bible Geek

    H8064 can be translated heaven… singular. H4325 can be
    translated water… singular. This is consistent with young earth belief. The
    water above the heaven was ice due to the temperature of space. Check out the creation story laid out on my website.

    • James F. McGrath

      Anything can be harmonized with anything if one tries hard enough. Especially if one uses Strong’s and doesn’t actually know the languages. But you seem to have missed the point of the post, which is to address a particular young-earth claim. As for your own view, there is no mention of space, or ice, or anything of that sort in any of the texts in the Hebrew Bible which mention the waters above. You are reading things into the text, and so ignoring – indeed, trampling on and discarding – the meaning these texts would have had in their historical context.